Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bye Brays!

My friends and fellow MIM alumni, Adam and Yumi Bray, left Shanghai a couple days ago after 5 months of living the crazy life in Shanghai.  I just read Yumi’s Goodbye China post on their blog and it was very sweet and very very true!  Just wanted to share it with anyone interested!

http://lifeandloveinchina.blogspot.com/2011/07/after-five-months-of-living-in-china-we.html

Glad you had a safe trip home, Adam & Yumi!  I hope to see you back on this side of the pond soon.

Adam and Yumi!

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Amazing!

Here are a couple pictures of the kids we are helping (see my last post: Love One Another).  They are amazing children and a blessing to hang out with even if we don’t always understand each other.  The older girl is so pretty, the younger one (with a shaved head) very, very shy but slowly opening up!  The boy is sweet and all three of them beam with happiness and excitement with everything we do.

Today was their first ever trip to McDonald.

The older two at McDonalds with their toys

The younger girl and her father

We learned quickly that the children get very sick in cars and on the plane.  So getting around Shanghai by car or taxi is no longer an option.  Today, I accompanied them on their first subway ride – we only went two stops, but luckily there were no problems!

First ever ride on a subway

We took the subway to People’s Square and they got to see the big fountain and play in it a bit.

Loving the fountain at People Square

Soaked, but delighted!

Precious girls!

They then went to the Shanghai Museum, but I had to leave to come home and go to work.

The three students, a teacher and the younger girl's father in front of the Shanghai Museum

The older girl’s conjunctivitis is already improving.  There is no way to restore the eye sight in the left eyes of the other two; however, they will both have surgery on Monday to receive prosthetic eyes.


Love One Another

Since being in China, I have been involved in a small group from Shanghai Community Fellowship, an international church in Shanghai.  As my work schedule doesn’t allow me to get to church services on Sunday, I made it a priority to connect with a group that meets at a time during the week that I am available.  Since February, I have regularly attended “cell group” meetings, as they are called, with a great small group of believers from all over the world.

Over the past couple months, one of our group members, Esther, has been trying to organize an opportunity for us share God’s love with some kids from rural China.  That opportunity starts today as the children arrive in Shanghai.

Here is what we are doing and how it came about:

Several years ago, Esther went with a group of people to a rural part of Sichuan province, near the border of Yunnan, to help build a school in area where they were lacking the resources to provide a proper school for the children.  Since then, this town and the school has received some recognition and more funds have been raised for the maintenance of the school and the children’s well being.  Esther knows through her connections the headmaster of the school who is from Taiwan and has dedicated his life to helping the children and also reaching out to help children in other rural communities nearby.  It is because of these connections she learned of these young children who are having problems with their eyes and unable to receive medical treatment.

Another member of our cell group, who I have not yet met because she has been very busy in the past few months and unable to attend our group happens to be an ophthalmologist at a hospital in Shanghai.  She has offered to help by providing treatment to these kids.

Today, three children are arriving in Shanghai for medical treatment, they traveled several hours to get to the school near Lugu Lake, from there it takes between 7-10 hours to get to a city by car, where they spent the night in a hotel and got on a plane this morning to fly several hours to Shanghai.

Here is what I know so far of the children, information and pictures provide by Esther:

Lan Jin Mei, treated in Xi Chan two times, no medical report but given prescriptions. Chronic Conjuctivitis. June 2011, Shanghai Doctor Hong Liu sent more medication but still no improvement, decided to come to Shanghai for treatment.

Gu Xin Quan, age 13, his sister died because of Hepatitis B a few weeks ago, father alone at home. Suppose to be in Primary 5 but back to primary 1 because of eyes sight that affected his study. No medical record, his left eye can only see slim line, weak in articulating, shy.

Lu Guo Yin, studies at Qiao Man school, no medical record. Her eye was injured because a thorn poked into her eye. Because she lives in a very rural area, she couldn’t get treatment immediately, now she has lost her eye sight in her left eye.

Normally, to receive any sort of medical treatment these kids would have to travel over 7 hours.  Even then, the treatment would be primitive at best.

Today the kids will land in Shanghai around 1 pm, they will taken to the hotel which has been booked for the next 3 days to shower and then to the hospital for their initial appointment.  The plan is that the kids, if treatments are available, could be in Shanghai for around two weeks.  With them are two teachers from the school in Lugu, and one parent as one of the children was far to shy to travel alone.

Last night about 10 of us met to discuss what to do with the kids and the adults accompanying them while they are here.  The medical treatment, transportation costs and accommodations have all been funded by the grace of God. We plan on buying clothes and shoes for the children, bringing them to some interesting sites in Shanghai, providing them with meals and entertainment, as well as giving the adults some time a way from the children to relax a bit.

My task is to arrange a schedule for the children over the next couple weeks and coordinate the times everyone is available so we can take turns spending time with the children and making sure they are taken care of.

I will surely post updates on what we do with the kids, how their treatment goes and if the results of their trip to the big city are successful.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. You love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.  – Jesus  John 13:34-35


Back home?

On the plane back to Shanghai from Vancouver B.C., I sat next to a young Canadian guy who was coming to Shanghai for the Olympic trials.  He is an open water swimmer, his event is the 10k and was fun to chat with on the flight.  I was jealous of his ability to pass out for about 8 of the 12 hours we were on the plane, but while he was awake it was fun to talk with him.  After landing when we taxied up to the gate, I mentioned that it would be humid out!  It hit us both the second we got to the door of the plane and after we both declared how incredibly humid it was he mentioned that it smelled a bit weird as well, then followed up with, “But it is probably just because we are close to the sea.” I smiled to myself, and said, “No, I think that is just China.”

I never caught his name, but I wished him luck and hope he doesn’t get sick swimming in the open waters of Shanghai.  Maybe we will see him swimming in London in 2012.

China.  Welcome home, Julia. Before even getting off the plane I had one guy shove his way past me to get to the door of the plane a bit faster, and another guy smack me in the head with his suitcase as he pulled it from the overhead compartment. Neither seemed to notice me.

I was home or at least back to the place that I have called home for the past 6 months.  However, never in my life have I arrived home and felt so not at home.  Too exhausted to do much of anything, I unpacked one of my two bags, surfed the internet for a bit and fell asleep by 7pm.

I woke up depressed. Well, when I finally got up.  Jet-lag woke me up numerous times between 3am and 7am and I finally crawled out of bed after about 12 hours.  Still exhausted. My head pounded, it was hot and sweaty, I looked outside at the buildings I had grown accustom  to looking at and thought to myself, “Why on earth would I ever want to live in this place?” I was cranky and homesick. Oregon in all its beauty was on my mind, my friends and family who had been so welcoming and fun to spend time with, being able to drive again, to understand everything going on, to be surrounded with friendly faces. What in the world was I thinking by wanting to live in China?

By 9:30am, I knew I needed to get out.  I needed to do something, be active in someway as opposed to sitting in my apartment alone.  I decided to take a walk.  It was almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit already, I had been sweating since I stepped out of the shower and I was reminded that my hair even with my fresh new hair cut, would do absolutely nothing I desired because of the humidity.

I stepped out onto the familiar streets near my apartment and started walking.  It was cloudy and a bit windy, about every 30 seconds a new and unusual stench would fill your nostrils, food, dirt, garbage, sewer, cigarettes, pollution.  The streets were filthy, crowded, busy.  On a Wednesday morning, there were thousands of people out on the street, cars, buses, taxis, scooters and bicycles all more than willing to run you down if you got in their way. People stared or gave dirty looks.

Raw meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, fried street food, laundry hanging in the streets, stray cats, little children and men working without their shirts on were once again common sites and I began to smile.  Suddenly I remembered why living in China is appealing.  The sights, the sounds, the smells – it was all different, all intriguing.  The strangers on the street might not seem friendly, but they are living as those in China live – there is so much to discover and learn from them. They see me as a stranger in their land, just as their land is so strange to me.  Everything is an adventure.

The comforts and familiarity of the US are wonderful.  But sometimes being thrown outside of your comfort zone can teach you, inspire you, strengthen you and be as joyful as being in a place that feels like home.  You just have to open your mind and turn up the AC.


And I’m out!

It was a very quick and busy two weeks back in Oregon and now once again I’m off to China! Portland International Airport was actually quite busy when I got there at 4:30am to check in for my first flight to Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.  Yet, when I landed here (in Vancouver now) I was the first one through customs and entered a complete empty terminal for international flights.  Most of the security guards are still sitting around drinking coffee and I am one of maybe 5 passengers in the entire terminal. It looks like my flight to Shanghai at 11:15am is the first international flight of the day, so most passengers don’t arrive at 7:30am.

After two nights of very little sleep, I sort of wish I were sleeping still!  The last few days have been a whirlwind of excitement, emotions, friends and family. My beautiful sister pulled off one of the best (if not the best) weddings I have ever been too. From Friday afternoon manicures and pedicures, the rehearsal dinner, breakfast at my moms with the bridesmaids, getting ready at the venue outside Eugene, Oregon, to the wedding, the delicious BBQ and fruit pies at the wedding, and the dancing that followed it was 36 hours of fun, food, drinks and tons of people to socialize with.  But we couldn’t end there!  We had a quick trip to the bar after the wedding venue kicked us out, I said farewell to the beautiful bride and her new husband and wished them a fabulous honeymoon in the Virgin Islands.  I’m sort of jealous!  I wish I had a week in the Virgin Islands to relax before heading back to Shanghai.

Leah & Jeremiah - the first dance as husband and wife. (By the way, I think my sister is pretty cool for using a Metallica song for her first dance.)

Being home made me remember how much I love Oregon, and how blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life there, who care so much about me.  I think it is much harder going BACK to Shanghai than when I originally left because the newness, adventure and excitement of the unknown has worn off.  Or it could be because I don’t have a return plane ticket this time.  Taking a one way ticket across the globe and really not knowing when I will be home again adds to the uncertainty and anxiety of going back.

I know I will continue to enjoy Shanghai and life in China.  Well, and the life I led the past two weeks in Oregon wasn’t exactly the real world. Perfect weather doesn’t last long in Oregon, although we were blessed with it the past two weeks, couch surfing between friends houses would get old after awhile, and I certainly couldn’t manage to spend spend spend without making a dime for much longer in the States.

Three hours until my flight…

Sisters are too much fun!

As I have a little time, I want to thank everyone who made my trip to Oregon so wonderful!  I appreciate each and every person I was able to see again, meet for the first time, spend time talking with and all of you that helped me out!  I am probably forgetting many people, but THANK YOU and lots of love to everyone.

A HUGE thank you to my mom, for letting me use her car for the majority of the trip, for letting me crash at her place in Eugene, for taking such good care of my Jack while I’m away, and for a million other things I don’t have time to mention.  Thanks to Matt too, the best step-dad a 29 year old girl could ask for.  I love you both and can’t wait to show you around China!

Bride & our Mommy!

Thank you, Beth, my dear friend, for being my ride to and from the airport, provide a couch to sleep on for many nights, letting me drive your new car and just being an awesome friend! (I left the end of a bottle of wine in your fridge… drink it!)

Thank you, Chris, Crystal and Rio Logan for being fabulous hosts, for home cooked meals and helping me to appreciate little dogs more.  You guys are a true blessing.

Thanks to Chris and Sheena Blevins for the use of their guest room, car and the endless amounts of delicious food in the cupboards.  I wish I could have had more time to hang out with you, and I really appreciate your hospitality.

Thank you God, (he really is the most important) for blessing me with a wonderful family of believers at Solid Rock and for the time I had to share and fellowship with them at House Church and on services on Sunday.

Thank you to the best sister ever, Leah (Yeager) Price,  for getting married so I had an excuse to come home, for letting me play such an important role in your day and for all you do for me.  And of course thanks to your groom for picking my sister!  He is a smart man.

Sisters at the rehearsal

Thank you, Dad for coming and spending time with your daughters, bringing us gifts from your trip to the UK and being a huge part of Leah’s day even though you were more jet-lagged than me!

Thank you to everyone of my MIM friends who made it out to my birthday happy hour to see me and celebrate with me.  I love all the generations of my MIM family.

Thanks to Janell and Cindy for lunches to catch up and for always being there no matter how busy and crazy life gets.

A big thank you to the rest of my extended family who took the time to travel and come see us this weekend!  It was great to see you all again after (in many cases) many years.

Family!

And also a big thank you to Leah’s new family in law, friends and vendors (all of whom were AMAZING) for helping my sister and brother in law have a fabulous wedding day. (Photographer Holli True, DJ Troy Kelly, Bartender Trevor Spangle, Hair by Amanda Morgan, Make up by Chelsea Gassner, Venue Deep Woods with day of coordinator & owner Karol Niemeyer, flowers by ???, delicious pies from Paula Walker (mother of the groom) and Wild Plum, delicious catering from Hole in the Wall Barbeque.)

I'm with the DJ, okay??

And who ever I am forgetting… I love you too!


Final Countdown…

It is here at last! The event I flew back to Oregon for, the event my sister has spent 15 months planning for (and 31 years waiting for).  In just under 24 hours my dear sister, Leah Joy Yeager, will walk down the aisle and become Leah Joy Price as she marries the man of her dreams.

The beautiful bride and me before I kidnapped her for her bachelorette party

My mom is busy cleaning house for the morning-after-the-wedding brunch, my sister is probably running around like crazy somewhere thinking she is forgetting something, my dad should be driving into town (jet-lagged as he was in Europe the past 3 weeks and returned to the States yesterday), I just talked to the groom who I believe was driving one of his brother’s somewhere, family is in town – more family than I have seen in one place in decades if not my entire life – and in less than an hour we will be off for the rehearsal dinner.

I’m prepared.  I’m not stressed.  I’m just the sister of the bride and the maid of honor.  I’m golden.  I’m as relaxed as can be considering I have been on vacation for the past 11 days.  I only have one thing to do….

Oh yes, the toast. If you know me at all, or even just know my blogs.  I have a gift for rambling.  I can talk and talk and talk.  I can write and write and write.  I can go on about anything for quite some time if I really want to (and especially if I have had a drink or two).  But I can’t seem to come up with something to say for my dearest sister’s wedding toast.  I mean, it isn’t really life or death – they will get married and for better or worse til death do them part will be husband and wife.  Does anyone even listen to toasts?  There are more people that can talk and say the mushy stuff, right?

Well, not exactly, you see – my sister decided to put a little pressure on me (or rather decided to save herself & her soon-to-be husband from embarrassment and her guests from unnecessary boredom) and there will be a total of TWO toasts at the wedding.  Two and only two.  One from the best man and brother of the groom, Isaac, and one from the lovely maid of honor and sister of the bride, ME.  And this causes me stress.

I can go up there and ramble without any preparation.  I can guarantee that.  But I want something meaningful.  From the heart as everyone (including the movie “Wedding Crashers”) tells me.  But I like being funny.  I want to be prepared.  But I can’t seem to.

Sigh, I guess I will just have to go help the mother of the bride with her rehearsal dinner outfit. Oh, procrastination.


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