Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

We Have Arrived

This is our Jinan group from the two week training we had at BYU the first part of August.  This was the last day of classes and I am surprised we were all smiling.  We had class from 8am to 8:30pm Mon thru  Friday and we were exhausted.

Our entire group met in the Seattle Airport on August 27th to fly to China.  We flew to Shanghai first, where we  had a 4 hour layover.  It is good we had 4 hours since it took us a while longer than we expected to go through customs and then recheck our bags on the domestic flight to Jinan.

27 hours after leaving our house in Clovis, we arrived in Jinan at 11:50pm.  We had left on Tuesaday morning but arrived Wednesday night.  We totally lost Wednesday as we crossed the International Date Line.  Even though it was night, we could see that there is a little more air pollution than we are used to.  That is why my picture of the airport looks so dim.

We all waited patiently as the baggage arrived hoping that ours had not been left behind.  Thank goodness no one was missing anything.  We all headed out of the baggage department hoping that we would find someone there to take us to our new homes.  We thought there would be a bus from our school to pick everyone up together but each couple was met by there own Wai Ban (they give us our teaching assignments, etc.).  We were just happy that we had a ride.

Welcome to your new home!

The man on the right is Sunny, Libby's Wai Ban, and the gentleman on the left is Robin.  We were told that he is the man to go to when you need help.    They showed us around our apartment and then left us on our own.  You would think we would have gone straight to bed but we actually emptied suitcases and investigated to see what all we had been left in the way of supplies, etc.  We did not get to bed until almost 1:30am. 

 This is what we saw as we entered the apartment.  It is a very small room with no cooling.

The next room was where our desks are but there was also a bed in there.  For some reason we did not get a picture of it and I have now rearranged everything.  I just did not like walking in the front door and immediately seeing a bed.  We actually have two doors (this used to be two apartments) and so we have made the other door our front door.  You come into a little entry area and then go into the living room.
Living Room - Radiators and wall unit AC

 Our Bedroom
Toilet cubicle

 Shower room with washing machine - no dryers here, we dry on the line in our sunroom.

This is two views of the kitchen.

Toaster oven.  The only way of baking.  A 9"X13" pan just barely fits.

This is the cook stove.  Good that it has storage below because we are a little short on that.

This is the kitchen sink.  Small, but much better than the bathroom sink we would have had to wash dishes in if we had gone to Shanghai last year.  We are lucky to have our dedicated kitchen with a little space.

The next day we went out and about.  We had to go to the police station to register as living in the neighborhood.  Christine, from the English Dept., walked us there and then she drove us to get groceries.  The store is actually just across the street from the school but she thought we would get too many things to carry back.  We did not.  The stores are a little overwhelming.  It takes a while to figure out what is actually in the packages. We were glad she was with us and wish we could take her every time we go.  No one speaks English.  I think we are entertainment for them as they watch us trying to figure out what is what.

Wayne, of course, started his early morning walks immediately.  He has taken a lot of pictures of the campus and surrounding area but I think I will save those and do a separate post later.  I do want to include the pictures he took in the daylight of the outside area of our apartment.

 The Inzone is where we go grocery shopping.  Picture is taken at the bus stop outside of the campus gate.

 This is the street we have to cross to get to the store.  We just jaywalk and go under the overpass.

The next pictures were taken on our walk back to our apartment.  We have a little maze we go through.

 The South West entrance to the campus.


This is our building.

Our kitchen window.

Opening to the stairwell.


We have had a few food experiences already.  Christine took us to lunch after grocery shopping.  She chose a noodle house where they bring you a bowl of boiling broth along with a plate full of "stuff" and a bowl of rice noodles.  You dump in what you want and it cooks right before your eyes.  It was really good but all they give you is a ladle like spoon and chopsticks.  How do you eat soup with chopsticks?  Because of arthritis in my hand I have a hard time holding those things (and yes, I really have never mastered the art of eating with chopsticks).  The ladle didn't do you any good because the noodles were too long to go in it.  I struggled and managed to eat about half of it and then gave up.  They really did serve too much anyway.  

This was a farmers market outside the campus on Saturday morning.  Wayne went walking at 6am and this is what he saw.  They are early birds.
I don't know if this is only in Asia but we saw signs advertising the black and white burgers at McD's and thought we better try it.  It was actually pork inside and they were really good.

Wayne saw this lady making "Egg McMuffins" and thought he would try it out.

And last - Sunday we met as a "twig" in the China Central branch for church.  It is conducted via conference call and was quite interesting.  There were only the 11 of us in our location but there were probably 30 other locations listening in.  After Sacrament meeting, the women stayed to listen to the RS lesson and the men went next door to do a Priesthood lesson.  Next week the second hour will be the Gospel Doctrine lesson.  They alternate back and forth each week.  We only meet for the 2 hours and then we have potluck afterwards.  This is a weekly occurance and we all decided that was a good tradition to follow. 

Well, that is enough of an introduction to our new life.  We are trying to acquaint ourselves with the area before we have to dig in a prepare lessons.

Next week, I will post pictures from Wayne's walks.


Vickie said...

Nice photos and commentary! Thanks for sharing...look forward to hearing and seeing more in the future!

Renee Hart said...

So fun to read this! Glad you arrived safely. Your apartment looks quite comfy. The food sounds and looks delish. I expect you to be quite adept at using chopsticks when you return home;-) Love all your pictures.

Unknown said...

This is really cool! And those burgers look crazy! Ha, ha! Did your group ever end up finding another person to replace the teacher who had to leave last-minute?

I'd like to hear about the logistics behind this whole venture--is it a church mission, or something?
-Hannah Stutzman

Libby Clarke said...


A couple who taught last year decided to take the place of the couple who had to drop out. This is NOT a mission. The program is through the BYU Kennedy Center and was begun in the early 1980's. We are not allowed to talk about religion at all, cannot even tell people what church we belong to. We are here to build good relations with the Chinese and help them to improve their English. We are looking forward to a really great experience.

Linda Nimer said...

Your apartment looks great! And you thought that it was going to be small. Everything looks like it will be a new adventure and it is nice that you both can provide some entertainment for the other shoppers.

I'm looking forward to following you and Wayne during this coming year.