Well we have survived our first two weeks in Asia! We have had some fun times, as well as some new realities smack us in the face already. Let’s start with the fun stuff.
Last weekend we were going to go to the zoo in town. We packed our bag of water and snacks and were off. We knew how to tell the taxi driver “zoo” and the kids were excited. The only problem was that we couldn’t get a taxi. A few passed us, all having passengers in them. And one pulled over, realized we were foreign before we opened the door and he drove off. We tried to figure out how to take a bus there, but everything is written in Mandarin, so that wouldn’t work. So we never made it to the zoo that day. We were of course disappointed.
Then four days later we decided to go see an area of town with 3 temples in it. We talked to the kids about it before we left, packed our bag and headed out again. We had a fun bus ride on the front, top of a double decker bus. We got off at the right exit, but couldn’t find any temples. But we found the zoo! Haha! The kids enjoyed seeing tigers, bears, elephants, peacocks and lots of monkeys.
And the people at the zoo enjoyed seeing our kids! I know they had more photos taken of them than any other animal that day. People were posing with them, sneaking pictures from across a pond with a telephoto lens (see above), and taking video of them on the carousel. It was comical to say the least. The kids said they enjoyed the attention, so that was a fun time. Maybe we will stumble upon the temples another day when we are trying to find a mall or something. We are learning to be flexible to say the least…
My Grossest Meal
Here is a funny story (now that it’s passed), and just a reality of living here. Since we are living at a hotel for a month and can’t cook, we have to eat out a lot. We have frequented many Western restaurants, but want to go local sometimes too. This one particular night, we went too local. There were pictures in the menu, so we just pointed. I ordered a lovely dish on the menu that looked like chicken and vegetables. It was, only it was ridiculously spicy! I asked two waitresses for water, and finally ended up with lukewarm tea. I was crying and trying to eat, feeling queasy anyway, then when I couldn’t eat anymore, I found a chicken head in my dish. Thankfully I didn’t get sick, although it crossed my mind. I have since learned there were also pig intestines in my meal too. I know how to pick authentic local food! Needless to say, we are going Western from now on unless we are with someone who can help us order or until we can order on our own and actually know what we are getting.
Along with the different food come different digestive issues. Kevin has been the first to take a hit. He was down for three days with something and is still recovering. We don’t know what it was he ate that was different from the rest of us, but no one else got sick thankfully.
Robbery and Restoration
We heard before we moved here that robbery was widespread. Since we sold everything to come here, we don’t have much of value left. But Kevin and I both still have our iPhones and use them for music, language apps, map and camera even though we can’t use the phone service. On Thursday, Kevin was in a huge crowd waiting to get on his bus for school when he realized his pocket, which had his iPhone in it, felt lighter. He looked around and saw someone in the crowd that he can only say God highlighted to him. He approached the guy who said something in Chinese and pointed back to the bus. Not sure what to do, Kevin went back, but again he felt it was that man who was now walking away from the crowd. Kevin caught up with him again. The man had his arms folded, and Kevin opened his first hand up; it was empty. Then Kevin opened the man’s second hand and found his iPhone in it! He grabbed the phone and walked away! Oh my goodness! I couldn’t believe the story when he told me. He was very brave, and I am thankful that he was okay in the midst of what could have become a confrontation. We are also glad he got the phone back. God is good.
This is just a snapshot of daily life in the big city. Other than these few things, life is pretty slow. We don’t know many people yet, and we haven’t met many locals who speak English. So we do homeschool, which is mostly trying to learn language, in the morning. Then we go to a park or do something fun outside in the afternoon. We have been here two Sundays so far and have found like minded people we can spend time with from there.
And for Easter, which of course isn’t celebrated here, an international family got a ham and invited us over to enjoy lunch with them. That was a fun treat as ham only shows up right before Easter at a particular Western store in town. It was yummy and we were so honored they shared it with us! Then all of the kids dyed Easter eggs together, followed by an egg hunt outside. I am sure the locals wondered why we were putting colored eggs all in their bushes and looking for them! Ahh, cultural differences are so beautiful!
The kids are doing well, but say everyday they miss their friends and sometimes these comments are with tears. If you have kids who are friends of theirs, please feel free to email or FB me, and I will be sure they get it. They would be delighted with thoughts and pictures from back home! Thanks!
Please pray for our health as we continue to adjust to the food, smog, and altitude. Please also pray for the right relationships to happen quickly for all four of us. It’s a strange thing to be in a city with millions of people, yet feel so isolated because of the language barrier.
We love you all!