How long does it take to go to a friend’s English school about 8 blocks away and back? About one message on MP3 – that is, a tad bit over one hour.
My friend Sandy very generously loaned me a college writing book from Canada when I got my first writing class two years ago. It was so useful that I never gave it back, until she asked for it last February, to use for a class she had added to her school’s course offerings. Of course I got it back to her as soon as I could, and was quite content with what I’d already learned and copied for handouts in the time I’d had it. But somehow I managed to loose a copy of two pages I’ll need again for next week’s writing class, so I went along to meet her at her school and pick up the book again this evening.
Warning: topic jump! But I promise it is related, as you’ll see in another paragraph.
Have you ever read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” by Josh Harris? It’s one of the “the books” of my generation of youth group and family college, one “everyone” has read or at least knows about. I vaguely remember reading it in high school but not being too impressed because I never kissed dating “hello” to begin with. When I became aware of his follow-up book, “Boy Meets Girl,” about his courtship of his new wife, I was completely uninterested – I was just old enough to realize my old fantasy timetable of “college – 2 years single – marriage – 2 years alone together – 3 kids by thirty” was not looking likely to be the Father’s plan, and completely uninterested in learning of how Mr. No-Dating Harris kissed anyone hello so soon after swearing off girls. (Yes, I know, that wasn’t really the point of his first book, but hey, if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, you probably married right out of college and can just skip this post.) Anyway, one of the books I picked up in Hong Kong, at the YMCA’s bookstore of all places, was a yet newer book by Mr. Harris, “Not Even a Hint.” It was quite good – challenging, script’ral, realistic, and he was also quite open and humble about his own life. (Note: From what I see on Amazon, it looks like he revised and re-released it with a different title.) So, with him back on my “good” list, I was happy to download a free message by him last weekend titled “Is He Enough?” and load it onto my MP3 player for the next time I needed something to listen to and wasn’t sitting in a moving vehicle (because sitting while moving, and listening to one person speak for more than a minute or two, both tend to put me to sleep).
Back to tonight. I pulled out my MP3 player, scrolled down to the message, and headed out the door. Here’s how you get somewhere 8 blocks away and back in an hour, while staying entertained/educated/challenged.
- Walk to main road, then 1 block in the wrong direction to pick up a couple bai ji mo for dinner (think hamburger – meat in bread and delicious, though not really the same as a burger). Pause MP3 while ordering from the friendly cook who knows me quite well because I stop there several times a week.
- Walk a tad further to the bus stop, just missing the right bus, and wait 3 minutes for the next one.
- Ride bus 8 stops, covering one ear when annoncements of upcoming stops play so that I can still hear the max-volume MP3.
- Walk the last block and upstairs to friend’s school (in an apartment made over for that purpose). Turn off MP3. Chat for a minute or two.
- Turn MP3 on as I leave. Walk back to bus stop, staring at the donkey-pulled carts of slops going down the road. Wait another 3 or 4 mintues, ride back 7 stops, and walk the last block home.
- Prepare some veg and fruit to finish off my dinner. Turn off MP3 as it ends. Journal and read the topic chapter while eating.
So, a message that was 1 hour and 5 minutes long was just the right length!
It also was quite encouraging and continued to improve my opinion of Josh Harris. Yes, it would be a tiny bit nicer coming from another single person, but he delivers it in such a way that he’s not talking down to his audience – he’s obviously been there and isn’t trying to rub it in that he’s not there anymore. And, honestly, the message and passage (Ps 73) could kinda apply to people dreaming of other things they see around them, such as the American Dream(tm) or success in business or just a simple, stress-free life. It’s just phrased in the context of single people waiting for marriage.
I hightly recommend the message for anyone else who’s wondering when it’s going to be our turn to find the right man/woman and get married, and if that’s not you, at least you learned a little about basic traveling in China from this post!
Oh, and after dinner I watched “Woman, Thou Art Loosed.” Good film, I suppose, and happily not quite as R-rated as I thought it was going to be, though it certainly did earn its rating. I wanted something else from the Family to end my evening, something I could knit during, and that was what I had on hand. Don’t watch it with your kids, but if you want something realistic with a bit of hope at the end, it’s a good one.