World Expo and Beyond…….

Posted: November 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

First off, sorry for the long absence. I’m currently working on a private blog, which ‘should’ be new and improved, however it is taking infinitely more time than I thought it would, being as I have to learn some computer programming basics. When it’s up and running, I will keep you posted!!! Get it? Posted? Pun intended. Anywho, without further adeiu:

Many here in China know that Shanghai was the host of the 2010 World Expo, which just wrapped up October 31st and lasted six months, kicking off in May. This is a multi-billion dollar event where countries around the world come to and build a pavillion showing off their latest and greatest. The Shanghai Expo was the biggest one ever, featuring nearly 200 countries and playing host to over 70 million visitors during the 6 month event. The Expo site was built on the south side of the city, covering a massive 5.28 sq km (that’s a lot of space for a big city), unfortunately displacing almost 18,000 families…,YES families, as well as moving 270 factories and all their workers .

As luck would have it, some former students of mine from my college teaching days up in Hebei province were recruited to work at the UAE pavilion, and I’ve been able to connect with them during their time here. I got the chance to attend the Expo on two occasions, and because of my ‘guanxi’ (guanxi is Chinese for ‘relationship,’ but is more frequently used to describe one’s connections or ‘hook ups’) with my ex-students, I was able to get VIP access everywhere we went. This may not seem that cool, but if you saw the lines for A) trying to get into the Expo B) trying to get into any of the big pavilions, you would quickly change your mind. A ‘slow’ day for the Expo was around 300,000 people, with many days topping 700,000 in the last month, including one day when they hit the 1 million mark. So we got to jump all the lines and go right into all the pavilions the my friend, Rena, had arranged. I distinctly remember getting the evil eye from the patrons at the South Korea pavillion, as we jumped in front of some who were likely waiting for hours. Some pavilions had a 12 hour wait!!!!! People would go there and wait all day just to get into one pavilion! The best ones of course. Other smaller ones, countries like Morocco, Algeria, etc., you could often times get in without much waiting. The common theme that many of the countries were showing off was 4-D films. What is that? Well its like a 3-D film except with the addition of the 4th dimension, got it? No, actually it was a 3-D movie that also included elements such as real rain and mist, fragrances put into the air to smell like fruit or flowers, wind blowing on you, strange things built into your seat that would pop up and molest the bottom of your thigh when you least expected it, and a little whip that sits between your legs at your calf and blows around imitating a snake. It was actually pretty cool, lots of pavilions did something similar, and I think we have some big changes in the way movies are going to be marketed in the future. Now for some pics!

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This was the sign above the metal detector at the security checkpoint. I love these translations. On one hand, I don’t know why they don’t just take 2 seconds to ask a foreigner if the English is correct or not. I’d do it, just ask! Especially for an event of this magnitude. But on the other hand, if they did that then all the translations would be correct and I wouldn’t have any funny signs to post on my blog……..so we’ll just leave it be.

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Rena and I outside the USA pavilion, rocking my Jct. 122 shirt. We jumped in front of the ‘several hour long wait in line’ cuz we’re VIP’s of course. Cheers to Rena for hanging out at the Expo on her day off of working at the Expo.

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A former teacher I worked with up north in Hebei who was from Algeria also was working at the Expo, and her younger brother (above), also from Algeria, was in town so he tagged along with us. I forgot his name but he was a cool guy to hang out with and he was the center of attention everywhere we went. Every 5 seconds someone wanted a picture with him…..he was way more popular than me. I think I only posed for 5-6 pics all day with strangers, but he must have been pushing 100.

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Our VIP group inside the Morocco pavilion.

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The China pavilion, its way more massive than it looks, and of course the most popular.

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The Malaysia Pavilion.

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Tim, Michelle, Rena and I outside the China Pavilion.

Other stuff: Ministry, faith, spiritual life and beyond.

I’m starting to get adjusted to life in the big city. I got the subway figured out, and I’m meeting lots of new people. Pray for deeper relationships, as almost all of my relationships here are less than 2 months old. Answered prayers: Lots of them, first off, teaching is going much better. I’m not pulling my hair out each day. The kids are starting to respond and respect, and its gotten to the point where I actually enjoy it most of the time. I have a cool schedule: 1-5 T-F, and 8-5 on Sat, and Sun & Mon off. Please pray for discipline in my time, and using it wisely for God’s glory. Some days I get lazy and sleep in……not the best use of my day. Secondly, my former landlord, whom I had a chance to share the gospel has been coming to church with me for the past 3 weeks. She doesn’t believe but clearly the Lord is working in her heart, so continue to pray for her, and thank you for those of you who have been praying. Also pray for more opportunities to share the gospel here in Shanghai. Thirdly, my church small group is really awesome. A solid group of people and they have really sincere hearts for Jesus. Pray that we continue to grow and reach out in unity to this community. God has really provided the community that I was praying for. Fourthly, I’ve been praying for opportunities to lead worship and have found myself being asked to lead a few sessions. This is a big step for me as I’m not a strong vocalist at all, but I feel a strong desire and be challenged in this matter, and worship through music has truly become one of my passions. On Nov. 17 I’m going to be leading worship for an event that’s sort of a bigger deal, bigger that what I’m used to in small group studies. So please keep that event lifted up in your prayers. Lastly, well there is no last one really. I could go on and on about how the Lord has provided for me here, sustained me, brought me down and picked me up, so all you need to know is that God hears our prayers, our requests and supplications, and answers them. In his timing, sometimes it’s soon, other times we wait upon the Lord.

Hockey:

Our team, the Gentlemen Broncos are officially 1-1 for the season. I have yet to score a goal, but I feel one coming soon, I’m definitely due after being robbed a few times. So far its been a lot of fun, and I’m starting to get to know a few guys on the team. Our jerseys look amazing, definitely the best souvenir a hockey fan could hope for. I will keep you posted on this as well, but please keep us in your prayers, that God would keep us safe, keep us from losing our tempers, and that I could be a light in that setting.

If you have a bit of time, and want to see something very similar to what I experience every day teaching Chinese kids, then check out this documentary. It’s about a teacher giving kids the chance to have a democratic vote and choose their class monitor (leader of the class). Everything is almost identical, except we don’t have elections in my classroom. But I think most of you would find it really interesting, maybe a bit shocking, who knows. Nothing on it surprised me, but that’s because I live it everyday. Watch and let me know what you think!

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/pleasevoteforme/

 

My Balcony & People's Square

Here is a composite view of Shanghai from my apartment’s balcony on the 25th floor.

That’s all for now! More to come! Lot’s more. Pray for the new site, as I really hope to use it for ministry purposes, to get a bigger reader audience and reach places only God knows about! I love you all and thanks for you prayers, they are truly making a difference here!

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Comments
  1. Danny D says:

    I saw that Chinese class documentary the other day! Even though they were little kids, it still seemed pretty familiar. Are you teaching kiddos now or what? I’d like to see the opinion of someone who hasn’t taught in China on that doc. Also, for your infos, my classes at seminary are going well, kickin out 99z on my Greek work and A’s in everything else except one paper where I just flat out missed part of the assignment. Glad to hear you have a good group over there in 上海.

  2. gradycarter says:

    Dudes, I’m loving both of you guys about now. Please Vote for Me cracked me up in terms of the blunt interactions, and it was definitely familiar… That’s crazy about the Expo, I hadn’t really heard anything about it, which is crazy because it seems like a pretty big deal. I’m glad you’re back to posting.

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