What the Concierge Didn’t Say

Hong Kong, China

While the Concierge helped me find a church for Sunday morning services, he failed to mention that Mass would be said in Cantonese. In hindsight, I should have known.

Though the architecture, the texts, the gestures, and the rhythms of the ritual were comfortably familiar, I found myself constantly on alert, looking out of the corner of my eye to see what everyone else was doing. (Was it time to kneel or stand or sing?) Half-way through Mass, I noticed someone from my own demographic, and immediately found myself trying to connect with him. Maybe he could help me follow along? Was he European or Australian?  His lips were moving. Could he actually speak the language?

Being in an environment where almost everyone looked and sounded different gave me just a hint of what school life must be like for some of our international students. And unlike our UCC boys, I didn’t have to take a test at the end of the service! This is one of the many reasons why I no longer ask, “Why do all the (fill in the blank) students sit together at lunch?”


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