Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A $5 Massage

While I am here in Asia, my main responsibility is to my students. I obviously care about the people of this country but if my students’ needs aren’t met, then they won’t be effective here. Part of meeting their needs involves me spending one-on-one time with each of my six female students. Right now my busy schedule only permits me to meet with three of them each week. We try to do something fun and cheap that will give us some time to talk about how they are doing. So far, I have gone to IKEA a few times, out to lunch, to babysit our friend’s baby and to a video arcade.

The funniest experience so far was going for a foot massage with my student, Grace. I’ve never had any type of massage in America other than a 10 minute massage after a 150 mile bike ride, because I am too cheap. In Asia, I always try to get at least one since they are so cheap. We paid $5 US for a 70 minute foot massage. We had no idea what we were in for.

When we arrived at the massage place and they led us into a room with two recliners. Thankfully Grace speaks their language so we could communicate. They asked us if it was okay to have male masseuses because of some sort of yin and yang thing. We said that would be fine and two men in matching track suits arrived. They poured something that looked like ginger into a super hot tub of water and had us put our feet inside. It was so hot! Grace couldn’t take the heat so her guy had to pour a bunch of cold water in to cool her off.

Then they started massaging our shoulders. It was a nice surprise. I had assumed that foot massage literally meant only your feet. You really shouldn’t assume anything in Asia. The back massage lasted about thirty minutes while our feet were soaking in the ginger water or whatever it was. Everything was going fine until my massage man put a pillow on his lap. He leaned me back onto the pillow and began to “massage” me with his knees. It was so weird! I didn’t know how to react. I couldn’t stop laughing. Grace started laughing too because of how ridiculous I looked. I couldn’t wait for him to stop.

In the meantime, Grace’s massage guy had grabbed her left arm and pulled it across her body to the right side. He started yanking on the arm so violently that I was afraid it would come out of the socket. She looked like a rag doll being tossed about. I laughed at Grace’s predicament until my massage guy started doing it to me. I heard my back crack in at least four places.

After all the bizarre contortions, the massage guys began on our feet. It felt nice but it was hard not to laugh out loud as I recalled my unorthodox lap massage. It was just another random day in Asia.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Basketball and Mole Goatees

I've been in Asia for almost two weeks. We've been extremely busy so time is flying by. I will be sending out an update email soon but here are some of my observations from this time around. We've gotten to play basketball some. In spite of the sweltering heat, it's been fun! We played with guys and they were even nicer than American guys. I was pleasantly surprised at how often they passed me the ball. The girl who took us to play basketball was a lot of fun. We were able to share some with her and she seemed interested. Afterwards, we played basketball again and I stuffed her twice. I later realized that this may not have been the best idea as I was trying to introduce her to the love of the Big Guy.

A weird trend I am noticing here is what I like to call a mole goatee. A guy will have a large mole on his face and he will shave everywhere except for where the mole is. We are talking about inches of hair, here! Eww!

A trend I like here is folding bicycles. I'm tempted to get one but I am not sure what the airline policies are on them. We'll see if I can resist the temptation. Be looking for an email update soon.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Post Directly From Asia

I forgot that I would be able to write in my blog while in Hong Kong. Here's how my trip has gone so far.

We left Maui at 9am and spent several hours in Honolulu. It ended up not feeling too long. Then we had an 8 hour flight to Osaka, Japan. I ended up sitting with my students, Maddie and Shannon so it was pretty fun. We arrived in Japan around 6pm and had to figure out how to find our airline-appointed hotel for the night. It turned out to be very simple since it was actually attached to the airport itself. We wheeled our luggage on carts straight from baggage claim to our rooms. It was pretty crazy! My student, Grace's sister met us there. Her English name is also Grace so I called her Grace Number 2. Thankfully Grace Number 2 spoke Japanese. This was a great help when we attempted to order dinner in the airport. We had thought about taking a bus to town to see the sights but it would have been $20 round trip each just to get there. I didn't realize quite how expensive Japan was. We ended up retreating to our rooms for an early night's sleep. This was probably the best choice.

In the morning we flew to Hong Kong. It was only a 3 hour flight but none of us were seated together. I sat in the middle seat between two Japanese men. Even though the flight was shorter, it was not as much fun because I had to sit by myself. When we got to Hong Kong, we were met by Will, our contact. It was nice to see a familiar face. He got Joey and most of the team bus tickets and they all road back to that big Asian country.

Me, Grace and Johanna had to stay in Hong Kong to get visas for them. Because we arrived on a Saturday, we had to spend two nights and wait until Monday when the visa office is open, to apply for their visas. It's been cool being a tourist for a bit but it feels weird. I really just want to get these visas so we can start doing what we came to Asia to do.

I had booked our hostel online. It was $50 a night for three people when most other places were double or triple that. We are on a budget so it seemed like a good choice. The pictures online didn't look too nice but I figured we'd survive. It was tough to figure out how to get in the place to begin with. The bottom floor is dingy shops owned by Pakistani men. Luckily and unluckily they were very friendly and directed us to the entrance. It turns out the building houses numerous hostels and guest houses as well as families primarily from Muslim and African countries. It took some detective work but we found the office for our hostel on the 13th floor. Then we went down a rickety elevator to the 7th floor. Thankfully our room was behind two locked doors. We walked past a sign that said there was only hot water for showers between specific hours. Our three person room was about the size of three double beds. The bathroom was only slightly bigger than a bathtub and has sliding glass doors like a bathtub. Lucky for us the doors are frosted and have an Asian woman painted on them. The toilet, sink and shower head are all inside. It's pretty much awesome!

We got in touch with Bryan Ho, who was one of my brothers best friends in high school. He and his wife live in Hong Kong. We agreed to meet at 8pm. While we waited, Grace, Johanna and I explored the area around our hostel. It is in a very busy part of town. We met up with the Hos and went to a night market. None of us bought anything but it was fun to look around. Then we had dinner at a little place in the market. Grace was fading so we took her back to the hostel. It was fun to show Bryan and Melissa how sketchy our hostel was. They also enjoyed the bathroom. Johanna is from Germany and we found out Germany was playing Argentina at 10pm. Bryan and Melissa wanted to watch it too so we looked for a bar but they were all charging a cover. We ended up watching it in the middle of a mall on a giant screen with about 300 other people. Other than having to stand, it was a fun way to watch the game. I am not that into soccer but it is growing on me since 4 of my girls are really into it. This game was actually really awesome and I am glad Johanna's team won.

In the morning we went to a church we found on the internet. It was an international church and the pastor who spoke was German. He and Johanna talked afterward and we found out he was also in our organization in the past. He prayed for our visas. Later we ate Dim sum, which I love! It's a Hong Kong specialty where you eat small amounts of a lot of things. Then we explored their version of a walk of fame. The only celebrity names I knew were Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Then we went to the longest outdoor covered escalator system. It was awesome! It was like if San Francisco had escalators and moving walkways to get you up its steep hills. There were tons of cool shops and restaurants along the way.

Then at night we watched the laser light show at the harbor. Most of the buildings are lit up and the lights change in a sort of choreographed "dance" to classical music. It was pretty cool and reminded me of fireworks. This is fitting since it is fourth of July here. Now we are exhausted from all our walking and ready to rejoin our group. I miss the other students. I feel a bit like a mother away from some of her kids. Please pray everything goes well with the visas and we will all be reunited soon!
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