Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Lifetime in China

Habits are changing.

I’ve been trying to make small changes in the way I act, eat, and move. I’m not making big changes. Heck, I’m not making big ENOUGH changes. But I can see changes nonetheless.

I realized this more than ever last night at Subway. My mom and I stopped there before she dropped me off at home (since I am now carless, she is giving me rides home from work sometimes). We used to order the same exact thing:
Footlong white bread with –
-Provolone cheese (plus extra cheese)
-salt and pepper
That’s it. Veggie? I suppose even the iceberg lettuce doesn’t count. I ate this for YEARS. My mom, at 107 pounds, can eat this and be fine. She eats the WHOLE THING! That little featherweight! With her Crohn’s disease, she is really picky about what she eats. Somehow, she can live off of eggs and bacon and be fine; give her an apple or some green beans, and she’s sick for days.
I ordered after her last night, and didn’t even think about what I ordered until later. I got a 6 inch sub on whole wheat bread. Turkey, spinach, pepper jack (if I’m gonna eat cheese, I better taste it!), green peppers, cucumber, black pepper.
I know, not too many veggies; but this is light years better than what I used to have. And it was delicious!
Another thing that made me think this morning? My breakfast. I have oatmeal – a piping hot bowl of wheat germ, rolled oats, flax seed, banana, peanut butter, and butterscotch. It is absolute heaven. I was so excited all morning, and I could hardly WAIT to dig into this special treat. 6 months ago, I’d be eating a huge bowl of Reese’s Crunch, with a candy bar on the side.
Our cupboards are getting bare. Today, I made do with what I could find (seeing as not only do we not have MONEY, but now we don’t have transportation!).
Breakfast: I used the last of my frozen banana for the oatmeal. Luckily, I think I have enough oats to last me a month; I bought a huge container, and I’ve got lots of PB and butterscotch!!
Lunch: Whole wheat pita with peanut butter and laughing cow cheese (yeah, kinda weird… it sounded good last night when I made it!), yogurt cup
Snacks: Fruit leather, homemade mix (cheerios, walnuts, semi-sweet choc chips)
Dinner: I’m going to eat dinner at the hospital with my grandparents, who are visiting my aunt, who is having a hip replacement. Follow that? I am hoping for a great salad bar. One of the blogs I faithfully read, http://www.katheats.com/, showed a seriously amazing looking salad last night. That woman makes everything look delicious. Anyway, I’ve got a hankering for a huge salad.

I was told today to make preparations to leave for China on 2/20/09 – he is 95% sure all systems are go. Why can’t it be one HUNDRED!!! But here we go… packing, moving, studying, saying goodbyes. All complicated by the fact that we have no car. What did people do before cars? Buggies? Horse drawn carriages?

I was talking to an elderly woman who taught English in China for over fifty years (along with missionary work). She is an acquaintance of a coworker of mine. She is now over 80, and living back here in the States. She explained that at the age of 20, single and alone, she packed her few belongings, said goodbye, and hopped on a freighter bound for Shanghai. Her sea voyage took three months. She entered traveled to a small town, and was the only white person her town had ever seen; and it stayed that way for almost a decade. She learned the language, and taught in the school. She worked alongside farmers and shop workers. She shared the word of God, and found her way into the hearts of the people around her. She absolutely fell in love with the people of China; so much so that she did not return to the US for a visit until almost twenty years later.

Talk about amazing. This woman is a fish out of water. She lives in a home with weekly bingo nights, movie nights, and weekly church services. She says she longs for her favorite foods, music, and smells. She misses the melody of the Chinese language; the smiles she received as she walked down the main road. She misses the mountains. She is homesick. It is both encouraging and heartbreaking to talk with her. She has so many fond memories of her life in China. When she speaks about it, her eyes glisten and her mouth curls into the most subtle smile. She tells of her “sisters”, still living the same life in China they always have, and the pets she raised. Of her small home, with one burner, a squat toilet, and sketchy insects that creep their way inside in the spring. She has witnessed the changes that China has gone through in the past fifty years; she watched her roads get paved, apartment buildings built, and tourists start flocking in. But she never lost her love for her “homeland”. She told me that someday, before she dies, she’d like to go home and see her family. My heart breaks for this woman; I know that she will never go back to China. But her spirits are lifted at the thought of the possibility.

1 comment:

debby said...

WOW, Amy Jo! What a great story. You are such a good story teller. I hope you keep a serious journal of your adventures in China. That story of the lady just makes me teary. To me it is just another tangible proof that if we will go where God leads us it will always be far more exciting than anything we could have imagined for ourselves.

And good for you for the changes you have made. I think its really good for us to notice these changes. Otherwise we get discouraged so easily by not seeing 'outward' change. Even if we never lose weight, we are fueling our bodies so much better. Last night I talked to my niece, who is having some weird physical problems (more like you would see in an older person) and I asked her how she ate. Unbelievable. Well, not really. But she admitted to having one vegetable every other day, and one fruit every other day.

Anyways, YAY for you. I think I"m teary because I am going to miss you! I sure hope they have the internet over there wherever you are.