Friday, January 29, 2010

German, American, Norwegian, Chinese Pizza

We love being at such a crossroad of people and cultures.  Last night we had another pizza night.  Invitees included a partly-retired Norwegian-Danish couple who are international leaders in mission; a young German family who have recently moved to Hong Kong; a Chinese student who hopes to complete Ph.D. work in England.

I didn't have time to make the brownies I had planned on making for dessert (I got sidetracked cleaning some of the blankets of dust off of our ceiling fans... when even your visiting young adult sons mention the dust layers visible on the rim of the fans... you know it's time for some cleaning action before your company arrives ).

So there were no brownies, and much to my dismay, I discovered the three (count them three) cartons of ice cream in our freezer were all down to the last half-scoop or so of crystalized mess. (Those same young adult sons I mentioned have left their traces all over this house...)

Miraculously, our Hong Kong friend showed up with a box of Japanese "corn chocolate" which tastes much better than it sounds... kind of like gourmet chocolate rice krispie bars.  So that was just perfect for dessert.

(I probably would have burnt the brownies anyway)

Note: nobody in this photo is biologically related except the little blondes who are brother and sister.  But in Christ we are family.

 28-29In Christ's family there can be no division... That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ's family, then you are Abraham's famous "descendant," heirs according to the covenant promises. -- Galatians 3:28-29

p.s. We even talked about starting a little Bible study cell group.  Who knows what might happen?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monkeys, leaves, and long noses

My 51 year old body is still protesting from endless rounds of "Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed"  during small group time with first graders at the Lutheran School this week.  I tried to teach them the story of Moses (we were on the letter M) with a picture Bible but... (remember, their English is VERY limited, and several of them have various special needs making it difficult for them to concentrate in ANY language)... and so in no time at all, I had Jenny Lo standing on the chair and Jackie Chu shoving Jackie Wu, and Yui Yui dismantling the plastic Christmas tree which was still occupying a corner of our little-used English room.  So I had to give up on Moses for the time being (sorry, Lord) and got them to participate in a very rousing round of "Ten Little Monkeys".  They were particularly good at the jumping part.  And the falling part.  And the shouting part.  All in all, a big success.

Doing crayon leaf rubbings (letter "L") with the second graders was also a pretty big hit.  Many of these children seem to have so little interaction with nature, living as they do in high rises surrounded by concrete covered hills and paved playgrounds.  So it was (I think... I'm never totally sure about these things) a real novelty for them to take real leaves, cover them,  and watch as patterns, shapes and veins emerged as they rubbed their crayons over the surface of the paper.

This almost made up for last week when I was teaching "N is for nose" to the younger, better educated children whose parents can afford to give them special English lessons at the Hoppy Palace.  Suddenly one of my gorgeous little four year olds looked at me in a fit of inspiration and said in a tone of absolute sincerity and wonder, "Your nose is so long.  Why is your nose so long?" And then she burst into a peal of laughter and pleasure at being able to express this new discovery so well.  I could only reply, "Honey, because that's how God made me."

We westerners DO have pretty long noses from an Asian perspective and she was only being honest.

"Be wise my child,
and bring joy to my heart."  -- Proverbs 27:11

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Ones Left Behind

Shatin Park, Hong Kong; Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yesterday  (Saturday) we took our older two sons to the airport, and now we're the ones left behind.  It's a new experience for us... we've always been the travelers, the ones cheerily saying "good-bye!" and heading off to a new adventure, a new job, a new continent even. 

This time we were the ones whose eyes teared up as our two sons went back to North America... one to a new semester at Marquette University in Wisconsin, the other to an internship in New York City (a place that seems much more exotic to us Midwesterners than Hong Kong now does... now that Hong Kong has been our home for a whole year.)

In fact, we didn't actually get to watch as our boys make it through the security gate at the airport, because as we turned aside for a moment to hide our red & runny eyes... a passing traveler rushed up to ask if he could help us, so as we explained to this nice guy that we were not having seizures or anything, our boys slipped through the gates and on to the next chapter of their lives.

Well, that's as it should be.  And when we got home from the airport the first person that I called was... my mother, back in Wisconsin.  She was glad to hear from me.

"By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion...  How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?" -- Psalm 117

 "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things... everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life... "  -- Jesus, quoted in Matthew 19:28ff

More scenes from Shatin Park, January 17, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

The sublime & the ridiculous

Sight seeing with one's grown sons is a wonderful mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous.  At times they are in awe of the sights and sounds (and sometimes the smells!!) of Hong Kong, and then the next minute they are shoving each other and sitting on each other's laps in the subway, as if they were 7 & 8 years old again.  Only here in Asia, I can't pretend I don't know them (one of my coping methods in years past) because, well, it's pretty obvious that we belong to each other.

The largest bronze sitting Buddha in the world, on Lantau Island.

 On top of Needle Point, a hike up into the hills, straight up from our home in Shatin. (My calves are still aching from that climb!)

They are leaving in 4 short days.  The house will be cleaner, quieter, and Hong Kong will be way way emptier.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; 
His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another, 
they tell of your mighty acts.  
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty-- 
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
-- Psalm 145:3-5

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!!

This is the sight that greeted us on the eve of  the new decade!  Who would ever have thought we would be in Malaysia for the New Year, but it turns out that Malaysia is only a 2 and a half hour... surprisingly inexpensive flight from Hong Kong.

The photo is courtesy of our oldest son... after a whole year of not seeing them, our oldest two college-aged "boys" flew to Hong Kong to join their parents and youngest brother for Christmas.  We promptly exposed them to our new culinary habits (fried fast-food squid)

We introduced them to some of the flora and flauna of our new continent:

(don't worry, the Malaysian sun bear was confined to a zoo)
We enjoyed some lazy hours of sun & swimming;
Mango juice and Asian curries...

And wondering what the New Year will bring.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.
From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all humankind, from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth -- 
he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.  -- Psalm 33