The day started at 4:00 a.m. I’m not insane, I can explain! The international church I’ve been attending was offering a sunrise service on the beach, and we were not about to miss that. So I woke up before the sun, put on one of only two dresses I brought with me, and proceeded to try and find a way to this beach. Buses were just beginning to run. Cabs were sparse. The usually bustling city was pretty vacant. We ended up taking the bus and trekking several blocks. But oh, was it worth it.
Here, we met Melanie from Florida and Brian from Ireland/Tennessee. New friends!! We all ate breakfast together. Of course, McDonald’s (and street food) was the only thing open. Some things never change.
After hanging out for a couple hours, we headed to the regular service. A large group from Africa (I believe Ghana, but I could be mistaken) were in town, and sang during the offering. It was beautiful, and reminded me a lot of last summer. They joy in their worship always hits me right in the feels.
Since it was Easter, several of my friends had invited some of their classmates. So a bunch of us went to eat lunch at a Korean place. Our group included girls from Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, London, and the U.S. I finally got to try Korean BBQ!! They fry the meat right in front of you, and it was SO nice to have simple meat not covered in sauces or oils. So many small sharing dishes and dipping sauces and FLAVORS. The egg cooking in the hollow around the edge was a nice touch too.
After a few of us grabbed tea and smoothies. I crashed for a short and well-needed nap. And THEN we had the gathering of all Easter gatherings. Kevin’s (MSU faculty teaching English at Qingdao) mom had sent him a GIANT box of Easter goodies. We’re talking candy, dye, bags, window stickers, fake grass – the works. So he asked us all over to help him do away with it. Our Thai friend also made us several Thai dishes, Hunter made cinnamon rolls, we dyed eggs, and I ate approximately my weight in chocolate. This group included people from: Missouri, Michigan(?), Thailand, Korea, and Germany. Our friend Ping Pang broke out a guitar. We played Go Fish. A mix of English and Chinese was being used, with Korean, German, and Thai sprinkled throughout.
I also got to Skype with my family later that evening. Even though my brother and I are both technically ‘adults’ this is the first year we haven’t done an intense Easter egg hunt/competition (that he admittedly always wins but oh well).
I may not have been able to be with my family. But for this year, there’s really no other way I would have wanted to spend the day.