Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome to Dahua

These Guys are everywhere in Dahua- tied to trees along the street

Ezra took this picture out at the farm this summer, I've never seen a day this clear in China yet, but atleast I know they exist.

I’ve had some pretty wild curve balls thrown at me, especially since I met and married this guy named Ezra.  I knew when I married him that he was a dreamer, I guess I didn’t expect that he’d be such a follow through-er. That is why I end up in places like Dahua, China.

Recently we all took a trip to the  “village” of Dahua. The police needed to see our pretty little faces in person so we could get registered in preparation to receive our residency visas.

Quite honestly I am never comfortable in Dahua, I feel like I’m on the edge of the Earth, like I couldn’t be farther away from home. It might as well be a different planet.

But at the same time I am mesmerized………mesmerized by the way the way people interact, the places that they live, the food they eat, the work they do to make a living.

900-year-old women carry their grandbabies on their backs

People sell hunks of meaty-who-knows-what on the street corners

Many men spit, smoke, have really long finger nails and hairs that grow out of their face moles (I’m talkin 2 inches)—it must be unlucky to pluck those honkers.

Women wear high-heels to ride their scooters and weed their gardens

Little children toddle around in the dirt in front of their family owned shops

Huge loads of “whatever” are Hauled “however,” on a back, bike, or bus

Groups of people sit at little tables out on the street playing games, talking, and eating

Small ugly dogs scavenge the streets for scraps, so do little old men and women

People squat while they wait for the bus

Honking is how automobiles speak to one another

And I still can’t get over these mountains, so abrupt and mysterious.

I can hardly believe I’m in this place seeing what I’m seeing and doing what I’m doing. Traveling through Dahua, China is an experience I never would have ever wanted and yet, I’m grateful for it. Experiences like these ground me, they help me to focus on what is most important in my life.

This is a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley, I absolutely love it.

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” 

I admit that sometimes I get caught up wanting the “shiny sports car” kind of life. But then I remember what this life is truly about---it’s not about having the ideal, it is about “getting mud on the wheels” it’s about giving and learning and loving.

We all have different circumstances, but we also each have a choice. We can choose each day to spend our time doing things that really matter.

As a new Mother, occasionally I wonder if what I am doing: feeding babies, changing diapers, and singing silly songs is really that important. But I know that although I may not see the significance in the daily tasks I undertake, God does. My good works, however small they may seem to me add up to something meaningful.

Here in China I may get a little bit more dirt under my fingernails than I had hoped for. But I also have an abundance of opportunities to let my light shine and bless the lives of Heavenly Fathers children that are all around me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just another day in PAIR-adise

6 months


Whenever we leave the house we hear these words over and over, shuāng bāo tai, shuang bao tai---Twins. People stop dead in there tracks to watch us pass. We’re not just the giant Americans anymore, we are the giant Americans-with twins. Old ladies shuffle over to our stroller, and about jump in to see the two blue eyed babies. Complete strangers ask if they can hold them. Everyone is so curious! Ila and Fae don’t seem to mind the attention and are certainly getting used to it!

Our two little celebrities just had there half birthday, Spent in Dahua, China. 6 months old! Woo-Hoo!

They are so fun:

Ila squeaks when she wants attention, Fae grunts. Ila has a hearty little laugh (she laughs like her dad) and Fae giggles and gives us big smiles every time we talk to her.

The coolest toy to have is always the one the other twin is holding. They love their bottled water baths even though they’re only an inch deep. They grab each others hair every chance they get and are constantly trying to eat one another.

My favorite part of the day is when Ezra comes home, they are always so excited to see him and give him the biggest smiles.  It’s also my favorite part of the day because I get a “break” when Dad gets home I only have to take care of one baby. Ha. Such is life with Twins.

I do not know what I’m going to do when I can’t hold them both at the same time! My mobility is already at a low! It’s hard for me to get much of anything done.  Especially when they double team me, or play the alternating nap game. Showering, teeth brushing, and eating are all luxuries…….just kinding—uh…well….sort of. We are seriously lucky to have any clean clothes or a cup of noodles for dinner. (I’m wishing China had dryers and dishwashers right about now)

When I really absolutely need to get something done I have to prop them both up….somewhere? That’s when I turn into the one woman broadway musical, dancing around and singing at the top of my lungs. The crazier I act the more content they stay.  Sorry neighbors.

My Mom (also a mother of twins) gave me some great advice. She said “you can laugh or cry, I always tried to laugh.” Well I laugh a lot, sometimes to keep from crying, sometimes at the girls, and sometimes at myself. Oh yeah, we all laugh at Ezra.

Ezra and I often find ourselves saying “this is crazy, I can’t believe we have twins.” But along with all the crazy also comes twice the smiles, twice the laughs, and twice the love.  ( This is Ezra) I needed to mention twice the diapers.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lizard Soup Anyone?

The first part of this post is an experience written by Ezra about a business dinner he had in China.

Chinese Experience 1,828,462
After being here about a year, I thought I have seen it all. Well guess what! I was wrong.

The soup was just an appetizer! Inside the soup if you look carefully you can see 2 lizards 1 turtle, 2 separate diced snakes, 2 types of coral, and shark stomach, not to mention several dime size things with wings that were not flying. 

Next we had “Nanning Dragon” which is the largest snake in south east China. Then they brought us a platter of a dark stringy meat that nobody knew what it was, (or at least they didn’t tell me) and the main course was alligator.

For a foreigner to be snapping photos left and right is not the gentlest thing to be doing at the dinner table. (I did get a couple of the soup) I was so astonished at the crazy dishes that the waitresses would bring that the business men at the table asked how long I had been in China. By the expression on my face you’d think it was my first day.

I was at that meeting with a coworker named Jinfeng Yuan, he also works as a translator. Also at the meeting were seven other business men. Jinfeng Yuan (who we call D.Y.) drinks, but he knows of my Mormon faith and that I don’t drink, haven’t drunk, and will never drink.

As they started to fill my glass I declined and asked for Coca-Cola; they were flabbergasted and in total disbelief (not drinking with Chinese people, after having poured a glass is totally offensive, and outright senseless, especially if they are potential business partners.)

Most times Dan (a coworker) and I, will not go to these types of meetings because we found out early on that if “we couldn’t drink with them, they wouldn’t do business with us”, It’s a bad deal. 

So here I was at a meeting/ dinner with seven very influential business men, who by the way each individually have more money than I’ll probably ever have, and I just dropped the bomb.

When I said NO, I want Coca-Cola, all seven heads turned in unison to D.Y. They wanted an explanation. I didn’t have to guess what D.Y. was telling them, because I have told him exactly what to tell those who ask. “I’m sorry he does not drink, he is a Mormon Christian, and that religion teaches to stay away from anything habit forming, addictive, and just plain bad for your body. He politely asks that you respect his religion and beliefs.”

All of them turned again in unison, looked at me, looked at my glass and then swiftly removed the beer and wine off the table, while the older more distinguished Chinese man yelled at the waitress, demanding Coca-Cola for everybody.  

I have to say it was pretty cool raising our glasses and throwing down Coca-Cola together.

I love you all, Come see me in China,
Last year Ezra and I spent Chinese new year in Hong Kong. There were plenty of fireworks but they were definitely more regulated than here in Nanning.  In Nanning you can shoot off fireworks anywhere anytime. This year is the year of the dragon-it’s the most celebrated year of all, we knew there would be a lot of fireworks.

I was not in anyway prepared for what was to come.

At about 7 pm people started lighting them off. We didn’t really want to go outside so we let the girls watch them out the apt window. It was fun.

The fireworks continued the whole evening, we put the girls to bed, they were pretty good about sleeping through the noise and so were Ezra and I, but at mid night it all turned ugly.

6.5 million people lighting off 6.5 million fireworks. Half of the fireworks are noise makers- there are big ones I like to call atomic bombs, they make our apartment shake.

From mid- night to 4 in the morning there was not the slightest  break in the noise, it was defening….indescribeable….simply unbelievable. Atomic bomb fireworks were going off 10 at a time. We were yelling to speak. It felt like all 6.5 million fireworks were being lit off on the porch right out side our window, all night long. They were coming from every direction. The noise was assaulting.

I felt like I was going to loose my mind. I desperately tried to fall back asleep, I prayed for a monsoon, but nothing came.  At six am another round of fireworks started and we finally gave up the fight.  We had coca cola for breakfast to try and relieve our massive headaches.

I don’t know how it was possible, but the girls did amazingly well through all the noise, they stirred but never fully woke up. I was worried that they would have permanent hearing loss, but in the morning they were the same happy little campers that they always are. Phew!

We are still waiting for the fireworks to end...........they wont, at least not for a while yet.
Next time we’ll just have to wake up and join the party.