“Death is a strange thing”

“Death is a strange thing.  People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for living.  Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury.  Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis.  Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival.  We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves.  For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by.  And leave us there alone” (325)

From Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove. 





About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

3 responses to ““Death is a strange thing””

  1. Rosita says :

    Good post…and BTW I did love quote. Is there any native Hawaiian religion? If so, how do it idealize life after death? And how do Bali people see same subject?
    Have a good day,

    • reneeriley says :

      Aloha, Rosita: Historically, Native Hawaiians have a religion that is polytheistic and animistic, with over 400 gods; they see that spirits are found in non-human beings and objects such as animals, the waves, and the sky. Many have a family amakua – a spirit god such as a honu (turtle), shark, or owl (pueo). However, when the missionaries and whalers and other Westerners came, about 90% of the native population died – most from diseases for which they had no immunity. The missionaries too had a BIG influence on the remaining Hawaiians. Today, “42.14% of the people in Hawaii are religious, meaning they affiliate with a religion. 18.74% are Catholic; 5.24% are LDS; 3.91% are another Christian faith; 0.06% are Jewish; 5.14% are an eastern faith; 0.05% affilitates with Islam” according to
      Hawaii State Religion – Sperling’s Best Places
      http://www.bestplaces.net/religion/state/hawaii. As for life after death, I’m not sure, but there are stories of night marchers – dead Hawaiian warriors going off to battle. Some native Hawaiians believe their ancestors help them. Most modern Hawaiians practice a Christian religion. The Balinese Hindus too have many, many gods found in their religious stories. They believe in reincarnation. The Balinese Hindus believe that the men reincarnate into their own families; the wives into the husband’s family (so they need to be very careful in saying yes to marriage – it’s not enough just to like the guy). 🙂 I think most in Brazil are Catholic. Am I correct? Aloha,

      • Rosita says :

        Yah, yuh’re right, although brasil has a huge percentual of protestants too. Well, brasil’s main religion is Christian in general.
        Hope y’all are good,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: