After about a drive of one hour, at around noon, we arrived in Foshan. We went to the designated area where we were to meet Ivy but she was not there yet. We assured Zhang Dan and hi wife Sarah that we would be fine and that he and his family should go on after dropping us off. I had Dani and Jeff with me and we could figure out how to meet with Ivy and how to get back. We waited in a park.
The sun was out, it was muggy and warm but not to bad. Soon Ivy came walking up to us and I introduced everybody to each other. We then walked to a nearby restaurant where Ivy’s brother had made reservations. Often in China dinner meetings are made in private rooms away from the general dining area of the restaurant. When her brother showed up I explained that I had brought Jeff and Dani along with me to help him understand the Bible and Jesus. He seemed to be genuinely excited about that. He greeted us all very warmly and as we sat down, he and Ivy began perusing the lengthy menu together.
The food was great but the real reason I came was to connect Jeff, and Dani to Ivy’s brother so that they could continue to engage in each others lives and study the Bible together. I felt very satisfied that after one year I had been able to make this connection for him. I have yet to hear how they are doing with this effort.
After dinner we were shown around town to see what this city looked like, but we didn’t have a lot of time to spare as Javan and I needed to get back to check into are other hotel and meet the hostess that GUFS was sending to take us to dinner. Ivy’s brother seemed genuinely touched that I had remembered to help him with is Bible study and then offered to drive us back to the Guangzhou subway station so that we could each go our separate ways. It was so good to hug Dani and Jeff as we departed from them.
When we got back to the subway station Javan and I decided to take a taxi to the Aloft Hotel near the GUFS campus. At our scheduled meeting time Stella, our student hostess, was waiting in the lobby for us. Stella was a beautiful young lady, immaculantly dressed, and probably about 20 years old. She was an English major and spoke our language very well. As is the case in China many girls major in English hoping that they can be employed after graduation with a company that does business with American company’s. Part of that job is to meet the American business people, be their translator for them as they transact with the Chinese business, take them to dinner and get them transported back and forth to where they need to be, whether it be meetings, or meals with the corporate management team, or just shopping. Stella had volunteered for this role of helping us as a part of one of her class projects. She was friendly, kind and courteous to me. But to say that she was enamored with Javan would have been a huge understament. Stella answered my questions and would say what she needed to me, but always quickly turned her attention back to Javan wishing to engage him in a much more bantering and lively discussion. She said she had a special restaurant picked out for us that all Americans really liked. I was excited to get some Chinese food that was not Hunan spicy, although the food in Foshan was great. Where did Stella take us? Pizza Hut! Now, I’m from Chicago, which automatically makes me a Pizza snob. I don’t even eat Pizza Hut in America because it’s not very good. But there I was trying to feign excitement as not to offend Stella.
It was raining very hard that evening. Stella had plans to walk us around the University Island area where we were located and show us the Hot Spots of the evening. But the rain put a damper on those plans. I thanked Stella for the meal and the evening, explained to her that I was much older than Javan and her and that I was going to return to my room, but that she and Javan could go out and see more of the town if they wanted to do so without me. “Yes, she said, without checking with Javan, “We’ll do that!” I went off to bed and I heard Javan come in sometime much later but I never rolled over and looked at the time. Javan later told me that Stella called a few of her friends and they all met at some sort of game center business where they spent the rest of the evening playing pool (billiards) and trying communicate.
Steve Shaner, also known as Xie Yeye, is a professional story teller that delights in traveling to meet new and old friends. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.