Thursday, August 28, 2014

Picnic for Families

Some days are just simply beautiful. Here are some photos from our recent picnic with 30 families affected by disabilities. These families have been a part of family retreats, autism day camps and/or Saturday morning English classes. The volunteers got as much joy from the event as the families.
~ Kevin

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Swim Class

If you ever have the chance to ask Molly what she misses most about America, you will hear "swimming!" Even though we've lived in China for more than two years now, it wasn't until this month that we went swimming for the first time. 
Sweet friends from our international fellowship invited us to join them at one of the local colleges for an afternoon of swimming, and it was great fun. Two days later, as the kids and I were at the playground with a neighbor, we learned he was signed up for swimming lessons -- a 12-day program that began the very next day. Molly jumped at the chance to join him, and I was thankful for how his mom drove us there each day and helped me navigate the unfamiliar gym.
The photo above is from the first day of class -- the only time the kids were in the shallow pool. Molly is standing between our neighbor friend Henry and her former kindergarten classmate Wendy. We hadn't seen Wendy in a year, and it was such a wonderful surprise to see Molly's good friend as the only other girl in class. Unfortunately, Wendy didn't enjoy the class and never made it back after the first day.
Here is Molly on Day 12 with her teacher Mr. Wang. He was so friendly and kind, but Molly was super shy with him and gave him the impression she couldn't speak Chinese. She understood all of his instructions, but she would never answer his questions with more than a nod. (We're working on this… she'll get there!)
The lessons were long -- 5:30-6:45 pm every day -- and I felt like it consumed our lives. Kevin made special efforts to leave work a little early so he could stay at home with Hudson. (Swim students had to be 6 years old.) Molly's biggest complaint was that the water was very cold. It was too long and tiring for her to stay in the water for more than an hour.
Most lessons she stopped early and sat by the side of the pool until I came in at the end, but she was always very excited to go back again the next day. She never expressed any fear of the water, just how she wished it could be warmer.
There wasn't any seating around the pool, so the parents would walk the kids through the locker room and into the pool area and then head back downstairs to wait in the lobby. This was such an interesting facility. The upper levels house a really nice gym (treadmills, exercise equipment, aerobics room, spin bikes, ping pong tables) and clubhouse-type restaurant while the first floor is a fancy store for liquor and cigarettes with a small marine aquarium in the back.
So proud of my brave girl!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Family visits

It's always a privilege to visit our friends in their homes or workplaces. Here are glimpses of our visits.