I’m sorry to say that Christmas reports and photographs of a wonderful Chinese church worship service will have to wait until later. It’s going on midnight at present and tomorrow morning, after giving my last oral exam, I’m taking off for an entire week.
Curious? Read on!
The January 1st Holiday Surprise for the Nation
With China’s official announcement of a very unusual 3-days off for the western New Year comes with it unexpected travel plans. Bus stations will be packed full. Airports busier than ever. Trains crammed with people and the city streets full of traffic jams.
I don’t usually venture out of my little home for these kind of national holidays but this year, I have a special invitation that I dare not miss.
Ji Ke’s (Jason’s) older sister is getting married!
It is the custom in China to hold weddings during national holidays. This allows friends and relatives to attend events that would otherwise be difficult to get to because of work or not enough travel time to get to places.
Thus January 1st, Jason’s sister will tie the knot with someone she has been seeing for over a year now. The young man’s wife left him and his 3-year-old daughter a year ago. The mother didn’t want the child or a poor lifestyle so she left Dad to raise the little girl on his own. Jason’s relatives and friends saw the perfect opportunity for his sister, who is not able to have children due to her heart condition, to be introduced to a possible life partner.
The courtship began after their first meeting and will now blossom far into the future with a marriage.
And Auntie Connie (that’s me) was at the top of the invitation list. Why so?
You Can’t Put A Price Tag On Life
If you review emails from 4 years ago, you will know that Jason’s sister was born with a serious heart condition. The hole in her heart was so small that no one detected it until she was in her late teens, when the hole became larger and life-threatening. Doctors were amazed she was still living when she first went in for exams after complaining of fatigue.
A non-evasive heart procedure, one which placed a net around the heart to help heal the hole, was needed in order to save her but the money for this was not available. Jason’s family borrowed whatever they could from every relative and friend to raise enough to pay for the treatment. Because they were poor farmers, the bank would only loan them a small amount, $500 at the most. The operation was 10 times that and they weren’t anywhere near the amount necessary to have this done.
In China, you pay upfront for any medical treatment. If you don’t have the money to hand over to the hospital in full, in hard cash, you don’t get help.
That’s just the way it is in China. As you can imagine, many with serious illnesses don’t get better. They just die.
When Jason told me his sister’s story, I felt very blessed that I could finish off the rest of the payment needed for her procedure. My only request was that when his sister got married, they had to invite me to the wedding.
Who would have thought, over 4 years later, that this would be true and I would be back in Sichuan to actually attend the grand event?
It was meant to be!
Blogs Put On Hold
Having said that, my blogs will be placed on hold for a week while I am away. I will be in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital city, for a majority of the time until I travel to Jason’s village for the wedding. Website access is blocked using outside computers so I will have to report later on all the events that have taken place from Christmas Eve to after New Years.
Thank you, everyone, for following all my stories during the year of 2012. Here’s wishing you an early Happy New Year from China, and a hearty Ping An (peace) for a healthy, happy 2013!