Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Updates from my In-Laws in China

Hello family and friends,

We have heard that many are asking questions about how we are faring as a result of the recent earthquake. Actually I was flying home to Beijing from Oregon at the time the earthquake hit. My mother passed away so I made a quick trip home for her services. Barry was in class teaching but didn't feel anything. Our office mate, Professor Yang Fang, was in our office and said she felt dizzy and had an upset stomach instantly. I remember similar effects from an earthquake we felt in Oregon a few years ago. The devastation is beyond belief and the death toll rises. The huge difference for China is that they are allowing the news and details to go out instead of hiding them. Never before has the public, both in country and around the world, been told this much about anything happening in China. As a result, the outpouring of aid has been incredible. Our students are suffering, some have lost family members, most have never lived through this kind of ordeal. Yesterday was the one week mark since the quake and the entire country had a period of mourning at 2:28 pm. I was teaching and my students told me what would occur. Over the loudspeaker came radio voices mourning the great calamity. Then, instead of silence, there were incredible noises played for several minutes. Sirens blared and students closed their eyes, pondering, praying, grieving, tears rolled down many cheeks. It was a very sobering experience. At the end the radio voices spoke again, apparently praising the relief efforts and worldwide donations of assistance, supplies, and money. (My students told me later what had been said since it was all in Chinese). It was hard to continue with class after all of that. Barry was in our office and went out to the street. He said all traffic stopped and all was quiet - except for the sirens. Distinctly unusual for China. We mourn with China. Our students are quite confused by all that is happening this year 2008, a year during which China was to shine for all the world to see as it hosts the Olympics. So far there has been a devasting earthquake, massive train wreck, winter storm - worst in 50 years, problems with the Olympic torch around the world, Tibet crisis, and a disease that spread through several provinces taking the lives of many children. We certainly don't have answers other than some good will come - China is a very united country and these events have increased their love and commitment to country.
We are ending up our assignment here in China. Only three more weeks of classes and then we will spend two weeks traveling in China with our daughter Kim and husband Dave and our son Tony and wife Mari. We are greatly looking forward to their visit. Barry is quite busy as he has picked up classes for a professor who quit in the middle of the semester. He also taught my classes during my absence. He also is busy with table tennis lessons twice a week. He plays with other local folks without a word being spoken. They laugh and have a good time. Just wish I knew if they are laughing with him or at him!
We have enjoyed seeing the Olympic venues and have tickets for this coming Saturday for the new national stadium, or Bird's Nest, to see a track and field event. We continue to visit all parts of China possible. Two weeks ago we went to Inner Mongolia for a short vacation. By the time we finish we will have been to northwest China, Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong, southern China, Shanghai, Xi'an, as well as Cambodia and Vietnam. We feel we have a greater understanding of this land and these people. We are so grateful to have this opportunity and will dearly miss our friends here. But it is time to return and renew our friendships in America. We plan to spoil our grandchildren, travel, do volunteer work, remodel our home, and enjoy retirement in Oregon. No doubt our next adventure will be around the corner. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, emails and love and friendship. You mean the world to us.

1 comment:

KL said...

Before you leave pls pass this info around to all your friends there.

China Life Ins. Co. & others will provide all living & education expenses for all quake's orphans till age 18. Ask people or churches to assist those kids to apply for.