For Payton
and Deona


Connecting Mandarin and English,
          Chinese and American,
                    people with people

As it Ends, it also Begins
(August 24, 2008) (return to Homepage)
     This is the end.
     As I sit here in the great room in our home In Oregon, the sun peeking over the horizon and sneaking through the tree into my squinting eyes, I realize that it will be more than four months before this happens again. By this time tomorrow we will be on a plane starting our journey to China. We will have stepped out of our box of comfort into a world of unknown.
     A trip is not leaving one place to arrive at another. A trip is a cascade of emotions and feelings, feelings of excitement and joy, of growth and a freshness, feelings of loss and separation, of anxiety and uncertainlty. A trip should be a journey in life.
     I already miss through anticipation the walk to the barn where Joe, the minature horse, watis for my attention and the fowl cackle busily doing nothing but watching for a unweary insect to feast on or for the ranking fowl to take the feast away. I miss the new flowers and the branch overgrowing its limits imposed by my standards. I miss the abstract that tells me I'm home.
     Yet I would not reverse this decision to visit and work in China. Never! Never! This is the reason for living; to stretch and grow, to model for others to stretch and grow, to interact and share with others on this planet which is quickly becoming our backyard and community.
We are blessed with more than we could hope for.

A note about Chinese leader Hua Guofeng:
How do we react when a former president of the United States dies? How do we envision that people of other nations would react? Did the world even know that a former chair of the Communist Party of China, and therefore its leader, die last week? Hua Guofeng was a leader in the late seventies when China started encouraging education and stimulating economic growth. While his place in history may be small and this death virtually ignored, he may have been more instrumental the changes in modern China then we can envision.

     The next entry will be the next time we find an Internet connection, maybe in an airport enroute, maybe with the sun streaming in my eyes in an apartment on campus in Nanchang.

On August 24, Paul LaRue wrote:

Hello, Denvy and Gail:

I am impressed by your plans to spent the next four months in Nanchang, China. I will follow your website [ – click on China] and will think of you as ambassadors for Western Oregon University, for America, and for Christ.

I was impressed by an author interviewed on Bill Moyers Journal last night… author of a book titled: “Beyond Chairman Mao” or something similar. He showed pictures of an independent journalist in China who went to the officials who were inviting people to register for “Protest Sites” during the Olympics. The video showed this man walking down the street toward the (police station?) where he was to be interviewed ….. the last time the man was ever seen!

Knowing that you two are such “conformists” J { that’s a joke ! } --- I’m also sure that you will keep all the rules imposed upon foreign visitors --- and return safely to your home to Polk County up the road from the Vognild [ex-LaRue] farm , and to Christ’s Church Methodist and Presbyterian United in Monmouth.

If you wonder why I am saying so much about you, our former neighbors and church friends, it is because I’m sending copies of this letter to two couples who are our friends in Salem. Bent and Barbara Thygesen spent a year teaching in China some years ago. They live here at Capital Manor. Richard and Rose Lewis returned last year from a two-year teaching stint in that great country. We work with them in the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Both of these good friends are also affiliated with the Salem Friends Meeting. I’m sure they’ll be interested in your adventures . However, the Lewis’s are leaving soon for a conference on non-violence training [in which they are skilled teachers] in Kenya, and will spend a couple of months in that exciting land.

I’m sending a BCC to my niece, Becky, in Idaho. She, too, has taught English in China

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