Wednesday, June 25, 2008


For those of you in the Kingsport area--I'll be sharing a presentation of my life and Work in China with the family at Northeast this Sunday, June 29 at 9:00 a.m. There is so little of my life that I can share online--esp over on the other side of the Great Wall--so this will be an opportunity to share some other aspects of my life there. Everyone is welcome to join!

What: Lucy shares about her life and Work in China.
When: Sunday, June 29, 2008
     9:00 a.m.
Where: Northeast CoC --Kport--
              R. Bonner's Sunday Class--basement/fellowship hall

Hope to see you all there! (although I'm back in the US--I am editing now so that I don't have to later.)


I am here. And I am sooo tired.

I think that there was once a time when I didn't believe that jetlag was a real thing. After my first trip to France I learned that there was some legitimacy to travelers' complaints--but still didn't think it was much to ramble about.

Now however--I am finding it to be as all-consuming as mono. When I traveled to China a year ago, the jetlag was actually quite pleasant--I felt tired at a descent hour of night and woke up at lovely hours in the morning. After a life of greeting mornings with a snarl or cuss word on the 5th or 6th round of snooze buttons--I thought, "This is kinda nice. I could get used to this. Is this the way that 'morning people' live? It's not too bad."

But quickly, my sense of time adjusted and within a week I was staying up till around midnight and sleeping so embarrassingly late that I lied to friends when we talked about our daily routines.

This time round seemed a little more traumatic. I arrived in Kport on Monday night and felt something close to illness I was so exhausted. Yesterday I really felt at one point that if I didn't find a place to lie down, I would drop--just drop--physically...fall....

Today was much better--but I still feel....weary. I am weary after a year in a foreign, alternate-universe-type culture. I am weary from the mistakes I've made along the learning curve. I am weary from the long trip. etc.

But I'm also filling overwhelmed by joy. Joy that I am home. Joy that I just experienced all of the past year. Joy that I am returning soon.

I'll write more later--I took notes in the LA airport and elsewhere of my first impressions upon reentry to the US--and I'll edit and share soon. For now--I am here. And here is wonderful.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Long and Winding Road

This is my last post from this side of the Pacific! Here's my travel:

Wuhan to Guangzhou
Guangzhou to LA
LA to Atlantic
Atlantic to Nashville
 Drive: Nashville to Kingsport!

See you in after 36 looooooooonnnnnngggg hours!!!

The Last Day...for now

This is my last full day in China for Year One. I feel as though I should write something introspective and reflective about the heady year that has just concluded--but honestly--i got nothin. It's been great. Read the previous posts. That's all I can say right now.

I think I may be on automatic pilot right now, to be honest. There are too many emotions swirling around inside of me to single any out for blogging. I'm excited to come home, I'm terrified of coming home to a different existence, I'm exhausted of China, I know I'll miss China, I'm living "in between" worlds, I'm living in this moment....all of it is too much to dwell on. Sometimes I feel like we try to find meaning in all of our comings and goings--and it makes us forget that all of life is really nothing but comings and goings--sooo--I'm trying to just live today and take tomorrow as it comes. Maybe I'm not always doing a very good job at it though.

You would think that I probably spent my day packing--but if you have learned anything about me, you would KNOW that that didn't happen. I did have all my laundry ready to pack at least. But no--today I stared at the stuff I have to pack for a little while--then left to go get lunch. Then I stared at it all a little while longer--then I went and spent a few hours with Denglin getting our nails done. Then I stared at it all longer, washed all my dishes, and put some things into piles and moved my suitcase into my bedroom--then I went to meet a friend for coffee. We stayed at Starbucks for a few hours. Then I came home and moved all my piles together nearer to my suitcase--then I got online and am now typing this blog. 

It'll get done eventually.

What's funny about all this is that not only do I have to pack for two months in America--but I also have to MOVE OUT of my apartment! The school is redecorating while I'm gone--so all of my personal belongings must be moved into the empty apartment across the hall. Thankfully, the school is providing some helpers for that--so tomorrow I really just have to supervise them as we move everything next door. I guess I'll at least put some things into piles for them though...

Ok--I really shouldn't put this off any longer. I guess I'll go pack. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Melodramatic Nostalgia sets in...

Today I listened to the final oral English exams of 100 students. Tomorrow I will listen to 90 more, and Friday 90 more. In my boredom--I began might be an ongoing series:

Things I want to remember: 

in no particular geographic or chronologic order...

The iced air and grit of sand beneath my feet in Paris—walking up and down the park to the Eiffel Tower alone and late each night before returning to the hotel.

The stringed quartet inside St. Chappelle in Paris—cold, stirring, dark stained glass, aching mellow strains of music.

The breathless climbs scrambling up and down the temples of Angkor—bumping, knocking knees on the next step and watching the sun set over the cone-shaped spires of Angkor Wat. Playing in the faces of the Banyon Temple like a kid in a jungle gym.

The wind wisping through my 5th floor China apartment the minutes before the rain came.

Learning to love the water in Thailand.

B*tizing Jeremy in the river at Natural Tunnel.

The little old ladies smiling at me on the bus in Cambodia.

Sitting in the hollow wooden space of the sanctuary at Granny White—smelling the old pew cushions and song books and plastic flower arrangements mixed with dusty sunlight slowing seeping—disintegrating--through that cold open air.

Lying on the couch in Nashville, numb and empty and cried-out after losing my job—the shuddering laughter fits that came while watching the Office with my roommates.

When Tim spun me.

Nighttime walks on Lipscomb’s campus.

Nighttime drives and Sunday afternoon drives through Nashville.

My first business cards.

"Ma'am, you're gonna havta kick it harder." ...on the side of the interstate with a flat tire and Scharli.

The moments of flight before crashing my bike in Roanoke when I rode off Yivonne’s driveway embankment.

Late night calls with Jeremy.

The filtered sunlight cutting through layers and layers of maple green in the summer parks of East Tennessee.

From first love: Playing in Sugar Hollow, climbing the paths to Lovers Leap, painting in the art room. Kites and daffodils and loud music and mud and wind. And discovering tastes and smooth skin and an achyish heart in the pit of your stomach. Learning to fish and drive and kiss and grip. Holding on to the handles of the mountain bike as we flew down into the ravine. Sweaters turned inside out.

Falling down the stairs on the way to the office in Nashville—“Oh, uhh, I must have not woken up yet this morning."

Sleepovers in the dorms.

Beth McD in general.

DengLin’s smile and “raaally??!!” exclamations.

“Whhhhaaaaaa!” from my students.

The Great Wall.

The burst of tears the time mom accidentally shrunk that blue sweater—after days and years of worse tensions—the crying over a sweater.

Sitting in the market eating fried rice as all of China bustles around me.

Coffee and cigarettes beside the lake in Hanoi.

Bible Bowl Sundays at the Crims.

Decorating Barbies in "adulthood" with Sarah.

Buying my first suit jacket.

Andrew’s whispered “yes!” when the van’s engine revved into a higher gear.

Dylan and I trying to kill that spider.

The drive in Texas.

Eating Mulberrys and collecting RoseHips and making bowls of mud at the Coopersteins.

Learning to sew with Mrs Kathleen.

Reading Anne Lamott for the first time.

Mom taking all those pictures of pigeons and buildings from the top of the Empire State Building.

Memorizing Philippians.

Riding bikes through the peaks of Yangshuo.

Laura and I making paths in the fallen leaves each fall for Dylan to play in.

Carrying an oven through the streets of Hankou looking for a taxi.

The drive from Green Hills to Cool Springs with the windows down in the mad rain.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Walk Around the Neighborhood--Part 1

I'm still figuring out how to make the quality better--but here's a glimpse of a typical walk from my apartment to the market shops to the actual market...

You will see: a dentist's office in the back of a streetside clothing booth, pigs feet, duck neck, a new style of rotisserie, squid on a stick, an outdoor "neighborhood gym" and many other glimpses into my daily life...

A Walk Around the Neighborhood--Part 2

I live here...hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


A strange spell of weather has brought us a forecasted 10 days of rain in Wuhan. Oh yes Lord, Amen, and let it be so.

It has rained everyday since Saturday, I think, and it has been glorious. This has been a steady rain too--like winter rain--falling all day long, with few pauses or deviations in form. Conveniently, there always seems to be a break right around dinner time...who could ask for anything more.

Yesterday I didn't have class due to the Dragon Boat Festival--so I opened all the windows and laid about in pajamas drinking tea and reading and washing all my winter clothes so I could finally pack them away (I KNOW--it should have been done looong before yesterday). This was a bit of a mistake--because of all the moisture in the air, my clothes are hanging damp on the line and I'm afraid they'll mildew--but such is life. 

There are little lizards that climb the (outside) walls of my apartment building. So far I haven't been too bothered/scared by them--in the hostels we found in Southeast Asia, they were all over the walls and ceilings of our we got used to it. And, like my big sister has said--the lizards eat the bugs--particularly the spiders. BUT--if I find one has intruded too deeply into my house--there might be problems...

I can't describe how luxurious it feels to drink my tea and sit in my big wooden chair and stare out at the rain falling down on my China neighborhood. Sometimes I have to remind myself to savor it all--but not these days. These days, China oozes rich experience and LIFE with each day--even the quiet ones. 

As I prepare to come home for a few months, I've been wondering if China has changed me at all. Maybe not changed--but the ways in which China is now indelibly sewn into the patchwork of my life. Just like all the other friends and loves who have come and gone, with their favorite songs or pieces of art or long drives left patched on awkwardly to my own inner soundtracks and galleries and meandering routes home. Newer friends and loves come across the track on the mixed tape or the framed print in the back of the closet or the left turn that takes you up the mountain and towards the river instead of the interstate and they think that it’s an original piece of me—while I am left seeing L--- and S--- and G-- and D-- and T-- and all the vibrant souls who shared their treasure until they became a part of my story too.

So I am curious about what parts of my life will leave me transported suddenly back to China--reliving a moment or remembering a lesson or smiling at the love that I've known here.

I don't think I'll see it until I come home. I've been trying to quantify all the things I've learned since I've been here--or the steps of growth that I've been led to--or the lessons that have been placed in me through my presence here...but I just can't seem to see much. I am here. I am at peace with my Lord and I trust Him more than ever. I am quieter inside myself (mostly). But beyond that--I don't really know...

I think it will be neat to come home and see all the China patches that are now part of my story. I don't notice them here--but maybe in the light of American sun, they'll be more obvious...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Everyday!

Sorry for the lack of recent posting. Today I'm down to 15 days left in China: Year One and I'm trying to fill it all up with all that I can! 

In case I haven't mentioned it already: IT'S OFFICIAL--I AM RETURNING FOR YEAR TWO IN CHINA!!! My contract is signed and my visa is being affixed to my passport as we speak! I'll spend about 2 months in the US and then come back here at the end of August.

I'll post more soon--until then here are some photos of recent fun!

Two of my freshmen students called one day and said, "Mees Lucy, we want to coom ower!" So I said ok. When they arrived--they barely said hello--instead walking straight into the kitchen and cooking me some Chinese dishes. It was soooo yummy!
This is Belle and Amy--Chinese chefs extraordinaire! 

Amy preparing fried rice

They made dinner--but I made them dessert. These is Amy and Belle with fresh fruit smoothies.

Last week we said goodbye to one of our "mentors", Marisol. Marisol has been here in China for about 4 years and taught us all so much about our Work here. She's been a TON of fun to be around--and as she returns to the US for grad school--we had a farewell party featuring a homemade soup competition:
The beginnings of my soup competition entry: Summertime Gazpacho!

The competition (mine is in the rectangular tupperware dish--Gazpacho is a cold soup that's PERFECT for hot summer days). The top entry to beat was Rosie's. Rosie is a grandmother from Texas who came here with her husband after their retirement. We LLOOOVE Rosie and Mavis (her husband).

Megan (above with Marisol) and Liz came up with the idea for the soup contest. They are soo clever!

The Judging: Marisol choosing her favorite soups...

And the winner is.....

Shot of me as Marisol announces that my soup won FIRST PLACE!!! 

Oh, the glory! I won a specialty Wuhan Starbucks mug that I've been wanting for weeks! Be proud, mom! 

My sophomore students invited me last week up to their dormitories to spend time together. The girls live six girls per room--there is no heating or cooling, the floors are hard, unfinished concrete and there are no mattresses on the beds--just bamboo mats or a comforter to lay on top of. The girls have really made their room cute though--and we had a lot of fun spending time together. I really love these students...
Roxy, Brenda, Fiona, Gammine, Sally, Missy and Evelyn

Me with the girls

Finally, I recently taught a lesson on "eating habits" for the freshmen classes. The lesson required me to describe a sandwich to the students--so I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to experience their 
Getting prepped to make 75 PB&J sandwiches the night before classes--thankfully I found a bakery to slice my bread loaves for me! Seriously--the phrase "the best thing since sliced bread" is a BIG compliment to whatever you're speaking of.

One of my classes holding up their sandwiches. You should have heard the "whhhaaaaa!!!" as I pulled out the bag to surprise them with their treat!

"These sandwich pies are most delicious, Mees Lucy!" 
(I don't know where they got the idea of pie from--they thought that the PB&J was too sweet for a meal, they said they would prepare it as a dessert if they ever made it.)