Every few weeks I write an update, for those who like to stay in touch!
Our 2017 Blog ⇔ (Clicking on photos reveals the entire caption and often makes pictures bigger)
Jan-Jul (click here for Jul-Dec 2016)
Vivian’s first picture with our three grandchildren.
July 10, 2017
Just as I returned to Hong Kong, Vivian was packing for her next trip. She had planned to be in South Carolina when our newest grandchild was born, but Caroline couldn’t wait and made her debut a few days early! Vivian is enjoying her part in caring for the family. We’re also thankful that mommy (Beth) and baby are doing well, and that Vivian has already had the chance to see other members of her family. She will be back in HK by the end of the month. Unfortunately, grandpa (me) won’t get the chance to join in the fun in person, but I’m enjoying the photos from 12 time zones away!
June 29, 2017
As is my habit, I’m working on this blog after midnight when I have to get up early for a flight back to HK in the morning. So “more” about my wonderful ten days in Yunnan will have to wait. But I was struck today while wandering around Lijiang at how people’s expectations can be so different from the realities we meet. I’ll explain with a few photos below, the first of which shows a new friend I met on the train from Dali this morning.
Our lives touch so many others every day. Jody and I enjoyed pleasant conversation on the trip from Dali to Lijiang today.
When I get on a train in China, most people just ignore me, most likely because they are afraid that we won’t be able to communicate. Likewise, I expect to sleep (uncomfortably) or read, instead of “making a new friend.” But today Jody and I talked for about half of the three-hour trip–sometimes in Mandarin, sometimes in English. We talked about traveling (like the “longest trip” I’ve ever taken), EFL–English as a Foreign Language, and family; she seemed interested in the textbook I’ve got published in China, as well in the book on “reconciliation” that I was reading. Just before we went our separate ways, she said she’d tell her friends she met an author today, and I asked if I could put a selfie on my blog. I’m sure we were both “unsure” of our ability to communicate with a stranger from another country, but I enjoyed our talk. She reminded me of the many students I’ve enjoyed teaching all over China.
In addition to the photos below, you can see our older photos of Lijiang here.
Millions of tourists visit Lijiang every year. I’m sure they expect to see the beautiful Jade Dragon Mtn, like Vivian and I did on our first visit (2006).
But I’ve only seen the mountain once in my half-dozen visits! It rains a lot, and the mountain stays behind clouds (not to mention big tour buses)–yes, these two photos were taken at about the same place.
Black-Dragon-Lake looked awesome when Vivian took this great photo in 2006.
But today I couldn’t even find the same angle (trees and bushes are probably blocking it). And of course, the rain and umbrellas limit one’s view.
But even in the rain, you can find beauty if you look for it. I couldn’t see “the mountain” but enjoyed my quiet, wet walk anyway!
Here are two old Lijiang photos I love. In the first, I snapped The Chairman “reaching for the moon” (this statue is one of the few that still remain; in the 1980s I saw them in many cities). And this ornate antique door beckons us to enter Lijiang’s cultural heritage and beauty.
Maybe I can find time to add more photos once I get back to HK.
Colorful Yunnan – Over half of China’s 55 minorities live in this province.
June 24, 2017
I’m traveling in Yunnan at the moment. I hope to add new photos later, but for now, I’ve brought some photos of Kunming from my old website to this (click here) new page.
June 13, 2017
In June 2017, I thought of one more reason to rent close to where I work: typhoons (or to be more precise: avoiding transport in bad weather). Hong Kong’s public transportation system is normally wonderful, but Mother Nature can play havoc with everything. A series of warnings lets us know as a typhoon or other serious storm is approaching. When it gets to a certain level, buses stop running, and soon thereafter the subways stop too (some parts are above ground). The law says that unessential personnel have the right to head home before the transportation system shuts down. Well, on June 12, I let my staff leave at 4 pm, but I stayed at the office until 6 pm–when even I thought it would be better to be at home than to keep working at the office. I ducked into the Mongkok station (as I often do, because it is dry and air conditioned–and gets me half-way home), and saw one of the biggest crowds I’d ever seen. It looked like this in all directions, and the “subway mall” is almost a quarter mile long. Within the turnstiles, people were wall-to-wall, so the workers (yellow shirts) had closed the turnstiles. I can only imagine what it looked like down on the train platforms! Here you see people, wall-to-wall, waiting for the chance to join the wall-to-wall crowd inside the turnstiles. NO THANK YOU! And in the next storm, I’ll know better than to “duck into the station,” and just take my chances in the typhoon!
As Typhoon Merbok tripped the “close down” signal, the Mongkok MTR station came to a standstill.
Outside the turnstiles
Inside the turnstiles
May 15, 2017
Between mid March and early May, we logged 7500 miles in the USA, visiting colleagues, partners and relatives in OR, WA, CO, OH, PA, VA, DC, DE, NC, SC. Vivian says we unpacked our suitcases in 16 places! No time to explain now, but here’s a few photos to prove we were there and back again.
With good friends on Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs. Tim was “best man” in our wedding; his daughter is about the same age as our son. And yes, it was VERY cold up there!
We started the trip at a conference in Portland Oregon. One unique feature of this city is the cable car that takes doctors and students (and tourists) between a major hospital by the river, and the medical university high above the city!
We also attended a mini-conference in Philadelphia, and got the chance to meet with several Board members of a US charity that partners with us.
Here’s Vivian with our daughter and two grandchildren.
We spent about two weeks in S Carolina, meeting with partners, and spending time with family. Vivian’s mother is seated; Beth’s husband is next to Michael.
My father’s 17 year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease ended the day after Easter. My brother and sister (and family), Mom and Andrew gather to celebrate a life worth living.
Our son recently moved to an apartment (still in Cleveland) that allows dogs–and promptly rescued Murphy from an animal shelter. He and Andrew have really taken a liking to each other!
Mar 1, 2017
We are into the third month, and weeks keep flying by. Most of the time, I’m busy in an office in Mongkok or meeting with partners in Hong Kong. But from time to time Vivian and I get to visit the people we work for in China and around the world. To that end, we visited NW China last month, and in March and April, we will be visiting at least eight US states. I just hope I can find time, now and again, to post updates here!
Nan Shan is a hilltop park in the middle of this city, providing a bird’s eye view down the valleys that have developed in several directions.
Though the “sail-like” pavilion was closed for the winter season, we enjoyed the park’s quiet beauty and panoramic views.
I was told that in 2000, there were no high-rise buildings in this city. The buildings in these photos testify of the power of China’s modern and rapid development.
You wouldn’t guess it by appearance, but this is an active Moslem mosque, near the park at the top of this mountain.
On our last day, it started to snow. We certainly don’t see this in hot Hong Kong!
Our company has recommended foreign doctors to serve in this hospital over many years, and this top executive was full of praise for the positive contributions they have made in many ways. It was an honor to hear about these dedicated workers.
Not far from the hospital, I enjoyed seeing a wall featuring many Chinese idioms, including this one about friendship. Idioms (in any language) are sometimes difficult to translate, for many words have multiple meanings–but I trust that my Chinese friends will correct me if I’ve “missed the mark” with this translation!
Bad weather delayed our return flight, which made us miss the connection in Shanghai. Here you see Vivian in a long line at 5:30am the next morning, waiting to check in at the Shanghai airport. Such is the life of frequent travelers.
The day after we returned, I got to attend the Global Leadership Summit in Hong Kong (hosted at The Vine), featuring two days of challenging and inspiring speeches. This was the second year I’d had a chance to participate, and I recommend the Summit to any leader (it is broadcast in hundreds of venues around the globe). (See willowcreek.com; and I also highly recommend the free GLSNext App for your phone!)
Last night, Vivian and I had been invited to a special exhibit at the TST YMCA. For the next few weeks, a rare copy of the Torah will be on display in the lobby, as part of a much bigger exhibit of precious scrolls, Bibles and artifacts that will be hosted at St Andrews Church. This exhibit presents the people of HK with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see priceless materials that testify of the reliability of “the most banned and beloved book” in history–the Bible. Additional information is available at http://inspiredexhibit.org/
At the Global Leadership Summit
Unveiling the beautiful scroll, which had miraculously survived the Holocaust in Europe.
Feb 15, 2017
This year, Chinese New Year fell on January 28, but the celebration actually runs for about three weeks.
I’ve always loved the beauty of Chinese lanterns, which are particularly prevalent during the celebration of Chinese New Year.
This week, we had dinner at an Indonesian restaurant, with some friends visiting from abroad. I couldn’t resist taking this photo. In English, the idiom “sacred cow” refers to practices that should not be questioned–though in many cases, they really need to be “touched”! (Now I know where the idiom came from.)
One highlight of most months is a luncheon with HK businessmen. The food is great, but I also appreciate the encouraging lectures and the contact with these leaders.
Feb 8, 2017
Can it be February already? January flew by, and I’m just now getting time to catch my breath and post our first 2017 update. And it looks like 2017 will be as packed as ever, with a trip to China’s western region later this month, followed by six weeks or so in the USA. Here’s a glimpse of how the new year has gotten started for us.
Ben was one of the first friends I made in Xiamen, after we moved there in 2011. He started 2017 with a visit to Hong Kong, and we were blessed to share a part of it together.
While my staff enjoyed time away from the office to celebrate the New Year, I was writing and preparing to mail this “year in review” newsletter to 1300 people worldwide. I didn’t mind being away from the apartment, however, because workmen were often drilling and scraping right outside our window!
For years, Vivian had a “Christmas Cactus,” but we couldn’t bring any plants with us to HK. So, I bought this one for her last Christmas; it is always amazing to watch it “flower” early in the new year.
My biggest reason for not finding time to blog was preparations for our annual conference; this year it was in HK from Jan 23 to Feb 1 (including orientation for new people). The conference features professional development lectures, inspiration, music, and lots of time to reconnect with friends who work all over China.
This year, Chinese New Year started during our conference. As this poster in our apartment lobby proclaims, we are now in the Year of the Rooster!
These two photos provide a striking snapshot of HK culture. On the left, you see a handful of domestic workers from abroad; thousands gather every weekend along public walkways (like this pedestrian overpass) to spend their “day off” with other workers from their home country. On the right, you see HK’s masses at the open market below the walkway, along with a “Lion” dancing to bring shop keepers good luck in the New Year.
(click here for Jul-Dec 2016 blog)
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