After I started teaching Chinese students my principles of communication class at Harding University I realized that all of my students had their Chinese name, (for which I tried very hard to pronounce correctly, because, well, everybody loves to hear their name), but they also had an American nick name.
What a great two days in Xi’an! Xi’an is maybe my favorite city in China. It’s clean, comfortable and displays BLUE skies on a regular basis. The people are friendly. The driving traffic is sensible and the food is GREAT! I love their Jaozi.
After my long awaited nap time, Anson came back to take me to the Xing Ba Ke (Starbucks) where I had arranged to meet a young girl who was going to be attending Harding University in the Fall. I was asked to meet Li Chenyang by Jeff Robertson.
I wanted to spend some more time with Hope so that I could learn more about her story. I asked her if she would be willing to join me, Anson and Jiaming for dinner, and then to accompany Anson and me to tomorrow’s activities of meeting and speaking to a couple of different schools?
Her name is Liu Xuan, but she goes by the English nickname of Holiday, and she is a delight! I first met Holiday on the Harding University campus in August of 2017 at one of the newcomer mixers for the Chinese students.
There is never a dull moment when I travel throughout China, and even more so when I travel alone. Traveling alone may be a bit of a misnomer. I do travel alone, but very few places do I not have somebody at both ends of my journey helping me leave one place and arriving at my next location.
I had perhaps the coolest, most amazing 24 hours, that I have ever experienced in China! Really! I arrived in Xinhua on Tuesday, May 22nd, two days later than originally planned.
It was Sunday, May 20, 2018, and everybody needed to be out the door by 9:00 a.m. to attend worship. Gian and Mandy Bell and family were going to attend the Foreign Fellowship near Jian Han Da Xue.
When I left Xinhua I needed to get to Guangzhou. I had a 6:30 p.m. dinner engagement on Thursday evening. I did get to Guangzhou the next afternoon with plenty of time to spare but I had to spend the night in Changsha in order to make the happen.
Have you ever met anybody in an unusual way that you have stayed friends with for a long time? Here’s my story… It was 2012, and I was in line, along with my four Harding students, to check into a China Southern Airline flight from Los Angeles to Guangzhou.
What a delight! My team and I first met Catherine Qu in 2011. She was one of the students that was majoring in English that attended our classes where we were teaching at Nan Hua Da Xue, (the University of South China), in Hengyang, Hunan. Catherine was… chatty. We lovingly called her Chatty Cathy.
I really like first meetings. When I meet somebody for the first time my mind zooms ahead several days, weeks and even years. I imagine how this new friend will be a part of my life in the future. At the time, most of us can never imagine these happen-chanced incidents to be life changing. But, oh so many times they are…
I say all the time that I am NOT a matchmaker. Then I read a book called the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, and it described some people as a “Connector.” It said, a Connector is someone “with an extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances. Gladwell said that Connectors are an elite group of people so expert in cultivating connections that they are the reason the rest of us are connected.” Yep, that was me alright!
It was now Sunday morning and I knew where I wanted to be. Meeting with the saints that meet as a family in a small rented room in Guangzhou. The meeting place was very near my hotel and this was the third year in a row that I have met with the same group.
It was game time for me! Monday, May 28th, was here, and I was very excited and a bit nervous. Back in the spring when I announced to my colleagues at Harding that I would be visiting China once again, West Ling, Harding’s director of Chinese student services, asked me if I would be willing to speak at an educational conference at the Beijing Institute of Technology - Zhuhai campus? BITZH.
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.