On Tuesday night, one of Ryan's co-workers invited us over for dinner. We enjoyed the tasty dishes his wife prepared – over 6 different things all stir-fried, enough to feed the 10 people that were there! He just got married this year, and said his wife knew nothing about cooking before she married him. She'd evidently learned well, as everything was delicious. They told us she cooked with tea tree oil, which definitely made everything feel more healthy.
While I'm discovering more and more Chinese dishes that I really like, it's hard to eat them. Why? Well, first there are the chopsticks. I've gotten better than I was with my first attempt 7 months ago, but I'm still quite slow. They assessed last night that Ryan used chopsticks better than I did. ;) Then there's the set-up: all of the dishes are arrayed in big bowls on the table, while each person is given their own rice bowl. Then with each bite, you take something out of one of the big bowls with your chopsticks, maybe mix it with someone of your rice, and eat it. For each bite. It wouldn't be so hard, if it wasn't for the last reason: Hadassah. She keeps me busy feeding her when we're home and all I have to do is cut it up and keep her plate filled. But with Chinese food, I also have to manage to get food to her with the chopsticks, and by reaching across the table to grab whatever she can eat. By the time I've gotten it to her and broken it apart, she's usually ready for the next bite. I've actually had to tell Ryan we can't go out with groups to Chinese restaurants after church, because if you have a large group, they add in another element: a rotating part of the table, where the dishes are constantly going by. I never manage to grab enough to fill both Hadassah and me. So, it's tasty, but a lot more work than our “normal” way of dining. :)
The weather this week has been warmer, which is nice. It's helped the inside not feel so cold, as the outside air definitely seeps in through the not-well-sealed windows. Plus, when we're able to go outside more in nice weather, it gets our blood moving so that when we come in, it feels warm. A friend at church also asked, “Well, don't you have heat lamps in your bathroom?” when I was telling her our cold woes. And I realized... those are what those super bright and hot lights I never imagined why on earth were in the bathroom when we first moved in in the summer. It doesn't change everything, but it helps. Though, through cold trial and error we've discovered if we turn our hot water on too hot first thing, it completely goes off and we have to restart the system. Life is never boring!
We got a space heater and wool socks, and ordered slippers. We're getting better about layering. And slippers? They make my feet happy and my whole self feel warmer - it's wonderful!
It's only 8 days 'til we leave now, and I was able to go through things and make a list of what we want to buy while in America. Chocolate chips, spices, vitamins, toiletries I can read, shoes (my foot just barely fits into the largest woman's size here)... it's the little things that are so much more expensive if you buy them imported, and that really help make it feel like home. Is it crazy that I'm super excited about going to Walmart? Never thought that I would anticipate it so much, but to go in a store where I know where to find things and all the signs and labels are in English sounds heavenly.
Our internet decided to not just be slow on Wednesday, but to stop working all together. Seems like it's always something. :) They fixed it yesterday (praise God for an English speaker on the help line!) and today the VPN is actually working too!
Life with our little cutie who's trying to talk so much, mimicking so many animal sounds, playing games like hide-the-dolly and copy-cat (even realizing SHE can be the leader sometimes!) continues to be such a joy!
She learned how to climb up the steps to the slide our neighbors gave us to borrow, so I've been keeping it against the wall except when I can supervise her. Tonight, she climbed up, and then started going down headfirst. I held her ankles, and she giggled the whole way and did it again and again and again... it is so much fun seeing her discover life!
Yesterday, though, I was mixing up cookies in the kitchen and came into the living room to find she'd managed to squeeze around and climb the stairs, patiently standing at the top waiting for me. Nothing's safe any more. ;)
She helped me unload groceries that were delivered today. Online ordering is really nice when I get around to doing it. It doesn't take as long now, but the thought of ordering in Chinese just makes me procrastinate. Hadassah was SO happy to take things out of the box (since one of her favorite things is to empty something!) and bring them to me. She helps me peel oranges now, as I give her the peel and she drops them in the garbage. She also is quite good at tearing apart a lettuce leaf and putting the pieces in a bowl when I make salad. I love my little helper.
There are so many moments I want to capture, to pause time and savor... her little voice saying “quack quack”, the light in her eyes when she sees daddy do something funny, the joy when she runs to give me a hug. She is growing so fast!
Lord, thank you. For so many blessings in life.