Real China

 June 10, 2011

I came out here planning to write a novella.  I expected long blog posts to come pouring out of me BUT the reality is I am physically exhausted and emotionally spent by the end of each day and the frustration of dial up internet speed (or lack there of) is just enough to make me give up any attempts at writing.

I think too if I’m being honest, I am in sensory overload not yet able to filter my thoughts enough to clearly communicate what I am experiencing here. While Beijing felt familiar, Chen Zhou and working in the orphanage is so entirely different that in many ways it feels like my first time in China.

Unlike our adoption trip to China here we are free to move about the city.  We walk each day from the hotel to the orphanage and back again.  We shop and go to restaurants and stroll through the street markets on our own. It is quite a sight all of us American’s running around this place where Westerners do not normally come.  The entire time we are out people stare and point and sometimes nearly drive off the road to get a look at us.  School children practice their best “Hello” on us and run giggling when we respond with our heavily accented “ni hao”. We negotiate the language, the money and the traffic independent of a guide. It is about as authentic an experience I could expect short of living here. I’m finally in the REAL CHINA.

Our days at the orphanage are long.  We meet for breakfast as a group at 7am then head to the orphanage at 8am.  We are with “the babies” from 8:30-11:00 where we play, sing, feed and rock them.  At 11am we head back to the hotel for lunch and to plan our day with the preschoolers.  We return at 3pm to put on our makeshift preschool program for “the big kids” and finish up at 5pm.  Then back to the hotel and a walk to dinner somewhere in town.  (Have you noticed yet that there is A LOT of eating going on? Thank goodness there’s a lot of walking too!)

By the time we finish our dinner (the Chinese take there time) it is nearly 8pm.  We gather our group one last time to recap our day, have some prayer and reflection time and prepare for the next day.

Add in a a bit of Skype and frustratingly slow email checking and a quick shower to wash away the sweat and grime (and baby slobber) and your day is pretty much over.

I’m not sure we accomplish much.  I wouldn’t even know how to measure our efforts.  But I do know we feel busy.

Honestly I wouldn’t even have time to write this except that I’m up at 4am.  Nope it’s not jet lag...It’s smothering heat that has me unable to sleep.  It’s 90 degrees and humid outside and we are on the 14th floor of the hotel and while we do have air-conditioning  inexplicably the hotel turns  the air-conditioning off (which means all airflow) at 3 am.


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