Last Saturday we went out so early to have our morning tea. Morning tea is a Cantonese Culture where friends and family gather in the restaurant or tea house to read newspaper and chat over a pot of tea and basket of dim sum. It is actually a form of social activity especially for older people. Transacting business can also be done during this time. Yam cha or morning tea is a unique culture only seen in Guangdong province. Cantonese have this popular saying “A cup of tea in the morning keeps the doctor away”.
We are not really fan of morning tea we usually go to the restaurant to eat and not to chat. I don’t like waiting also, imagine waiting for your order for more than 30 minutes, besides it’s more expensive to have morning tea than eating a regular meal:) Other than morning tea, Cantonese also have the habit of drinking tea in the afternoon and in the evening.
Here are some of the pictures I want to share, it’s not that clear though,I used my cellphone to take these.
We are attending a church that is open to foreign passport holders only. Locals are not allowed. Locals who are married to foreigners are also welcome but you need to show some proof. I’m a foreigner but I don’t look like one, I look like a local so every time I enter I need to present my passport, sometimes I feel discriminated but it’s the law. They need to obey the laws or else their license would not be renewed.
Once in a while, we’re attending a church that is open to all but the service is in English after the service we are all invited to go to a place where everybody can have lunch, eat all you can for less than 2 dollars only. Free indoor and outdoor activities. One time while we’re playing fools ball game, a cute boy approached me and asked me this question, “Wo ye neng wan ma?” I said “Whatt?, he said again in a louder voice “Wo ye neng wan ma? I said again “Whatttt?” And finally he noticed that I couldn’t understand Mandarin. He said again “Can I play also?” I answered “of course” with a smile on my face. My goodness this little kid can speak Mandarin (he’s a foreigner) while I’m still struggling with my language acquisition. It’s frustrating sometimes, I’ve been here for 9 months and I only know few words. It’s my prayer that I can be able to go to formal training next year.
Last Tuesday we went out so early to have our morning tea. Morning tea is a Cantonese Culture where friends and family gather in the restaurant/tea house to read newspaper and chat over a pot of tea and basket of dim sum. It is actually a form of social activity especially for older people. But for us instead of reading newspaper, we brought our bible with us and had our devotions there.
I miss spending Christmas at Home, I miss my family and friends, the food especially puto bumbong and bibingka and the Christmas gatherings. But I am excited to spend our Christmas and anniversary in Guillin.
I’ve got a terrible backache a couple of days ago, I couldn’t sit straight and it was painful even when I was lying. Praise God for His healing. I also got my new visa yesterday; they gave me six months this time. We’ve been amazed at how God works in our lives.
One thing wonderful about China is, tipping is not a practice here, unlike in our Country it is a shame not to give tip especially in the big restaurants and hotels.
Japanese and Koreans bow when they greet each other while in China handshake is a common practice.
Embracing or kissing when saying good-bye or when meeting friends are highly unusual. Generally, Chinese do not show emotions and feelings in the public but I think that was before, today’s generation is different, nowadays, you can see couples especially young people displaying their affections in the public. When I first met my in-laws I hugged them, I felt that it was a strange thing for them. My husband told me it’s not their practice to do that.
Wives don’t use the surname of their husbands; I’m still thinking if I will adopt their practice, I’m still using my maiden name up to this time.
Chinese do not usually accept gift, invitation or favor when it is first presented. I remember when my husband’s student invited us to dine out in the restaurant; my husband wanted to give a moon cake coupon as a way of saying thank you, but no matter how he pleaded with the wife she really did not accept it. In our culture it’s a kind of rude not to accept gifts. It means you don’t like the gift unless of course if it’s given with a wrong motive like bribing. For Chinese politely refusing two or three times is a sign of modesty and humility. For them when you accept something in haste it makes you look greedy. In my culture, it is always a pleasure to receive and accept invitation or gift.
© 2009 the emissary’s feet
There’s a funny saying here in China “they eat anything that has wings except airplane”
Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most celebrated festivals by Chinese ,this festival can be traced back as far as Shang Dynasties when people were worshipping the moon. it is also called the harvest festival since most of the crops had been harvested by this time. It’s celebrated on the 15th day in the eight month of the Chinese calendar, which falls around late September or early October. During this festival families usually gather together to light lanterns and eat moon cakes and admire or appreciate the round moon. It is also the night where the moon appears in its fullest and brightest. My former student told me that the round moon symbolizes for unity especially among families and it is also the time for reunion. Mid-Autumn is not complete without the moon cake, we received three boxes of moon cakes for this festival. There are many varieties of mooncakes, it usually made of lotus seed paste, with cooked duck egg yolk in the middle or nuts.
This year the Mid-Autumn festival falls on October 3, the Chinese government declared holiday from October 1 which is the national day till October 8. It’s my first mid-autumn here. We just stayed home since my husband was not feeling well, we even did not go to church yesterday because he was still sick. Tomorrow he has to return to work.
The festival is a pagan practice, but i believed this custom can still be redeemed in a way that glorifies the Lord. This practice may be originated from paganism but it can be transformed or redeemed by finding Christian meaning through adapting or creating forms which are consistent with the Chinese culture. I think for younger generations, this is just a perfect day for a family reunion, if you are a Christian and you still want to celebrate this festival, instead of thinking that it is a time to worship the moon, why not take this opportunity to share the love of Christ to your family, relatives and friends. It can be a day for thanksgiving for God’ faithfulness in our life, a day for praising and glorifying the Lord. A day for retreat. You can celebrate it the way that glorifies the Lord. My husband is a Chinese we did not celebrate the festival the way Chinese celebrate it, we just stayed home and watched movie. We thanked the Lord for this time of rest, a time where we spent more time together.
© 2009 the emissary’s feet