Sunday we checked out a church we might like to attend. There aren’t many churches here that offer services in English and we will likely end up going to a Catholic church, because those seem to be most prevalent in our area and we aren’t doing the long commute to church again! This was a 7 min taxi ride. I quite like that!
I picked out St Peter’s Church because it was purported to “pack them in” and I thought it would be nice to go to a church that was really full.
Yup, it was full-about 450 people full!
I can’t imagine what its like on Christmas and Easter. It’s not surprising, really when you consider there’s probably 2 million expats in Shanghai and there’s maybe 6 or so churches you can go to.
So, I’m sitting there waiting for church to start and I have a moment of panic when I realize that we haven’t brought our passports. But then I think, wait, they already let us in, it’s ok. You see, the Chinese government requires that you show proof that you are an expat before you can go to these English churches. (Chinese people can go to the Chinese churches, just not these) so some of these churches are sticklers and require you to show your passport to get in. And you thought getting in to heaven was hard!
For some reason St Peter’s doesn’t. Perhaps they think if you climb two huge flights of stairs to get to the sanctuary (yes, even less handicap accessible than Holy Trinity!) then you’ve earned your entrance ticket.
Or maybe it’s because they have the most uncomfortable pews I have ever sat in and they think we’ve suffered enough. Seriously, I did not know you could make a device to park your behind that could hurt that much from the moment you sat down.
This was a really beautiful service complete with smells and bells (yes real bells!), only marred by the sermon which was given by a man whose Chinese accented English was, shall we say, less than comprehensible? But there are 4 priests who no doubt rotate sermon giving and they give out a bulletin that has a mini sermon on it so if you don’t catch the pastor’s, at least you have some sort of lesson.
The best part of the service was the singing of the psalm. The man who sang it had a beautiful angelic voice that was perfectly suited to singing the psalms. It made me realize for the first time that this is how the psalms were meant to be sung when they were written. I would have been happy to forget the rest of the service and listen to him sing for the rest of the next hour! He was that good!
In other news, Tues. I visited the Avocado Lady, a market that is run by a Chinese woman who caters to the Expat community. I went with tirZah, a neighbor of mine from Corning who by coincidence has also just moved to Shanghai. She has lived in Beijing and knows some Mandarin, which is always a good thing!
The prices are excellent here, she speaks some English, and she has amazing things squirreled away in hidden cubby holes. Basmati rice? Scrabble, scrabble, scrabble-big bag appears for $15 USD (same as in US). Sun dried tomatoes? Sure, up there on that high shelf, $3.75 USD, probably less than in the US. I came armed with my “note” for the week.
Her avocado’s really were less expensive than the grocery store’s by a huge amount and she had sweet potatoes, something I haven’t found here yet. We’ll have to see if they taste the same.
She was able to tell us whether to eat raw or cook some of the unidentified greens she had, so I knew I needed to cook those red and green leaves I had from the other day. So I made a dish with rice and olive oil and carrots and the leaves that were originally supposed to be swiss chard:
It was an interesting street that had other markets where I bought apples, and places that sold steamed buns and dumplings. I will definitely be checking them out in the future.
There was also this:
It’s a Middle Eastern Embassy! (the one that begins with an “I” and ends with an “n”) Little touchy aren’t they?
Good night to you all-time for my lunch!