Sharing: First Week in Guangzhou

I went to Kowloon Tong MTR station on Sep 3 to go to Lo Wu immigration office. I entered Shenzhen by student visa and then went to Guangzhou by train. It’s raining upon arriving at Guangzhou East Station so I went by Guangzhou Metro to the dormitory for international students Zi Jing Yuang Hotel.
We should pay five months rental and basic telephone fee and also deposit for the dormitory. I am at the 8th floor. There are bed including bed sheet, pillow and bed cover, closet for clothes, book shelves with table, chair, small table with drawer, air conditioner, television, water dispenser, safe deposit box, shower bathroom with toilet and sink, direct telephone line and balcony to hang the clothes. The room was dusty. The housekeeper helped to open the safe deposit box. The bed is quiet hard so I put another two mattresses as I got backache. I met an Indonesian on the first night. The internet will be activated by our student card.
I went to the market near the campus on Sept 4 to buy several basic needs and then went to Cathedral of Guangzhou on Sunday. It took around 45 minutes from dormitory. As the Cantonese mass was still going on, I sat down in the church for a while and then going around the compound. I was full of gratitude as I prayed before the Mandarin mass with six altar boys. Finally, I learn Putonghua (=common language with simplified Chinese characters) in mainland China. I was in tears while listening to the opening song in Mandarin by the children choir. There are six Sunday masses in Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and English and also daily mass in Cantonese. There are four flat TVs with power point presentation about the songs number and full readings besides a commentator. After the mass, I joined the Indonesian community who was asking our personal information. I met several of them in Hong Kong. After the mass, I went around including to mega store Park n Shop near the campus.
Upon arrived at registration room on Sep 6, they gave a map of Sun Yat-sen University, form for campus residence accommodation registration, form for medical verification, form for applying residence permit, time table and information procedure. There was long queue to pay the registration fee, tuition fee and insurance premium. Then I queued for checking documents and getting supporting document for Xingang police station, medical verification, and applying residence permit. I went to Xingang police station near campus in the afternoon and left the document as their computer was down. As I had a lot of things to bring home from the shop, I went home by sitting in the back of a rental bicycle.
I picked up the registration form of temporary residence for visitors from the police station on Sep 7 and then brought it to International Student Office to get a supporting document to apply the residence permit as they should registered it online. The police reminded to bring original passport all the time as the police may ask it especially during the Asian Games.
As requested, I went to Guangzhou Travel Health Center (GTHC) in Tianhe for medical record verification on Sep 8. There was long queue so they asked to come back the next day as the office only open in the morning. I went earlier to the GTHC the next morning and got the first number as I filled the form while queueing. I paid RMB 314.00 for blood test, temperature test and USG in the stomach even though I had a completed Physical Examination Record for Foreigners (PERF). I asked to use the weight scale and I lost weight one kilogram.
There was orientation in power point presentations for newly arrived international students about a brief introduction to Sun Yat-sen University and a talk from Immigration Office on the law of exit and entry for Aliens at Swissy Hall on Sep 10. Several law breaking activities are excessive drinking, gambling, drug-addicting, and doing missionary work. There are more than 100 participants. I enjoyed the visit of Sr. Maureen in the afternoon.
I attended Indonesian charismatic prayer group “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the evening. There were around 30 persons mostly students from several universities in Guangzhou. I shared briefly about myself. Even though I never attended charismatic prayer group regularly in Indonesia, I always find a charismatic prayer group either in Chicago, New York, Hong Kong and now in Guangzhou. We had snack and social after the prayer meeting.
I asked direction “ni zhidao......(showed the word in Putonghua in my cellphone) zai na li?”, price “duoshao ma?”, discount by mentioning the price I want. I communicate in Putonghua by using the dictionary in my cellphone, the address in the name card of the dormitory, book “Essential Chinese for Travellers” and body language. When I don’t understand anymore, I said “wo bu dong” (=I don’t understand). I heard Indonesian conversation in the registration area and the lobby of the dormitory several times. The Indonesians are the biggest three nationalities in the campus.
There are washing machine area in the 2nd floor and kitchens in our building. We should buy a card for 10 times laundry. I planned to do laundry on Sep 7 and it was cloudy in the morning. I prayed for sunshine as I would go out and nobody would pick up the clothes outside. As I finished my Jesus prayer, there was sunshine. I also asked for sunshine in daytime for drying the clothes and raining in the night as I realized that farmers need rain. For three days, the rain was poured out heavily in the night. The security man helped to operate the washing machine and then I left the card in the machine. When I came back to pick up the laundry, the card was not in the machine anymore. Somebody stole it as nobody returned it to reception desk. The kitchens were not opened yet.
I ordered Indonesian style fried rice with sour peppery green papaya from meal delivery through the reception of the dormitory for the first night but then it’s not operate on Saturdays and Sundays and also will re-open next week. For the rest of the week, I ate cup noodle, rice-carsiu (=roasted pork)-vegetable-salty fish, beef fried rice, and bread. The rice was enough for two servings. Two students helped me to order the beef fried rice in a halal (=non pork) restaurant near campus as there were several kinds of fried rice and the man didn’t understand English.
I had foot reflexiology near the campus. One of the customers helped me to communicate with the young massager woman. I also tried to have conversation with her, at least I know she has one son and five co-workers and also worked around 4-5 years.
Two Chinese graduate students helped to locate several buildings in the campus’ map, translate the remote control of the air conditioner and SIM card’s manual.
I wished to learn mandarin as there’s growing need for business. As I wouldn’t think to leave my job to learn Mandarin in mainland China, so I decided to learn it after office hours in Surabaya. God granted my wish to learn Mandarin in mainland China but it’s for my ministry instead of my own career.
My heart is full of gratitude for my family, sisters and friends who helped my presence in mainland China. Kindly continue to pray for me as Putonghua will not be easy. Thank you very much for all your support and prayers. May God continue to bless your missionary journey.

“We know that no two of us are alike. God has not made us so, but has endowed us with varying talents, different temperaments, and a wide range of physical powers, and all are to be used for God’s glory.” (Mother Mary Joseph)

Guangzhou, Sep 12, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible