Last week, all of China celebrated the 59th anniversary of the founding of the People\’s Republic of China. I celebrated Jason\’s visit! While it had only been a little over a month since we\’d last seen each other face-to-face, it was still a welcome visit and a bit surreal to see him standing in front of me. We spent the week seeing Beijing, relaxing, cooking and eating Western foods we\’d missed (Jase buys the groceries, I cook, we both eat, we both clean- we make an excellent team!), and even teaching together! There were lots of highlights, but here are a few:
Considering how many sights there are to see in Beijing, Jason and I really didn\’t see all that much. I took him to the Lama Temple where we watched Buddhist monks chanting and saw huge Buddhist idols and altars. It was an interesting experience watching Buddhist rituals and seeing how their entire lifestyle is their religious practice. It made me think about my own practices and how much I put into it and how much meaning it has to read chapters in my manual or think upon things and just have personal times of reflection. My life could be so enriched if I would just schedule even a little time into my day to be in contact.
The most exciting Beijing sight seeing trip we went on was definitely the Great Wall. Since the Great Wall is huge, there are a few different parts within the Beijing vicinity that you can travel to. Jason and I decided on Mutianyu, which is less touristy, but still reachable by bus. It was an arduous walk up the (supposedly 1400+) stairs to the wall, which was followed up more arduous walking up and down tons of stairs that curved around the mountain and took us from watchtower to watchtower. The views were incredible and taking in the architecture and brute power needed to construct the small portion of the wall was certainly impressive. Mutianyu is also characterized by a toboggan that you can take down the mountain after climbing up! Jason and I were too cheap to fork over the 50RMB, but I definitely have my eye on it for the next time I visit the wall!
Aside from seeing the sights, the best part of Jason\’s visit to Beijing was getting the chance to think together upon things going on back at home and working together. We taught a few classes, hosted an English corner, and got an opportunity to visit a family-operated nursing home in outer Beijing. It was amazing to see the blessings and work that has happened in this nursing home community since it first began 15 years ago. The woman who runs is an 86 year-old retired doctor who felt the burden for the seniors in Beijing who were ill but couldn\’t afford health services. Even though she\’d started the home with almost nothing, it has survived on family donations and is recognized by doctors as one of the few nursing homes where nearly all of its patients seem happy and healthy. While it\’s not the best facility available where they have so little, the seniors are clean, smiling, and don\’t suffer from common illnesses found in other more modern facilities like bedsores. It\’s truly a blessing and testimony of the provisions that are granted to those who ask for them. We had a time of singing and lifting things up with the seniors. It was such a wonderful experience that I told Dana that I\’d be happy to go back with her monthly. My hope is that you will hear more about my experiences there through the year.
Well, naturally it was difficult for me when I took Jason back to the airport and disappeared into the terminal. But overall, I was so grateful for the chance for us to reconnect, think together, and serve our purpose here together. I imagine that the next three months will be difficult, and I\’ve gotten a few comments from friends who are in disbelief that Jason and I won\’t be seeing each other until January. Still, I remain hopeful and excited for what the coming months will bring and all that we will be able to share with one another the next time we meet.