Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Kill 'em with kindness"

Ok this post is irrelevant of China, and is not referencing anything specific I just want to know what others opinions on this topic might be.
So during church today I was reading through the scripture, which I've begun doing a lot at church since I don't speak chinese but I do read English.. it's rather convenient.
Anyway, I come across Romans 12: 17-21 which is a chapter many of us have heard, even non-christians have been told this I'm sure. 

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirst, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." -- Romans 12:17-21 NIV

Ok so here's what I began to consider, I feel these verses have been transposed into the infamous saying "Kill them with kindness" and in a way I can see where "you will heap burning coals on his head" can be interpreted to mean that. However, I find another meaning in this. I see "killing with kindness" and the idea of this as sin in itself. I thing the purpose of these verses is to take anger, and resentment out of our own lives so in turn we lead more promising, uplifting lives. Killing with kindness is still a concept of vengefulness. It seems to me this theory is just as bad as actually hurting a person. Your intent is still the same, you still put as much effort, and frustration into both actions, killing with kindness, or out right anger. It seems that it wastes even more negative energy to be overly kind to another person when in your heart you do not feel like being kind to them, and truly if you aren't being kind in your heart then you aren't being loving the way God wants you to love. So should we actually attempt to kill people with kindness, your mentality stays the same. Turning the other cheek, offering a helping hand to an enemy through genuine kindness is much more difficult of a task I believe. This aspect takes much more prayer, meditation, and devotion to God to muster up the courage and strength to be kind to someone we would put as strong of a term towards as enemy.  I know for me it would be next to impossible at some moments. This is a fact I am embarrassed to admit. Who wants to admit that they are weaker than their anger towards an enemy? Yet I feel this is where the importance of this verse is found. I can NOT brush past anger or resentment and then continue on to compassion, adoration, and even love for someone I consider an enemy without leaning on the strength of Christ. The teachings of Paul, though at times are extremely confusing to me, as many people feel I'm sure, seem to serve such a purpose on so many different levels. These verses I have brushed by so many times thinking "of course we aren't suppose to be vengeful... easy enough to understand" stopped me today with this concept of how many of us actually stop these emotions as they rage inside of us and attempt to actually change them? Not just an outward physical change but an inward emotional change? Which causes our relationship with God to grow, or even our relationship with knowing ourselves to grow. You don't have to be a Christian to understand the struggle it takes for a person to change their mentality of life. 
So in stopping and reading this, what are your thoughts? Am I wrong in my concept of "killing with kindness"? How vengeful and yet all the same forgiving God do we serve? Of even in a non-religious aspect, how difficult is it to truly lend a helping hand with genuine kindness to an enemy? 

Friday, August 29, 2008

**Birthday Week expands Oceans**


The beginning of this post is solely for my parents because they will find the humor in it more than others. 
SO David and Ann are in town getting things squared away before they return to the US and they decided that they wanted to take the sisters and me out to eat. The sisters chose pizza hut because they'd never been there before and I was so glad! Oh sweet nectar that is American food! So we get to the restaurant and David announces to everyone that we are eating here to celebrate my birthday since it's exactly two weeks away! hahaha I laughed so hard and thought "wheres mom and dad when I need them" Yes birthday week even expands oceans, and maybe due to the time change, probably something about the international date line that no matter how hard I try I will never truly understand, my birthday week has stretched to two weeks now instead of just one;) hahaha. Then David went and asked for a birthday crown but unfortunately they didn't understand so they gave him a birthday button instead it says "I am 08" Sure I'll be eight again thats cool.  Then David had everyone sing to me, and today he took me to buy a toaster oven as a gift. hahaha He kept saying today that it was because of my birthday, and after all that he gave me a pocket chinese to english dictionary that has Pin ying in it which is amazing! Here I thought birthday week was going to skip a year... 

So I took all these pictures of pizza hut because of all the times the sisters made fun of me and my slow progress with chopsticks I was able to laugh at them and their attempts at using knives and forks, and even though I told them they should just use their hands to eat pizza, they refused.
There was ketchup on the table and the sisters wanted to try it on the pizza... I was clearly hesitant... 



The pizza was so amazing! It tasted very similar to real pizza hut, but this resturaunt was so fancy! It's pretty expensive too, but it was a great treat to relax and not have noodles for a change. Then after we sat in there for two and a half hours we decided to walk for a while. We walked towards the square and stopped in the park to take some fun pics, then we headed on home. All in all a great evening. 
Today I went and ate hot pot with Ann and David at this fancy restaurant where I managed to spill an entire bowl of sesame sauce (watery peanut butter-esque stuff) all over myself! Go me! That was probably because it's my bi-birthday week, it's part of the celebration. Before I did that though I saw this man making noodles so I took a video so you could see how it's done, unfortunately it's sideways because I can't get iphoto to flip my videos.. 

video
Also this week, I've been teaching at a school here in Changzhi where they have displaced an entire school of earthquake victims. 1000 students and 100 teachers have been brought here to live, and study. They will stay here for a minimum of 3 years while the government tries to locate a new location for their school to be rebuilt. I'll be going there more regularly throughout the year to teach, I'm looking forward to that. Here's some pictures I took there. 


Ok finally, I got my schedule for the school year! 16 hours of freshman oral english. I teach four classes, twice a week each for two hours each session. Down side: School doesn't begin for freshmen until October 6th! Yeah... so we'll see how I busy myself for the month.
 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Awareness..

I think I am beginning to become aware of the break down of a person when someone begins to take on something of this magnitude. The emotional stability inside oneself is lost at a point. The reconstruction of a human being beings at this point. This point of two months in, a year out. This place where it is time for change, the place where security is present, but comfort is a distant foggy figure. Things in my life that were simple, things in my mind, in my thoughts that were easily manageable that remained the same on one side of the world, have become distorted on this side. The struggle of growing into enlightenment when the rest of my world that I'm so heavily connected to remains where I left them, enlightened by other factors. This change which is happening with fluidity has left me lost at sea at times. This place, this wonderful place with it's wonderful people, as beautiful as it may be has begun reaching the core of me. The awareness of purpose, the awareness of a change within myself has reached me and forced a beginning of growth inside me. A growth that old mindsets, old understandings, old comforts cannot reach. In this middle place, in this transition how do I face what I so naturally knew to be my way of reaction? How do I balance? How do I control who I was and who I'm becoming? No easy answers approach these rhetorical questions. Thus, Sunday begins...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The day of Amazingness!

SO! I had an amazing day how about you?? If you didn't I'm sure tomorrow will get better. It's almost the weekend anyway so thats a plus right? ANYWAY.... My day began with my attempt at creating this really awesome thing that would hand pictures.. here it is.. 
Good idea right... yeah moments later it fell down onto my bed, which obviously is poorly made.. sorry mom, even going to China things still don't change right?;-) So this project I worked on is a great idea in theory but now I have to figure out a better way to hang it with my Mcgyver skills because I dont have too many things available, you know.. like... nails.. Even though it fell I was still proud of it and I like how the pictures look so tomorrow I'll figure something out. Side note: I finally finished Harry Potter 7 yesterday... WOW. Ok thats all I have to say, and I love Luna, and Neville, they are my two favorite characters by far! 
So after this happened I decided I really can't stand for the fishy couch anymore so I went into the next apt. which has a decent couch in it and I moved ALL the school supplies stored in there out of the living room and into the bedroom in order to motivate the administration to let me have that sofa, and it worked! So they're going to send someone by soon to switch them for me, awesome! I win. 
THEN, I got a package from mom! Which was full of amazingness! (it deserves it's own word because I loved it so much) It was full of cheese, which as far as I can tell is NOT moldy.. but we'll see how that turns out.. And payday candy bars and peanut M&M's only the two greatest snacks known to man! I received the newest runners world magazine which I was also pumped about and some perfume and hand sanitizer which I did use at dinner today mom you should be proud.  Speaking of dinner I took pics of where I eat so you can see.. ( I seriously take way too many photos but I love my camera and I love China so it all works out) 

This is where I usually eat, I sit outside because the weather is so nice here
Sometimes though I'm tired of noodles so I eat here, these are little stands that make chicken wrap type things.. yeah.. delicious! 
Mian Tiao, this is what I eat about 4 or 5 times a week because it's only 40 cents, and it's delicious!

So.. After eating I went and checked out my "new" used bike!!! YAY!! I'm so excited about this bike it's ridiculous, mainly because it means I do not have to learn to ride on the back of someone else's, a skill I'm sure to never have mastered because, as my family knows, I'm the clumsiest person ever put on the earth! Too bad those gymnastics skills didn't pan out huh dad?! But here's my new bike!! (yeah it's pink but I dont even care! thats how much I love this bike)

This is the front part of my apartment. I have a little shed to put my bike in, and Wei even had it cleaned out for me. I was so excited about this bike, I rode it around in my dress because I was too excited to go upstairs and change into pants, plus this is a pretty long dress so I figured it was ok:-).

THEN to continue with the day of amazingness! The sisters took a break from studying and came over to watch the olympics, then somehow we started talking about Macaroni and I tried to explain to them that we have noodles shaped like cartoon characters and I thought Ann left some here but alas, no, just normal noodles, so as we searched we found THIS...
So I taught the sisters twister and this went on for about an hour and a half, yeah my calves are burning! Hahaha, then I taught them this cup game I knew, and we found the christmas decorations and played with them. Now it is almost midnight and I'm still really wired from this blessed day! Tomorrow I'm taking that bike out for a spin! The mountains are really close maybe I can take them there. 
Ok I hope everyone reading this has a great day too.



Saturday, August 16, 2008

Following roads...






Tired! I had a great day that began waking from a small amount of sleep that was caused by Johns new discovery of video skype chats. See if you had gotten the video camera when I said I would have slept last night and the new fascination w/ seeing each other would have passed by now;-) haha. 
Anyway I met Hellena's nephew at the school gate today and we took a taxi to pick
 up
 Hellena and her son who is 6, and who has proven to me that 6 year old boys are the same all over the world: adorable, full of energy, and love showing off kung fu moves in the middle of a crowded sidewalk for a photo op. Dang dang (her son) speaks amazing english and I am almost certain once he grows up his english will be better than his chinese. So we all went down to this temple in town and I took some pictures...of course.. I brought Andy with me, and though it turned out to be around 80 degrees today I s
till slipped him into so
me photos, his china adventure continues. The temple was a Daoist (taoist) temple worshiping the God of the Underworld. The
chinese say that this "God" took all the evil spirits on the earth and banished them to hel
l and he keeps them there. While there I saw some women praying for this friend of theirs who had an illness. I took a video videothem while DangDang pretended to pray to the statues, I'm pretty much in love with this child. Then we looked through some antique shops where people followed me around which tends to happen in places like this. I met this really charismatic shop owner while I was walking around practicing my chinese. He helped me bargain with him which I found ironic but I did it all in chinese with no help from Jackie, ok I take that back I had a small amount of help but pretty much I was on my own. I bought this beautiful
 antique patch made out of silk. I'm going to stitch it onto something, probably a bag not sure. I'm pretty sure I could have gotten it for much cheaper but the guy was so funny I 
felt bad bargaining with him at all. 
Then I looked for a special gift for someone, to no avail, I'm about to give up on this hunt. Maybe I'm being to picky. After that we went to lunch, mmmm lamb, cucumber, Jao zhi, and noodles of course. I splurged and had a Coke with this meal, I was running on empty today. 
Then we walked to the ancient government gate where I took more pics with Andy AND found music shop with a huge PEAVEY sign out front and I took a picture for plea of course. I miss you boys. 
Then we walked to a park, I played on some exercise equipment with dangdang and then we ventured to what I would like to call the saddest zoo ever! We passed a Mosque  on our way, Chang Zhi has a huge muslim population a
pparently. More pictures taken here. 
The zoo was free and was actually a large park that was beautiful, it had a small amusement park of carnival rides to one side and the zoo animals to the other. Ok lets just talk about how depressing it was to see the black bear in a concrete well with no shade and with a tiny baby pool to cool off in. No food, nothing to play with and people throwing chips at it to feed it. Yeah...not cool. Then there were the monkeys and the camel I can't even talk about. Lions who had a habitat about the size of three lions side by side. S-A-D.  
Hellena and Jackie almost freaked when I told them I had seen wild black bears, a wild wolf and wild deer. Crazy wild deer! 
Then we went to the carnival side and I rode this ride with Dangdang and then we watched him play for a while. Then home. This was a great day. Jackie was really funny, and Hellena was so kind, her english is wonderful so it's great having people to spend time with. 
Jackie asked me about my faith and in the process of that was confused about the differences between Christianity and Catholicism. (dont worry Em I explained to him the one true faith KIDDING!) So that led to a deeper conversations about religions, it was very interesting. 
Those of you praying for me I ask that you pray that I listen to the spirit more, and let him guide me to where God wants me to be. 


Monday, August 11, 2008

Changzhi

Ni Hao!
New adventures that do not involve fish: Last night after supper in the market I saw a lady making dumplings through a store window and she let me try to make some! Yeah..I am not so skillful with the dumplings, but it was fun:-). Then today I ordered food for myself and asked the price, understood what he said and paid the man! All on my own! Doris gave me courage, plus she made me because she refused to do it for me even though she knew what I wanted and how much the meal was haha. She's a good friend.
So I went on a walk today around Changzhi and took a few pictures of the city. I also took some pictures today of my apartment, and my lovely view of the mountains. So here they are!

This is how people ride bikes in China

"Playground" outside my apt.


I watch these men play this game every evening

Park near the market


Middle of a busy street


Beijing 2008!

Resting

Dinner

Warning: Dump trucks with helium balloons ahead!



this man was singing to this little girl while they sold watermelon


Rui Rui and Hai Li Cooking on my porch/kitchen

Kitchen, hot water heater up to the right.



The view from my porch

Mac n Cheese with chopsticks (Sydney this isn't what I normally eat in China) ;-)

The aquarium...oh I mean my living room..yes..that is the imfamous couch.


Foyer/dining room/kitchen appliance room...

Hope you enjoyed the tour! many more pictures to follow. Now time to watch more Olympics, get pumped!! Who watched the men's swimming 400m relay.. INTENSE! Love it!
Zou La!



Saturday, August 9, 2008

The tale of 8 fish...

WELL... the Chinese are all about folk stories so I've decided to write one of my own.. as you can see I've entitled it "The tale of 8 fish" here goes...

Once there was an adorable American girl from TN who decided to move to China to teach English. She packed her bags and through much difficulty she arrive at her final destination..Changzhi University. She met many very friendly people there, in particular a group of girls who refer to themselves as "The Sisters". The Sisters were so kind to this foreigner and they made her feel very welcome in this new land. One day while visiting the American one of the sisters commented on the grotesque smell lingering in the air inside the living room. "Maybe it's coming from the furniture we should clean it" they decided. Thursday they cleaned all the furniture and the smell seemed to lessen, however it returned just as potent as before. By Saturday another sister offered to come investigate the apartment for the smell. So two sisters came and along with the American they cleaned the furniture again TWICE. During the second duration of the cleaning the American located something awful! A dead fish lay rotten wedged into the upholstery of the sofa! It turns out another foreigner used this furniture before and for some reason hated China and decided to revoke by ruining a perfectly good living room suit. After several hours the girls, along with the director and a maintenance man discovered 8 fish in all split between an armchair and the sofa.
Now the room that once only smelled like hidden rotten fish has a distinct aroma of dead rotting fish, bleach, lemon air freshener, bathroom cleaner, and vinegar. Yummy.
Hooray for adventures in China!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Shanghai

Matthew and I in Shanghai

Matthew Hailing a cab..unsuccessfully

Snack time!


Sad to say goodbye.

Pearl Tower

Down by the river


Dragon boat


We found a Coldstone Creamery!

The shops at the Garden







The Pearl Tower

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ok I've made it to Changzhi where I'll be living for the year. I took all these great pictures of the last few days of Jinhua and my time in Shanghai (which was amazing) but currently the pictures will have to wait due to internet connections and such. So lets see...
Matthew came to stay with me last week in Jinhua but we didn't get to play table tennis against eachother unfortunately! But I'm sure I would have schooled him, I have no doubt about that. haha totally kidding I'm horrible at table tennis, but it's fun. We had a great time together it was really hard to leave him in Shanghai.
My students bought me this really awesome stamp of my name and some red ink for it. It has tigers carved in the top of it because we were the tigers, that made me so happy! What a great gift. Very personal.
We traveled to Shanghai and went shopping there, I bought some gifts for the family and bargined for these earrings for Emily that she will love I'm sure, even if they are tacky and could have been purchased in America, but they're from China so they're special! Shanghai is crazy crowded. There were people everywhere. A lot of people spoke english so that was convient. We went down and saw the pearl tower, which was really cool and walked on the river and saw all the pretty boats lit up. A guy from Australlia stopped us and asked me if I knew where the sex museum was, unfortunately I was not able to help him. Do I look like the type of person who would know where the sex museum was?!!? seriously find a map buddy. I also found a Cold Stone Creamery in Shanghai and ate real icecream it was amazing! No soy pud for me! (soy pud is what I reference the ice cream here). I went to church the next morning and had a little head set that translated the sermon into english for me so that was pretty sweet. Then I watch a Chinese soap opera with Sue and then left. Living without Sue was an adjustment. Not having someone to joke around with constantly began my homesickness and lonliness.
I arrived in Changzhi by plane and I was met my Ann and Dean Wei and they brought me to my apt. Which is really cute, it's just like Womack Lanes for those MTSU peeps reading this. I've spent the last few days Cleaning, Listening to Flatfoot 56 and Death Cab, and buying some needed provisions for the apartment.
Ann introduced me to several people she knows here they all seemed so kind so hopefully we will begin spending some time together. Olympics begin in two days!!! Yay!:-) I'm pretty pumped about that!
Ok so this was a pretty random post and I know it has no pictures so it may be dull but I just wanted you to know I was alive (sorry Ott).
My facebook barely works so if you want to get in contact with me just email me: Camodenoe@yahoo.com