Monday, August 30, 2010

What Goes Around Comes Around

Time, I decided as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes at 6:45 on a Saturday morning, to begin writing my blog again.  I had not intended to take the whole summer off.  I envisioned leisurely moments back in the USA when I would reflect on the first "China cycle" with a detached and objective eye.  I fully expected I would use the blog to pour out the emotions I felt at being truly "home".  WRONG!  (Or, as John Lennon so wisely said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.")

Summer whizzed by at super-warp speed, and no wonder considering all that we wedged into our 8 weeks!  My Master Appointment Sheet, initiated many weeks before we left China, seemed like a managable plan, spacing out all of the doctor, dentist, and business-affairs "check-ups" we needed to accomplish while in Knoxville.  Alas, it seemed every appointment begat a follow-up for some finding or another.  I needed a filling (add two more appointments); Ellysa needed to have some minor oral surgury recommended by her dentist (add three more appointments); Emily found out she could improve her smile (without more orthodontia) with a procedure to extend the tooth that seemed determined to shrink from the ranks (add one more appointment).  On top of the above multiplications, add Emily's visit to the "Minute Clinic" to treat a sore throat.Then there was my trip to the MD for a flu-like virus that had me down for nearly a week with fevers and a wicked cough.  Consider also the other "ologists" who I saw only once.  No wonder I didn't sit on a veranda and think profound thoughts!

And I should also document here and now the ridiculous amount of miles we logged.  Torturous flights from China and back book-ended our crazy itinerary.  Our summer also included driving to and all around WI and flying to Portland, OR for a four-day, four college visit.  Emily snuck in an awesome trip to Denver to see her friend Ashton, and Ashton's Mom, Kim.  They even managed a road trip to Mount Rushmore!  Picture side-trips to airports at all hours to drop off and pick up Emily and Erin as they carried out their dream trip to Machu Pichu, Peru.  Tired and dizzy?  I was!  Writing a blog in my spare time?  Afaid not!

But here I am.  Back on the red sofa in my living room in Shenzhen, PRC.  We all survived our first summer of "going home".  It was an interesting challenge since we no longer "own" a home in the USA.  Thank God for the generosity and patience of friends and family who sheltered us, fed us, and put up with our crazy schedules.  It is not easy having a party of 3 or 4 drop in with six pieces of luggage.  The fact that we also suffered jet lag and multiple viruses did not make us more appealing.  But our dear friends (voluntarily) and family (they're stuck with us, I guess!) were a godsend.  They catered, cleaned, shuttled , borrowed, laundered, listened, played, entertained.  They planned for us and around us for weeks on end and we felt so loved!

And that brings me around to the conclusion of this first blog post of "Year 2 in China".  My first thoughts coming here a year ago, and my thoughts returning again, are mostly about our dear friends and family.  They have carried us, literally and figuratively, through this incredible journey.  So this is a "thank you" post, from the bottom of my heart.  For the prayers and the patience, for the pulls and the pushes, for the memories and the messages.  To those we did not see this summer, my deepest regrets!  We just couldn't fit it all in! 

I will write in the weeks ahead about the details of "Year 2".  It is a much easier start than our first year but still offers many occasions for shock, amusement, endearment, and growth.  I hope you'll enjoy what I share.

You can follow the link below to a Shutterfly album with photos from some of our summer fun.