Tuesday, October 7, 2008

South of the River

We are so deeply grateful for these dear friends that we spent time with, who so warmly welcomed us into their home and lives last week. It felt like a rare opportunity for us(as a family of four) to really see life in a local family, outside of this big city. We loved our time with these precious friends and in their neat community.

This is our dear FS that we travelled with, whose parents we visited. Her mother, Li Ayi, is an extraordinary cook and I was so glad to learn some more local recipes from her! Fang Shu Shu, her dad, was calm, cool peacefulness to be with. We loved watching how they both adored our kiddos.

The old men in this part of town seemed to congregate at one end of the city park just to be together. They weren't playing games as is super common here. They weren't reading or even smoking... it looked like they were really simply being together.
Every day after Li Ayi made a feast (three times a day) she would grab Marian out of her travel high chair and whisk her away with her downstairs to be with all the neighbors. Isaiah would run to catch up after he (finally) finished eating. Li Ayi sells wood ear, and some tofu type ingredients, and delicious spices out of the stand that their front door opens onto. All day everyday could be spent with the neighbor vendors and customers just being together.... it's was beautiful and radically, fantastically unamerican. I really want to learn this skill, this beautiful skill... to not be so task driven, task focused, task oriented, and so darn bound to my idea of productivity allllll the time. It is striking how much PEOPLE were priority to Jesus. This visit challenged me to recheck my good tasks and priorities in this light and pray for willingness and eagerness to lay down my schedule for others.

Every morning when we woke up, Isaiah and I would watch the street scene out the front kitchen window. Our family's home is in the wholesale food district for the city and it was rush hour for the veggie, meat, etc dealers from around 6 - 8 am.

Isaiah absolutely fell in love with the "beng beng chuang" (jumping bed) here. The town actually had three of them and Isaiah played on two. Tickets were 30 cents (USA) for the small one (first pic) and 50 cents for the bigger one.

Qi Qi, a cute little cousin in the family, was a fun play pal, once Isaiah got warmed up a bit for jumping.

Our kids are often treated like royalty here, especially in this town that has probably seen just a few- if any, really- blonde kiddos before. Sometimes the kids enjoy making friends and feeling popular but it's something we really want wisdom and patience to know how to handle because it can honestly be quite annoying. We'd so much rather make the most of every opportunity to be a blessing to people here and not be annoyed at such displays of joy!

This little guy came over one afternoon while Isaiah was napping and he waited around a while till Isaiah woke up. Then he presented Isaiah with a little toy that he bought for Isaiah himself. It was so sweet!