Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Chinese Way of life is so different than anything I ever expected or even have the ability to adequately describe. The only way to truly understand even a little bit about what I mean is to see it with your own eyes.
Today I am in Dahua it is a very small city (400,000). In fact, it's so small it's nearly impossible to find on any map. Ezra does a lot of traveling to this city right now for work and somehow talked me into coming with him (he's does that a lot!). It is much more third world and honestly I was nervous about what I would see. The city has garbage lining many of the streets and the stores and houses are basically little cement garages.
I recently read a book about the German occupation on the Channel Islands, it talked about the destruction and bombing and how the people where working to rebuild their cities. There are many buildings here that look to me like they could have come straight out of a war scene.
As we drove into the city we passed vacant building after vacant building, they look so cold and creepy. Some, I was surprised to find are not so vacant, dirty little children were standing outside of what must be their houses.
Small abrupt mountains poke out of the ground all around, and fog settles around the bases. It about looks like a dragon may glide over -head.
Their fields look like misshapen puzzle pieces. Farmers wearing little rice hats can be found hoeing by hand. Many of them are women. Sometimes they use water buffalo to help till, but most of the buffalo just laze about eating grass with their calves.
I can't help but look into those fields and see those women toiling at their work and wonder why it's not me out there slaving away in the dirt day after day.
Living in China I feel like my eyes have been opened. I am so much more keenly aware of the many blessings I've been given. I find myself asking questions like "Why am I so blessed to have been born into the Gospel? Why am I so blessed to have been born to loving parents that provided me with with a safe and secure home where I never wanted for anything? Why am I so blessed to have been born in America where life is so easy and we have so much opportunity and freedom? I have had the opportunity to be educated and to make all my own choices, many people don't enjoy these blessings, why do I?
AND, I can have as many children as I want to….two at a time if I feel like it ( :
All I know is that Heavenly Father expects a lot from me. Where much is given much is required. And I have been given a whole heck-of a lot.
I really never noticed how easy my life was- okay so it has never been all rainbows and butterflies, I've had my share of life's tough experiences. But compared to what I've seen of life here in China "rainbows and butterflies" might not actually be a bad description.
I'm beginning to realize all of the blessings I took for granted every day. Simple blessing like:
Taking a long hot shower
Laying on soft, clean, green grass
Making dinner with an oven
Driving myself to the store in my own car
Going to a movie
Drinking a glass of water straight from the tap
Running around with out shoes on
Having access to a seat belt
Enjoying peace and quiet
Living close to the temple
Having all the food I could want made by myself or put in a take out bag.
Central air and heat
There are so many I could name.
Everything I do in China is so much more of a process. Whether it's cooking a meal, getting a light fixed, shopping, or trying to maneuver around the city. Life here is different and everything I do here takes increased time and energy.
It's easy to get homesick.
Especially when your apartment floods twice in one week and your husband is traveling, (The second flood involved human feces-yuck!). But that's a story for a different day.
My double dose of Pregnancy hormones has left me feeling nauseous again. Thankfully not as near as bad as it was in the beginning. But I am starting to think that my next pregnancies are going to seem like a cinch compared to this one.
I'm hoping that I will be able to feel well enough to take advantage of some English teaching opportunities that have come my way. I'll be the teacher that has all the snacks and sits in her chair a lot.
It's been a hard couple of weeks, at times it takes everything I have not to just jump a plane home. I knew it would be an adjustment moving to China. I just think my whole pregnancy and not feeling good has made it harder than I expected.
It can be hard to be grateful when your trials are staring you straight in the face. But I try and remind my self of all the blessings I have been given and all the blessings that lie in store (in about 5 months-I'll have two little blessings :)
There are people all around me that have gone through much harder things-I just need to stop being a wimp. I'll make it over this hurdle just like I have the rest. Thank goodness I have such a wonderful husband to help me.
I know I am in China for a reason and I need to find "joy in the journey." Sometimes it is hard to live for today and not get caught up in what the future will bring. But I know that today is a gift and I should treat it as such. "Come what may and love it, right?" (I love how I'm giving myself a pep-talk.)
Everyday is filled with little blessings that come from the special people that live here in China. I can truly say that there are many extraordinary people all around. They give up their seat on the bus, they hold doors, they work hard, they smile, and their children say hello.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I'm doing so catch up from the holidays. I was so busy and sick during that time that I failed to make any posts, but we really did have a wonderful holiday- so here's a start to some of our holiday pictures. These are from Grandpa Ropers birthday party.
WARNING: This is a pregnancy post, symptoms may be described.
Symptom 1: So I thought my smelling abilities had kind of died down, but while we were in Hong Kong we passed by this little food joint. It smelled so bad, like a billion times worse than the dried fish section at my local Wal-Mart. It was just plain FOUL and I started dry heaving in the middle of a crowded street.
Usually I have pretty good control and can stop myself but there was absolutely no hope. I tried to hide it by shoving my face into Ezra's shoulder but it was all in vain. So much for not looking like a snobby American.
Symptom 2: So I'm watching Sandlot. You know the movie with funny little baseball playing kids. I'm 5 minutes into the movie and it comes to the part where "smalls" is trying to make friends so he goes out to play with the guys. He can't throw the ball and all the boys start laughing at him and he runs away. What do I do…I start crying! I fought back tears the whole movie! It's Sandlot for crying out loud—not "It's a beautiful life." Holy Cow! I wish there was a pressure point on my wrist or a button I could press to turn the emotions off.
As far as hormones go most of the time I feel pretty much like my normal self. But there have been a few instances where I've lost a little bit of self control. Like when I was having problems making spaghetti a couple of Sundays ago.
This explains it perfectly: "As the body creates more hormones in larger quantities to meet the demands of growing twins, Mom's mood swings may be more and more evident, making even the worse week of PMS look like a day at the park in comparison. A warning to those who work, live, and play with Moms Pregnant with Twins: Going from tears, to happy, to irrational, to hyper-speed and back again in the span of five minutes is not uncommon!"
You're probably thinking "good thing she's in China." Lol- Sorry Ez!
Symptom 3: Right now I am completely amazed at how much food I can eat. I've always been the girl who just wants half the sandwich. Now I eat the sandwich everything that came with it and I'm ready for the next one. It's been so weird! I often think, "Did I really just eat all of that-whoa!" There is only one cruddy part about this. Every time I wake up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom (which seems like 14 times a night) I have to eat other wise I wake up nauseous. So I literally eat ALL day long.
I am beginning to miss western food terribly! Lets face it Chinese food is pretty much the weirdest food on the planet, and nothing I've had here comes even remotely close to panda express! I could live off of orange chicken, but its nowhere to be found.
I feel like Po from Kung Fu Panda. Food has become a major motivation- If you tempt me with a potato or a glass of milk- You might be able to get me to do the spilts on a beam in my living room! When I visit in April I am coming back with a suitcase full of food!
Symptom 4: Other than the normal pregnancy symptoms I'm just so so tired. I can tell my body is working hard to "grow" two babies. I get worn out so quickly. The other day while Ezra was at work I went to Wal-Mart and decided to find all the western food in the store. (which would probably only take up half a shelf if they put it all together.)
I went isle by isle looking for "normal food." After a while I started to feel sick. I felt like I needed to sit down but I just ignored it and kept going, I really wanted to finish my quest. After a couple more isles I finally decided, "I don't feel good, I'll go check out."
Being the smarty that I am I choose a short line, but the guy in front of me had the fullest cart I've seen (in China). Did I mention grocery lines are a great time for people to stare at me? It's something I don't think I'll EVER get used to-oh well. I'll just keep pretending I don't notice.
I stand there feeling cruddy thinking, "I'll just tough it out and go straight home and eat and take a nap, I can do this, I can do this, I'm okay, I can do this." It wasn't long before I was thinking "oh man, I'm gonna pass out, I'm gonna pass out in Wal-Mart!" So I ditch my cart and push my way to the front of the store where there are a few benches. At this point my ears are ringing, my vision is blurring, and I can feel the color leaving my face. Luckily I make it to the bench and sit down. At this point EVERYBODY is staring at me, the green white girl.
I shove a few hard candies in my mouth and put my head in my hands and think, "this is horrible." I really did need the food and things in my cart so I call Ezra and ask him what I should do. After a few minutes I get up (everyone is still staring at me) grab my cart and get back in another line. At this point I'm really wishing I knew mandarin so I could explain my situation to a Good Samaritan that would let me cut in line. As I'm standing there this little lady starts comin up like she's going to cut in front of me.
At this point I had had it, and I was not going to put up with any Chinese cutting in line nonsense. So I look her straight in the eyes and shake my head. "There is no way in H..E..-double that I am going to let you get in front of me." She gets the picture and gets behind me. After a few minutes I see her making verbal contact with the guy in front of me—probably her son. This little lady was just trying to get back in line with her family.
Yeah……So at that point I was feeling like one big, nauseous, pregnant, American Jerk!
Anyway lesson learned. Now I make sure I listen to my body- if it says eat, I eat. If it says sit down, I sit down. If it says sleep, I sleep. I can't afford to be found passed out in Wal-Mart or anywhere else. They seriously would not know what to do with me. And it would probably take like seven full-grown Chinese men to lift me.
Ezra has been telling pretty much everyone we run into that I'm pregnant with twins. As soon as they hear the word "twins" they automatically look at my belly and then they get this confused look on their face like "what the heck, this guys a liar." Then I have to explain that I'm only three months along so I'm not very big yet. I kinda wish he'd stop telling everyone, but at the same time it makes me happy to know that he's so excited to be a dad.
I still can't BELEIVE I'm pregnant with twins! - Ezra and I joked about it before we knew. But in my mind it was an impossibility. My brother Nathan said "I bet you're gonna have twins" and I was like "no way dude" and didn't think anything of it. Now he prides himself on the fact that he "totally called it."
Okay all you Mom's or soon to be Mom's out there. I need to know if I'm normal or if I'm being totally paranoid and just need to chill. In between appointments I find myself getting worried. I think stupid things like "Are they still in there? Are their hearts still beating? Are they growing normal? What if ones way bigger that the other?" All these questions keep running through my mind, I just wish I had my own ultrasound machine so I could do check ups everyday.
I'm probably a little bit worse than I would be because I'm in China and the thought of having anything go wrong while I'm here is just plain scary! But I guess as with everything else I just need to put my trust in Lord. What supposed to happen will happen. I just want to make sure I'm doing all I can.
Overall I'm enjoying being pregnant especially since the nausea has begun to die down. It was really hard for Ezra to see me so sick and miserable and not be able to do anything about it. He's been very sensitive to all my pregnancy needs. He basically waits on me hand and foot.
The transition to China has been made much easier because of him. He makes meals, does laundry, brings me food, does dishes, and makes sure I'm comfortable. Plus he works very hard. I am so thankful for a husband that takes such good care of me.
I feel like time is flying by (most days) and now I'm onto my second trimester. That means I'm a third of the way through- holy cow! I just can't wait until I can start to feel these two little guys moving around! I also can't wait to know what they are. I have these little daydreams about the possibilities and I picture them all cuddled up next to each other and it just so fun! Boys! Girls! Both! We'll take it!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Ezra and I spent the opening of the year of the rabbit in Hong Kong! It was so fun. Above are some pictures of our adventures including my first belly picture (12 weeks)! Can you see it? Okay so it looks like a gas bubble but I'm definitely getting bigger! Can't wait until I actually look pregnant, except for that I looked up twin pregnant bellies on google images- I suggest none of you do that-can you say SCARY! WOW!
Anyway Hong Kong was crazy! There were A LOT of people there to celebrate the new year. We took a gondola ride to the big Buddha, saw the symphony of lights, did some boating on the south China sea, visited Victoria peak, saw a temple at repulse bay, and went to the night markets.
I told Ezra that I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to see some missionaries walking the streets of Hong Kong. And you'll never guess who we ran into at the subway station that night- yes. Two cute little missionaries from Highland Utah and St George. Um hello… Highland, we graduated from the same high school! So cool! They said the work in Hong Kong is going great!
Living in a foreign country has given me a whole new respect for ALL missionaries. It's not an easy thing they do, but they stick with it, rely on the Lord, and bless the lives of people throughout generations. Missionaries are awesome!
We also got to go to church right across the street from the temple. Everyone in the ward spoke Cantonese, so they got us a translator. It was such an amazing experience to hear these wonderful peoples testimonies. Even though most of the ward members didn't know very much English they were eager to welcome us and make us feel at home.
Hong Kong was fun, but I was very glad to get back to Nanning. In general the people here seem to be a bit more down to earth. Although it doesn't really feel like home yet I'm glad to be back in my own space where I have a few friends.
Okay so I'm a Rabbit and I'm having two little rabbits this year! Below are the Chinese zodiac animals, it's kind of fun to figure out what you are. All you have to do is find the year you were born. Have fun!
Rabbit 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Occupying the 4th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Rabbit symbolizes such character traits as creativity, compassion, and sensitivity. They like to express themselves through art. They have strong memories and like to make other people laugh. Rabbits are friendly, outgoing and prefer the company of others. They also prefer to avoid conflict. In confrontational situations, Rabbits approach calmly and with consideration for the other party. Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and lacking such bonds can lead to emotional issues.
Their serene nature keeps Rabbits from becoming visibly upset. Because they're serene animals, Rabbits are easily taken advantage of. Their sensitive nature makes them shy away from aggressive or competitive situations. They're overall conservative and not interested in taking risks.
Classy, sophisticated, expressive, well-mannered and stylish, those born under the Sign of the Rabbit enjoy leaning about cultural issues and learning about people from other countries. Rabbits are most comfortable being home, and their homes are always neat and organized. Home is also where Rabbits prefer to entertain. Rabbits are conservative in their decorating tastes. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.
The Rat: (Birthdays in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) Occupying the 1st and most prominent position on the Chinese Zodiac, the Rat symbolizes such character traits as wit, imagination and curiosity. Rats have keen observation skills and with those skills they're able to deduce much about other people and other situations. Overall, Rats are full of energy, talkative and charming but they have a tendency to become aggressive.
Rats are full of good advice but they will never share their troubles with others. They are honest individuals and they enjoy living for the moment. They're also capable of surviving any situation.
The Ox: (Birthdays in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) Oxen possess such character traits as dependability, strength and determination. Oxen are tolerant individuals who believe that the road to success involves hard work and scrupulous behavior; they don't believe in taking shortcuts. They characterize those who don't work hard as lazy individuals not worthy of respect.
Oxen are capable of trusting others and will listen to their opinions with an open mind. However, Oxen prefer making decisions that are based on their own research. Oxen favor strong, life-long alliances to casual acquaintances.
Home is where Oxen go to seek comfort, occasionally watching television or reading. They prefer the rural outdoors and spend the majority of their "home" time working in the garden or caring for the yard.
The Tiger: (Birthdays in 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010) Tiger symbolizes such character traits as bravery, competitiveness and unpredictability. Tigers love to be challenged and will accept any challenge if it means protecting a loved one or protecting their honor. They don't worry about the outcome because they know they'll always land on their feet. Don't let their calm appearance fool you though; Tigers will pounce when they feel it's necessary.
Born to lead, Tigers can be stubborn if they realize they're not in charge. They have a slight tendency to be selfish but overall, Tigers are extremely generous. They're very intelligent and they're always on alert. Tigers are very charming and are well-liked by others. They are not motivated by money or power.
The Dragon: (Birthdays in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012) Dragon is the mightiest of the signs. Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful. They're driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They're passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion. Unfortunately, this passion and enthusiasm can leave Dragons feeling exhausted and interestingly, unfulfilled.
While Dragons frequently help others, rarely will they ask for help. Others are attracted to Dragons, especially their colorful personalities, but deep down, Dragons prefer to be alone. Perhaps that is because they're most successful when working alone. Their preference to be alone can come across as arrogance or conceitedness, but these qualities aren't applicable. Dragons have tempers that can flare fast!
The Snake: (Birthdays in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013) Snake symbolizes such character traits as intelligence, gracefulness and materialism. When it comes to decision-making, Snakes are extremely analytical and as a result, they don't jump into situations. They are effective at getting the things they want, even if it means they have to scheme and plot along the way.
Snakes are very materialistic creatures, preferring to surround themselves with the finest that life has to offer. This is especially evident in the home, where luxurious furnishings and surroundings help Snakes seek the peace they need in order to thrive.
The Horse: (Birthdays in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014) Horse symbolizes such character traits as strength, energy, and an outgoing nature. Extremely animated, Horses thrive when they're the center of attention. Always in search of a good time, Horses keep the crowds happy with their humor and their wit.
Horses are extremely intelligent so they're able to grasp new subjects with ease. They're also capable of multi-tasking however they don't always finish what they start because they're forever chasing the next opportunity. Horses are honest, friendly and open-minded. They're perhaps a bit too centered on themselves and have been known to throw tantrums when situations don't go their way.
The Goat: (Birthdays in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015) Goat (or Sheep) symbolizes such character traits as creativity, intelligence, dependability, and calmness. Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of their inner minds, Goats enjoy being part of a group, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center. Their nurturing personality makes Goats excellent care-givers. They're quite and reserved because they spend much time absorbed in their thoughts.
Home and alone is where Goats feel most comfortable. There they can express themselves artistically, whether it's by painting, cooking or participating in whatever artistic endeavors they enjoy. Goats prefer the couch because there they can relax and explore their minds. They don't need elaborate furnishings; only items reflecting their desire for art.
When traveling or seeking entertainment, Goats prefer groups or venues that hold many people. Goats spend money on fashions that give them a first class appearance. Although Goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.
The Monkey: (Birthdays in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016) Monkey possesses such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. Even though their intentions are always good, this desire to be a prankster has a tendency to create ill will and hurt feelings.
Although they are inherently intellectual and creative, Monkeys at times have trouble exhibiting these qualities. When that happens, they appear to others to be confused. But nothing could be further from the truth as Monkeys thrive on being challenged. Monkeys prefer urban life to rural, and their favorite pastime is people-watching.
The Rooster: (Birthdays in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017) Rooster symbolizes such character traits as confidence, pompousness and motivation. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster are loyal, trustworthy individuals who are blunt when it comes to offering their opinions. Their bluntness stems not from being mean but from being honest; a trait which Roosters expect from others.
Roosters are extremely sociable and prefer being the center of attention, always bragging about themselves and their accomplishments. They continually seek the unwavering attention of others which can be annoying. Roosters are as proud of their homes as they are of themselves. They're extremely organized individuals as evidenced by the fact that their homes are always neat.
The Dog: (Birthdays in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018Dog symbolizes character traits such as loyalty, compatibility and kindness. Dogs frequently offer kind words and useful advice, always listening and lending a shoulder when necessary. Dogs often become deeply involved in others' lives and are sometimes perceived as nosy. Ensuring others are happy is more important to the Dog than wealth, money or success.
Dogs are determined individuals; always wanting to master a new subject before moving on and always finishing what they start. Dogs value friendships; they're loyal, honest, trustworthy and reliable and have strong morals and ethics.
A well-kept, organized home is very important. Keeping a clean home and helping at work stems from the Dog's need to be active and involved. Dogs spend money wisely, passing on luxury goods in favor of practical items. Dogs also prefer saving money to cover future expenses.
Ezra The Pig: (Birthdays in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019) Pig symbolizes such character traits as diligence, compassion, and generosity. Pigs enjoy life and because they are entertaining, others enjoy their company. Pigs are giving souls and reap much enjoyment when they're helping others, but sometimes they give too much. Honesty is what Pigs give and it's what they expect to receive in return.
Pigs seek peace and will do what is necessary to maintain it. This trait, while admirable, sometimes makes it easy for others to take advantage of Pigs. Pigs are always doing for others, helping anyway they can, but rarely will they ask others for help. This can overwhelm and stress them, but Pigs don't mind.
When it comes to money, Pigs enjoy spending more than saving. They gravitate towards name brand items. Thriftiness happens only occasionally, but Pigs do know how to find great deals.
Have a Happy new year!