We have learned that Jack does not know that his name is Jack (we were under the impression that he did- that is what he was called at the foster care home to our knowledge). It turns out that he actually thinks that his name is "da tou" - big head! Note to those unfamiliar with Jack- he has hydrocephalus and, thus, a very large head for his age. It turns out that, in Chinese culture, it isn't rude at all to refer to someone based on an obvious physical feature- like calling a large American "big old man" or something like that. Shout out to our awesome friend Dan, who was known as "big nose" during his time in China. Don't worry, Dan, they refer to most foreigners that way.....right?
Matt and I had a great time shopping today. It is a rare case that I get my husband to willingly go shopping with me, and even rarer that he has things to spend money on as well. The good news is that when we have jet lag for the next five days, we will be ale to stay up and have tea parties and practice Chinese character calligraphy together. Obviously, the marriage that pretends to be Chinese together stays together!
We had the privilege of meeting the woman that runs a local organization, called A Gift From China, while we were shopping today. Their shop houses goods produced from their many community development programs, mostly working with orphans, and the funds from the shop go back into their kids. It's a really beautiful model, and even better for us to know that our souvenir shopping was going to a good cause- something that you definitely can't be certain of in China. You can sponsor their kids to go to summer camps, and they partner with other organizations (such as Love Without Boundaries, where Elijah was in foster care, and Half the Sky, active in Zhengzhou orphanage) to have monthly programs as well.
We also met another believer, Jenny, who runs aptly named Jenny's Place and attends the Shamian Island Chapel, where we attended on Sunday. She sold me a lovely tea set (hence the tea parties) and told us about going to the church, etc. She was lovely, and just down the street from AGFC, so anyone traveling soon should visit both of those places!
In all, Matt and I got lots of different things on the premise of not knowing when we would ever be in China again. Pearl earrings, calligraphy sets, entire cakes of Pu'Er tea (Missy, are you out there?), chopsticks, etc etc and then some. You can get such beautiful things here for next to nothing!
We are concluding our last night here in the executive lounge- Matt, Jack, and I. Matt just asked Jack, "are you coming back?"- to which he replied "I'm not coming back!" so Matt asked him, "where are you going?" and he replied quickly, "I'm going to America!"
Matt wants to make sure that the point of that paragraph is that he "speaks Chinese like a champ"- this is definitely true, considering he had a basic conversation with a four-year-old, but let's give him props anyway (golf clap). But seriously, this is a kid with some insight. He has been prepared for tomorrow! For the record, America, in mandarin, is "may-gwa". You're welcome.
If anyone is wondering about the chopstick challenge, I think it is safe to say that it fizzled. Considering that, at the past two hotels, we had to ask specifically for chopsticks (very western friendly) we have gotten pretty lazy, and if you're going to blame us, try adopting two special needs kids at once! I used a fork on my dragon fruit this morning and I'm not ashamed. However, I still used chopsticks for my fried rice, which is infinitely harder to eat and therefore gives me more street cred. Props go out to Dad, though, who still makes an effort to get chopsticks whenever possible. He was not going down. I have to say, I'm impressed.
Tomorrow we begin our journey home to the states. We will be up and in a cab at 5:50 to be at the airport for our flight to Beijing, then have a long layover before we board our 6:30 flight to DC. That being said, we are armed with a bottle of Melatonin and plans to run laps around the airport with Elijah before our long flight. Thankfully, biology will be on our side,as the flight will be overnight according to how we (read: the boys) have been sleeping. Hopefully it will go quickly and smoothly because of this
I am happy to report that Matt is feeling much better today-thank you for all of your prayers (and to Les for the official New Hope call to pray- awesome!)-we are ready to be healthy and home! Also, we are so excited that Vanessa and Mira have finally been united! So excited to meet this sweet girl when they get home. What a blessing to be a part of the Newman clan. Love them all so much!
Thankfully to be traveling home to my bed, dog, friends, and car tomorrow. Pray for peace for the kids, safe travel, and unity for the family! See you all stateside :) :)
Sent with AGAPE LOVE from my iPad!