Many, many years ago, I went as a student from Oklahoma Christian University to Ibaraki Christian University with a group of students. We were considered student missionaries. We went on a cultural visa to study, and we were expected to learn from and help the missionaries who were in Ibaraki, Japan at Ibaraki Christian University. There were three girls and four boys. Three of the boys are still in Japan. They all married Japanese women, and two of them are considered Japanese missionaries. The o one who didn’t marry a Japanese girl became a preacher in Texas. One of the girls became a missionary’s wife to S. America, and is a widow today living up in the northern part of the U. S. with her kids. One of the girls still lives in Oklahoma City and married a Korean American who knows nothing about Korea. As for me, I married a missionary and traveled the world. Now, I am back in Oklahoma City, where the group began from, and I am still hanging out with the girl from Oklahoma City who went to Japan with us. We have kept in contact through the years, and I have also become friends with her sister. Earlier this week, we all decided to go do something fun together. We all went to Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City.
Debbie and I in the pink Cadillac.
First, we went to the food court. The ladies I went with are Debbie and Linda. I am very accustomed to oriental food because I have spent a lot of my life in the orient. I decided I wanted to eat Chinese food for lunch, and the two ladies, my friend from when I was in Japan and her sister decided it looked interesting and also ate Chinese food. I love to use chopsticks, so I used chopsticks, but neither of them tried the chopsticks. If you aren’t accustomed to using them, they are hard. I ate some kind of orange chicken with fried rice. Linda got the fried rice too, but she chose sesame chicken and broccoli and beef, a bigger meal than I wanted. Debbie didn’t know what to eat. Linda suggested to share her food with her because she had a big meal. When we went to the table, it was a pink Cadillac. At the table, we decided to do things the Korean way, and we all shared our food with one another so each one could taste what the other was eating. All the food was good, and they were surprised that it was so tasty. The fried rice was not the sticky rice like I am used to, and it made it harder to pick up with their round chop sticks. I am used to flatter chopsticks and sticky rice, but I accomplished using my chopsticks without a problem anyway. The Koreans and Japanese use flatter chopsticks than those Chinese chopsticks.
There were lots of pretty fish in a big aquarium just as we entered.
After we ate, we went on to the aquarium. The name of the aquarium is the Blue Zoo Aquarium. After we went through the first doors, there was a video to sit and watch about the aquarium. When we went into the next door, there were gorgeous fish in huge tanks right in front of us. Off to the right, there was a big pool full of manta rays, and people were putting their hands in the water and touching the manta rays. Debbie and Linda both wanted to touch the rays, and they said they were so soft they felt like velvet. We went around in a circle in the first room checking all the pretty fish out. There were seahorses in that room too.
There were small sharks swimming around in a big tank.
After that, we entered another room. There was lots of play equipment in one part of the room for children. On one side of the room, there were small sharks in a big tank. You could walk inside of a small glassed in area, and the sharks swam up over your head. When I went to the aquarium in Galveston, Texas with my brother, the sharks were much larger, and there was a hallway where the sharks swam all around you as you walked down the hallway. The sharks in this tank in the Blue Zoo were interesting, but didn’t seem as menacing as those sharks down at Galveston. In one part of the room, there was a huge man made shell, and we took turns taking our picture sitting in the shell.
There were lots of pretty fish in the first room.
Next, we took an elevator upstairs. There was lots of playground equipment for the kids upstairs too. As we got off, I could see a place that said there was a huge snake. I think it was a boa constrictor. As I looked through the glass finding it hiding and thinking about when a snake like this tried to get into my house in Nigeria, I realized that Debbie and Linda weren’t with me anymore. I turned around and walked around the corner, and there was a guy standing there holding a small boa constrictor in his hands, and Debbie and Linda were talking to him. The snake was wriggling all over his arm and hand. He said they had only had the snake for about two weeks, and because they had been out because of Covid-19, he had only been around the snake to tame it for about a week. He was used to snakes because he grew up with a snake like that in his house. He was explaining that they ate mice, but when they fed them mice, they had to watch because if the boa wasn’t hungry, it wouldn’t eat the mouse, and the mouse would start chewing on the boa. They asked me if I wanted to touch the snake, and I turned them down. Perhaps Debbie and Linda had touched it while I was looking at the big snake. They wanted to hear the story of the huge snake in Nigeria.
The guy was standing around holding a small boa constrictor talking about it to everyone.
Once, in Nigeria, I realized my house was surrounded by a crowd of people with everyone talking at once. I opened my front door to see why they were there. One of them had a big knife in his hand. They told me to shut the door quickly because there was a huge snake on my roof trying to get into my house, and they were trying to kill it for me. Needless to say, I shut the door right away, and was very grateful that they didn’t let it get in my house.
The small aquariums that held scorpions, tarantulas, and other interesting bugs.
After we saw the snakes, we went over to some glassed in cages at the wall. There were tarantulas, scorpions, bugs that looked like leaves, praying mantis, etc. I had seen all of them before except the bugs that looked like leaves. When I lived in the country in Oklahoma, I had seen tarantulas and scorpions, and I stayed away from them. When I was a little girl in Morocco, there was a praying mantis in our yard, and we used to play with it. We put our finger up in front of it, and it would act like it was boxing our finger.
The manta rays that were on the first floor…
Next to the creepy crawlers on the second floor, there were more fish tanks. I could tell before I read any signs that the fish must be from Mexico because of the way the tanks were made with Aztec designs. There was a little fish in one of the tanks that was basically a cross between a fish and a salamander. It had both gills and lungs. There was also a big electric eel in one of the tanks. The sign said it carried 600 volts of electricity. In America, our electrical outlets only carry about 110 volts of electricity, and in Japan and Korea, theirs carry 220 volts of electricity. If you came into contact with the electricity from the outlet without it being taken care of properly, you would really be in trouble and could be electrocuted and die. If you came into contact with this eel, there is no “could.” You would die for sure.
There were lots of parakeets of all different colors.
After we saw the electric eel, there was a big cage full of birds. There wasn’t much variety in the birds, but the children seemed delighted with them anyway, and they were pretty. They were all parakeets of different colors. Linda really liked them and took lots of pictures of them.
The signs were written like quizzes.
After that, there were some more tanks with river fish in them. There were catfish. One of the kinds of fish seemed extremely interested in me and came right up to the glass and just looked at me, and then moved its mouth. When I read the sign, it said they were extremely friendly fish, and when people keep them as pets and swim with them, they nuzzle up next to the person and even try to kiss the person. Perhaps the fish was trying to do that to me. They also had a picture of the inside of these fish’s mouth, and they had teeth that looked like human teeth. They were supposed to be a cousin of the piranha that we all know eat flesh, but they don’t eat flesh. These kind of piranha eat vegetables.
This little guy seemed half fish and half salamander. He lived in the water, but he walked on four legs. He was on the first floor.
We walked on around the room and saw big turtles in the water. There were lots of things for kids to play with. The kids could pretend they were fishing. They could make lots of noise with some of the toys. They could put a ball in the top of a cylinder that was sucked down in and went in circles to the bottom. There were kids everywhere having fun.
This is a picture of the gift shop of the Aquarium from the hallway of the mall.
Finally, we had seen it all, so we went back down the elevator and out the exit hoping something else would be there. It was just the gift shop we had seen at the beginning. Linda said it was okay because she needed to be going because she works in the evening. When I got home, I was tired, but it was okay because we had fun. I am glad to be able to hang out with these ladies. Once someone becomes friends with me, life may take me across the world, but if people don’t forget me and still want to be friends, I am very happy. I have friends all over the world, and if I ever have a chance, I will see any of them again I can, and we could have fun again like Debbie and I are doing. I like to add new friends too. I knew Linda before, but didn’t hang out with her, but am enjoying getting to know her better now.