A Tale of Two Mountains

A Mountain in Tibet

my mountain 1I had not trained to hike a mountain. Especially not in the foothills of the Himalayas. Certainly not for a three-day hike while carrying a backpack weighing at least forty pounds.

But sometimes we do things we never dreamed of doing. Sometimes we face trials that we never expected. That’s what happened in the summer of 2004 for me. That’s when I faced the greatest physical challenge of my life so far.

I was spending my summer in a small Tibetan town in Sichuan, China. I was working with a family who was there long-term and two other short-term workers like myself. We taught English in schools, we visited Buddhist temples, we came together with the community once a week in the evening for dancing in the town square, we studied Tibetan and Mandarin, we tasted all sorts of exotic foods, we read by candlelight in the evenings when the power went out town-wide to save energy, and we rode mules into the mountains to visit with villagers–it was the adventure of a lifetime. For the sake of others, I cannot divulge many details about my trip, but I can say that it was a spiritual adventure and mission even more than a physical one. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Mountains”

A Lesson I Learned on The Great Wall of China

I am afraid of heights. To be more accurate, I am terrified of falling from great heights. I imagine that’s what most people mean when they say they are “afraid of heights.”

My fear includes walking along high ledges, dangling in a ski lift chair far above the ground, looking down from the roofs of tall buildings, walking across suspension bridges, summiting the top of a high Ferris wheel, and other similar situations. I especially dislike going down steep stairs (which happens much more frequently in life than the other scenarios I listed); my head gets dizzy, my legs get all wobbly, and I feel like I am going to tip over and forward-roll my way down to the bottom.

Yesterday, we went on a tour to the Great Wall of China. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of it, but if you’ve never been, there’s no way to accurately imagine just how steep the steps are. Pictures don’t do it justice. For instance, here’s a photo that Charles took looking down the stairs we had just climbed. A friend and I are sitting on the ledge in the middle/top of the stairs. Trust me: it was steeper than it looks. Continue reading “A Lesson I Learned on The Great Wall of China”

Two Weeks in China

**While most posts on my blog are intended for general audiences, this one is written more for family and friends who know me. Just FYI.**

This summer has flown by! I’ve saved up stories for a blog post about our travels to visit family and friends in New Jersey, Virginia, and South Carolina, but I’m not sure when I’ll have time to write/post it. Suffice it to say, Charles and I have had an encouraging and joyful time with family and friends all up and down the east coast.

This post is just a quickie to let you know what is next for us in our summer plans. We have shared this news by word of mouth with many people, but this is the first time we’re publicizing it on the web. Continue reading “Two Weeks in China”