Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Singing

MyLinh, waiting for us at home, is nearly nine years old. She loves to draw and write stories, filling notebooks with her imagination. She sings every hymn on Sunday mornings, recites whole scenes from favorite movies. She makes chocolate chip cookies on her own, loves spring rolls and hates fried eggs.

Last night we attended the Lantern Festival, joining thousands of others in Yiuxie Park to celebrate the last day of the New Year's Festival and the lighted, moving sculptures throughout the landscape. It began to rain not long after we arrived, and thousands of umbrellas appeared -- out of nowhere. Not as prepared as the locals, we pulled up hoods and elbowed our way through the throng. We stopped first to see the giant, lighted Monkey King, piped music loud above us. And then we heard Milo sing along...

Milo just turned nine, just days before his world was turned upside down. He knows the entire story of the Monkey King, but I couldn't understand him as he named the characters from the ancient tale, delighting in the sculpture. I don't know his favorite treats, and I cannot yet make his favorite meals (although the instant noodles we made last night made him swear with happiness -- if our translator app could blush...)

He found a little electronic singing/talking toy at a tourist shop today, and he can sing every song, recite the poems, follow all of the prompts, and I only recognize a handful of words (numbers and colors -- and I might have those mixed up). Of course, we knew that this little soul was a package arriving with a culture -- and personality -- very much intact, but listening to him sing along to a song we've never heard in a language we can't speak is a vivid reminder of how much we have to learn.

I don't know that he is grieving yet. But I am. I am feeling his loss, and I wish I could sing him a familiar song or recite a nursery rhyme that would make him laugh. I want to have him tell me the story of the Monkey King and teach me the characters. And so this little toy makes my son sing along...and I look forward to the day that I will make him sing along too.

And so I leave you with a glimpse of the Lantern Festival, where we first heard his song...



2 comments:

Auntie Erika said...

This morning, like every morning since your left, my boys crowded around my screen to catch a glimpse of your latest adventures. They laughed at the umbrellas appearing out of no where, and tried hard to relate to the mysterious culture they are hearing about daily (I am pretty sure that the Monkey King and the Lion King are not in any way related ;)). We are all excited for your return and the chance love on you all!

Simply-Family said...

Beautiful post, Riann! It's all so true. We're settled into our Shantou hotel and looking toward to a morning meeting Sam's nannies and friends!