The Annual Flood Happened

I mentioned before that it has been raining for about. . . half a year. Rainy season brings a big flood each year, and that happened yesterday. The rain came down hard the whole day, but within the first hour the streets were filling and drains were back flowing. The river that runs through the city overflowed and spilled into the streets as well. We haven’t read about any casualties which is good. The kids are home from school today since some places are still flooded, and it’s still raining. The kids don’t seems to mind :)
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School

I thought this picture of Caden was so cute from the library at their school. The other pictures are from Colt’s class. They are learning geography hands on! Using their map and exploring the city!
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Kylie’s Art Award

Colt has been taking art lessons for a couple of months and really loving it. Kylie took about 8 classes during an art camp over winter break, then decided she didn’t want to continue. Their art teacher gave me info on entering an art competition. I asked if it mattered if they were foreigners, and she said it didn’t specify that stipulation so it was no problem. I asked the kids to pick out their favorite painting and submitted it along with their Chinese name, age, school, and name of their painting. The prize was 100 yuan (which is about $15). I was shocked when Kylie’s painting was chosen for second place award. We went to the ceremony and felt a bit out of place since I don’t think anyone was expecting a foreigner to show up (Haha). Kylie was in it for the prize money though and willing to walk the red carpet and get her picture taken. . . just not really smile (until we left).  Colt said he was going to win next time around!

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Excellent Article for Mother’s Day

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I subscribe to Not Consumed and the author sent out such a great reminder for me on this Mother’s Day. I wanted to share it in case any other moms also needed to read it too :)

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Hi Haley!
So it’s almost Mother’s Day. Ya know, the day Hallmark declared as a day to celebrate, love, and appreciate Mothers.

And I think we should. (If you haven’t celebrated, loved on, or appreciated your mother yet, stop and do that this very minute, young lady. Hehe. Kidding…a little… but seriously, go do it.)

Now let’s talk about you. Have you ever felt like you WEREN’T celebrated, loved, or appreciated on Mother’s day?

Maybe you have. Maybe you haven’t. I’ll be honest, I usually don’t get “presents.” My kids are little. No one has a car. No one has a job. And no one tells them it’s mother’s day. So, this day typically comes and goes as a regular old day complete with sibling rivalry and normal kid behaviors.

It might surprise you to know that I’m FINE WITH THAT!

One thing God taught me many years ago is that I DON’T mother my babies to be appreciated. That’s not my goal in this. I’m not doing all of this work to make sure they grow up and tell me how amazing I am.

I’m doing it so they will grow up knowing how amazing God is. I’m doing it to please the Lord.

So, I suppose you could say it’s not about being appreciated. It’s about being faithful.

Sweet momma, if there is anything I could say to encourage you today it would be this. STAY FAITHFUL. Don’t do this thing for the accolades. Don’t do it because you hope they will celebrate you, appreciate you, or make much out of what you’ve done for them.

Do it because you love them and the best we can love them is to model faithfulness so they too will trust and obey God, whether they feel celebrated, loved, or appreciated.

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Pretty good huh? Every piece of laundry you’ve folded, every tear you’ve wiped, and every moment of sleep you’ve missed… MATTERS. You are both noticed and appreciated by God. Stay faithful and keep pressing on!

What’s for Dinner?

In case you were wondering what’s for dinner. . .
I spent around $3 for this meal. I bought some pumpkin and put it in our rice (brown rice today), the round tan veggie is lotus root, the green thing is a type of gourd, some cabbage, eggs, and layered tofu. And ALWAYS cook with fresh garlic and ginger! I stir-fried it in our homemade lard. . . just like grandma huh? It sure does make these veggies taste even more delicious! There wasn’t much left when we were all full!  I love the diversity of so many yummy veggies and fruits here!  And I love going to the market each day and just buying what I’m going to make.  I just do. . .

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Mulberries and Crawfish

One of the 2 rain free days while the kids were out of school this past week we took some friends to the mountain. The kids usually just run around and play in the village but this time they found some great surprises! Mulberry trees and crawfish! We brought the berries home and made yummy syrup for our pancakes the next morning.
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Sunshine!

We have been averaging 3-5 sunny (no rain) days/month for about the last 6 months. Seems like an extremely long (longer than usual) rainy period and it is supposed to go through June. Thankfully, we had 2 sunny days while the kids were off school for Labor Day! We took their class on a little trip about an hour north of here and road scooters through the mountains. We had planned to camp, but the campsite was flooded! So.much.rain.
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Fun at the Library!

There was a skit in the local dialect at the children’s library this past weekend. It’s amazing that our kids can understand and are fluent in Mandarin and they also understand the local dialect. Kylie really speaks it the best. She has no accent whatever. It still cracks us up to hear her speak in Guilin Dialect because it sounds so different from Mandarin.

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Randoms

1-2. Cream Puff is our new kitty that we have had for about 3 months now. She brings a lot life with her. The kids love her!

3-5. Some of my favorite eats right now: handmade noodles in a tomato/egg broth, espresso and ice cream, and mangosteen! Soooo good!

6-7. Thing you see hanging off electric scooters. Amazing.

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Third Culture Kids

I’m reading a book called Third Culture Kids that is really fascinating to me since I’m raising three “THIRD CULTURE KIDS” or “TCKs.”

By definition a TCK is “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”

I think originally, I actually believed (or atleast hoped) that my kids would be able to assimilate into these 2 cultures seamlessly. . . but after 5 years overseas and after reading this book I know it’s not possible. I should really sit down and write all about it to maybe help you understand more of what I’m learning and maybe you could even understand our kids better or other TCKs, but here are some benefits and challenges to keep it concise:

BENEFIT: Expanded Worldview CHALLENGE: Confused Loyalties
BENEFIT: Cross-Cultural Enrichment CHALLENGE: Ignorance of Home Culture
BENEFIT: Adaptability CHALLENGE: Lack of Cultural Balance (because of the mix of cultures they’ve been exposed to)
BENEFIT: Blending In (chameleon like – dress or accent) CHALLENGE: Really Defining their Differences (they know “I’m not like you!”)
BENEFIT: Less Prejudice (for most) CHALLENGE: More Prejudice (For some)

I know the choice we have made to live overseas is molding our kids. I’m not a TCK so there is so much I don’t understand. I think it’s great that they can see this great big world – from the wealthy to extreme poverty, experience so many cultures through our travels, taste so many different foods, and be fluent in two languages. It comes with set backs too though – They don’t have the same palette as a “true American.” They don’t know about baseball or football or many other things that are familiar childhood memories to me. Reading in two languages and getting the sounds and letters mixed up has been a battle for one of them. . . More importantly, they don’t get to grow up around their cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We miss the holidays (some more than others) just to name a few.

I’m not questioning our journey. . . I’m content and grateful. Just some thoughts as I parent these precious “TCKs.” And one more analogy: (colors referring to Westerner and Asian in a completely non-racist way)

In the States they are like an egg. They are “white” on the outside, but really more “yellow” on the inside.

Here they are more like a banana. They are “yellow” on the outside, but more “white” on the inside.

So. . . where do they fit in? Nowhere completely. But when a bunch of TCKs get together it is really an amazing sight- like a family reunion almost :) Because if you remember from the definition above “their sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.” They just have a magical connection, and it’s this group of people that make a “THIRD CULTURE” because they don’t fit into their home or host culture.

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