Thursday, October 15, 2015

Friends from Henan

Friends we met in Thailand last winter came to see us last week!  I can't tell you how excited we were that they came.  Christina took two trains with three kids six and under (William, Zachary, and Jacob) to come see us.  Any time someone comes to visit and stay with us, there's a bit of apprehension mixed with excitement, that, "I hope they still like us after they've lived with us a few days and see the real us."  There's also the anticipation of what am I going to learn from this.  I treasure times like these because I always do learn something valuable: something I want to incorporate into my marriage, parenting, daily life, outside relationships, etc.  This time was no exception.  Things I learned from Christina included, but are not limited to:  spending more outside time with our kids, more hands-on activities like legos and jewelry making, and that it's ok to spend a little money on things that would make life easier, especially if it gives you more time for more important things.  Hence, I have a friend searching on taobao for a second-hand dryer costing between $100-200.  I have been using two drying racks in addition to hanging things on chairs and anywhere I could find.  The thought of doing two other people's laundry this way when we get the kids was not an exciting one.  She was so encouraging.  I shared with her my desire to find a Chinese preschool for Xavier before we get the kids for 1-2 days a week.  I want to start sending him before so that he is used to it when Theo and Tessa come home.  I want it to be duel purposed.  I desire him to learn Chinese while he is young, but it will also give me time with Theo and Tessa where I can focus on our connection during homeschool for Eden and Ephraim.  She lifted that up, and stated that it might come in a form that I didn't expect.  I have a potential opportunity for that, and plan to share more later.  

All six kids on our walk to lunch the day after she arrived.  Later that night we had Ugandan food, per Ephraim's request.  The kids played soccer the two full evenings they were here.

Christina snapped this pic of us, and it cracks me up.  I look like I'm getting serious with the kids, but she liked it because two strollers will soon be our reality.  

We visited the zoo together.  William gave all the kids juice, and Xavier had his first Chinese hot dog.  He didn't like American hot dogs, but he scarfed this one down.  

Giraffes are my favorite.  We saw monkeys of all kinds, red pandas, deer, sloths, lemurs, white lions, tigers, leopards, seals, a polar bear, kangaroos, and still only managed to cover about half the zoo in four hours.  The distance between animals is quite a walk.  The tickets are cheap, and we didn't have to pay for four of the kids because they weren't 1.2 meters tall.  This is standard here, even for bus and train tickets.  

We had a picnic of chicken salad wraps and oranges, with a snack of revel (chocolate oat) bars later.  

This majestic white lion reminded us of Narnia.  Beautiful!

The polar bear swam up to Eden, playing with a tire.  

We were sad to see them go, and they still liked us after they left ;).  Christina is so brave.  She rode a 20 hour train ride back with the kids.  This is a pic she sent me.  They had two beds with four beds above them, two on each side with other passengers.  She inspires me.  I'm thankful for friends who go the distance, and see the value in relationships.

Showers of Blessing:
Great friends for my kids
A reminder of the value of relationships
Gifts of legos and rubber band bracelets, cheese and pepperoni
Beautiful white lion
The fruit lady who always gives Xavier a treat: orange, jujube, gooseberries, hawthorne, grapes
Visit with M a few days ago

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