Monday, September 19, 2011

Our School

This is my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree that Cody and I worked very hard on. It was so worth it though because it is so stinkin' cute.

Our Reading Rainbow Corner, where the students can read English books!

Here's my classroom!  It's only this quiet and still when there are not 23 rowdy 6 year olds in there!

This is a picture of our school taken from the roof our apartment. It's so bright, beautiful, and happy.
 We love it!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Questions and Answers.

I would be lying if I told you that everything is perfect here. Everything has gone extremely well besides the sickness, and we really do love living in China. However, there are days of questions like what are we doing here, what kind of impact are we really having, how can we get involved in orphan care here, and I could go on.  However, what I so love about our Father, is that we can be honest and when we call out to Him, He answers us.  He has given me so many answers throughout the last few days.  He has reminded me to be patient and wait on Him because He is up to something.  He has reminded me to "not to grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9) What type of seeds do I want to sow, seeds that will last for all eternity and please my soul or seeds that will feed my flesh and be gone tomorrow? He has reminded me that He sees the bigger picture. He has great plans. And that when He calls us to do something, which we firmly believe He has called us here, we can rise to the challenge because He has promised to go before us and with us and cover us in His love and grace. What a great promise! There are days I feel very unqualified for this, totally not cut out for it, and He has reminded me that He does not call the qualified, but He qualifies the called. He gives me everything I need because nothing in me is any good on my own. It is His goodness in me.  After all, we are His masterpiece, He has created us anew in Him, (Thank goodness, He has chosen not to leave us like He found us.) so we can do the good things that He planned for us in advance. ( Ephesians 2:10)

It is not always the goal that we are aiming for that is important, it is the process. It is the growing closer to Him that is important, it is getting to know Him better, becoming more like Him, and in the process having an impact on the world around you. 

May we be a light in this darkness as we live our lives here. May His glory shine brightly. May He be lifted high. May He increase as we decrease. And may we fall more in love with a beautiful Savior in the process.


I was finally able to get out and enjoy our city for the day after days upon days of being cooped up in the house. I returned to work on Tuesday with very little energy so I was glad that by Saturday I was feeling up to a day out on the town.  We decided to go check out Guangho, our Times Square.  We had such a fun day walking through floor after floor of clothes, musical instruments, dvds, and all kinds of other gadgets and restaurants.  Cody has been dying to go to a DVD store since before we even came to China, so he was very excited when we found one.  We bought like 20 movies so now we have some entertainment at home.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee from Starbucks and headed over to a mall across the very busy road.  We walked around there for a while and I fell in love with a super cute dress. I decided not to buy it though because it was a sweater and yesterday was way too hot to be buying a sweater dress. However, it is so chilly today I could totally be wearing a sweater and be completely comfortable.  It kind of reminds me of Mississippi weather.  As we were heading to catch our bus back home, there was a group of five guys staring us down.. pretty typical. They walked past us, and then turned around and asked to take pictures with us.  So, one at a time, they each took their picture with us.  It was really pretty funny. We hopped on our bus, and an older woman sat down beside us and she just chatted our ears off... even though it was very obvious we had no idea what she was saying. I'm pretty sure she was telling me I was very white and she showed me what she was drinking.  I think she was telling me it was healthy for you. Sometimes, I like to make up a little conversation in my head of what they are saying to me.  I think it's a pretty effective way of communicating. Here's some pictures of our fun day...
The HUGE shopping mall... we could've potentially gotten lost in.

Enjoying some Starbucks- Caramel Frappacino! Yummy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Random Rantings

So, I'm always amused by the American songs that the Chinese culture picks up on here.  I love walking through the halls of our school and hearing them play.  We begin the day with a little "Yankee Doodle."  Then, at lunch, we have " Let it Be" by The Beatles and "What Child is This?" Yep, year round.  But today, I was caught off guard as I headed over to my Kindergarten classroom and heard Justin Beiber, "Baby." Oh yeah, I've heard it all now.  Justin Beiber, really?  I thought about all the little girls I know in Oxford, MS that would be singing along.  And, confession, made me think of my little dog, Maeli, because she loves it when I sing that song. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. And that's a wrap folks. That's all she wrote. for today. 

By the way, we are now proud Aunt Brynn and Uncle Cody! Welcome to the world, all the way from China, little Jon August Fortenberry! We love you!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sickness, Fireworks, and Chinese Hospitals

This is not at all how I had planned to spend my week. I thought I would be getting settled into the routines with my students, teaching English, grading assignments, hanging out with the Kindergarteners, etc.  However, I have spent my week nestled snugly in my rock hard bed waiting for this sickness to pass. I pushed through the day Monday only to get home that evening and realize I had a high fever.  And that fever has stuck around all week.  We thought at first maybe the fireworks would heal me because you see they use fireworks here for everything. Not a day or possibly hour goes by without the fireworks going off. It didn't seem that fireworks were going to do it for me though. Therefore, the week has been full of ups and downs and highs and lows.  Moments of feeling better and thinking things are finally getting better to moments of being completely miserable.  We spoke with the American doctor on Wednesday (Day 3) of the awful torment and she prescribed antibiotics just in case it was an infection.  On Thursday morning, when my temperature reached a high, my principal at the school made Cody take me to the doctor. This is something I really wanted to avoid. Going to the doctor in China, really isn't that bad, but I knew that they believed in IVs.  What I mean is they are likely to give you an IV no matter the reason for being there and I HATE needles.  But I was not given a choice in the matter and before I knew I it, I was being whisked away in a school bus headed for the Hospital.  When we arrived they began to ask me questions about my symptoms, take my blood, take a chest x-ray, and an EKG.  When they received all of my test results back, there was no good news to be found.  They completely forgot about why I was there because they said according to my EKG, I have a serious heart condition and I needed to go immediately to a Cardiologist across town.  (I have had two very good EKGs in the last 4 months so I wasn't too concerned.) They pushed us out the door, telling me not to walk too fast in case my heart goes out.  So, here we go driving another thirty minutes to another hospital to see a cardiologist, while eating McDonald's, by the way. (We were really concerned about my heart so we ate a "healthy" lunch.) When we arrived to the next hospital, we were told we would have to wait until 2 to see the cardiologist.  It was 12, and this was apparently urgent. So, Jesse, our friend who accompanied us and translated everything for us, told the nurse we couldn't wait.  Five minutes later, we were walking up three flights of stairs straight into the doctor's office. A good thing to do if your heart might go out at any minute. She looked at my paperwork from the last hospital, took my blood pressure and pulse, and quickly said we needed another blood test and EKG. So, we go back down the stairs back to where we were waiting.  Jesse asked repeatedly if that was really necessary since I had just had all of that done an hour before with the paperwork to prove it, and of course, the nurse insisted.  A few minutes later, she comes into our room rolling a cart with and EKG machine, and everything she needed to take my blood. Did I mention I hate needles!?  Jesse knew I really didn't want to be poked again because the first one didn't go so well and I have a nice bruise to prove it, so Jesse asked if he could take my blood, and the nurse said YES! By the way, he was a phlebotomist for several years in college, and he did an excellent job. I was one happy girl about that.  We waited a little while for the results to come back, and they did, more bad news.  They told me that my heart was beating way too fast, and several of my counts on my blood test were off so they wanted me to stay the night.  Lovely, just what I've always wanted to do! But, everything is negoitable in China so after conversing again with the American doctor and her nurse, we decided that my heart was probably ok, and we left the hospital completely untreated for what came there for. However, I did escape the usually inevitable IV since they were so worried about my heart.   Many times, when someone is sick, the heart will beat a good bit faster, and the counts that were off on my blood test made sense because I had a virus. They had  forgotten that I had come in there being sick not concerned about my heart.  So, it was back home to resting on the hard bed, drinking lots of water, and taking ibuprofen and tylenol which I had been doing all week.  Friday afternoon, as I was resting, my principal, translator, and administrator came on over to see how the sickly one was doing. As they entered, they all touched my face to make sure I didn't have a fever because they had told Cody to take me back to the doctor that morning to get an IV.  He made a deal with them and said if the fever came back, we would go. Luckily, I wasn't running a fever at the time. They brought many apples and bananas.  I'm not sure how we will ever eat them all. We had a very sweet visit then it was back to bed for me and back to work for them.  Hopefully, we are on the other side of this ugly thing now.  I haven't had a fever since Friday morning about 3am.  (It's Saturday at 7pm) Through this, I am trusting that He knows best and surrendering control over my own body.  I praise Him for He is the Great Healer and Comforter. I read recently where someone said, " No wonder the HS is called a Comforter because if you actually follow Him where He is leading you, you are going to need one."  Those words are so true.  I must also take a moment to brag on my awesome husband.  He has cooked homemade chicken noodle soup among other things and done all the dishes this week. He has made sure that I have had everything I may need. He would come home between classes to make sure I was ok. He has gone over and beyond. He has been such a blessing to me this week. I am so thankful for my servant-hearted husband. The Father really blessed me with this one! I think I'll keep him!

Thanks for your thoughts as I continue to get healthy.  Trusting in the Healer.