Last Friday morning during our weekly Family Time devotion we talked about the Battle raging on around us and how we were going to devote our apartment as a Fortress in the Battlefield. That night we had one of our first opportunities to let more members into our fortress to teach them about this Battle.
At 6:45 nine graduate students arrived to our small apartment bearing food and gifts. Everyone donned duct tape nametags and so the party began. While waiting for our feast of pizza to arrive we showed the students the pictures books we made about our lives back in Oklahoma (Thanks for the idea, Mrs. Weckler!). It was fun to explain our everyday activities like 4H, showing goats, and performing in theatre to those whose focuses are so different. They were also very baffled at the size of our extended family. When the pizza arrived we spread out over the apartment to eat (and field questions from the students!). Apparently, Chinese people even eat pizza with chopsticks! Once everyone had finished eating we got out the games UNO and Farkle (a dice game) to teach the students to play. We also got out Dad’s guitar and got performances from Dad and one of the students. Even Mom jumped in with Dad to give a duet after a little persuading. The students seemed to like that especially, and I can assure you that you could find a video of the performance on some Chinese social media site if you are willing to look hard enough. Then we got a chance to talk more to the students about their backgrounds. It is amazing to hear about some of the things they have given up to peruse their studies. Many students have left their spouses and children to study here; one man’s wife is 24 hours away by bullet train, another woman’s daughter is living with her mother-in-law in her hometown and she only gets to see her once a month. It really makes one appreciate the availability of education in the United States when you realize the sacrifices you don’t have to make to obtain it.
We ended the party by enlisting the students to help us try to change our TV to have English subtitles. It didn’t work, but we did find an International News station that was in English.
It was around 10:15 when the students walked out the door, leaving us with an abundance of extra food and a very sad baby who was bound determined to go home with one of the men.
It was comforting to come together with friends as we so often do in the United States, and we plan to have the students over again very soon in hopes to tell them more about the Battle we are fighting.