Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dumplings...and still learning to live.

I am currently chasing a resilient mosquito around my room who just happened to take a few bites out of my unsuspecting feet as they dangled off my bed. It is a cloudy Saturday afternoon in China, I am home from school resting, emailing, reading, and catching up with myself as well as others.

My weeks here are busy: 4-5 classes per day M - F and a 2 hour class on Saturday morning with a select group of 4th graders. I am teaching 3-4 kids classes per day and am teaching the teachers three times a week as well.

I just returned home from hand making dumplings with the Headmaster, her husband, the cook, the door guard, the girl who cleans our school, 2 other teachers, and Jimmy. As I sat around the small table in our eating area, rolling out little balls of white dough and filling them by spoon and chopsticks with a pork and spice concoction, I smiled. I listened as they talked, picking up bits and pieces of their conversations. My 6 weeks of Chinese class have just allowed me to begin catching words and phrases. The cook gently took the little dough rounds between his brown weathered hands, filled them with the pink and green mixture, and with precision pinched the sides making the perfect little dumpling curve. His watery black eyes glowed along with his silver capped smile as I tried to mimic his movements. Jimmy and I are quite the entertainment to our co-workers. Sadly, I didn't have my camera on hand - it's not quite safe to take it around and I'm already daily cautioned not to carry my bag with me when I walk. But my eyes and my heart took it all in.

As we all sat around steaming bowls of dumplings, cucumber and pork, green bell pepper and pork, cabbage, steamed peanuts, chicken feet, pork slices, beer, and orange juice, I cannot help but stop and be amazed at my current situation. I am living and working in China. I am teaching little kids (actually doing it!). I am learning Chinese. I am daily riding in rickshaws, eating with chopsticks, planning lessons, and living - though 7,000 miles from all that I know. It is amazing how at peace one can feel in the unfamiliar. It is amazing where one can go, serve, live, and prosper if they are willing to take the risk, willing to say yes to the call, willing to trust. But it's not just about going, it's about living everyday, wherever that is.

I am at a strange place of learning balance right now. There are so many potentials, so many possibilities, and yet no direct answer as to what to do. I have to take it one day at a time, trusting, waiting, doing the best I can, everyday. I was reminded of the wise words of Proverbs 16 this past week,

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but the Lord directs his steps."

So here's to hand pinched dumplings, learning to live, and learning to love. What a beautiful gift and adventure it has all turned out to be!


Also, here's an artist I've been checking out lately, a Chinese national from a nearby city to the one in which I'm living. I'm looking into visiting some of his work in person sometime if possible. enjoy.

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