Today was a big day for our family.
It’s our One Year Anniversary of arriving in China!
If you’ll bear with me while I muse for a moment.
It has been at least one year since we:
1) Drove a car
A pedestrian lifestyle ain’t too bad except when the weather stays about a hundred below freezing (as it did from December to March). We have gotten lots of exercise, learned the bus system, and avoided killing any pedestrians.
2) Used car seats for the kids
If we do happen to ride in a vehicle, seatbelts are usually removed. The baby is usually in a Baby Bjorn.
3) Swiped a credit card
The cash-only society is good for us. Credit card usage is increasing here, but ours don’t work (we’ve tried!).
4) Blended into a crowd
When I really don’t feel like explaining the ages and genders of all the kids yet again, I just smile and try to look like I don’t speak Chinese.
5) Wore spiked heels
Well, I didn’t really wear them a lot in the States either. But it really seems like walking for hours on the streets and chasing wayward 2 year olds every day with your toes wedged downhill is not good for foot health.
6) Ate a scrumptious deli turkey sandwich with all the trimmings
Our kind of lunch meat is unheard of. I’ve not had the guts to replace it with chicken innards yet.
7. Read the newspaper
Public illiteracy is hard to take. Getting better at reading the signs at the bus stops. Often even if I understand most or all of the characters in a row, it still doesn’t make sense since two characters together make a completely different word that I haven’t learned yet.
8. Used a clothes dryer.
Yes we hang all our clothes out to dry on our enclosed uninsulated “storage porch.” Between that and the lack of a car, we are greener than we used to be. Until I think about the 18 hour airplane ride to get here. Oh well. At least we live in a very dry climate, and things are dry by the next morning. Or in the case of Lu Ming and his penchant for his Lightning DaQueen swim trunks, about 10 minutes after being hung.
9. Used a dishwasher, blender, crockpot, coffee pot, etc
Restarting my household from scratch has made me realize how little electronics we need for our daily use. These items are all available somewhere, for a price (large or small), but simplicity is a wonderful thing.
10. Been to Trader Joe’s
But on the other hand, we have had a whole year of brand new experiences to incorporate into our new lives, such as:
1) Wearing Imperial Palace Clothing
The guys refused to dress up.
2) Parenting 4 children when we thought 3 was a crowd
But we all adore our little China Surprise!
3) Buying milk and sugar in microscopic containers, and cooking oil in massive vats
And learning to cook creatively with “alternate” ingredients
4) Having a steady stream of people spend long periods of time in our house on a daily basis
Language tutors, househelper, neighbors, other expats. Our life is an open book.
5) Buying fresh fruits and vegetables, bags of rice, grilled chicken legs, dumplings, clothing, breakfast-on-the-go and more all without getting off my bike
MickeyD’s drivethru–nah!! And we found a marvelous fruit smoothie stand this week.
6) Making wonderful new friends, both Chinese and from many other countries
And keeping up with you “old” ones has been a joy too! Gotta love skype and email.
7) Going back to school full-time as “nontraditional students”
You learn a lot of new things about yourself and your marriage when you attend class with your spouse every day. But now this chicken has spring fever. And still another week+ of class before summer break hits.
8) Thinking that a population of 8 million is a “small” city
I’m still not quite able to fathom 1.3 billion.
9) Exposing Chinese folks to baseball, Uno, homemade pizza and other American stuff
10) Learning how far we may be stretched, yet not break
And grow in our dependence on God in the process.