Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Sunday in Shanghai

Part of these posts are for our own benefit... one day I may print them as a collection for our family to look back on and remember our time in China. This is one of those posts, so if you don't want to read a long detailed "day in the life" feel free to skip. ;)

Sunday, July 13th. The morning came too soon after a later night since we had dinner with friends an hour away. But those times with friends are worth it, and at least our alarm went off at 5 AM - half an hour later than usual. ;) We had time in the Word, showered, and packed for the day ahead. Hadassah slept 'til 7 AM so I even had time to make breakfast before she was up. Once she woke it was all go-go. Feed her, dress her, pack the last few things, and run down the stairs, umbrellas in hand. We hurried through the rain to the small supermarket on the corner to buy diapers, bananas, and water. Stuffing them in our backpack, we rushed to the fairly empty street and were actually able to flag down a taxi. Usually we ride our e-bike to the subway station or walk, but since it was raining and we were running late, we enjoyed the rare ride.

Thus started the subway rides. Our new church met 1 1/2 hours away by subway, so we were in for the long haul, riding line 5 to line 1 to line 4. Hadassah enjoyed it to start with, smiling at new people and enjoying the activity, but as it wore on and the time for her morning nap came, a minor meltdown began. Into the ERGO she went with the hood up, and I stood to bounce and sing to her, hoping to coax her to sleep. Sometimes it works, but this was one when it didn't, even after the little walk to the hotel the church met in. I can't really blame her: noise and light and people all around wouldn't make me want to sleep!

So once we arrived, out she came, to lay on the ground and kick some energy out. Being held by mama all morning on the subway doesn't allow her to move as she likes!

The singing began and we entered into worship, enjoying the familiar songs by Sovereign Grace, Keith & Kristyn Getty, and classic hymns. Yes, we have to travel longer than we ever thought we would on a Sunday morning, but it's worth it. We feel at home, even though this is just our 2nd Sunday here, and are encouraged by the chance to dig deep with others and be fed by the Word. Hadassah made it through most of the songs, but was getting squirmy. So I held her hands to walk her up and down the side aisle. It worked until I accidentally stepped slightly on her foot. In her sleep-deprived, starting-to-get-hungry state, that was the end so I rushed out the door amid screams. At least there are a lot of young families there, so people understand.

Ryan brought the bag out to me, and I walked Hadassah around the hallway, singing along as the music continued in the meeting room. As the sermon began, I sat on the couch in the lobby (it's the most plush church surroundings I've ever been to!) and nursed the little one, hoping this would relax her into a much needed nap. Nope. She goes to sleep easily on her own in her own bed (usually!) but in new surroundings she just wants to explore. So I took her into the nursery area, but stayed to play with her. Last week she cried the last half of the nursery, as a recent I-want-mommy attachment has developed. That combined with her lack of sleep made me want to be merciful to the nursery volunteers. ;)

It was also a good opportunity to get to know some people, as I talked with the couple on duty that day. It's hard being the new person again, but it's a great opportunity to hear how God has worked in many lives!

Before long the sermon was done and I went to find Ryan, mingling with a few others in the hall. He soon told me we'd be invited to lunch, so we set out with a group on the subway, headed to the "largest mall in Shanghai." Best part about it? Hadassah finally fell asleep in the ERGO. She just slept for 20 minutes, but it gave her up enough to be pleasant for a little while. Great conversation and a delicious, authentic Mexican grill (yes, in China!) made it worth the trip out of our way.

It was 12:45 PM now, but the day wasn't over. Shanghai Secondhand was located just 2 subway stops from where our church was (though now 8 stops from where we'd eaten lunch). But we were closer than we'd be all week, so we'd made an appointment to come by and pick up the things we'd picked out online.

Located on the 18th floor of an apartment building, the place was pretty cool. The owner had brought everything we asked for out for us to check. A couch, a rug, a few toys for Hadassah, a crib, an air purifier, large computer monitor for Ryan, and some bedding... well worth the trip for the price we paid! Everything was brought down the elevator and a truck called to transport, but we'd learned only Ryan would be able to ride with him home. So... it was time for my first time on the subway alone. With Hadassah, of course. ;)

I rehearsed with Ryan the transfers I was to make, then set off. Mercifully Hadassah fell asleep in the ERGO almost immediately (2:30 PM on just 20 minutes of sleep is too much for an 8-month old!) so I had 45 minutes of peace. I stood for the first part, to make sure she'd keep sleeping, then after a 15 minute walk through "Shanghai Railway Station" to make the first transfer, I sat, closing my eyes a few minutes myself. One nice thing about having a baby is that you always get offered a seat, no matter if they're all full or not. :)

She woke half-way through the second line, but was entertained by the grandma next to us. She smiled for a few pictures from random strangers (it's just part of life here), and we made it to the end with me singing songs for her. Another transfer. More entertainment by strangers. Hadassah was lasting surprisingly well, and there was even a lady that spoke English standing near me, so we learned a bit about each other. Babies are really good conversation openers.

It was 4 PM now. But we weren't home yet. I walked outside the station, a baby on my front, a backpack on my back, and an umbrella held overhead. It's one of those times where everything in you doesn't want to keep going, but you know you have to, so you do. Each step meant closer to home, closer to rest...

I stopped at Christine's (our local bakery) as a surprise for my husband who had been craving a muffin all day. After a day like today, it's worth 8 kui (just over $1 USD). Up the stairs, every bone in my body aching and ready to relax inside... to find that the door wouldn't open. After knocking to see if Ryan had by chance made it home before me, I mildly panicked, tried the key 5 more times, and then knocked on our neighbor's door. A cousin who was visiting took my key to try our door a few minutes later, when it opened - Ryan WAS home! Everything had already been unloaded (he was amazing!) and, being a sweaty mess after trecking up and down three flights of stairs multiple times, he'd jumped in the shower, turning the inside lock without thinking. The weird thing about these doors, though, is that if you lock them from the inside they will NOT be unlocked from the outside. So... we're trying to break old habits.

Finally, I was home. Hadassah was relieved to be OFF of me and play on the floor, and I was just as relieved to be separated from her. Much as I love being with my little girl, 8 consecutive hours of always being connected and often carrying her leaves us both needing a break. ;)

Since Hadassah was happy to play, and things were all in the kitchen blocking everything, we decided to move things into place. After quite a bit of brainstorming, including drawing 4 potential living room diagrams, we decided on the arrangement, and put Hadassah in her bed to play with some toys so she'd be safe.

After hearing happy noises as we lugged heavy furniture between rooms, suddenly I realized all was quiet, and looking in, saw that Hadassah had put herself to sleep! I guess after the subway all day, a bed with toys and the light on was actually pretty comfortable. ;) I turned her light off, closed the door, and we got it all set up. Our home is starting to feel more like a home...

Our neighbors came over to help us complete our order on an online website in Chinese (we finally have it figured out thanks to them!) while I made supper. They left, I nursed Hadassah and put her to bed, ate supper, did dishes... After a shower I decided I felt human again, and after a massage by my amazing husband decided I could face the week ahead.

So, our definition of a normal Sunday has changed - no long do images of an afternoon nap appear in our head - but we're settling in, and finding the new normal. One subway ride at a time.

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