Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
So, when our old desk-top computer showed signs of serious aging, I was the family hold-out on agreeing to get a new PC. Fortunately, I was out-voted and we shopped for a new laptop before moving to China. Of course, I became the biggest fan of the new toy. I loved being able to carry it around the house and take it on trips. With the move looming, it was comforting to have a gadget I could rely on to keep me connected to the world I was leaving behind. I hurriedly signed up for Facebook and even started this blog to make communicating easier. I was SO HIGH TECH!
And then....poof....I entered the People's Republic of China and much of my new-tech world was blocked! Every time I tried to get to Facebook or this Blog, "somebody" knew it and my session would be ended. "Humf", I sighed, thinking that just when I was catching on I had to give up.
But this time was different. I WANTED the technology; I NEEDED the technology! So, I asked and searched and tried lots of ways to get around the blocks. It was a HUGE undertaking for a non-techie. I gave up several times, resigned that e-mail and Skype would have to be enough. Then a new acquintance would suggest something else or I'd get a response from one of my many e-mails to "tech. support". I'd uninstall things, reinstall things, change settings daily. I even followed instructions like "extract all files then drill down to the Config. File and copy and paste to the C:\Program file"! Me! I did all this - sweating profusely, of course, and quite certain I would disable our new laptop completely by messing with things I did not comprehend.
Then, last night "TADA!" (This is probably not what Bill Gates said when he invented microsoft in his garage.) something worked! I cannot tell you what, or how ('cuz like we used to say in Oak Ridge, then I'd have to kill you, plus, I really don't understand how!) But, I can now get to Facebook and this blog. I can view You-Tube and other content that was previously blocked as well. Oh Happy Day! I'm a Techie and I'm connected to the world because of it! I plan to start using the blog again to organize thoughts and images from our aamazing adventure here in China. I hope I don't get derailed again. I'm paying a monthly fee and I have "support" people who know me on a first name basis, so I'm optimstic.
One more thing.... Necessity has also led me to using more of the features on my new cell phone here in China. I can text using the crazy T9 feature. (Okay, I admit I am really slow.) I use the calculator feature and the currency converter on a daily basis. I even write myself memos on my phone! Now if I could only figure out which remote control to use to change channels..... hey, gimme a break.....the labels are all Chinese!!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
The get-togethers we've been having with our friends really ARE the last we'll enjoy for a long while. And, we really MUST pack up the last of our Knoxville possessions which are strewn throughout this apartment. And Erin really IS going to take us to the airport on Sunday morning. and drive away alone.....
So, if this was a note on paper, it would be tear-stained. And if you could see me now, there would be no point in my denying that I'm on a doozy of a "crying jag" (as my Mother used to call them). How can we survive without the comfort of friends who have been near through so much of our life? These are friends who have shared our joys and sorrows; friends who know us well (and love us anyway!); friends who make us feel like they've known us always; friends with common bonds of faith; friends who have shared life experiences like our own, raising children together, adopting babies from China; friends who have made us family in a state far from where we were born. How can we endure letting go of such ties? At the moment, it seems unbearable!
So, keep us in your prayers. Pray that we'll muster whatever it takes to keep moving toward Sunday. Pray that we'll find comfort in knowing that "time flies". (This summer sure did!) Pray that Erin will get a study-abroad placement in a southern hemisphere university so she can extend her planned Christmas visit to China well into the new year. Pray that E-mail, SKYPE and any other technology tools that will help us stay connected with friends, work well everywhere we go in China. And know that every prayer we raise includes a thank you for the blessings of friends and family whose love we will carry with us in our hearts.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
"Home is..." I finish that sentiment like many people do, adding "where the heart is", or "where they love you", or "where you make it". "Home" is on our minds a lot lately! We close today on the sale of the Knoxville home we occupied since 2002. It is (finally) empty, save a broom or two and a dust mop that we were too lazy to remove. There's probably some hidden meaning in leaving home care supplies behind for a new owner to find - do we hope it will continue to be loved - or at least cleaned?
Then too there are the pictures of our future "home" being sent via e-mail updates by one of Bill's kind work associates. The photo above shows the exterior of the house. As you can see, it is a "stand-alone" structure. This is rare in Shenzhen - most people live in apartments. The interior is spacious and finishing off nicely too. There's a bedroom on the first floor and 3 more on the upper level - the same amount we had in the (just about) sold house. Of course, others are choosing all of the colors (well, that's easy since everything will be white!), the wood finishes, the fixtures, etc.. This is a big change for us as we have always done extensive re-modeling of our homes, usually adding bold color and agonizing over every choice. We even wallpapered a kitchen and painted bedrooms in our first TN apartment! This seems especially over-the=top when I think back to the fact that we lived there 12 months and started construction on our first home during that time! Anyway, I'd be lying if I didn't confess that "home" has had some strong ties to "dwelling" in our life's history.
But back to the title of my inky meandering.... Despite all that I have said about "home", I was reminded last week just EXACTLY what it is for me. With deep apologies to my beloved TN "family", and with sincere acknowledgement that east TN is indeed a beautiful slice of the world, I have to confess that "home" , for me , will always be Wisconsin. Spending a few days there over the 4th of July holiday was like a magic elixer to me. I drank in the rolling, emerald green farmland, marvelled at the black topsoil and all of the beauty and bounty it produces. Every scent every scene, every taste, all blankets me like a warm quilt. I'm sure I look like a kid at Disney all the while I am there. Just ask our girls and they will tell you they grew up thinking Wisconsin was akin to Oz itself. They joke that my voice takes on a reverent tone and hands must cover hearts when I utter the name of the unincorporated little hamlet where I grew up, namely (I'll give readers time here to assume a respectful pose ) "Mindoro".
So, without apology, I am basking in the afterglow of a trip "home". I will always feel blessed beyond measure to have grown up in a place where "everybody knows your name". Even the mosquitos and the smell of manure can't alter the way I feel about that place. I am SO THANKFUL that my dear siblings planned a reunion picnic during this latest trip. (See the photo above. We're in "numeric order" from left to right.) Adding seldom-seen cousins and nieces and nephews to the "home" experience was priceless. High school friends (and even a college pal) stopped in as well. Reinforcing all of those precious connections was another shot of that elixer.
Reality beckons..... We have a more loose ends to tie before we leave. We will say difficult goodbyes over the next few weeks and we will reinforce the precious connections we have to our Knoxville friends. It will be hard. Thankfully, I have reserves of "the Good Stuff" (anybody familiar with that Kenny Chesney song?) stored deep in the well of my heart. Since I always appreciate reference to a song, I'll always think of it as 'Love Potion #9"
PS: The date fore this pos t should be July8th, 2009. I can't seem to change the one above. (Thanks for pointing that out, Annabelle!)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
But, I digress. We returned from FL on a marathon drive on Monday. After several loads of laundry, Ellysa is nearly ready for her 2-night stay at a church camp near the Smoky Mtns. She leaves today with her forever pal, Isabella. As for me, I am plagued once again by those two pesky stations that I can't seem to shut down in my head. I think of them as "FRET", FM and "PLAN", AM. Despite my faith that everything will be fine, and despite the reassuring nature of our house and school and healthcare hunting trip, AND despite the fact that everything really has fallen into place so far, I can't "turn down the noise in my mind" (can you hear Carly Simon's voice?)
So, I wake before the dawn and mentally wander through the lists. It has become clear that we will need to get our furniture and selected possessions on a ship by the end of next week! This means we need to find a furninshed place to dwell until August 1st. This means we need to seriously sift and sort, make a run to Sams to but bulk quantities of items that we can't get in China (like deodorant and tampons that we would want to use, coffee, dishwasher detergent, and on and on if you're crazy like me) We need to start cancelling utilities, figure out what to do with the mail, the dog.....YIKES! Everyone also needs to get to the doctor, the dentist, the hairdresser. We need to order long=term supplies of medicines. We'd like to sell some furniture. Bill needs to take care of the items found on the home inspction for the sale of the house - we think we'll close before July 15 if the appraisal (done yesterday) goes well.
Oh, we also need to arrange for a furnished place in Shenzhen for a couple weeks after we arrive as it is likely our stuff will not be there August 1st, even if we DO ship it next week. So much for being settled in the house when school starts, but this appears to be a small hurdle.
Seriously, if someone doesn't find a better station, I'm gonna have to get rid of that radio!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Hopefully, these pictures will paint my story....
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
We are, gratefully, back in Knoxville after a L O N G trip home. As if a fifteen hour flight from Hong Kong to Chicago is not enough time spent in the "friendly skies", we were again treated to a little extra time in Chicago. This time we got to sit on a taxi-way for three hours. We arrived in Knoville at midnight Monday night ((Tuesday afternoon where we had just spent 10 days), so we are pretty wiped out. The girls were troopers as usual, even despite Emily having stomach pains the entire HK to ORD flight and Ellysa throwing up several times on that same bumpy ride. We think Emily ate something that disagreed with her. As for Elly, well, she frequently needs a bag nearby during travel if you get my drift. They are both fine now.
Anyway, things are "falling into place". For my part, it sure SEEMS like falling too! I continue to have mostly positive and confident thoughts about this undertaking but I would be lying if I didn't say I feel overwhelmed and scared every day too. I still can't believe we found a home, enrolled the girls in schools, met an MD in Hong Kong who agreed to coordinate healthcare for us while we're there. Thanks to Bill's amazing organizational skills, we also bought cell phones so when we arrive in August we'll quickly be able to contact our new network! To increase the comfort factor in a land of strangers, we even got a cheap phne for Ellysa! (You can imagine her excitement!) I got the same cheap model as I expect to remain a simple(tech)ton for some time! Elly was proud that I chose the same phone as she so that she could teach me to use it. (Sad but true....)
We feel good about the decisions we've made so far. One big question before the trip was related to furnishing the house. We decided to ask for our unit to be unfurnished so that we can take our familiar things with us and make it feel more like our home and our sanctuary. We think we'll get quite a lot of resistence to our requests to hang pictures on the walls as they are all concrete. It' sad and worrisome to think about storing the many prints we have bought as souveniers on vacations over the years, but maybe the tropics would be hard on them anyway.
Not long after sharing our "We're moving to China!" news with people, a fretting friend told me that if God is behind a plan, things will just "fall into place". It seems that this is the case for our move. I pray daily that God will keep sheltering us and give us wisdom We have already been given so much advice, encouragement, hospitality and support, both here and in China. Really, I can't put my appreciation into words. I never dreamed I would be taking such a big adventure. I certainly would have denied my ability to absorb the events of the past month and still be standing upright. (Okay, I admit I sway and swoon every now and then.) God is great .....and He has many hands and feet around His world.
I'll post some photos on my next entry into cyberspace. Right now, I need an Ambian and a pillow, in that order.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
"Come to the edge.""We can't. We're afraid.""Come to the edge.""We can't. We will fall!""Come to the edge."And they came.And he pushed them.And they flew.~ Guillaume Apollinaire, 1880-1918 Many years ago, I kept this quote taped in front of me on a college desk. When I dismantled my dorm room, I put the yellowed quote in my Bible. (The one bestowed upon me by the Presbyterian Church in my little Wisconsin hometown.) When I have had my Bible out over the years, that yellowed rectangle would fall out, reminding me that if only we will trust, we can soar.
Well, to be honest, moving to China seems a lot like going to the edge. (The earth is round, I know, but it's hard to see that from the current perspective.) My dear husband of nearly 28 years called me "out of the blue" just a few weeks ago and offered the "possibility" of this move. It DID sound like one of those "chance of a lifetime" moments and so I said "Sure, we should be open to the possibility."
Fast (FAST!) forward to today and we have passports and visas on the counter. We'll be in Shenzhen in just a few days, looking for ....a house? (there are very few), a highrise apartment? (there are many, but we might fall!), new schools? (an International School), a new grocery store? (and way new groceries), new friends? (I have SO MANY WONDERFUL "OLD" ONES!), new, new everything! I swing from panic to excitment to exhaustion over all that must be done to make this move happen in two months. Our house is for sale, but there's SO MUCH STUFF to be sorted. What stays in storage? What will be need and have room for? What will be end up giving up and letting go of just to expedite this adventure? We've been vaccinated. Our luggage is out of the attic, ready to be filled.
I feel blessed but uncertain. It will be an amazing experience but it WILL be scary. We're approaching the edge. Get ready, here we gooooooooo!!!!