May 20, 2012

China: Day 2

Today, I found out what true jet lag is. Even though we stayed up until well past natural (US) sleeping time, the Blau's were all awake at around 3:30. We watched some Chinese television with English subtitles (maybe this contributes to the reason I love Korean TV), but no matter how boring the show was, we couldn't fall asleep. Finally, dad tapped on our door and suggested since we were awake, we should go on an adventure.

So we did. Well, we adventured as far as I was comfortable, and that was just across the street. We went to the only open market and there was all kinds of junk that we could have bought there. It was really incredible actually, but we really only needed water to brush our teeth. So, after choosing the cheapest brand, we began to leave, much to the dismay of the shop owner. Apparently he wanted a picture of Savannah and I! Us white folk are apparently a hot commodity in China. So we gracefully obliged and went on our way, hopefully to fall back asleep in the hotel room.

Sleep was not to come for the rest of the morning. It was Sunday, so there was church ... in ommunist-cay ina-chey. (When we said anything to the tune of Communist China, we made sure to speak in pig-Latin. I am now fluent.) Needless to say, the family was up and ready to go, sooner than I think we have ever been for good old church at 1 o'clock in the United States. We decided that we would try our hardest to attend church where ever we could in China, so we got to work finding the location of the nearest building. My dad circled the location on the map and we started to move out.

We conquered the subway on our way. The tickets were cheap, about 25 cents a ride, and it was decided that this would probably be the most efficient way to travel in the city. Since it was so early in the morning, and it was a Sunday, but there were a ton of people commuting to work. We looked at them in wonder, but their polite glances seemed to echo ours. I guess families don't often travel together in big groups like ours, with the one child policy and all that jazz. Although JoJo and Hyrum had some difficulty being smashed together, it was actually a pretty pleasant experience.

Because we couldn't pronounce where we were going, it was rather difficult to get directions. My dad had a hilarious way of communicating with the people walking by, and eventually, with the help of the iPhone, we were able to make our way to the area where we thought the church would be. Unfortunately, all of the buildings were identical high rises, and we couldn't read the signs telling us simple things like the building numbers. After calling a member of the Branch presidency, we made our way into the building on a corner (DQ was the front store, and we made our way to a higher floor where they held meetings.

It was so comforting to be in a church building. It was also comforting to see the green hymn books and stray BoM's littering the chairs. I felt totally at ease with the building and the people. This week happened to be Fast and Testimony meeting. It was incredibly interesting to listen to all of the people that had either moved to China for embassy work or were just visiting. There was even one woman who was visiting from Sweden because of a golf tournament! But I felt the spirit whisper to me that even though this was so different to what I've been used to, it was the same Gospel. What a lovely thing to know.

The kids that were in the were kind of squirmy and ornery, maybe it was just the day, but we got through some pretty stellar lessons and then left.

Once again, there was an adventure to be had at every corner, so we hopped back on the subway and made our way to the hotel. Yellow line, blue line, red line. Two stops before the Tianenmen Square stop (which was only a few blocks from where we were staying) was Wangfujing, the biggest shopping strip in Beijing. We decided to stop and check out what the big hullabaloo was about, and hopped off of the subway. The streets were packed with people. There were stalls selling delicious steamed buns and dumplings and egg rolls that were to die for. Every time we took a picture, a line of Chinese tourists would line up behind my mom and take a picture of us as well. It was so fun, but I could feel that the lack of sleep was starting to wear on me. I quickly began to be drained of energy and the stores started to lose their wonder. I just wanted to sleep for a little bit and return, knowing that I would be fine after a little recharge.

Every one else was pretty tired as well, so we went back to the hotel by foot (we were pretty close to everything) and decided to meet in half an hour. After lying on the bed for thirty seconds, I fell asleep and didn't wake up for another 12 hours.

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