Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good-bye, Friend

Mr. Wu arrived this morning to take Scott to work, as he does every morning. But he won't be bringing him home today. Gwen and I both shed some tears this morning about this fact, and I think Mr. Wu was a bit teary too.

Mr. Wu has been our driver here in Shanghai for exactly four years. When Scott first arrived, before the rest of us had moved here, Mr. Wu was the one showing Scott "beautiful Shanghai." He picked our weary, jet lagged family up from the airport and drove us through the summer rain to our apartment on the river. In the early days, before we knew anyone here, sometimes Mr. Wu even hung out in our apartment with us during the day, playing PS-3 with the boys and playdough with the girls. At first his English was spotty, but as time went by and we interacted with him, it improved greatly. I wish I could say the same for my Chinese!

I wrote Mr. Wu a letter yesterday, telling him some of the things I have appreciated about him. A big one is how great he has been with all our family visitors. I think everyone enjoyed meeting him and conversing with him in the car. Most recently, Andrew was trying to teach Mr. Wu some phrases spoken like a true New Yorker- I'm sure I can't do the exchange justice, but we were all laughing! He's always been friendly and a wonderful tour guide.

Scott has often called Mr. Wu "Curious George." He always pointed out to us anything unusual or interesting to him that he saw as we drove- someone selling a turtle by the side of the road, lots of people on one motor bike, etc.

It can't be easy to be thrust into the midst of family dynamics that are so often displayed on a car ride. I remember many rides in the first years we were here where Gwen fussed on and on about her carseat- she never was a fan of carseats, and made sure everyone knew. Mr. Wu patiently endured. We've had our share of disagreements while riding in the car- of course he was there to hear. We've been late and he's been late. We've had the usual last minute panic trying to get ready to leave the house for a trip, hurrying to the airport only to remember some essential that we needed to go back for... Mr. Wu was on the scene, turning the car around and taking us back. It's a bit like having all your underwear out for public view, to have this other person always in the car, but Mr. Wu has always handled us graciously.

One of the the bright spots for me when returning to China from traveling, the first thing I looked for, was Mr. Wu's smiling face waiting for us outside of baggage claim at the Pudong airport. I feel like he welcomed me home again each time.

So Mr. Wu is moving on, and we aren't yet. We've got one more year, and so when Scott comes home from work today, it will be with a different person driving the car. I'm sure it will be someone kind and friendly, someone who will become part of our family for the last year as Mr. Wu has been for the past four years. But we won't forget Mr . Wu, not ever. Praying that God will continue to show Himself to Mr. Wu so that we might see him again in eternity.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Madelyn said...

"I just realized China is such a different set up than America. Just realized it! Been here four years and I just realized it. "

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Playing a Band

This photo was taken after church a couple of weeks ago when Seth and some of the other
band members gathered spontaneously to sing a few songs together.

When Seth was very small, I used to ask him every night as I tucked him in bed what he wanted to do the next day. His standard, two year old's answer was "Play a band." :-)

Fast forward a dozen years... this guy has had many opportunities to "play a band." He is part of the youth worship band at our church, and as a part of that group has played for a city wide youth worship night, weekly youth group at our church, and both Saturday night and Sunday services. I don't think there is anything else that brings him as much joy as getting to play and sing with this group.

Pretty awesome for Scott and I to get to see our guy leading this way!

Have you tried this new mouthwash flavor?

I haven't yet, but I might...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Prom...Can it be?

If he is old enough to reach this milestone, how old does that make me? :-)
Caleb and Kate with their good friends Ben and Joy. They posed for moms' cameras and then they were off! Bunch of the guys coming back here to crash after, then a group of the kids are all gathering for breakfast tomorrow. Finals ended yesterday, internships start on Monday... fun weekend in between!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clapping Games

On our Beijing trip, the four girls spent nearly every moment where they were sitting down playing hand clapping, chanting games. Here Maggi and Gwen have a game going on the dragon boat we rode on the lake at the Summer Palace, the summer home of Chinese emperors for centuries.

Monday, May 16, 2011


What our family is experiencing this month...

Finished a wonderful visit with Jenna, Andrew and girls

Scott completed his many week project in Jakarta

Good-bye lunches and picnics for friends leaving Shanghai for good- bittersweet

End of the year concerts

Preparing for prom~ getting a suit made, figuring out what to do after, etc

Rearranged the living room with a friend's help

Flowers on front steps overflowing their pots

Helping to find summer homes for Baobei babies whose families are traveling

Beautiful Shanghai weather... precursor to HOT and HUMID summer

Studying for finals

Scott's 42nd birthday

Baobei 3rd anniversary brunch

Looking at houses in NC online with my sister for her upcoming move

Caleb getting braces off! Scott has another half a year...

Taking walks in the morning with my friend Carol, discussing the many issues of parenting

Thinking about which colleges to visit this summer

Two boys filling out preference sheets for fall high school interim trips

Seth's preparations for South Africa missions trip in June

Counting how many days of school are left

Blooming honeysuckle makes our whole compound smell delicious!

Seth and Madelyn performing in Concordia Idol

Middle school basketball tournaments for Seth and Madelyn, with Caleb coaching

Studying Revelations with our small group

Playing Words With Friends

Reading~ Grapes of Wrath, Joy Luck Club, The Things They Carried, Maximum Ride

Day trip to pottery town with girlfriends

Looking forward to being in the US this summer

Signing leases... for us to live here and for someone else to live in our Chicago house

There's probably a lot more happening this month, but that's what I come up with for now. I seem to be out of ideas for real writing these days... but I can make lists! LOL. Maybe I am tired of blogging, or finding it less important than I used to.

We are grateful to have a year left in Shanghai, but it is certainly seeming by now like we have been here a long while. We are "one of those" families who have stayed past the standard three years. Definite veterans. We wonder what it will be like to live in the US again. We love our life here. There is a lot of "daily-ness" but also a fair amount of pretty cool stuff too. :-)

That's all I've got for now, besides hundreds of photos from Jen and Andrew's visit that I hope to sort and post more of sometime soon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good Clean Fun

Mud seems to have ageless appeal!
The culmination of a fun Saturday afternoon together for Madelyn and Caroline looked like this! I wasn't completely pleased with the aftermath of this activity, but the pictures are fun. :-)

Monday, May 09, 2011


Seen in Moganshan last weekend during the high school youth retreat... right before they did the bamboo raft building activity and piloted their creations across the lake.
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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Taste of Street Food

In one of the local areas of Puxi, across the river from where we live in Shanghai, there is a smorgasbord of "street food" offerings. Here I am showing Meredyth the delicacies contained in this meat case.
Pig noses for a snack, anyone?
Andrew bought a few things to try, including some chicken feet.
He gnawed on them for a few minutes without much success. :-)