Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Time of The Roller Coaster!

Hello everyone, for those of you who follow my blog, I am sorry I havn’t been very faithful in writing lately.  I don’t have internet access at my apartment right now, therefore when I do go somewhere with access I use that time for talking to my family or checking fantasy football.  I know, fantasy football is a bad excuse.  I hope you are doing well!  I hope this season is one of joy and excitement of good things to come.  If it is a season of testing and hardship, then rejoice, for trials and hardships are our friends, says the Word.  They refine us, cleanse us, and bring us to a better understanding of His love and compassion for us.

Aubrey, Sydney, and Lilly posing for the camera!
We (Matt, Heather, Sydney, Lilly, Aubrey, Caleb, and I) have been in Xining for about two months now.   It frankly has been a roller coaster.  One that only those of you who have lived in a country similar to China can fully understand.  I can tell you how feeling out of control because of the huge language barrier is very frustrating.  Having very little control on the situations at hand leaves you feeling angry and vulnerable.  Being in a culture so alien to you, at times makes you feel lost and alone, even if you have people around you that love and care about you.  These are a few of the things you might feel when doing what Matt and Heather have been doing for the last two months. 

Matt and Heather recently started renting two apartments, that both have front yards.  Yards in China are about as common as a snow storm in June!  These aren’t American sized yards.  They are bedroom sized yards.  None the less, it is amazing for the kids to be able to go outside and play in the dirt yard, soon to be grass!  On one hand it is a miracle they have these two apartments.  On the other hand, it has been a hard fought battle getting them ready to live in.  They were just concrete shells.  Finishing a house using your mother tongue in your native land would be hard.  In China, I would put it around extreme pain to a nightmare, depending on who you are.   They are now living in their new apartment, and it really is great!  Great things take persistence, patience, and hard work, among many other things.  The good news is I have heard that hard times grow us and perfect us!  But it is not easy to have the right perspective during seasons of trial.  That doesn’t mean we don’t try to see the situation through the correct light.
Some guys I found on the side of the road shooting bows!   Pretty awesome!

I have been teaching English every weekend since I arrived in Xining.  The job has been really great.  I don’t believe I am a natural teacher, in this setting at least.  But I have improved and sharpened my abilities to teach.  This has been another growing opportunity in my life.  Recently it has been very hard for foreigners to get a work visa in this area of China.  The company I work for was not able to get me a visa, so I will have to get a student visa.  I am happy about being able to continue to study.  My Chinese is quite terrible. 

One of the classes I teach!  Very cute kids!
We all will face trials and hard times in our lives, some more than others.  My dad always would tell us when we were growing up, “it’s all perspective”.   He really could not have been more right.  During every trial, hardship, and difficult season we have the ability to choose to see with the right perspective.  It definitely is not easy, but it will change the outcome, I believe.   I can’t say I have had the right attitude recently, about my situation, or about Matt and Heather's.  He wants to use these difficult times to shape us and grow us.  The sad part is, if we choose to see things from the perspective of our human eyes, we will not grow, learn, or change, at least not for the better.  Every situation will shape us to some extent, for good or for bad.  If we allow Him to change our perspective from worldly to heavenly, we will grow towards Him, towards love, mercy, grace, patience, and peace.  I need to live as the Word teaches, that these trials we go through, when we so often say why me, are our friends.  We should endure them with gladness, knowing that they are there to grow us, and make us more like Him.  Thanks for reading friends and family! Until next time. 

The Fam! Besides me of course.

Matt doing his best to make if over the speed bump with a Chinese style wheel barrow!

One of their yards before we cleaned it our and planted grass.  It was used as a garbage can!

Chinese guys cleaning the head and legs of a cow, they will eat just about every part! 

Matt and Caleb having a ball!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Coming Home to China!

Hey everyone, it has been awhile.  I hope everyone is having a good transition from the scorching summer heat to the chaos of the new school year!  I have recently made the journey back to China!  I am very excited to be here!  If you don't know already, we are all about to move to a different city.  In about three weeks we will be moving to Xining!  Xining is a city northwest of Xi'an, about 12 hours by train.  It feels weird starting something new, Xining, but at the same time entering into something that is the past, Xi'an, in some ways.  The past has been amazing, and the future looks very exciting!

Sydney, Aubrey, and I
Well I guess I will give you an overview of my eventful travels home, could you hear the sarcasm in my voice.  So I will tell the truth, I wrote this post yesterday, but it was a lot different.  I wrote about how I hate the process of traveling, and why that is.   The post mysteriously disappeared though, I think I wasn't supposed to post it!

Lilly and I longboarding!
I flew out of Denver to Seattle, where I had a 16 hour layover.  It really was a blessing because I got to see my big brother Nathan!  Whom I had not seen in about two years.   It was really nice to reconnect with him. From Seattle I flew to Beijing.  The flight was only eleven hours, but when you take sleeping pills that won't put you to sleep it isn't too pleasant.  I felt like I was hung over, I really don't know what that feels like, for about five hours.  I would walk to the bathroom, bumping every Chinese person on the way there.  It was out of my control friends, don't judge.

Caleb rocking the scooter!
I only had one hour to make my connection in Beijing.  In a airport as big as Beijing, one hour is  not enough time.  I had to wait to pick up an over sized bag, that took awhile.  Then when I got to the transfer hall the attendant kindly told me that I was in terminal one, I needed to get to terminal two.  Let me tell you, that put a big smile on my face, ha....ha.  It was only a fifteen min walk with 150 lbs of luggage, even for a strapping young lad like myself, ;), it was draining.   All for not as well.  I missed my flight by roughly half an hour.  The big Guy put me through some stress when the lady told me that there wasn't any other flights out of Beijing that night.  He changed her mind though, to seconds later she told me there was a ten o'clock flight I could get on.  In the end it all worked out.  He works out everything for the good of those who love Him, right friends.

I made it safely to Xi'an, happily greeted by my brother Matt.  It felt great to be back in Xi'an, no sun in all.  It has been really chill since I got back, I have just been lounging around, helping with the kids here and there.  It has been nice to see the friends I left here!  All the kids are cute as ever, Caleb is my new best bud.  We sleep together.  He loves to talk to me at 5:30 in the morning, he is so cute though I allow it.  I guess that is all friends, thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I appreciate all the support you have given me!  Until next time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Journey Home and Transition

Hello everyone, it has been awhile since my last post.  To be honest I don't remember when I last posted.  For everyone who doesn't know yet, I have returned safely to my home of Rapid City, SD.  It has been pretty crazy being home.  I will touch on the journey home and the transition process of coming home.  I will try not to bore you too much.

Before leaving China there were a whole lot of feelings going through my mind.  As you would suspect I was very excited about coming home and seeing my parents and all my brothers and sisters who are stateside.  I am very close with my family and I missed them all while I was gone in the far away land of China.  On the other hand I was very sad leaving China and my family and friends I had made there.  It wasn't a fun feeling to have.  I don't want to sound dramatic, but it hurt to think about the people I would be leaving for 8 months.  I know that God is in control and he loves my sister and brother in law and there family more than I ever could, and can help and care for them better than I can.  None the less it was still hard leaving.

My flight flew out on the morning of the 29th of Dec.  I always get nervous before flying.  I feel for good reason, but others tell me that everything will go alright.  I am a very good at risk analysis, because I always look at what could go wrong, not what might go right.  I was expecting something to go wrong with my ticket or something else with the travel home.  The morning of the flight I woke up at 4:45 a.m.  I felt a little hung over, not because of drinking, because I hadn't been sleeping well.  That didn't slow me down though.  I quickly got up took a shower in our 35 degrees bathroom, then carry my begs downstairs so they were ready to go.  I clearly should have stretched, I about threw out my back carrying my begs.  I have a bad back, and it was just too early to carry  a heavy beg in a rush.  Bad way to start a 26 hr travel home.

We got to the airport at about six thirty, my flight flew out at eight o'clock.  We get up to the counter and the man takes my passport and starts putting in the important numbers he needs to put in.  Then he tells me to wait a minute in broken English, and walks to a different counter.  Not a good sign, and when he didn't come back within the first ten minutes, even worse.  It was about 7:25 a.m when this lady came up to me and communicates that there is a problem with my ticket, we call this a self fulfilling prophesy, something like that.  So I am fairly upset at this point, not that it helped at all. So long story short I had to buy another ticket from Xi'an to Shanghai, it wasn't the end of the world.  I made my flight, that was all that really mattered.  I was sad that I had a broken hug of a good bye to my dearly loved brother Matt.  Thankfully we will meet again

I guess I won't go through all the stories of my travels home, there wasn't anything too exciting that happened.  I made it home with no other major problems.  It was a very happy reunion with the fam.  I surprised my little sister Regan, who had a basketball game that night.  I hid myself  behind strangers, who thought I was some creepy drug dealer, I am guessing.  During half time I waited til the team ran back out and yelled her name.  She was pretty stunned, she looked right past me for a second or two.  It was fun to surprise her.

I have been home for a week and a half.  It has been a very fast transition, because there was no other way. My sister Heather said that I will feel like that year I spent in China never happened.  She was right, I do feel that what happened in China was only a month long.  It is a crazy feeling.  My parents have twin six month old babies that they are fostering right now.  So there hasn't been a lot of time to think or process the year I spent in China.  These babies are amazing, and my parents are just as amazing for taking care of these kids.  I am more than happy to help, it just has expedited the transition.  It has been amazing  being home.  Sam, Selah and Ethan have changed so much.  I will be missing my China family and friends very much.  It might be awhile before I blog again.  Be patient friends, until next time.