Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sedimentation is a natural phenomenon. Shake well before use.

I had a good chuckle when I read this on the side of my iced tea yesterday. You know, that could make for a deep blog entry....yeah, maybe another day. :)

Ah, it's been awhile since I posted here. It's been a busy ten days since returning from my China adventure (I need to post the pics on my flickr site soon!). Speaking of the fleetingness of time, our pastor shared some great thoughts on "investing" and "multiplying" our time today, rather than "spending" it. Extremely relevant for HK society, particularly. This city is built on efficiency and designed for speed! I digress.

Throughout the year, I have been working on becoming involved in different activities in Hong Kong. It seems that all at once a few of these potential activities have become fixtures in my schedule. I'm studying Mandarin weekly, enjoying a few days of tennis a week and a very worthwhile women's bible study. I'm enjoying each very much, but I'm definitely aware of the slightly more crowded schedule.

I am not 100% yet with my health. I am learning (ever so slowly) to let go of worry, and welcome life one day at time. Worry and fear can be tricky- they like to have us think that they give us some measure of control over a situation. The reality is that both disable us from being fully alive today, and we end up absorbed with ourselves. Sometimes it just takes me awhile to figure that out. This week I will go back to the doctor. Thank you for praying!
Teaching is going well! I'm excited about some new technology-based projects we are working on right now. One is a social studies report that will be presented using Wikispaces, and the other is creating "poetry podcasts". Fun!

Alright, guess that's all for today in the updates department. I'm really excited about summer holidays- just over two months away! I will arrive home (Regina) on June 30!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Is it REAL?

Hey friends! I write to you from my old stompin' grounds in Shiyan, Hubei, China. You've arrived at the blogspot of Hubei Harm.

I'm enjoying five days in the place I called home for a year in 2004-2005. It has been a blast to be back in Shiyan. The days have been very full. The reunions have been sweet, the Chinese food aaaamazing and in abundance, the staring intense, the hairwashes still cheap and so beautiful, the streets dirty as before (you know you're back in the real China when you blow your nose and the kleenex is black), and the culture- fun as ever.

I've had lots of pretty great hugs from old friends. Memories have flooded back quickly and in many ways it feels like my year in Shiyan was just yesterday. At the same time, there are many changes here. Some of my best buds have gone to find work in other cities, my very young freshman students are now halfway graduated and the campus has had a major facelift. Where once I ran on gravel, there is a fancy track, the dirty shortcuts are now covered in paved steps, and where there was once a mountain, there is now a new assembly hall. Nobody lives on the rooftop, which was home for me. And my favorite hairwashing salon is gone, as well as my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

The trip here was worth it when I saw the first of two of my closest friends in Wuhan. So much joy, more than I imagined. It was worth it all over again when I walked up the main road in campus, and started waving at an old student. Her jaw dropped, and she just started pointing at me, like I was a ghost. Seriously. Then she started towards me, saying, "Is it the REAL Harmony?!" She tugged on my skin to make sure. No lies. Ohhhh, that was funny. The next girl I ran into was so shocked that said nothing at all, just stared. The next ran squealing and then crying! Another told me that my skin was much more "loose". Translation: you are not as plump as before. Yes, it has been a lot of fun!

Yesterday I tracked down one of my very favorite little Chinese girls. I ended up playing hide and go seek with five or six of them, and I tried to teach them red light/green light, but the whole language thing got in the way and I promised them I would return with a Chinese friend.

The fruit man, an old friend, has had a baby.

There are new foreigners that have been fun to meet and get to know, and there are new Family members in the Gang. You know you love the return of the Ahem, Capital Letters.

On Saturday I went hiking with a group of new friends, as well as a few from days goneby. They said we were going to "the park", but we ended up doing some serious mountain hiking. I am not as nimble as the young folk, but I had a lovely time.

Today I had my pants hemmed for forty cents, ate an amazing lunch for a dollar, tore it up on the bumper cars and fed my craving for DVD shopping- Chinese style.

Okay, that's all for tonight. I'm jumping on the bandwagon with the whole Prison Break thing. I bought the first season today...yikes, that Schofield is a fine looking fellow. And the show is
good, too. :)

Good night from Shiyan!