[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.]
-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
-12 PM - The women leave for their homes, Billy and I
catch up and get to sleep.
It's Sunday, and I'm in 北京, and that means one thing:
Go to BICF!
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
BICF's central 21st Century location rents out a sweet,
incredibly modern atrium (and comfortable facilities)
in a hotel.
I'm not gon front, the sight - the very concept - of sing-
ing praise to GOD in China, in Chinese, made me cry.
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?
The 21st Century hotel location.
Friends from Embassy.
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.
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
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
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.
Exterior of Billy's building.
The Beijing roll. Won't ever gon see that in Korea.
Outside Jingyi's apartment complex. A fairly average Beijing street
scene, less crowded than normal due to Olympic traffic decongestion
I watched them watch Billy. A big white dude - especially in the areas
that Billy frequents - does not pass by without careful and frequent
She set out quite a spread of snacks for us... and this is just the warm-up
in anticipation of the dinner...
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.
Billy and Jingyi had just returned from an extended trip
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
View from the alcove next to the dinner table.
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.
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.
The shoe rack.
Paco at his computer.
The crew, kicking it in the living room.
Paco's room; the ladder leads to a sleeping loft.
Welcome to Bust Out central!!
Monday, September 8, 2008
8/23 - 8/24/2008