It had long been talked of among friends. The temperatures were falling below freezing and it *might* snow! Just like my home state of Alabama, snow here is a once-a-year-if-that phenomenon, and so it's a pretty exciting thing. So when, on Saturday morning, I looked out of the window to see flakes falling, I scooped up Hadassah and rushed to our balcony for a closer look. She was mesmerized and kept exclaiming, "I need to go down there!"
I was about to meet with a friend for sharing/prayer, so Ryan got her bundled and took her outside to experience the first snow she can remember. (She spent the first 4 months of her life surrounded by snow in Iowa, but of course has no recollection!)
The wonder of a snowflake on her finger... How wonderful to experience childhood again through the eyes of our children!
And her Daddy was awesome to brave the freezing cold and strong gusts of wind to share it with her! This winter in Shanghai is the coldest it's been in 35 years according to reports, and we definitely felt it over the weekend! Even our pretty-well-sealed apartment had drafts coming in from all the doors and windows with the gales we could hear whistling outside.
Even when there's snow, you can't stand being outside too long, so Ryan took Hadassah to their favorite daddy-daughter-date place, Zoo Coffee. Hadassah still loves it so!
The extra cold made our heaters not able to keep up as well, so Saturday night had Hadassah awake for an hour as she woke needing to go to the bathroom, then having a hard time getting back to sleep. Extra clothes and blankets for us all finally did the trick, but we were slow getting to church the next morning. Just the run from the building to the taxi was enough of the crazy wind for me!
That evening we decided to make a cozy, fun evening for Hadassah, splurging with one of the popcorn bags we'd finally gotten in our red suitcase and watching short kids movies on the couch. It helped me forget some the craziness of the afternoon, as I discovered that I have intestinal worms. Ugh. Why?? The list of reasons you could get them all match rather well with the surroundings here, but still... I remember hearing my dad talk about them in his tales of growing up in Africa, and thinking that would be one of the very grossest things to discover. And now I have them. Doctor's appointment is scheduled for tomorrow. But it took a while to get over the initial shock, and I still don't like to think about it...
Monday morning came, a day I usually spend getting back on track after the weekend. But as we were eating breakfast, the power went out. Ryan needed to catch the company bus, so gave me the simple Chinese words to call the apartment fix-it office with: the equivalent of "No electricity" along with our apartment number. I was relieved to be able to do it myself for once, but as the hours dragged by, I finally texted a Chinese friend for help. On the phone there had been a string of Chinese I hadn't understood... She called them for me and learned the men were busy trying to defrost frozen pipes and would be there as soon as they could.
But between waking up late and the power going out, then having one thing or another happen all morning, I was really missing a shower. It'd been too long. At lunch I told Ryan, "it's my one goal for the afternoon!" I planned to do it when the girls were safely napping, but Hadassah never did... Not enough energy out? The coldness of her room? For some reason her heater had never really kicked in after the power outage. Or was she just being defiant and testing me, as she kept having requests for me to come? Finally I told her I couldn't come in again, showered despite the protests from her room, and then got her up soon after. If she hadn't fallen asleep by then, she wasn't going to.
I was feeling trapped. That "I really want to get out of here" feel. I was tempted to be really upset with Hadassah for not napping, depriving me of "my" time to get things done... But I knew that wasn't logical or deserved. And my attitude was not what it should be. I turned on Sovereign Grace music. And it helped:
Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings(From the song, "As Long as You are Glorified")
Yet not welcome any pain?
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain?
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought?
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?
Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified
Tuesday was a really good day. The sun shone, I actually got outside with the girls (albeit only a short walk to get eggs) and I had a date with my man. The sky was even blue.
Today it's rainy again. And supposed to be all week. The water wouldn't get hot enough to give Hadassah a bath until almost lunch time. Most of the morning was spent trying to get the faucets on our washing machine balcony working. The one to the machine was spewing water and the one in the sink was dripping. There's no insulation or heat out there, so the freezing temps were too much. My amazing Chinese friend helped so much... She called the fix-it guy, translated for me over the phone when he was telling me stuff I didn't understand, and came over to see the model of the faucet so she could buy me one. I only had a mini flood on the balcony... she had one in her apartment all over her kitchen and dining room, yet she took so much time to help me. She bought the faucet and brought it to my house, waiting with me while it took 30 minutes for the fixit man to show up. It was a good excuse to visit as we hadn't seen her in a while. But it all thwarted the plans I had to at least go for a walk in the car parking lot basement with the girls... So tempting to get irritated with it all again. And yet, what a blessing this friend is. I don't know what I'd do without her!
But Hadassah is napping. My washing machine is humming again after 5 days of being told not to use due to freezing fears. And do we ever need it!! I'm trying not to think about the rain slated for the next 3 days and just hoping things somehow dry... But the temperatures are above freezing, and our home is warm. Every day is an adventure, and I'm trying to embrace it. One day, I'll have the stories to tell my own children about our time in China.