Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The hostess is preparing the black tea in a special way. All the foreigners are looking on with interest. Joe translates and explains what is going on. They watch as the hostess carefully pours hot water over all the cups, then rinses the tea. She strains the tea into the small pitcher, then pours it into the small cups. The humans must smell the tea, then sip it three times. The get used to the temperature, then let their taste buds savour the flavor, and finish the cup with full enjoyment. The cups are just too tiny for me! My tongue doesn't fit! After all, I am just a little dog! Posted by Picasa

For English Corner tonight, we treated our American visitors to a traditional tea ceremony. Personally, I don't touch the stuff. I just keep an eye out for a cute little black female who lives here. I can't imagine why, but she does not seem to like me. Maybe she is just playing hard to get. She keeps coming by to see me then growls and runs away. What's up with that?  Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 10, 2006

See? I am hard at work keeping up with my blog. Okay, my nails get in the way and Lady has to help me.  Posted by Picasa

The choir sang on this Palm Sunday in the local TSPM church. This is a very special day! Posted by Picasa

This old man was the first in line to be baptized. A careful record is kept of every person baptized in the Three Self Patriotic Movement Church (TSPM). What are the three selfs? Self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. The pastor is trained at one of 18 seminaries run by the Chinese Christian Council under the central government's authority. Protestant Christianity is one of the five recognized religions in China. There is only one church n my city, and very few in the countryside. I didn't get to go. Four-year-olds have to go to the children's room, so Lady doesn't take me. After all, I am just a little dog, and I can't read the hymn book! Posted by Picasa

Many humans were waiting for their turn to be baptized. They had taken a class to prepare for this day. The pastor shared some funny stories about the answers they gave to the questions he asked them. He asked, "When is Jesus coming back?" One man replied, "Saturday or Sunday." This shows why the classes are important. ABout 100 were baptized this morning. Posted by Picasa

Why is he sprinkling water on her head? WHy isn't she in the tub where Lady sprinkles me with the shower hose? Why is she on her knees? Lady went to the local government sponsored protestant church on Palm Sunday. This was the day they were baptizing new believers from the previous year.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Michael (left) is a new friend for Lady. Beau (Belle's husband) competed in the 10K climb up the mountain. Lady and Belle will participate next year. This year, they cheered on the 400 runners. I didn't. After all, I am just a little dog, and I might get stepped on! Posted by Picasa

This tomb is a peasant's tomb, but carefully tended by the family. WHile they didn't burn the incense here, they place it in the traditional way. Many people visited the nearby temple to light candles and burn incense, paper money, and other paper items for their loved ones.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Qing Ming Jie

Today, tomorrow and the next day a festival is celebrated in China. It is called Qing Ming Jie, which means "clear brightness day," or "Tomb Sweeping Day. It is one of the few holidays that follows the solar calendar instead of the lunar calendar. It is celebrated two weeks afetr the vernal equinox.
As Lady was running down the mountain yesterday morning, she and Belle ran into THOUSANDS of school children on their way up the mountain to commemorate the death of soldiers and citizens who died fighting the Japanese. Many had made white paper flowers to decorate the site. As they walked past Lady, they cried out,"weiguoren" (foreigner), and many said hello. Some of them knew her and called her by name. Lady has visited many schools in the city, and has been on television three times.
This morning as Lady ran down the mountain, she passed many families on their way to sweep the tombs of their loved ones. They carried pick axes, shovels, flowers, paper money, offeratory foods and drinks, as well as snacks for themselves. What they didn't carry was incense and lighters. There were tables set up to collect any lighters they might have. It is part of the tradition to burn incense in front of the tomb, but it is forbidden on the mountain as a precaution against fires. To Lady, it appeared as a parade. After 8:30, only families with tombs on the mountain were allowed through. Hundreds came. Lady will try to get some photos for you. She will climb a different mountain tomorrow. There's a race, but Lady just walks very fast. Running isn't good for her arthritic knees. I try to get her to run all the time. It's a 10K race. Lady would be in the over 50 group. Those folks pass her all the time on her mountain.
I won't be going. After all, I am just a little dog.