Sunday, April 21, 2013


Oh, Sunday. It was a beautiful day, cooled by last night’s raucous thunder storm. After breakfast, we took a taxi to Shamian Island to attend the bi-lingual service at Christ Church. We crowded into a stone and marble building with about two hundred other worshipers, praying together for the survivors of the Sichuan earthquake and blending Mandarin and English in songs new and old. What a gift to be singing “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow” on a day when I feel stretched thin, unknowns crowding.

The rest of the morning was every bit as refreshing as we wandered the island, discovering an exotic oasis of tropical gardens and colonial architecture. We strolled under banyan and cinnamon trees, Mercy enjoying the cobbled paths and connecting for the first time with strangers. Her waves were tentative, but she delighted the kind folks who greeted her with “ni-hao.” We watched fashion shoots and posing wedding couples in picturesque corners and visited with shopkeepers enthusiastic to practice English.
After naptime we ventured out again, taking the underground pedestrian walkway to a gorgeous park that covers acres of Guangzhou. Carefully groomed paths wind through bamboo forest and banana trees, and hibiscus and unfamiliar bright blooms were a feast for eyes hungry for spring at home. We watched laughing children feed fat koi fish and families paddle boats around palm-lined ponds.

And shoes...I watched shoes. Oh, the fearless fashion of the Chinese! I have seen more pairs of high-heeled, high-top tennis shoes than I can count. And not just high-heeled, high-top tennis shoes, but gold-plates screwed onto toe and heel, laces up the front and back, and a pair adorned with the Mac apple AND Mickey (the combinations of branding are so wild). And bows...chiffon bows on patent-leather flats, sequined bows on apple-green stilettos, rhinestone bows on leopard print wedges, bows on strappy gladiator heels...oh the bows! Yes, we have seen Converse and Crocs, but the majority of women shun comfort shoes for color and texture. Did I mention the blazer-clad tour guide wearing flats covered in silver spikes? Or the gal wearing denim shorts and blue velvet heels? Really, I am beginning to feel self-conscious in my oh-so-comfortable Keens.
Sister is sleeping now, Alex is watching BBC news, and I have traded in my sandals for hotel slippers. A new week begins...


Auntie Erika said...

So glad you were able to attend a Christian service. We will be thinking of you as we attend our own worship service...perhaps even singing that very same hymn! Much love to all!

Ann said...

Your post make makes me miss China so much! I imagine you are missing your other kiddos so much at this mid-way point--which can be tough. Godspeed and sending continued prayers!

mama said...

fun read!

Anonymous said...

Happy post....radiant smiles and a peace that is evident in the pictures and your words. Mercy looks at home in your arms. With each day her face brightens and her smile become not just the shape of her lips but is also in her eyes. A glimpse of the transformation that is happening in her heart.
Love and prayers,

mom and dad S said...

So sweet to see Mercy blossoming with her new mommy and dad. Counting the days til you return home with our newest blessing.
Love you.