Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, February 06, 2012

Super Bowl 

I called Jordan the other day and asked him if he had any plans to see the Super Bowl. He said, "Super Bowl?" I think he's gone local. I've usually seen the Super Bowl over on the east side, because that's where the big sports bars are. But I heard some folks talking the other day about a Super Bowl thing at Pyro Pizza, so I decided to go there. I have moved out to the hills, now, so the east side is quite a jaunt when you need to be there by seven in the morning.

First time I've ever seen the Super Bowl in Chinese. You really had to pay attention to keep up with what was going on--something I'm not very good at doing. It was the incredible turn around that almost was. I'm talking about that hail Mary into the end zone in the last second of the game. I can just imagine the talk if that pass had been completed.

Got into a conversation with a Buddhist from Vermont who bought a pitcher of beer for Jordan and I. I don't generally like beer that early in the morning, and the truth is I don't drink beer very often anyway in the winter time. But it was a nice gesture, and this guy was friendly and interesting. It was quite evident from talking to him that he had learned his Buddhism in America. This was partly because he had no connections to Asia in his background, but also because his Buddhism tended to be associated with a reaction to Christianity that I don't see too often in China. I explained to him that we Christians generally tend to like Confucius, because even though we feel he didn't go far enough (since he only deals with questions of this life), we do tend to like what he said. But Buddhism presents a whole different set of problems for Christians. Buddhism's idea of reincarnation suggests that one has an infinite number of second chances with which to "get it right." But the Bible says that "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27)."

He told me he worked at a language camp in Minnesota where all the staff meetings were in Chinese. That one took my by surprise. Minnesota? Well, that got me talking about my boy scout days in Minnesota. Most people don't realize that most of northern Minnesota (especially the northeast) is covered with forests and wilderness.

It is interesting to see that Americans are starting to catch on to the idea of learning Mandarin. It's been big in the U.K. for some time, but the Americans have been a little slow to catch on to the idea. But that's changing. Mandarin is the lingua franca of a billion people, and many of those are not native speakers. They learn it after they start school. When I go to the Tibetan areas, I have to use Mandarin to communicate. The old folks don't speak Mandarin, but the young people all speak Mandarin, although you won't meet many who speak even a little English. The only Tibetans I have met who speak English are the ones who are directly involved in the tourism industry. One guy told me he sneaked down into India and learned English. But they are the exceptions.

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