Last Tuesday I had the emotional task of sending my mother off to the airport after what seemed to be a whirlwind stay. She arrived a week previous to spend some time with Preston and I and get a dose of what life is like for us here in China!
Can I just tell you, my mom is the best? She brought with here very little of her own material things, and lots of goodies for us! Dried mangoes, apricots, almonds, fudge-dipped sunbelt granola bars, chocolate chips, multi-vitamins, protein powder, teaching supplies - oh and not to mention HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES for everyone to share!! I know, I know, what you are all thinking, we would have taken her with out all the goods... we just would make her sleep outside.
Just teasin' (:
> > > RAIN < < <
Every day my mom came to school breakfast with us, spent time watching cute Mr. Smith teach his classes, helped me out with my head teaching duties and finished up the school day getting some school lunch with us. However, after teaching was through, we would take her out for some 'cultural experiences'.
One day we took her to the Luna Market (which is a huge outdoor market that happens during certain days of the month according to the lunar calendar) for some shopping fun!
We were there only about 45 minutes before the craziest rain storm I have experienced in Zhongshan!
|Literally up to our ankles in rain water!|
After practically swimming away from the Luna Market we got back to the school in time to get all dried up and looking nice for 'parents night' where the teachers teach their kids in front of the parents - no pressure, right?! No worries, everyone did a great job!
Ps. I win wife of the year for carrying my cute husband across the river that formed between our apartment and the school!
|You can't see it very well, but there is a river on the other side of the street about 6 inches deep! I saved his sweet Tevas (not really, they were already soaked from earlier. I just really wanted to carry him)|
|Heading out for a walk around the lovely Kaiyin|
|Mom posing with a nice Asian father and son|
|On our way to Shenzen for the weekend. She is such a pretty mom.|
That night, Mom treated us to a freaking-delicious-fiesta party! We let her chose our dinner spot that night and she found us quite the legit Mexican Restaurant that served the best nachos I have ever tasted on this side of the prime meridian! Everything was covered in real cheese, guac, beans and salsa.. This may not seem like a big deal to anyone at home, but for food lovers in a country where these things are so limited, we felt like we were in mexi-heaven!
Needless to say, that meal left our hearts and tummies full! Thanks momma!
|Mom and I - too excited about our nachos! Preston - thanking the Mexicans for inventing burritos|
> > >Sunday was a lovely, lovely day.
The hotel we were staying in was only a ten minute walk from where our branch conference was being held, so we were able to sleep in and take our time before the ten o'clock meeting (I didn't envy the rest of the teachers who had to leave on a bus at 7am that morning to make it in time).
It was great having my mom here for this particular sunday because we had the opportunity to take her to the conference annnnnd because we got to have a mom in China for Mothers Day!
> > >The conference as wonderful. Not one Sunday goes by that I don't get this overwhelming feeling of love and happiness. Seriously. There is something so cool about learning the gospel with others in a country so unlike your own. It is so comforting. It makes me feel right at home every time!
|Make shift mothers day breakfast courtesy of Prestons morning jog to a local Dunkin' Donuts (in China? I hardly see these in America!)|
|Walking to conference|
Following the conference all 'us' ILP teachers along with the YSA member of our small branch met together at the Shenzen meeting house for lunch (HOT DIGGITY-DOGS) and a fireside. The fireside was given by sweet Elder Chan, and Sister and Elder Gong - who is a member of the 70! It was truly inspired, I love nothing more than feeling the spirit in a room full of wonderful friends, old and new. I loved every minute of it! I am thrilled my mom got to experience it with us.
Unfortunately, after all the great feelings we had at church, events turned for the worse after the fireside as we witnessed a brutal back-alley-way murder:
> > >I am sad to say that I don't have any pictures for the next portion of this tale, which is a shame because it was very picture worthy.
|(Secretly, I am ok with this outcome)|
When the fireside was through, the teachers, along with my husband-dear boarded the bus back to Kaiyin.
I decided to stay in Shenzen one more day with my mom, since our visit there had been so brief.
After saying goodbye to everyone I took my mom to get her mothers day present, which was a fantastic foot/body/head massage sent from above! 80 minutes of pure heaven I tell you!
After this amazing experience, my mom and I jumped onto the metro headed clear across town to find a cheap hotel we found on hostel world.com for our nights stay. I will make this part brief but just know, we got lost, at night, in a part of the city less friendly to foreigners, with a dying cell phone and no sign of wifi anywhere. When we showed people the address of the hotel in Chinese, they just looked boggled and signed to us 'you are nowhere near that address'! Of course everything turned out and we were fine, but it was quite the little adventure in its self.
We used the last of our cell phone juice to call Preston and have him confirm we were in the right area (near the Commerical City shopping center - our target for the next day), we were, and were able to find a hotel that was decently priced with clean rooms and wifi (all we needed, really) after that.
After some dinner and much needed sleep we got up early Monday morning and made our way to the Commercial City shopping center - rumored to be as good if not better than the silk and pearl markets in Beijing. That shopping center was ENORMOUS. Five floors of everything you could think of. I was nervous about using my bartering skills without my coach (Preston) there, but I did good and got mom lots a sweet deals.
Later that day, and back in Kaiyin, we got Preston and went out for our last dinner-meal with momma, pizza and a delicious green salad (hard to find here)! Then spent the rest of the night packing her new China-finds up in preparation for her flight home the next day.
|Mom getting a little tipsy on her coke cola|
|Leaving the apartment, it felt too soon!|
|Heading to the cafeteria for one more famous Kaiyin breakfast!|
|& she was just starting to really love the chopsticks!|
|Saying our goodbyes|
Preston had to teach that morning so mom and him hugged their goodbyes and then we waited for the bus to the airport shuttle nearby.
It was hard saying goodbye. The week just flew by so quick! I don't think I expected being as emotional as I was, but it felt sooo incredibly foreign to be saying goodbye to someone I love while I was the one abroad!
No worries though, because in just over a month Preston and I will be back in the Beehive state with both of our awesome families, we can't wait!
Love you mom, thank you for coming to the other side of the world to spend the week with us!
xoxoxox - Amanda