Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Every fall, I miss BeiDaiHe.

As soon as the weather starts to get just a little cooler, rather than thoughts of leaves changing colors or pumpkins, my mind turns to BeiDaiHe. Literally, that means North Dai River and is pronounced "Bay-Die-Huh." It's a little resort town on the northern China coast.

We used to go there every fall with our team. The first year, I was amazed that there was such a place in China, where the skies were blue and the air fresh and they had TREES! The contrast to our home city was such that I fell in love with BeiDaiHe. If I had been living in Oregon or Washington at the time, then it wouldn't have made such an impression on me, I'm sure.

The accommodations were just average. The beds were hard, the toilet leaked, and the hot water was only turned on for a couple hours each morning and evening. But there was this amazing porch overlooking a restaurant and the ocean, and we could sit out there and play cards or read. And the beach came with cheap seats and umbrellas, and lovely, warm, soft sand. AND it was a private beach, so it wasn't crowded.

The food was good, too. We ate tons of shrimp and french fries for lunch and dinner, and egg and tomato with bing (like a burrito) for breakfast. We took walks to the nearby wholesale shopping mall and bought cheap pearls.

But the very best part was the team. Going on vacation with your team is a wonderful way to really get to know people. We had meetings and singing and team-building exercises (ok, so those weren't my fave, but they were fun anyway). There was a baptism in the ocean. It wasn't all perfect, but it was good. Really good.

The team is really what made the entire China experience bearable. I can't imagine being there alone, like so many of the early pioneers were. But even Eric Liddell sent his family to BeiDaiHe in the summer, to escape the oppressive heat of Tianjin! So we were in good company.

Sadly, I hear the team isn't going this year. What a shame.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

It's August 1st. We move on Saturday the 8th. Moving truck, cleaning the old place, handing over the keys. I like the old place. The new one is pretty nice, too. It's smaller, with a definite spare room that no one would want to live in but could visit for a few days in. I'm looking forward to the snow that they get and keep most of the winter. I've never lived with that before. I'm not looking forward to finding a new church and job and routine, figuring out where to get the car fixed, where to get haircuts, all that. Can I go to the Sheritan in Tianjin instead? I like that idea.

Mind you, I don't want to live in the smog and traffic and smells and crowds. I don't want to ride trains and taxis. I don't want to struggle to communicate every day.

But I would like to take Chinese classes. I would like to experience the enthusiasm of the Chinese college students. I would like to see Kristen and Renee and Marilyn and Audrey and Geri and Phoebe and a dozen other people any time I want to. I would like to go out for pastries with the ladies. I would like to work in the library. I would like to stop at the Korean restaurant to pick up dinner, or call Sisters or the Pizza Box. I would like my weekly massage and monthly pedicure, cheap. I would like to take my mending pile to a nice lady who won't charge me much for fixing zippers and tears.
I don't want utility bill collectors tromping through my kitchen. I don't want heater-fixing men laying on my bed. I don't want the extreme heat of summer, nor the biting cold of winter. I don't want to miss stars and rainbows and donuts and sweet corn.

But I would like to go to International Day at the school. I would like to go to Beijing at Christmas and Bei Dai He in the fall. I would like to walk through the night market and smell the popcorn and sweet potatoes. I would like to stop and get yang rou chuan (lamb kebabs cooked outside) and then a Magnum ice cream bar from the Best Store.

Can't I just have it all??

Heaven is going to be so good.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I used to think I would have made a good military wife. For a while I even encouraged Garry to go full time in the military, so we could travel around every few years. Now I'm glad he didn't.

We're moving again. It's been almost a year since we moved to our sweet little duplex, and I'm on the internet searching for a new place. Prices are good in Klamath Falls, where we are going, but we got such a great home here, I'm not sure how the next one can measure up.

I kind of wish we had moved from Tianjin to Klamath Falls, and THEN to Roseburg. Roseburg is so green and beautiful, the weather so mild, and our home so nice, that it would have made a good final destination. Klamath Falls is more brown and bare. But they do get snow, and I like snow. And God will point us to just the right home, hopefully next Friday when we go looking for it.

It's going to be OK. And it may or may not be the final destination. We'll see.