... You might do far better in China than I do.
I think, though I'm not completely sure, that China tends to be a pretty verbal culture. (Possibly this is just because words weigh more in my brain when they're in my second language?) But folks definitely do like to talk a lot. Neighbors have to state the obvious just to be neighborly, kind. For example, I'm loaded down like a donkey but sadleless, carrying 30 pounds of groceries for our family (side note, no body does this here but me. Everyone else buys a meal or two of groceries at a time. Grocery shopping is part of daily socializing for friends here who all only have one kid and probably two or more family members ready to watch that one sparkling child.)
Anyways, I walk into our apartment complex and the guy at the gate has to say to me "Oh you bought stuff." The neighbor lady walking past me tells me "You bought a lot." The grandma on the elevator notices "You're back. You bought stuff."
Yep. Now this is the *perfect* time for me to smile and nod... Matt's constant advice for me... but too often I feel like I owe people some sort of conversation and usually my amount of groceries purchased just doesn't rank as a desired topic. A dumb struggle.
And for my too-verbal self, I usually feel like I owe people a greeting or a comment if anyone looks at me twice. But let me tell you, there are some scenes in our days where we are swarmed with onlookers. Just smile and nod... really, Jill!
It gets tougher, though, when we add parenting stress spots to the mix.
This morning John threw a Two Year Old Classic in an otherwise blissful scene of play in the sandbox with his big bro and sis. Baby sister is crying inside for mama.
I invite him "would you like to come in with mama or stay here and play?"
"Buddy, that's not going to get you anywhere. Would you like to come or like to stay?"
Repeat. Apparently there's no option for us here.
I'm trying hard to deal firm and fair with this angel-haired ridiculousness, but it does need to be quick. The baby needs me.
And then the sweet new neighbor, whose patio borders ours, chimes in. She wants to know all that's going on. Not only is she verbal, but she doesn't understand all the words my son and I have just exchanged. And she needs the whole scene translated for her.
And John is full swing into his fit now, and Vivi really needs a nursing, and John will be disciplined for not only screaming and telling mama "No," but now he's throwing sand all over to top it off.
It's just not the time for translation. (Do I really need to point that out?) I usually feel super rude about trying to explain,"sorry, not now... ahh, is that ok?" Smile and nod.... but sometimes it doesn't seem to work!?
Maybe this is just one of those tiny rough patches to humble me along the way. I do need humbling so... Breath deep, smile, bring John inside with me, and wave to the neighbor. Breath deep again. Pray. God's grace abounds for the humble, so take this humbling as a great, and very needed gift. Love the boy. Love the girl. Then write a blog post to process without speaking words, how difficult words can be sometimes! Amen.