It’s been another great day here in Rongshui. Jeff, Ron, Shumin, Marilynne and I got up early and met David at the Orphanage to grab some bikes and then had breakfast at a local noodle place-Rongshui Special. It was delicious! We ate behind the resteraunt in the back lane because the place was so packed. It was definitely a very real chinese experience-just an average breakfast here in town. After that we went on a 15 km bike ride(return trip) to a village north of here. We passed what we later discovered were Christmas Oranges- random fact, they actually ripen months before but must sit afterwards to develop they’re lovely flavour. We also saw rice fields and sugar cane and climbed up a terraced mountain through tea plants. Needless to say we got lots of lovely pictures and had a wonderful-if totally exhausting time. When we finally got to the Village my butt hurt- a lot. It was well worth it though and we spent the rest of the morning buying gifts from the locals and riding through the town-David (the orphange director for those of you unaware) even jumped in the river for a swim. We then relaxed on a floating dock resteraunt thing (I dont know how else to describe it) and had a bit of a snack before turning around and heading back to see the kids on their lunch break. I think we are all going to be pretty sore tomorrow as the bike ride was quite the work out but it was truly beautiful and I feel blessed to have had the oppurtunity to do it. Meanwhile Chuck and Phyllis stayed behind to have more time with the kids at lunch and as such got to sleep in a bit and have the normal (and delicious) dim sum breakfast here at the hotel. When we arrived back we found them with the kids in the Courtyard of NTCCC communicating via the online translator on Chuck’s blackberry tablet. We had lunch all together before the kids headed back to school once more during which I discovered that the kids understand Om-nom-nom. Turns out it’s the universal phrase for THIS IS DELICIOUS! =) Made me happy. We came back to the hotel for awhile after that to Nap and then met to prepare for our presentation tomorrow. We are all quite excited to introduce them to our puppet friends (highlight of the day: Shumin translating Lucy while doing a girl voice- I laughed so hard I cried.) We then had dinner and headed back to NTCCC to spend our evening with all the kids. They were all excited to see us before but now they’re really starting to warm up to us and it’s wonderful. We tossed a ball, and played frisbee and Marilynne played Badminton with some of them as well. One of the girls tried to teach me a song in Chinese-she seemed impressed but I think I failed miserably-oh well, it was an experience and that’s what’s important. It was definitely a busy evening though and once again we were showered with love and presents. The middle school students who live at their schools were back for the weekend and I was so happy to see Yu-ting once again. (On my first trip here she fell asleep in my arms while we were singing with them all one day after taking them out shopping.) Jin Lian is also still here and I was able to connect with her and tell her how I have thought of her and her wonderful dancing so much since I last saw her. The kids are starting to remember me which is so amazing. There are quite a few that were here during my first visit but they’re all growing up and changing so much. Each day spent here is a blessing and it makes me sad that we only have 2 more days, but I will stay focused on the present because it truly is a gift and each moment counts with these kids. I’ll say good night as I’m super sleepy but I promised to write again tomorrow no matter how tired I may be! Blessings!
Squeals of delight as a ball is passed back and forth
laughter at half-understood hellos
joy that is undiminishing
Hope is what keeps you going
just as it keeps me going as well
we are not so different
though we live so far away.
You have left a handprint on my heart
in permanent ink
that will not dim or fade with time
and the love I have for you grows stronger
each passing day.
Never was a picture given with so much love
and never did a plastic necklace mean so much.
Yet they are but trinkets
to remember the true treasure
that you are,
And I will cherish you always.