Wednesday, December 24, 2008

John's travels into Eastern Christmas.

Big Buddha Statue, Lantao Island, Hong Kong

So John arrived on Dec. 5th and we have been very busy ever since. It's been so great getting to spend time with him over here and showing him what my life is like. I was really busy these past weeks finishing up my classes for the term and preparing for Christmas. We decorated the apartment and it looks really great. I showed him all around my city, to the lovely market, and to church. The sisters gave him a warm welcome of course. 
The second week John was here we went to Hong Kong for three days which was an amazing trip! The weather was perfect and traveling around down there was not difficult at all. We took a plane to Guangzhou then a train into Hong Kong. We stayed at an Oh so interesting Hostel and took ferry boats to other islands. We went to Disneyland just for the heck of it and we saw the Big Buddha statue and found this remote beach where we walked all around. We saw a random yak on the beach (only in China) and we also came across this restaurant  right on the beach where we sat and enjoyed the sunset and ate western food. Delicious! 
This week we had a Christmas party at the house. John cooked enchiladas. I made taco sauce from scratch. We had salsa, chips, and fruit salad. I also made a chocolate cake and Ann sent us a lot of Christmas candy. It was a great time!
Then we skyped for christmas with our families today which was hard to be away but a blessing in itself to have that technology. My dad got me this super fabulous necklace with our family crest on it! How awesome is that?!? (if you're reading this you should be jealous). Mom got me a great new watch. John got me Lost season 4 so we've been watching that today. Good Christmas. But I do wish I was at home.
Tomorrow John and I will travel to Beijing for the weekend and then he will leave and I will continue on to Mongolia again. Pray for me it's insanely cold there! I don't do well with cold. 

Disneyland Hong Kong

Teaching together in Changzhi at a Middle School

Buddhist monastery, Lantao Island, Hong Kong

Secluded Beach we found :-)

Christmas Dinner Party. Enchilada's cooked by John

Below is the gift the sisters got John and me. It's mittens that we can wear together to hold hands during the cold days! TOTALLY USEFUL! 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving meets spiritual giving

So last week I was going to cook for the sisters and I was really excited about it but I was also really exhausted from the week and these American's in my town invited all of us to dinner at this nice restaurant so I decided to go there instead with the sister because he was going to have turkey, and they'd never had turkey before. It was a bittersweet day. I was busy with class and it was great to be with my friends, but it was different. The first year away from home for Thanksgiving. I missed it. 
Thanksgiving Dinner!

Cold, but pretty Mashed potatoes

Vera, Eve, and Me

Thanksgiving Toast!

I knew coming here would be a different experience for me. I felt closed in before I left. As if I was in this sealed up box. That the me I was suppose to be was outside the box waiting for me to connect with it but I was missing it. I was holding myself inside this place and not allowing growth on any level to occur in myself. The me I was called to be, the me I was suppose to be outside the box, waiting, was dying. I was letting this happen. Coming here, being in this place, being with myself, breaking out of that sealed up box has been this enlightening experience. It seems for this whole change to occur in me, for me to become the woman the Lord wants, and needs me to be I had to completely leave everything behind. Anything that could possibly keep me in that box, I had abandon. What a wonderful gift, to come to this place, to begin to become this person that I always knew I was called to be. To know I am being used as his tool. To realize that maybe I'm not called to be his voice but his feet, his hands. To know I am called to do, to go, and show all of the graces that have been given to me by the gift of this place, this opportunity. Pure undeniable gladness. 

John will be here tomorrow night. I'm excited about showing him around and letting him see my life here. I think it will connect us more if he can tangibly know the place I am in when I tell him stories. We're going to travel some while he's here and spend Christmas together. I'm excited about all this. Then after that I'm going back to Mongolia for a short time, hopefully, and then it will be time for the spring festival. I'm still not sure what my plans are for that time. We'll see! 

Side note: this is the funniest misspelled bag I've ever seen!