feeling so welcomed

Today half our crew left the apartment early and three of us stayed behind to take care of laundry and such. Soon rain began to pour and we could either run in the rain the 3/4 of a mile to New Day for lunch with friends or stay put. I was with two of the boys – both opted for running in the rain. As we reached the half way point,  a car pulled up next to us and the gentleman driving held out an umbrella.

Despite getting soaked, I tried my best to tell him we would be okay (in hand motions and facial expressions). He was insistent, so I smiled and the three of us finished our journey under the cover of an umbrella – a fancy, nice umbrella.

I can’t begin to express the kindness others have poured on our family. Umbrellas from strangers, homemade granola from neighbors, coffee delivered to our door…I could go on and on. Countless smiles on the bus. Numerous laughs and help as we try our best to pronounce difficult words. We feel so welcomed in this place.

{Working on math ~ Granola and coffee for breakfast}


Last week I mentioned that the most difficult part of our trip has been the restriction on foreigners regarding taking photos in our village. Many asked why the restriction is in place and what would happen if I chose to ignore it. Well, I don’t know all the specific reasons, but I do believe it was a decision made in the best interest of the community. The village is not huge and a steady flow of foreigners come through…not all respect or understand the privacy of citizens and a community.

Could I break the rule and just pull out my camera? Probably. Would I suffer tremendous consequences? Probably not. However, those that live here and those that come after me would deal with the affects of my selfishness. Not worth it.

I ache a little each day to pull out my camera. There is one wall in town that is slate gray with a beautiful, thin green tree growing up it. There are long stemmed roses lining streets. Community gardens with citizens working the ground in the early hours of the day. Fruit piled on tables in the street. Chippy paint. Little teal carts carrying parents and kids. It is all so beautiful! However, I chose not to pull out my camera in town and honor the citizens that have so graciously welcomed us into their community.

That being said, I do jump at any chance to go explore just outside of our village!

Several of these I posted on Instagram. I never know if most people see them there…should I rewrite the captions here too if I post them on IG? What do you guys prefer?

{When you can’t read the signs, are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the culture and are trying to figure out what is okay and what is not – observation becomes so important. Look around, observe, listen, take note…this kid has got it down. ~ Ordering a snack and tying a hairband around chopsticks to make them easier for her little sister to use.}

Chris makes friends everywhere…and takes a lot of photos with his new friends. His oldest daughter is following in his footsteps.

They have a goal to try every flavor they can find.

Over the weekend we tromped around a little bit of Beijing with friends. While walking down one street I had the thought, “No one is in athletic clothes and my hair is not in a ponytail.” I quickly messed with my camera settings and asked a friend to snap a photo of us. Everything about this makes me ridiculously happy!

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