Community. It's amazing. It's the thing I thought would make us leave China early - the lack thereof, that is. But now, it's a huge part of life here. Something I will so miss when we do leave.
It's the day before we fly to America for three weeks, and it's been the most stress-free day-before-travel ever. My friend offered to watch Hadassah in the morning while Ellie napped, and then also invited us over for dinner. I got to pack for two hours alone in the morning, and then the girls naps overlapped another two hours in the afternoon to finish this and that and clean up. Even the refrigerators are clean! And then - no dishes tonight!! My friend has given me the extra gift of sleep, because usually I am up really late on just-before-flying days. But now, it's 8:45 PM and my feet are up. I'm done packing. Wow.
It's such a blessing to have close friends here. Someone who has been open and real with me, allowing me to bless her in her moments of need (severe morning sickness has plagued her, so I was able to bring them meals almost weekly for a while). And now she knows me enough to know what will bless me. And it has. Facing 21 hours of travel, it feels so good to have had FOUR HOURS to myself today to pack and get ready. Because pretty soon for an entire day I'll have my sweet baby on me in some way! ;) Often I only have one hour if that without a girl awake during the day, so four hours has seemed like bliss, though I must admit I missed having my chattering little helper around in the morning.
This spring has been amazing. The weather here has been gorgeous lately. Not hot, just perfect (even a bit cool at times!) and the last few days the AQI has been low that I've had the windows open and the breeze going through. It even smells good! In my book, May and October definitely win the "best months in Shanghai" award!
But the community has been even more amazing. We just finished up a study of the book of Mark. 5 of the 6 ladies a part of it live in our complex. One of them made an amazing celebratory lunch on the last day. And while I still really really want a back yard somedays, being able to just walk 5 minutes to get to her place from mine is really so convenient. There is beauty and blessing in apartment life. I didn't know I would ever be able to say that with certainty, but I am convinced of it now. Definitely would prefer a house one day. But for now, we are so blessed.
Prayer is appreciated. We leave at 12:20 PM our time on Thursday, which is around Midnight for you folks in the states. We'll have 3 flights and finally arrive in Montgomery around 9 PM CST on Thursday. But, I'm ready. God is so good.