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a year later

A year ago we moved.

Hubs and I have different perspectives on how the last year has gone.

For me, it’s been tough.

To tell you the truth, it’s still hard to swallow.

Life here is so different. Yes, there’s been a change in urban sprawl, but there’s also been a change in our family. Those two factors have proven to be a potent combination.

We’ve added two wee ones so I stay home more.

I stay home more therefore I know where nothing is.

Seriously.

I lived in Yichang for 2 years before we had a baby. That’s 730 days of hitting the streets, meeting people, finding out where to buy this or how to negotiate for that.

I’ve only been downtown in JiuJiang a handful of times and never on my own.

Why?

I’m not scared. I can speak Chinese. I love buses. (I loathe owning a car.)

But I can’t manage a 4 year old, a 22 month old and a two month old by myself. Seriously. It’s difficult to get the stroller on and off the bus while wearing Selah in the Ergo.

Worse than physically moving the stroller is the fact that I have to take Sianna out of it to get the stroller off the bus. That leaves Sianna stranded at the top of the bus steps. Occasionally, someone will offer to help her get down, but their kind intentions send her into a meltdown because she doesn’t like people talking to her much less touching her.

All this to say, I don’t know where alot of things are: the fabric market, a frame shop, parks, popular restaurants, the bookstore, the wholesale market, etc.

When I am in town, I always lose my bearings.

So, what do I know?

This neighborhood and the surrounding streets as far as my legs or my bike will take me.

I have growing relationships with the vegetable sellers, the small shop owners, and convenient store workers and the other parents or grandparents who hang out at the playground. We go outside everyday.

Deep friendships have also been slow to form. I know it takes years to make real friends, but I’m also sensing that having more than one child is so foreign to the local ladies that they simply don’t know how to relate to me.

All my close girlfriends in Yichang had one child. At that time, I had one child too! It was our common bond. Our kids were the same ages so it was easy to pal around.

Now, with three kids, I’m pretty sure I’m the local Octomom.

I see the other Mom’s when we all drop our kids off at preschool. Then, most Moms go to work or a few go shopping. I return home to Sianna and Selah.

I’m not complaining about my family life. Goodness knows I love these kids. I just live in a place where having three kids is ABNORMAL.  “Too much trouble.” is a phrase I hear daily.

Life in JiuJiang feels so different because my season in life is not the same.

But I know for sure this is exactly where we are supposed to be.

Nine Rivers from Easternjourney.com on Vimeo.

 

7 comments to a year later

  • I’m sending you lots of hugs and a few tears to share. My prayer for you is that you might find community, even if just in one other woman! You have a fabulous and beautiful family and I’m so thankful to know you! I love the trailer for Nine Rivers! A very compelling sell and I’d pay to see it! You’re an amazing woman and you have an amazing family. This season of life, when the kids are young, is certainly the most difficult. Hang in there my friend and know that you bless so many by sharing your life with us! Love you!

  • Jenni

    LOVE the video. I laughed out loud =) You guys are awesome!

  • Holly (Felter) Rabalais

    Sandra, thank you for sharing your thoughts and being so real. I love reading about your family, laughing at the kids’ antics and relating to your emotions as a wife and mother (and there are days I feel as though I’m in a foreign land!). What an adventure!

    If you can get your hands on a copy of it, try to find the picture book “Courage” by Bernard Waber. And read it before you must venture out!

  • Just to encourage you … we’ve never met, but I’ve been following your blog since right around the time you brought home Sianna. And I think you are an amazing mother!

    I lived in Beijing for 2 years from 05-07 and part of the reason why I love reading your blog is I can relate to some of what you talk about with life in China. I can’t believe that you are doing it with 3 children (your hospital stories of the birth of Selah was, oh my, so incredible!) and surviving! I loved, loved, loved my time while I was there but I tell people now, I love China, but I don’t know that I could live there with a family.

    You are doing a fabulous job of living in a foreign land and raising a family, and raising a family well. Keep up the great work!! You are an inspiration to this newly-placed stay-at-home-mom living her easy life in the suburbs of Dallas, TX.

  • A wise woman once commented: “Different sounds pretty good to me.” when I was feeling lonely about living outside the box. I also pray for you to find an intentional community which, knowing your family, will come in some unconventional way. Hang in their sister, you and your family are beautiful and a light to many as you walk the narrow road. Life changes fast so they say.

  • Good to see all of you in something other than a still shot! YOu are amazing Sandra! Take heart they will get older and soon! Three is constant and I can’t imagine living in a place where you can’t strap them in and go…the car is my reprieve!

  • Laura (Blakely) Harrison

    The “Leap of Faith” totally cracked me up. Sending you warm and fuzzy thoughts from Arkansas…Hang in there! At least you don’t have do to your daily tasks while wearing an enormous red bow. Small consolation, I know. 🙂

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