Regarding Transitions…

“Before you go, will you teach us… ?”

Two years ago, this time seemed very far off and possibly beyond our reach. How did we manage to journey long enough down this road of language learning to be ready to leave our language school, our first launching pad? Did we really learn all the things? Can we truly say we speak Mandarin? Can anyone ever fully speak a second language though? It seems to be a never ending task of tweaking and perfecting. Absurdly, my teachers are confident that I have reached the point of being sent off on my own to continue the learning, out in the world, haha! (Mark, being a native Cantonese speaker, graduated over a year ago and has been patiently waiting for me to hurry up. *smile*) So in just six weeks we will be waiting for my final exam results and packing up the apartment – preparing to start a new chapter,¬† in a new city and province, in Southern China. The place we have told you about, you’ve shared our hopes and dreams and joined with us in our vision for helping people while learning about them and their culture. Sanya, the beautiful and tropical place that we’ve longed to plant our roots in, where we hope to live for many years to come, with a new and one day thriving business that brings light and love to all who enter!

But in order to get there, we must first leave here. Xi’an has been a place of growth for our family. It has held many treasured memories of firsts and friends that became family. This giant city (twice the size of Sitka, AK, the largest city in the USA) has been a place of learning, both language and culture, as well as some harder life and spiritual lessons. And it’s also been a difficult place, so very overwhelmingly so at times that we could hardly catch our breath. The kind of place that forces you to hold tight to those that will still love you when the fires go out and the flood waters fade. We have learned to be brave and strong and to love our family fiercely. Thankfully, we have also learned to be gentle and vulnerable and to be more lovable when others come alongside us… In the midst of these reflections, my thoughts are interrupted by the pressing needs. Packing, organizing, purging, cleaning, studying, grading, doctors (oh so many doctors this year!), translating doctor reports, newsletters, work reports, charging the scooter, buying groceries, cooking, bathing, etc, etc. ūüôā How does one simply pack up their whole life and family and start fresh in a new place, in a foreign country… all over again?!

This is our ‘normal life’ friends. Although we hope this is our last BIG move for a long while, we have grown accustomed to it over the last eight years. Eight years of constant transition. What I know for sure about it is, we must leave well in order to start over well. Our race isn’t over, but our time in this place soon will be. So how do we manage that time? It starts with preparing our hearts and our spirits to say a lot of “See you later”s to dear friends, neighbors, classmates, and teachers that have become family. This can take a lot of prayer and it can hit you by surprise when the ones you least want to leave start to, as great friends will, become excited for you. They ask you questions and talk about a time when you will be practically on the other side of the country and doing new things. They want to hear all the plans – and all you can think is “But then I won’t see you every single morning. Maybe not for many months… or even years! I will miss you dear one!”

That’s about how my week was going, rather by the book so to speak. Then came the new line of questions I had never prepared for. ~~ “Before you go, will you teach us more about raising kind and helpful kids?” “We want you both to help us with pre-marital counseling while you’re still here, do you have time?” “Maybe you can write a book or come back sometimes to teach *Word & *Truth classes?” “I can gather some friends, I think it’s very important that you give us a marriage seminar. How about after the holiday – but before you move?!” ~~ You see, most of our language teachers like to ask us questions during class. Things they really want to know, but also to get us to answer in Mandarin using new vocab and grammar. We never expected that they would miss those talks or that those conversations were much more than curiosity about the foreigners’ ways. Yet, over the months of daily classes, some of our teachers have really poured out their hearts and in turn we have shared ours freely. Not only will we miss those precious moments with these very dear ones… but we desire to grant every single request we possibly can before we make this big transition from the big city (Xi’an), to Sanya (Which is SMALL by Chinese standards, but still about the size of Jacksonville, FL (the 5th largest city in the USA by landmass).

And how to finish well? We are choosing to be purposeful and loving in how we prepare ourselves, our kids (their transition stuff is a whole other post full!), and our dearest friends for our departure. Between the travel, phone calls, emails… amid rental agreements, class time, grading papers and doctors… we have scheduled time out of packing and studying for special lunch visits, game nights, play-dates and even a friend’s wedding. We have plans to take our kids on one last adventure trip with friends during the upcoming school break (although not together – half of us are going north and the other half south). And yes, we will teach a marriage seminar, we will counsel other friends in preparation for their wedding (which we hope to come back to attend next year!), and we will take time to pray and fellowship with many more beloved ones that have become our “China family” these last two years!

Maybe after the move I will think about writing that book. Let’s start with just getting back to writing here on this blog once a week. Or even once a year, that would be good! Guess I don’t have to tell you what being a full time language student and homeschool mom living in China has done to my “free time” or rather, my “writing time”. *grin*

 

-JK

 

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happy Chris-Columbus-was-a-TURD day

So it’s Columbus Day. Woohoo. NOT.¬†

That’s about as cool as going to Germany & saying “Hey everyone, it’s Adolph Hitler Day, let’s go have a beer!” Um… EW!

Here I am with a million things to do: Order school books online, set up a fundraising page for our adoption, study my own school books, correct 3 kids’ homework, clean my tiny 2 sq ft kitchen, fold laundry, fill out reimbursement forms & file receipts, etc…

However, I put off writing about this topic last year & don’t really want to skip over it again. People should really hear more about the other people involved & what really happened… in ALL parts of our “American” history. In regards to this day, people should know the names of Leif Erickson & Bartolom√© de las Casas as well as the Lucayan people…

So, obviously having lots of my own opinions on this & very little time to express them, I will instead leave you with a link to a page that pretty much sums it all up! If you’re even more interested in finding the truth, I recommend you look into reading Columbus’ own journal for yourself &/or the other informative resources sited on the bottom of the Oatmeal page.

The Oatmeal: Columbus Day

EDITED TO SAY… I just found another good link for a quick up-to-date list of which states still give CD as a paid day-off AND which state gives it a much better name. To which I say – Way to be leaders South Dakotans!!: “Since 1990, South Dakota has marked the second Monday in October as Native Americans Day, an official state holiday.” (Fact Tank)

With Love,

A frustrated American homeschool mom, living in Hong Kong, desperately striving to teach her children the TRUTH… the REAL STORY about HIS story. You see, one day we will all KNOW the truth & on that day, we will finally meet the ONE who saw every war & every ‘discovery’ first hand… that’s why it’s HIS story.

-JK

crafting the Truth

We are passionate about truth. If we don’t learn FROM it, we are certainly destined to repeat mistakes of our ancestors that we may otherwise be able to avoid… History is HISstory. We trust God to teach us & give us discernment through His Spirit as we study various materials. It’s so important to see the ‘stories’ from all sides, but most important to see it from God’s side. Almost always, each side has something good to teach us & each side has made mistakes we can learn from.

The same is true with the history of what we now call Thanksgiving. It started as a one time Harvest Feast by a group of weary pilgrims in a new land, grateful to God to be alive after burying half of their fellow travelers… It’s not even clear if the Native Americans were invited to join the feast or if they invited themselves… But there was indeed a tentative peace & cooperative relationship between the two groups, which did last for a number of years, until more & more ships of Englishmen with different objectives arrived. Then the peace treaties were forgotten & it became a sad story of war once again. If you are looking for more info on the before, during & after of the REAL story you can check out the article & video that we liked best out of all the ones we went through, these had the most comprehensive overall info. (The Real Thanksgiving Story, We Shall Remain, After the Mayflower)

We finished out our lesson with crafts, hot coco & Charlie Brown… A little taste of ‘normal’ for these homeschoolers that are not used to being stuck indoors (getting over colds) on the 51st floor, staring into the foggy sky. Now I’m off to finish laundry & prepare the house for yet another lovely Team Member to visit for the next week. Blessings & Thankful prayers friends!

 

 

 

 

 

“I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.” -Psalm 69:30

-JK