The Short Version:
I am a mom of two children who moved to China from Korea in July, 2015. The purpose of this blog is to share my travels, frustrations, and random thoughts about my experiences as a Christian, wife, mom, expat, and runner. Since I usually have no idea what I’m doing, I depend pretty heavily on prayer and lots of trial-and-error. If nothing else, I hope my musings can offer encouragement and at least let others know that they are not alone in landing on the error side of trial-and-error a bit more often than we’d like. It’s best that we offer each other a healthy dose of grace.
The Long Version:
In my head, I’m still in my twenties—I can bound up ten flights of stairs, eat all the ice cream I want, and leisurely read in the sun on a tropical beach.
Then I hear the voice of my three-year-old, “Mommy, I pooped. Come wipe my butt, please,” and I look around and think, “Holy crap. I’m married and have two kids. Me—who gave away my pet rabbit as a kid because I wasn’t responsible enough to feed and water it everyday. Me—who can’t remember my bank password to pay my electricity bill.”
I can’t really indicate when or how it occurred, but at some point, I got old. My fearlessness is gone. (I worry too much about my kids to be reckless.) I can’t eat ice cream and have the calories melt away. (I’m reminded of that every time my belly hangs over my pants.) And most attempts at graceful agility will cause my near-forty body a bit of aching the next day.
The scatterbrain that I am, I’m sometimes astounded that I’ve managed to keep myself alive, let alone hold a family together in a way that we all can thrive and be happy. But then again, I know it’s not me. Everything I see—my family, being here in China, life itself—it’s all a God thing. He ordained all the intricate puzzle pieces that brought me here, and every day I am overcome with gratitude.
So what are all the pieces?
I was born in Michigan, the youngest of four kids.
I attended college where I developed a love for Jesus and for traveling.
I received teacher certification with the plan to teach at international schools. (I saw it as a ticket to travel the world and get paid.) I taught in the US for three years before moving to Seoul, Korea in August 2005. I planned to stay for two years, but God had other plans.
We have two children. Even though they are so little and inexperienced with the world, I still somehow manage to learn something new from them every single day.
I ended up staying in Korea for ten years, at which point we really felt like God was prodding us to move on. We moved to Beijing, China in July, 2015.
A Few Odd Facts about My Very Ordinary Life:
I love distance running. There’s something about the cadence and rhythm that puts me in a zone. It’s great prayer and reflection time for me.
We have two cats that are trained to use the people-toilet. Though I’m glad we no longer have to deal with kitty litter grains on the floor from them scratching, the training process was revolting. When my husband presented the idea to me, he told me that they’d be trained in three weeks. Encouraged by a friend—“Men need their projects. Let this be his project,” she said—I gave him the go-ahead. We only had one bathroom at that time, and my husband decided to use the clay litter. Imagine bits of kitty-litter clay sticking to the moisture around the toilet. Imagine having to move a fowl smelling bowl of kitty litter from the toilet every time you have to use it, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I had to deal with. And it didn’t take three weeks. It took three months. But every time I wanted to quit, all I could think was, “All this time and nastiness for nothing? What if it’ll only take one more week?”
When I got married, the only things I knew how to cook were spaghetti (boil the noodles, heat up a jar of sauce), macaroni and cheese (from a box), and grilled cheese sandwiches. I became such a health nut after I had kids that I now cook most of our meals from scratch and bake all of our bread. (I even mill my own flour from wheat berries.) However, it doesn’t matter that cooking is becoming intuitive for me, I will always see myself as an amateur. I still prefer that my husband fire up the grill and do the cooking when we have guests come over for fear of my own cooking endeavors falling flat and others being there to see it happen.
I’ve become a big wimp since my kids were born. There really was a once-upon-a-time when I flew to Costa Rica with enough money to survive for a week and to change my ticket to come home if I couldn’t find a job. There was a day when I could go somewhere without a hotel reservation thinking that if I ended up sleeping in a train station, I’d survive and I’d only have myself to blame for one night of discomfort. Now I’m afraid to go to downtown Beijing during the day because I fear getting caught in a traffic jam and not being there when the 3:30 bus comes to drop off my kids. I wouldn’t trade this for anything, but somehow I’ve allowed myself to become incredibly boring.