Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guess who is having a good summer?

Speaking to the CGC teens- this time the picture is the correct size.

Listening to a CGC teen.

Playing swords at the TCK re-entry seminar.

Fred and George.

How awesome is this picture?

After a tough year, it's wonderful to see her happy.  It will be hard to leave Columbia and St. Louis tomorrow.  Our  relationships run deep and we will miss our friends.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What we've been doing

Mostly hanging out with friends.  These are friends at a tea organized by my friend Cathy.  It was a sweet time.

Elisabeth spoke at the CGC teen lock-in.  Sorry the picture is so small.  I heard she spoke really well.

It really is a pleasure and delight to be here and just catch up with friends.  It makes me realize what good friends we have and how much I've missed them.
We have one more week in Columbia and then back to CA next Friday. We meet up with Paul on Saturday morning and then have week of Visa renewal, seeing friends, traveling and seeing one more college.  It's pretty exciting.
We are hoping to hear some good news about our little guys future soon.  Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  Good things are happening!
I've been asked to bring back children's chewable  or liquid vitamins for our foster care agency to give out to foster parents and different orphanages. They are out of vitamins. If you are interested in giving to this project, please e-mail me.  My address can be found in the blogger profile.  You can either send me vitamins, send a check or donate to my paypal account.  We leave for China August 5 and need to have this completed by August 3.  This is nothing tax deductible or super - official.  Just something I've been asked to do and definitely a needed thing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

People who love our sweet baby.


Our foster care liasion (she is fantastic), the friend who is taking care of him for the summer and loves him like a son, and our sweet  friend who loves and advocates for orphans.

Keep our little guy in your prayers as we are still hoping and praying for his future.

As far as our time in the US, it's been fantastic.  We've seen friends, had deep talks and just had fun.  Elisabeth has reconnected with friends from Columbia and St. Louis.  One of my friends hosted a tea on Saturday and I saw several Chinese women that we had loved and had good relationships with while we lived in  Columbia.  That was wonderful.  Talking about China with people from China who have now immigrated to the US was great.  
After the tea, I drove to St. Louis.  I stayed up until 1:00 AM with my super fun friend Julie and her two daughters.  It was fun to laugh and see how wonderfully the girls have grown up.  In the morning, we dragged ourselves over to the Chinese church that we call home and saw many friends.    This week I am working on a curriculum project and trying to see more friends in the area.  Two more weeks until we see Paul!
One thing that really stands out to me is how much I miss the deep friendship of many women in my life.  Some of the people I have seen have been friends since childhood.  Others since college or graduate school and others since the birth of Elisabeth.  It just takes time and history to have that kind of friendship.  
The other thing that has struck me is the level of struggle that my friends are going through.  Struggling marriages, struggling kids, struggling lives.  It's an honor to share in my friend's lives. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Remember the little boy

who couldn't raise his head, sit or roll over.....

Look at him now!

The picture is kind of blurry but oh my! Being away from Paul for so long has been hard.  But having him in China to keep up with our little guys progress...fantastic.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In which I prove my theory.

We have been back in the US for almost a month now.  It's been pretty smooth and feels pretty natural to be back.  We spent the first three weeks in California, Washington and Canada.  Elisabeth flew to Minnesota for a Teen Re-Entry retreat and we met up in Missouri on Thursday.  Through the generosity of friends, we have a car to drive and a house to stay in during our time here.
While we are here we have to go to the dentist, go to the orthodontist, get a new social security card, re-new a driver's permit, get an adult passport for Elisabeth, take care of our house for new renters...oh and see friends and talk about our time in China!
We've had a few moments of being overwhelmed by noise and input.  We've been thrilled to go to the library, grocery shop and do "normal" American things.  We definitely have noticed that people are on their smart phones all the time and that portion sizes are big.  I've had to remind myself over and over again to cross at the light and that we can't walk against the red light.  Fortunately I have a teenager to keep me in line!
 Driving is great but I've had to readjust my awareness level.  In  China, we just ride our bikes.  There is so much going on on the streets that you just ignore half of it and keep going.  With driving, you can't do that.  I've made a few mistakes-almost hitting a man in a crosswalk in Seattle and turning down a street meant for buses.  But so far, so good- no accidents, no deaths.
However, today I proved a theory that I have about China.  When foreigners first go to China, they are often shocked at the amount of pushing and cutting in line. One of the first lessons that I learned in Beijing was that when the subway doors open, rush forward and get in.  If you don't push forward, the sheer number of people will keep you out.  No one will give way.  I also learned that Chinese people line up for  ATM's a different way.  What I thought was cutting in line was simply a different system and one that I had to learn.
My theory is that the sheer number of people in China makes Chinese people less aware of those around them.  The American habit of greeting total strangers who are walking by is just not possible in China.  As we've lived there for two years, we greet people less, walk in  a crowd with less awareness of who is around us, push forward through crowds, buses and subways.
However, we are in the US for the summer.  I need to re-adapt to American ways.  This morning we went to the Farmer's Market.  I love Farmer's Markets with the blend of Amish, Mennonites, earthy people, mother's and ordinary people.  It also cracks me up because shopping at outdoor markets is how most of the world shops every day...with out the ostrich feathers, native jewelry and honey ice cream.  Anyway, we walked through and looked at all the vegetables, sweet corn and homemade bread.  I saw some tomatoes that were being sold by two Mennonite women so I walked over and picked three and took out my money to pay.
Then I heard a horrified "Mom!  Do you know you cut in line." Elisabeth said it was like watching a disaster in a movie in slow motion. Yes, in true Chinese fashion, I had totally not noticed that there was a line to buy the tomatoes.  A glaring line of people.  No one can glare like American's observing someone cutting in line.  I apologized to the line and to the Mennonite woman and slunk away with my tomatoes.
I knew there would be some re-entry moments but I didn't think they would involved tomatoes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Got these pictures today....

Our baby is growing up!  We are happy that he is happy but miss him desperately.  We are so thankful that Paul is still in China and can check on him and we are glad that he is doing so well.  The family that is caring for him really loves him and that is so encouraging.  Keep this little guy and his future in your prayers.