This summer I spent a lot of time biking back and forth from the hospital where I have been serving/working.
There are often interesting sights to see on my bike ride, but mostly I keep my eyes and ears open due to the multitude of people, cars, bicycles, motorbikes and other moving things that zip, dart and scoot along at fast clip in this city of 8 million.
Near the end of my ride home I have to cross over an elevated bridge that spans at least 8 lanes of traffic.
Many times there is a middle-aged man on the bridge selling his wares which include hankerchiefs, air pumps, gadgets, etc.
He always seems to have a smile, and over the course of the last 6 months we have begun to dialogue.
Ok, Ok, Ok…. The dialogue is limited, but as my Mandarin language skills – limited as they are – have improved so has my confidence to engage people in the street, on the elevator, or in the local supermarket.
So this friendly man standing above the busy street below has become a friend who “tutors” me for 5 to 10 minutes.
Oh, he would probably not call it that, but we have started to get to know each other and I actually look for him when I approach the bridge.
I find myself disappointed when he is not there.
He genuinely seems happy to see me.
He painstakingly took the time to confide in me some personal issues about himself.
I have walked my family across the bridge when he is there and introduced him to my family.
All this to say that I am enjoying the time to make friends here in China, and I have found the majority of the people here are kind and friendly in return!
Now this “man on the bridge” is my friend and he has a name……..!
I hope to have deeper conversations in the future as my Mandarin progresses.
I am thankful for this man’s patience and his presence.