Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The end... it's so close...

Last night we had dinner in our room at the hotel. We ordered food from the hotel restaurant (the only one we have used) and found the chicken I ordered to be tough and tasteless and the hamburger Sarah requested to be – seriously – raw. We sent it back, and a new one was sent up to us – also raw. After this the chef told Sarah he didn't think he could cook her a hamburger to suit her, took it off our bill and gave us a bag of fruit as an apology. I had bought a small ball earlier in the day and spent the rest of the evening before bed playing toss-and-catch (mostly toss) with Matthew, who thoroughly enjoyed it... and said his first English word... “ball”.
Today was a very interesting day. Our group was scheduled to go to the Liuhua Park here in Guangzhou and we almost didn't go, as we were concerned about our ability to chase after Matthew among the crowds of people and the fact that we wanted to go to the pedestrian street here in town (where we were supposed to go last night) instead to buy a stroller. (Besides, a park is a park, right?) Well, our questions were answered when our housekeeper brought us a stroller from the hotel at – literally – the last minute, so off we went with our group to the park.

This was NO ordinary park. Besides being quite beautiful and well-manicured (the Chinese do NOT mince words... check out the sign:)

the place was a study in human behavior... Chinese style. Evidently the geriatric population of the city loves to hang out here and do all sorts of activities ranging from badminton to a hacky-sack-like game using a large badminton-looking feathery shuttlecock to loud boisterous singing (usually led by someone pointing with a stick to enlarged characters on what looked like a long hanging tapestry) to dancing and tai-chi-like maneuvers using fans or... swords.

We again noticed the Chinese to be rather obvious in their behavior towards us, and towards Matthew in particular. When she saw Matthew, one lady actually made a cutting maneuver with her hand over her opposing forearm and said something loudly to her friend, who turned and stared at Matthew, mouth agape. Another lady was a bit nicer – she crowded around Matthew with her friends and after looking at him for a moment, turned to them and spoke in Chinese while waving her hand over her face as if to say, “He's very handsome... too bad his arm is missing”. On the bus ride back Matthew said his second word in English... “Daddy”. Guess who beamed with pride??

We went to lunch at Pizza Hut here in Guangzhou with one of the families we're here with, the Reickards. We all just got up from a nap and plan to take it easy the rest of the evening. We plan to look at some stores on Shamian Island here in town tomorrow after Matthew has his TB skin test read.

Several times last night and today I have felt something in my heart that I want to share. I am thanking God for Matthew's missing forearm. Sure, it will cause some hardship for him as he gets older. But what it will cause in difficulty it will more than make up for in reward. It will teach him, and us, to rely on God more fully and more completely for things than we could ever have done otherwise. And, it's given us something else we never would have had... it's given us our precious child Matthew who will be joining the rest of our family in a very short time.

 And, lastly, I leave you with the following words of wisdom:

(Don't ask me what that means.)