I've made a pretty good friend since we have been here. She wants work on her English, so last week we decided that we would read an English book together and discuss the content. As we were looking at the collection of books we brought with us from Canada, I realized that many of our books would be unsuitable. Until I looked at the Narnia books! Perfect! They are short. They are written for children and for adults. They are famous. They make for very interesting conversations. And they already have two movies!
She read the first chapter and loved it. For eight pages she had 44 questions, but somehow she was still able to understand and enjoy the story. I would call that very gifted! She told me that she was speaking to an American the day after she read chapter one. The guy was complaining about how hot it was. She responded by saying, "Well, that door over there is a wardrobe, and if you walk through that door, you'll be in Narnia where it is always winter!" The guy was very surprised to hear that she knew about Narnia and she was very excited to have proof that it actually is famous!
We will be discussing the first two chapters today. As I reviewed them last night, I suddenly became aware of how much old British WW2 talk and dated turns of phrase there are in that book. Suddenly it makes sense that there are 44 questions. For example, one of the first things Peter says is "We've fallen on our feet and no mistake...", or they say "stop going on!" The only other thing in the room with the wardrobe is a "dead blue-bottle"! Or how about Tumnus, "I've taken service under the White Witch".
One of the reasons I am excited is that I get to introduce someone to Narnia. In Canada and the US everyone just knows about it. Its like I get to remember what it was like to be a kid and have my Mom read them to me for the first time!
We recently bought the boys memberships to the local swimming pool here. It is good because it is one of the only places they interact with kids. Kids their age are all in school already during the day time. They really enjoy going and it is good to see them with other kids. But we don't give Chinese swimming pools any points for family friendliness in terms of rates. Children are charged the same amount as adults and there are no family rates! Doesn't seem very strategic to me!
In other news, we've had many people ask how the rising tensions in a certain neighboring country will impact us in our work here. The truth is we do not know, but we certainly appreciate your keeping us in your prayers. We continue to become more involved in our volunteering and of course in our studies. I will be taking a day trip to Chengdu (in Sichuan again) next week and James will be taking a day trip to Inner Mongolia in the near future. Its also looking like I may be heading to Cambodia for a few days in July. If this is the case, James and I are finding it very ironic that my first trip to Cambodia will be without him, since my main connection to Cambodia has been that James lived there. But someday we will go together! James consoles himself by saying that he doesn't want his first trip back to be only for a few days. One of the reasons I love him... he's not a naturally jealous person!
Farewell from the Mainland!