Day Trip to Macau

Mark writes:

We’re still thinking about the bus crash and reminded today that we don’t know what’s going to happen. We do hope, though, that today is the day we get to enter the Chinese mainland! This will be my 2nd time there, but the first for my wife. We’re planning on taking a train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen this afternoon and then a taxi to our friends’ house in Shenzhen. We’ll be visiting some wonderful Chinese friends whom we originally met in Louisville. We haven’t seen them since last year, I believe.

A few days ago Jennifer and I took a boat to Macau. It was rainy like always (this past month Hong Kong broke their record for their rainiest month ever recorded) but we wanted to take a day and see Macau while we were here. The ocean was kind of rough and it made for a miserable hour and a half ride for Jennifer, who gets dizzy and nauseous on boats sometimes.

Macau is a neat place – it was a Portuguese colony and has a big blend of cultures and people. We enjoyed walking around Portuguese churches and eating egg tarts and other snacks that were comfort food for Jennifer and a little strange for me (But most of it was tasty!).

St. Dominic’s Church

Ruins of St. Paul

One thing I really wanted to do in Macau was find Robert Morrison’s grave. And I’m happy to say that we were successful – it’s not too hard to find. There is a Protestant cemetery here with the graves of foreign Christian workers, serviceman, government workers, and others. Robert Morrison was the first modern miss. to China, the first person to translate the Bible into Chinese, and the first to write a Chinese-English dictionary. He’s one of my heroes and I’m so happy that we were able to visit his grave and be thankful for how he used his life. His wife’s grave next to his was a testament that they served long and faithfully through many trials. He continued on 13 years after she was gone.


Do not boast about tomorrow…

…for you do not know what a day may bring forth.  – Proverbs 27:1

Today is our last full day in Hong Kong.  We did quite a few things today, like going on the world’s longest escalator, seeing the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, going to Victoria Peak, etc.  But that is not what I want to write about. 

While waiting in line to get the tickets for the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak, we heard these crashing noises.  We also saw people running around the corner.  Mark ran around the corner to check it out while I stayed in line.  He ran back looking like something horrible had happened and told me there were dead people lying on the street and he needed to help people.  I stayed where I was anxiously waiting.  I gathered from other people’s conversations that there was a bus crash and someone had died. 

After a while Mark came back looking pretty shaken up and sad.  He had helped carry people off the bus.  We went to the scene after we got our tickets.  I saw a bus with its front in the side of a building, two taxis upside down and another damaged pretty good.  The bus had bounced off the side wall of the street a few times, ran through two trees and crashed into a building.  By that time it was swarmed with cops, firefighters, emergency personnel and reporters with cameras.  We stood there and prayed for the people involved, and the family of the person who was dead on the pavement.  There was much suffering and chaos.

Later tonight we found out from the news that the victim was a 13-year-old girl who was a pedestrian on the median.  32 others were injured.  They suspect that the bus lost control and hit 8 other vehicles because the brake failed.  Where it took place was a steep and curvy street.  Mark and I had just crossed that street a few minutes before the bus came. 

Needless to say, we were pretty sad the rest of the day.  Our lives are not in our hands.  We are thankful for this reminder.  We are to live our lives for His glory as long as He gives us another breath.  Don’t waste your lives, friends.

Here in Hong Kong

Mark writes:

After a long but uneventful plane ride we made it to Hong Kong. We’re here with Jennifer’s long-time friend, Rebecca, and we’re staying at her apartment in Kowloon.

It’s raining pretty hard here – the last remnants of the typhoon that swept up from the Philippines. We’re looking out the window from the 8th floor, surrounded by 20-storey apartment buildings. This is a busy city and if the rain stops we can go out and take a look at it.

These are our first pictures with our brand new camera!

Goodbye Vancouver!

Mark writes:

Tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday the 23rd) Jennifer and I are flying away from Vancouver to Hong Kong! It’s finally here and we’re excited to go. It will be hard for Jennifer to say goodbye to family, especially since her grandmother’s been sick, but we realize that is a part of life and we feel like this trip is really something we should do.

 It’s been a good time of refreshment here in the northwest and I really like Vancouver. It’s the city of Smart cars and Sushi, of bubble tea and really great ocean and mountain views. It’s got crazy diversity of people and cultures. It’s a fun place and Jennifer knows her way around, so that makes it easy for us to enjoy.

Next time we post we’ll hopefully be in Hong Kong with Jennifer’s friend Rebecca, who’s a cop (an inspector) in Hong Kong. I’m sure she knows Kung Fu. I’ll have to watch my back, or maybe this means I won’t have to watch my back.


What we’ve been up to

Jennifer writes:

We’ve been in Vancouver for 12 days now.  So what have we been up to? 

We’ve been going to the hospital everyday.  We’re not sick.  But my grandma has been very sick and has been in the hospital since we got here last week.  She is feeling better now.  But she needs to stay there for weeks it seems.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Thank you.

Other than hospital visits, we have spent quite a bit of our time either driving to the Chinese consulate, sitting in the Chinese consulate or gathering documents for the Chinese consulate for my Chinese visa application.  We are thankful and pleased to let you know that I finally got a visa.  So we’re good to go!

We have been on vacation mode since we left Iowa.  I haven’t felt like doing any serious reading, and Mark has been reading the Lord of the Rings like crazy.  So our days usually consist of hospital visits, sitting on the couch, reading the Lord of the Rings and watching TV.  That sounds pretty boring doesn’t it?  Fortunately we managed to take a break from our boring vacation to drive up to Garibaldi Provincial Park just south of Whistler (where the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held).  We had every intention to hike up to Garibaldi Lake.  But we didn’t bring enough water and we got there too late.  So we only hiked 1/3 of the trail.  It was a beautiful drive up north nonetheless.  This year we are celebrating the 150th year of British Columbia.  We keep seeing this commercial on TV that tells us BC is the best place on earth.  I must say that I heartily agree!  Being able to see the magnificent mountains and beautiful waters everyday is truly a treat.  Oh, and the free health care doesn’t hurt.

We also celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary by going to Washington Avenue Grill where we had our reception back in December.  It was a lovely evening, great weather, and fantastic food.  We saw some of the servers who served at our reception and the manager who organized it.  But we must look very different without our wedding clothes and hair because we did not get any hint of recognition.  Oh well.

What We Learned

Mark writes:

We learned a few things on our ridiculous road trip – nothing profound. Here’s a few:

1-A 4,300 mile road trip is not always as fun as it sounds.

2-Utah is completely barren (except for Zion National Park).

3-It is illegal to pump your own fuel in Oregon.

4-Muscle Beach in Santa Monica is a ridiculous place.

5-Sea Lions stink!

6-If we lived in Colorado and wanted to buy a car, a Chevrolet Aveo would be on the rock bottom of our list.

7-Jennifer is so sweet that she will never ever sleep in the car while you are driving, so that she can keep you awake.

8-The United States is big and beautiful.

9-We are really bad campers. We would even prefer eating sandwiches night after night instead of making a fire.


Our wildlife stories

Jennifer writes:

Some of you may have heard that we were going to take another road trip to Vancouver.  That’s right.  We did.  After numerous phone calls, wasted dollars and a wasted trip to the customs office, we found out that it was not possible for me to transfer the title of my Aveo to my sister in L.A.  So we had to cancel our flight, and drive the car back to Vancouver. 

So we embarked on another road trip.  It was a shorter road trip this time, only 3 days.  We left Friday morning at 6, and there was already a traffic jam on the highways in LA!  We drove for 12 hours that day, trying to get to the Redwoods in northern California.  We got there after 6pm.  We visited Elk Meadow, where herds of elk often congregate.  There were at least 40 elk there that evening.  We got out of the car to take pictures of a group of them eating in the field.  After we got back in the car and drove a little down the road we saw this lone elk (it was huge) walking from behind a gate toward us.  I was so excited that it was getting so close.  I rolled down my window to take pictures of it.  Lo and behold, it put its head down and started running toward the car.  I, in my ignorance, was still trying to get a picture of it, while Mark stepped on the gas.  It was by grace that the elk did not ram its head through the open window!  There were two other cars back there as well.  As we were gathering our composure, we watched the elk charging another car trying to get by it.  We waited for a few minutes before driving back to the main road.  And that darn elk tried to charge us again! 

Mean elk charging us.

That was not the end of our encounter with wildlife that day.  Later that night after supper we drove around the area, and we saw a little black bear!  It was right on the side of the road just a few feet in front of us.  And we had just taken a walk not too far from it.  Then we decided we had not had enough of the elk, so we drove back to the field where crazy elk was.  This time it was gone, but another elk was eating very close to the road.  As we were driving back to the main road I decided to take a picture of it because it was so close (I guess I never learn).  But this time I rolled the window down only half way and Mark had his foot on the gas ready to go.  And you got it, it tried to charge us.

Mean elk #2

The next day we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon.  We stopped by Sea Lion Cave to see some sea lions.  There were hundreds of them gathered on the rocks by the ocean.  They are funny creatures.  They are loud and pile themselves on top of each other.  Sometimes they get up and jump in the water for a swim.  Otherwise they just lay there and bake in the sun.

We made it back to Vancouver Sunday afternoon.  That would be the last road trip for a while we hope. 

Friends in Los Angeles

Mark writes:

Jennifer and I had a great time in L.A. after we returned from San Francisco. We had an orientation with LSI about our teaching this coming year in Kyrgyzstan and we learned so much about the place and the culture. We’ve never been to a Central Asian culture before. It made us more excited to get there, even if we get to eat a bunch of fat in some of our meals.

We hung out with some of my old friends in the Van Nuys area. Philip from the Philippines is my best friend and he’s there in L.A. now with his wife, Jena. Matt and Angel are studying and working as well. We also ate out at P.F. Chang’s in Santa Monica with Ryan Roberts and his wife Jessica. We’re blessed to have a number of friends in this part of the country.

Jena, Philip, Matt, Angel, and us

Alice helped us out a lot while we were in L.A. and was so hospitable to us as we were staying in her apartment. She helped us get around, too, and took us to the Getty Center, which is a nice place to visit if you ever get to Los Angeles. It has a tram up to the top of the hill overlooking some of the city. The Getty Center is a museum, mostly for art and architecture and it has some cool gardens as well.

I can’t fail to mention that my wife is really amazing and it’s been great to spend so much time with her. We’re really learning a lot about each other and we know that this trip is a great gift from God to us.

San Fran and super shopping

Mark writes:

The last few days of May Jennifer and I drove up to San Fransciso. It was a longer drive than we expected and a fast weekend there, but God really blessed us. I was able to speak at a Cantonese church next to Golden Gate Park, where my friend, Owen, is the pastor. He and his wife Evelyn were a blessing to us and we enjoyed being there.

I saw the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time and was really amazed at how beautiful the Bay area there really is. Would’ve liked to spend more time there, but in the moment of it I didn’t even want to get out of the car and look around because it was so cold.

Back in Los Angeles we were amazed at Alice’s skills in shopping. We were in the grocery store with Jennifer’s sister and watched her save $28 on $54 of groceries. So she only spent $26! Alice gets the Super Shopper award!