Monday, September 8, 2008

北京欢迎我! / Beijing Welcomes Me! (End of Summer I)

8/23 - 8/24/2008

[Over the next few entries, I'll be finally running a recap
of the extended sojourn in Beijing that I took during my
vacation at the end of August, along with my last day in
Korea and subsequent return to the States.]

Saturday8.23.2008:

-7:30 AM - Mr. Park picks me up, drives me to airport
-~10 AM - Flight CZ 318 leaves from ICN to PEK
-12:30-1 PM - I arrive in Beijing, take taxicab from PEK
to Billy's house.
-~2:15 PM - I arrive at Billy's house in Beijing, where
he and Jingyi are waiting for me.
-~5 PM - Our friend Carrie arrives at Billy's, we all go
out to dinner at a local restaurant.
-6-11 PM - We catch up at Billy's place. 我们讲的都是
普通话。
-12 PM - The women leave for their homes, Billy and I
catch up and get to sleep.

Sunday8.24.2008

It's Sunday, and I'm in 北京, and that means one thing:
Go to BICF!

Image000
Billy and I left his place around 8 AM, hitting the bus
early in order to get to the church in time for a prayer
meeting with some of the other leaders in their young
adults ministry.

Image001
BICF's central 21st Century location rents out a sweet,
incredibly modern atrium (and comfortable facilities)
in a hotel.

Image002

Image006
I'm not gon front, the sight - the very concept - of sing-
ing praise to GOD in China, in Chinese, made me cry.

Image008
BICF 21st Century's head pastor. Note the fly 中国
Olympics track jacket.

One continual theme of this vacation was discovering,
for the first time, the actual heart that God has been
cultivating in me - over an extended period of time - of
love and empathy for the Chinese people, nation, and
country. Explicit causes may have included my life as an
alien in Korea, or perhaps my increased identification
with China through the Bust Out crew, but I find myself
unable to deny, at this point, the very real feeling of
belonging - in a very specific way, to a very specific part
of the country - evoked in me upon returning to 北京.

For a long time, I'd been holding back from exploring
the option of doing ministry in China simply because
of the fear that I'd be doing so out of my own self-
centred desires to be in Beijing, rather than in obedience
to the Lord's will and guidance. I grew more convicted,
over this trip, that such fears need no longer be a deep
worry: the question is not, can I go and serve with the
proper spirit; it is, ought I?

Image009
The 21st Century hotel location.

Image010

Image011

Image012
Friends from Embassy.

Image013
A group of BICF congregants went that Sunday afternoon to watch
one of the penultimate games of the 北京奥运会: Men's Basketball,
USA vs. Spain. We alighted on an intensely Western, beautifully- (and
recently-) constructed food court within an extremely expatriate-
feeling mall. The Greek place had a TV, so Greek it was.

Image015

Billy's stomach had been ailing him all weekend, so we headed back to
his place a little early, and watching the rest of the game on his
Slingbox.

Image016
Randomly, one of the walls has this wonderful enigma
sculpted in bas-relief. When inquiries were raised as to its
purpose, origin, and meaning, Jingyi - whose childhood
home now serves as Billy's apartment - could only
shrug.

Image017

Image018

Image019
View from the kitchen window.

Jingyi's mother invited Billy (and me, by assumed
extension) to Sunday night dinner at her house,
followed by a viewing of the Olympic closing
ceremony, so, after a short nap, we rolled out in
search of a taxicab, and headed on over.

Image020
Exterior of Billy's building.

Image021

Image022

Image023

Image024
The Beijing roll. Won't ever gon see that in Korea.

Image025
Outside Jingyi's apartment complex. A fairly average Beijing street
scene, less crowded than normal due to Olympic traffic decongestion
laws.

Image026

Image027
北京小孩儿。

Image028

Image029
北京小狗。

Image030
I watched them watch Billy. A big white dude - especially in the areas
that Billy frequents - does not pass by without careful and frequent
inspection.

Image031

Image032
Jingyi's mother!

Image033
She set out quite a spread of snacks for us... and this is just the warm-up
in anticipation of the dinner...

Image034
Their house was one of the nicer that i've seen in Beijing: perhaps
unsurprising, given that the other houses to which I've been exposed
have generally been bachelor pads and the like.

Image035

Image036
Billy and Jingyi had just returned from an extended trip
to Thailand.

Image038

Image039
Snacks and packages like this evoke sentiments of my
grandparents' house as a prepubescent pre-teen, full of
surprising packets with inscrutable labels and even more
unexpected ingredients.

Image040

Image041
View from the alcove next to the dinner table.

Image042Image043
五颜六色的晚饭!
Jingyi's mom went all out on the dinner, with every color,
flavor, and texture imaginable: Chinese fruit salad (replete
with mayonnaise), jjajjangmyun/zha zhang mian/炸酱面,
chicken nuggets, shrimp, pork, and dumplings. Perhaps the
best meal that I had eaten all summer, up to that point.

Image044

Image045
Watching the closing ceremonies.

Shortly after the closing ceremonies' conclusion, around
10 PM, I gave my 老哥们儿 Paco a call. Having been in
Shanghai on business until that evening, he told me to
head on over to Bust Out HQ aka his apartment.

Bidding goodbye - and offering my thanks - to Jingyi,
her mom, and Billy, we found a cab idling outside their
building and dispatched me into the night. About half
an hour later, I arrived on a darkened street with shiny,
sharply-lit new-built apartment complexes scattered
liberally about. Paco waited for the cab, shirtless on the
night Beijing street.

Hailing me warmly, he led me into a nearby noodle
shop, where the rest of the crew waited, all decked out
straight in the latest in American streetwear and our
own Bust Out tees. After summarily concluding the
meal, we headed over to Paco's new crib.

Image046
The shoe rack.

Image047
Paco at his computer.

Image048
The crew, kicking it in the living room.

Image050
Paco's room; the ladder leads to a sleeping loft.

Image051
Welcome to Bust Out central!!

1 comment:

Michael said...

Well, they do the shirt roll in the country in the ROK and actually I've seen it a lot in the Phillipines and other places. Hmm...maybe its the pan-east-Asian shirt roll lol.