As a missionary in Taiwan some 29 years ago, I learned the limits of my chinese abilities when I got myself and my companion lost. I was what we called the "senior companion". Mission rules worldwide require that each missionary have a companion with them at all times. Sometimes we were put in a position to train new missionaries, and became the "senior companion." So getting us lost while being a senior companion was a bit embarassing.
I knew I was going to be getting a new missionary as a companion. On the morning we met, we invited the new missionaries to go with us out to breakfast. As we ate, I watched each one carefully, wondering which one would be my companion. Some of the girls were picky eaters, and complained about the food. One of them didn't know how to use chopsticks, so unashamedly picked up her food with her hands and enjoyed her breakfast. I thought to myself, "I want that girl as my companion!" I wanted someone with some resiliance, and someone who was what my mission president referred to as a "thriver". I was thrilled to later find that she indeed would be my new companion. We really enjoyed our time together and became great friends.
On this particular day, we had gone by bus to visit someone who lived quite a ways from our home. My chinese character reading ability wasn't very good, but I did know the characters of the name of the girls' school that was across the street from our home, so I looked for the bus that would take us there. At one point, we changed buses, even though I was a little unsure if it was the right one. As we rode along, the scenery became less and less familiar. My companion and I were sitting at the very back of the bus, and as we rode along, the bus became more and more empty. Each time someone would get off, and we would pass unfamiliar territory, my companion and I would start to laugh. We would joke about being taken to Japan by bus. Suddenly we looked up and saw that we were crossing a bridge! We didn't even know there was a bridge! It was a long bridge with a wide expanse of water underneath. We couldn't help laughing because of how lost we were! We knew we were helpless, and the situation just seemed hilarious to us. The further the bus took us, the more we laughed. It seemed that we rode forever before we reached the next bus stop on the other side of the water. We joked about having crossed in to the southern mission. Looking back, I wonder if the bus driver thought we were either crazy or high. Maybe we were a little crazy, but as missionaries, we certainly weren't high. lol
Eventually I found a sign that seemed to be the right one. We rode back across the long bridge, back across the water. When the bus finally stopped, we found ourselves back at the stop where we had been before. Suddenly we realized that we were very close to home, and that if we had just gotten off the first bus, we would have been home already. Some people might have been upset at the turn of events, but I will always remember the feeling of adventure at getting lost, and also the humor in the situation. I think that the next time someone says to me, "Get lost!", I will smile and say, "Been there, done that."
If you would like to read how the other consortium members got lost, please check out their links. :)
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit
and The Old Fossil