Our first week in China has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. Our highs have been really high, and our lows have been really low. It's funny to look back on our thoughts, feelings, and video clips of our last week in the United States and see how stressed we were, only to shake our heads and think, if you only knew that a week from now you'd be walking home, miles in the pouring rain with your arms full of grocery bags and tired kids, bickering with your spouse. We believed that the stresses and problems we had in life would leave when we left the U.S., and they did, but we were naive to not anticipate new stresses and problems. Our new family motto has become, "there is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the growth zone." That is the best way to describe our feelings. It's hard to see the kids confused or disappointed by the adjustments and keep the long term benefits in our heads, but we've experienced so many amazing things as well.
A book, a movie, a song, a photo can never simulate the awe and wonder of stepping in to a completely new place. I had very little schema on China before coming, and wasn't sure what to expect. Although I've seen movies and photos, nothing can compare to the overwhelming excitement you feel as you look around and take in everything that is new. Your brain wants to categorize everything it sees, but there is nowhere for it to be placed. It takes time to gather and absorb all the new information, and that alone is a huge step in growth. You accumulate an understanding that can only come from experience, and every day I understand a little more. As much as I am disappointed by the discomforts I've been experiencing, I never want to give up that feeling of growth and understanding. Rather than fearing the new, I now crave new experiences because to me, deepening my understanding of the world around me is invaluable.
I look forward to deepening my understanding with you by my side and am grateful for the friends and family who have kept us in their prayers during this growing time in our life.