Dear Mother Without-a-Home

As I pass by you almost daily, my heart breaks for you. The rags you wear, tattered; revealing the situations you have weathered. The dirt smeared across your face, giving light to those around that the ground we walk upon is your home; that at the end of the night, you will rest your head in the very spot you beg.

Dear Mother Without-a-Home, my heart aches for you! Every time I pass, I want nothing more than to see your life restored! To see people rise up and love you as you should be loved! That you would know the love of a Heavenly Father who loves you as you are!

And despite your efforts to reject every dollar, food item, and beverage I place by your side simply because I am a foreigner, know that my love for you is not going to change! And any time I have the opportunity, I will try to show you love! Mother Without-a-Home, I pray that as people pass you, they would be filled with compassion for you; not pity, but beautiful compassion fueled by love! I pray that your pride doesn’t hold you back from a second chance, but that you would receive love with open arms!

Mother Without-a-Home, you are worthy of love!

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Killed two birds with one stone… well, sort of…

Over the last few months, my roommate and I have had 2 small zebra finches named Napoleon and Josephine (yeah that’s right, history buffs… we went there!) Cute little things!

On Saturday morning, I walked out of my room to go take the blanket off their cage, and as I walked, I thought to myself ‘Wow! They are really quiet this morning.’ As I pulled off the blanket, I quickly realized one was already dead on the floor of the cage, and the second was hanging on for dear life. All to which I suddenly realized, I forgot to give them food and water the night before. Fun fact about zebra finches? If left without food and water for two hours, they will certainly die… Realizing this fatal error, I called a couple of the guys and asked if they could take care of the bodies because I couldn’t do it personally. Needless to say, I was a little bit of a mess that day.

The phrase “to kill two birds with one stone” has a whole new meaning…

Packed

Staring at my empty room
Nothing but a few suitcases
I’m overcome with emotion
It’s that time again
time to begin another adventure
Oh how bittersweet it is!

Desiring to freeze time
To relish in the moment
Surrounded by family
Laughing with old friends
Cuddling with kittens
The list, quite endless.

But alas, time continues
A new season is beginning
Although it’s hard to let go
Comforts of what I had once known
I step out, excited!
Knowing I’m heading to the right place

“Not all those who wander are lost” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Know Your Markets

Something that I’ve learned during my time here in China is that knowing your markets can actually be quite beneficial!

As a baker, markets are where I find my ingredients without literally breaking the bank! Being new to this city, I’ve been meaning to go on a hunt for a good market! I heard rumors of a market that sold butter and many different American goodies, so with a little research on Baidu (basically China’s google), I found a market near the center of the city! 成功了! Success! 

So off I went to a place called 炭市街 (Tan Shi Jie)! Talking with friends before going, they had said most locals don’t even know of this place, so I was quite amazed to stumble upon it on the internet and actually find it in person! It was in a weird back alley that smelled of fish (probably caused by the fish market directly next door)… As I walked it, I was surprised to find in the first cooler, butter and cheese! I had found American paradise in a market! Also, I strolled around and stumbled into an area with coolers filled with chicken nuggests, pizza dough, etc… This was quite a find! 

After walking around for a while, I decided to actually find a cheap place within the market that sold butter… Little did I know I was about for find the best find of the day! I found a small shop that sold butter for 10 yuan (about $1.50) per pound! I’ve been paying about 20 yuan for a 1/4 of the butter! Needless to say, I bought a bag of butter weighing in at 2lbs… 20 yuan for 4x the butter… AMAZING! I will definitely be going back!

Moral of the story: Learn your markets! Know them!

Consistency

Transitions… I know I talk about this topic a lot, especially on this blog, but I find myself reflecting transition quite frequently.

Today I found myself sitting on an airport shuttle bus heading back to the city after seeing off a good friend, and as I sat there, I became overwhelmed. Something within me wanted to reject what had just happened and deny that I wouldn’t see her for a little while; it was all too surreal. Overcome with emotion, I realized that I don’t handle change well and how unfortunate it is that my life is seems to be surrounded by ever continuing changes.

Many will joke and say “the only thing consistent in my life is change and God,” but quite frankly, this is my reality.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing change. I’m actually appreciative of it. Without change I wouldn’t grow, I wouldn’t have met my sweet Prince, and I would have missed out on so many opportunities. Change is quite essential.

As I thought about all of the changes that I’ve gone through, I think what I have concluded is that I wish some of the changes would hurt a little bit less.

Shenti Hao

As I was walking down the street, I saw a cart of mangoes up ahead.  It had been a long time since I had eaten a mango and so I couldn’t resist stopping to pick one up. As I handed the fruit seller my cash, he turned to me and grabbed with a firm grip my arm fat. Alarmed, I looked at my arm and back at him. He then bellowed “SHENTI HAO!,” which translates into “healthy.” In my mind I kept thinking, ‘sir, can you please let go of my arm fat? That would be great,’ but not wanted to offend him, I simply waited for him to let go, smiled, and then went on my way.

It’s funny the cultural differences between the US and China. In America, if you pulled a move like that, you would likely be verbally ripped apart or even worse, physically attacked. But here, what he did wasn’t “offense.” Instead it was actually a complement (strange, I know…). In the older generations here in China, the belief is that if you have more meat on your bones, you’re healthier. So the fruit man was not attacking me but was rather observing how healthy I am.

Fortunately for the fruit selling man, I already understand this cultural difference and am not offended by such actions. However, I hope the next American he grabs has that same understanding or things could potentially get ugly…

oh cultural differences…

A New City, A New Life

Before moving over to this side of the world, I had to make a fairly difficult decision. The two years I spent here prior, I lived in the city of Chengdu. Oh how I love that city! But I felt a guiding by my sweet Prince to explore another option; a different city.

After much thought, I made my choice. Now I’m living in a new city, famous for its Terracotta Warriors; a city so rich in history.

During my first few weeks, it was a hard transition as I sought to find a place to live, new friends, and essentially start over again. But as weeks have passed I’ve grown more accustomed to this area; I feel more at peace about my decision to move here. I have a wonderful apartment, have started making friends, and can finally admit that this will be my home for the next year.

Here’s to living in a new city, with new adventures!

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