Please feel free to stare
Great day today, our last one in Zhengzhou. Good evening, Lars here.
Today, as our hosts waited for our children’s Chinese passports to arrive, we CCAI families had a free day to tour or rest before we head to Goungzhou tomorrow and start working on getting our daughter back home. Katie and I joined our KC friends Jeff and Tracy on a day trip to the Shaolin Temple, a Kung-Fu mecca just a couple hours out of the city, and beautiful opportunity to experience Chinese culture. We traded the heavier smog and concrete of the city for slightly less dense smog and rolling mountain peaks.
One thing you should know is that in Chinese culture it is perfectly acceptable to point and stare at others. We’ve experienced it ever since we’ve arrived. Some are inquisitive and want to try out a little broken English. Some follow you with kind eyes and warm smiles. Some simply stop their walking and stare at you like you’re a panda at the zoo. We’re raised in America to see this as exceedingly rude, a real etiquette faux pas, but it’s a normalized practice on the streets of China.
And man, did I get some stares today. I spent the entirety of our 4 hours tour with Lydia facing me in the Ergo baby carrier, laboring much of the day to keep her from pulling off her hat, kissing her on the cheek, and whispering little things about her brothers in her ears. The last hour, she slept on my shoulder. It was really great. But nearly every Chinese fellow tourist looked at me and laughed, smiled, stared, pointed. I typically would smile at them, say hello, and move on.
While this might be seen as rude to some, I had no problem with the pointing and staring at all. First, I’m sure for many locals, it is an exceedingly strange sight to see, and I can’t blame others for noticing and being interested in why these white westerners are carrying around a Chinese baby. But second, and most poignant, I don’t mind the stares because, even after only 3 days, this is no longer strange to me. She is absolutely as much my child as Quinn and Alby are. She’s not an interloper, and truly never felt like one. She’s my daughter and though it may look strange to some, both in China and when we return home, it’s not the least bit strange to me.
So please, feel free to stare. She is remarkably beautiful.
Tomorrow we fly to Goungzhou, a 2.5 hour flight, so it will be a good test run for the big trip home in 9 days. All of our Chinese paperwork is completed, and our focus turns to the US consulate and all the American paperwork yet to do. A couple of items to pray for:
– No hiccups with paperwork. Things have been remarkably smooth thus far (thank you CCAI – can’t say enough about them).
– Bedtimes for Lydia. She is acting frantic and we’re not sure what to do. Tonight was better than last night, and I would pray for a calm spirit for her and discernment for us. Pray that each night would get a little better.
– For time to move quickly now. We’re missing the boys but have enjoyed Facetime in the mornings. We’re ready in our minds and hearts to come home, but are choosing to see this last week or so as a gift of special time with Lydia. Patience is not my chief virtue. Pray for time to go quickly and be well spent.
– Praise that Lydia is eating great, has an incredibly sweet spirit, and that we’re having a great time with the other families in our group!
Goodnight everyone! Enjoy a few pictures from the day.