Hope you are all well. We’ve had an interesting couple of weeks. Another American teacher at our school that Carolyn has worked with for about 13 years had to have surgery. Since she doesn’t have any family in China, Carolyn acted as her “family member” for the hospital. Fortunately, the surgery went well and Carolyn wasn’t asked to make any decisions.
However, because there are so many patients at Chinese hospitals, family members are expected to do a number of things that nurses usually do in the US. Carolyn spent the first night after the surgery on the floor of the hospital since she had to check on the patient throughout the night. Also, hospitals don’t serve food so family members have to bring it in. Carolyn learned to make the approved hospital fare of “zhou” or rice porridge (porridge sounds nicer than gruel). Fortunately, she has promised not to fix this for me. So, that was seven days of hospital visits.
She also had to get a COVID-19 test to be allowed on the surgery floor. Results were back in less than 24 hours and she is COVID-free. No surprise there.
On the last day of the hospital visits, we found out our Chinese bank cards were locked because they had been flagged as having the same name. Husband’s and wives don’t share a family name in China and since “last names” are always printed first on most things, we frequently have to explain about this US custom.
Also, our passport numbers are the same except for the very last number, so, often, people don’t read to the end and think we have the same passport number, too! A trip to the main branch in University Town and an hour or so of standing around got things cleared up.
While there we were able to get our round-trip train tickets to Guangzhou and we found a hotel near the consulate that is accepting foreigners. (Because of the virus, some hotels won’t allow foreigners to stay.) Getting new passports this year has been an adventure. This will be my fourth passport and Carolyn’s third. You know you’re a missionary when you know where your passport is but have no idea where your driver’s license is!
Hope you enjoy the pictures attached of the middle school near us letting out, downtown, and a queue at a restaurant.
Daniel & Carolyn Johnson