Archive for January, 2007
Our first postings in a long time! Although our internet connection is still slow we were able to tap the connection at the kid’s school.Â A brief story on the status of the internet from Asia to North America:
Repair of Damaged Cables in Asia to Take Longer than Expected (January 16, 2007, International Herald Tribune)
Internet services across East Asia are still not functioning at full capacity three weeks after an earthquake near Taiwan damaged critical communication cables, and the authorities in Taiwan and Hong Kong said final repairs on the lines would be delayed by at least a month. Chunghwa Telecom in Taiwan, part of a consortium that owns four of the eight undersea cables that were cut during the earthquake on Dec. 26, said Tuesday that bad weather and rough seas had hampered repair efforts. The damage was also more extensive than initially thought, the company said, with its cables severed in at least 10 places. The company now estimates that the first cable will not be repaired until early next week, with the three others fixed by the end of the month. The Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority said in a statement Monday that repairs on all the damaged cables would not be completed until the middle of February, weather conditions permitting. The original estimate for final repairs was mid-January. The earthquake, just off the southern coast of Taiwan, snapped cables carrying 90 percent of voice and data traffic in East and Southeast Asia. Contractors for the cable consortium, which also includes SingTel, the dominant provider in Singapore, are still struggling to fix the cables, some of which lie 3.3 kilometers, or 2 miles, beneath the ocean surface.
Blatantly Cute Kids Picture4 comments
January 4th, our dear friend Rachel impressed our Chinese friends by doing something NEW with rice. Frankly, that is hard to do in this country. She made her famous rice pizza â€“ a gluten free masterpiece (for those of you from Grand Rapids, she also made her famous â€˜gluten free nuggets of loveâ€™, otherwise known as coconut macaroons). After happily devouring the pizzas as fast as she could make them, we settled down to teach several local friends our favorite past-time, the board game â€œSettlers of Catanâ€. To be honest, this game is complicated to learn in oneâ€™s native language. Imagine learning through a translator! But, with perseverance and a lot of laughter, we played what must be one of the first fully translated games of Catan in mainland China. Ni you, mai you yang??? (DK translates: “Do you have or not have sheep?”)
As it was Christmas-time, it seemed most appropriate to welcome three weary travelers from the West (no star shone above our apartment, but they found their way via United Airlines). Actually, only two of those bearing gifts â€œtraveled so farâ€. Our dear friend Rachel was able to join us from her home in Wuxi, China December 22. Our other two friends, Jen and Melva, arrived from Grand Rapids December 26th â€“ with the time changes, they nearly missed Christmas Day entirely.
While in Beijing, we toured the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, recovered a bit in the hotel and ate wonderful local foods. While Beijing is a modern international city, it is still overwhelming to experience China for the first time bleary-eyed from jet lag. Our friendsâ€™ stamina was amazing.
After returning to our host city by train, we settled in for two and a half weeks of Christmas celebrations, shopping, eating, learning to cook Chinese food, playing with the kids and building relationships with local students. We were even able to host one last Christmas Party, complete with Chinese ribs (the same meat we ate at Thanksgiving), mashed potatoes, salad & corn muffins, giving gifts and most importantly, a reading of the â€œLegend of the Candy Caneâ€. What a season of Sharing this has been!
Our friends also blessed us with gifts from home â€“ including a queen size 4â€ thick memory foam stuffed magically into a suitcase (you are the best, Keith!) â€“ as well as gifts of love from friends in Canton and Grand Rapids who remembered us this season. We are set with Chapstick, popcorn, candy canes, bead projects and other treats for some time to come!
Sadly, Jen and Melva had to return to their lives in the States â€“ and Rachel to her students in Wuxi. We are so thankful for the joy brought us and the rich experiences we shared this unforgettable Christmas.
Our continued apologies on our communication ‘black out’. Although we are getting some email, the internet is still painfully slow. It will be a picture/stories/blog cornicopia when we are back up.