Jinan, China
36° 40' N 116° 59' E
Jan 03, 2005 06:16
Distance 0km

Choose another map, showing:


Text written in: English

A Message from Wendy

THIS ENTRY IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT: FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS SARAH'S MOTHER, WENDY, HAS BEEN VISITING US HERE IN JINAN; THIS IS HER IMPRESSION OF HIS VISIT TO CHINA IN HER OWN WORDS. THE PICTURES ARE OF OUR DAY TRIP TO LINGYAN TEMPLE AND THE SOURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE. WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADO...

Before leaving China, I want to express my appreciation and gratefulness to Sarah and Jeremy for the many wonderful experiences that I have had with them. We bundled up every day in the chilly winter weather to venture out in the city and countryside.

In Beijing, we visited the Lama Temple with its 75 foot statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, carved out of a single piece of a sandalwood tree, ate Peking duck, watched a Chinese acrobatic performance, and walked through the Forbidden City created by Emperor Yongle in 1420. Chairman Mao's presence is evident by his huge picture over the southernmost gate of the Forbidden City and his mausoleum in nearby Tian'anmen Square.

During our 41/2 hour train ride to Jinan, we enjoyed conversations with a water department engineer who was working on a canal stretching hundreds of miles across the Xinjiang Province in northwestern China.

In Jinan, I settled into the University Hotel literally a few yards from Sarah and Jeremy's apartment. I have enjoyed sitting in on Sarah's conversational English classes. The students have enthusiastically asked me questions about life in America, and Sarah has created curriculum that is not only educational but fun. Today, I will experience one of her last classes for the semester where we will have a party involving homemade granola, tangerines, coca cola, charades, and the cartoon version of the Dr. Seuss film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".

Jeremy, Sarah and I have also shopped for pearls and paintings, walked through underground and cultural marketplaces, visited some of the many beautiful springs in Jinan, eaten local and not-so-local ethnic food, drank Chinese beer and even played cribbage while sipping tea at a tea house. One day, we visited Bao Tu Quan, a park with a spring and private residence dating back 700 years. The buildings are covered with intricate wood carvings and hold a highly revered collection of traditional paintings. Tomorrow, we will drive to the valley of the Ling Yan Temple to photograph its pagoda.

China is so vast and diverse. In the course of my two week stay, I am feeling more and more comfortable here in large part because of Sarah and Jeremy's thoughtfulness and care. Knowing the language and developing friendships has opened many doors for them, and I have been fortunate to "tag along" in their exciting new world.

I will close now because Jeremy is finishing up with his erhu (a musical instrument dating back 2,000 years) lesson, and we are hungry for lunch- more Chinese food, yum, yum! If you're venturing to China to visit Sarah and Jeremy, you're sure to have a great time! Zaijian! Wendy Bruss

Photos / videos of "A Message from Wendy":

Corn stalk drying for winter in a village near Lingyan Temple. (The old part of this vilage was mostly empty, as they had just built newer, less photogenetic but more comfortable conrete homes across the road). A courtyard gate contructed of thornbush branches. Jeremy and Wendy in a small village near Lingyan Temple. The doorway to village home with the character "fu" (prosperity). Sarah in a village near Lingyan Temple. The courtyard of a home near Lingyan Temple. A courtyard doorway decorated with faded luck-messages from a past New Year's. Wendy on walking down a side path in a village near Lingyan Temple. Wendy photographing a side path in a village near Lingyan Temple. An old stone bridge in and winter wheat fields outside Jinan. a small village outside Jinan. Women milling corn in a village outside Jinan. (They let Wendy try a hand at milling. They were fascinated to talk with us, having never met foreigners before; they couldn't understand why we had come to such a poor village -- romantic notions about the C Gate to the Lingyan Temple tourist area.