I realize that I am not always the most positive and grateful person there is...so I feel it is important to count my blessings as much as I can. Here are some blessings that have only come because we are living here.
An awesome education!
I cannot say enough how amazing my kids' international school is! The entire philosophy embraces that life experiences create knowledge. Each and every single day they are experiencing things at school that enhance their learning. Just this week, D began building robots from scratch and E spent two days and one night in the mountains of China!
Learning more about myself
Almost all I thought I knew about myself has had a perspective change. For example, I always felt I was a control freak and that I would control whatever situation I was in. I've learned that there are some situations that I cannot control. Really, I never experienced that before coming here.
It may be getting old to some of you, my constant weaving of my spirituality into each post. I cannot apologize for that because I have had to rely on my faith every minute of every day here so far. When you cannot rely on yourself or the people around you, you must rely on the Lord. I think it is mostly the isolation, caused by proximity and the language barrier, that makes me draw inward and seek Him in all that I do.
Strengthening of family
When it is all said and done, we are still the same people...just in a different setting. Of course moving here does not take away our less-than-desirable personality traits. There is still bickering and hurt feelings, but we have had to turn inward and rely on each other. Without hubby's horrendous commute, we are able to eat dinner more often together. We are also all present at scripture time. Each week we have a family excursion that builds memories and togetherness. I know that when we are done living here we will look back at how close we've become.
More time and more $
Aren't these the two things that everyone wants more of? Well, my life is not as busy as it used to be (for now). I am not able to volunteer at the kids' school due to the distance it is from our house. I am not working part time. My calling at church does not require many hours of preparation. I do not have to clean since we live in a serviced apartment. There is not any t.v. that appeals to me. I find myself having time to do the things that are most important for my family and myself. Some things I do are reading, writing, studying, exercising (so much walking), praying, a little bit of shopping and A LOT of thinking.
Because the cost of living can be cheaper here, I find my budget stretches farther. Of course, there is much opportunity for that not to be the case since I am within walking distance to Tiffany & Co, Gucci and Dolci & Gabbana. Because of our small apartment and knowing that we will have to transport things back to the states when we move back, I am less tempted to buy unnecessary items.
There IS beauty all around
It might take a little bit of searching but beauty is here. Each morning, when I am at Ritan Park my breath is literally taken away by the beauty that surrounds me. I can't remember that happening often in the city I yearn for back home. Also, I can never ever get tired of looking at the view out our windows. By day, the bushy green trees lead right up to interesting buildings. At night, those buildings light up, flicker, chase, blink and twinkle across the sky. Having this view is the epitome of living in a city.
Enhanced relationships abroad
There is something about leaving that makes people express themselves more openly. Also, most of my communication back home is written and people tend to"open up" more while writing. Each contact from back home is special to me. It is sad, but true, that we value things more once they are gone.
Experiencing new things each day
This is the one that can be a blessing, but also brings about a lot of anxiety too. Adventure is fun and exciting for a while, but as humans we crave familiarity and normalcy. Until China is familiar and normal to me I will continue to look at everything through new eyes and be bewildered, intrigued, and sometimes grossed out. The people here are kind, funny and hard workers. The city is populated, loud and busy. The food is flavorful, interesting and abundant. There are different smells with every step you take, some are good while most are not. Hopefully I will learn a new language soon. And how lucky to have historical, iconic, read- about places within our city boundaries and some within walking distance! When all is said and done, it is a huge blessing to say that I see something different, and out of my ordinary, every single day.
I know the blessings are pouring in! I know I can add to this list every day. I am grateful that my family is watched over and protected in this interesting new place we call home.