Not only have we arrived in China; we have arrived in Hengyang, our new home city. I will be sure to tell you all about it once I see it. Right now Kristen and I are beginning the jetlag adjustment. I am actually doing a bit better than she is, but I am not going to be too smug about that since it is just day 1. I know better.
Our trip was essentially uneventful which is always a good thing. Huge thanks to our New Day friends for arranging for our beloved driver, HouGe, to meet us at the airport, take us to our hotel and then deliver us to the train station on Thursday morning. We were able to leave our luggage in the van overnight which was a lifesaver. My biggest worry was getting 250 pounds of luggage onto the train. The crowds and the stairs or escalator to get down to the track, wrestling those big bags into the very limited storage -- I was pretty nervous about how we could do it. In the past I had THREE helpers along, and Lindsay and Marissa are pretty strong. Kristen....uh, not so much. (I had to carry HER backpack the whole trip because it was too heavy for her!) HouGe to the rescue! He arranged for a porter to take our luggage to the train for us. The bonus was that we got to go with it and hang out in a reserved waiting room -- completely uncrowded, cool AND we boarded the train about 15 minutes before everyone else. The porter got our luggage into the storage space before anyone else was even on the train. Worth.every.cent. It might just be worth it to use the porter service even when I don't have much luggage!!
Getting the luggage off the train wasn't too difficult. A couple of train attendants (young women) helped but I really could have done it. I think they just wanted to hurry so people could board the train. However....no porters at the Hengyang station. So Kristen and I had to haul it all ourselves. It was difficult but not impossible, and we just took our time moving as much as we could about a hundred feet, then going back for the rest, and then going another hundred feet or so. Rinse and repeat. We were very happy to meet our ICC greeters at the exit area and get everything loaded into the van.
We are now ensconced in a large visitors apartment until we find an apartment of our own. We are sharing with two other volunteers: Deb is an American nurse living in HongKong. She comes to Hengyang on a regular basis to help with the medical needs. Deb and I hit it off during my previous visit and enjoyed catching up last night. Our other roommate is Emily, a Canadian, who is an OT here for 6 months. She will be leaving in about 6 weeks.
Thank you for all the prayers for safe travels; we are very thankful to be here safe and sound. I am sorry there are no photos. I will work on that. Once we conquer the jetlag we will get out and about and show you where we are.
It's a "twofer" today -- two posts in one day. This one is just to say that this site has been majorly overhauled and reorganized. You may also notice that there is a new url: DonnaChina.org. I hope it is easy to find the important stuff, and more importantly that you will find it useful in learning about teen and young adult orphans in China and will be inspired to get involved.
So take a look around, send me feedback on what you like, what you don't, and the typos I missed.
As soon as I can I will start posting more about how you can get involved in the work we are doing in Hengyang and with older orphans in other areas as well. Please be patient with me as we get settled in: it will be a time of massive learning for me, too!
If you want to receive newsletters about our work, let me know on the Contact page. And please consider partnering with us in meeting the life long needs of young people in China without families.
Tomorrow we start the journey to Hengyang!
Well, no one is more surprised than me that I didn't post at all this summer. At all! I certainly had better intentions than that, but two months was just so so short for all we wanted to do. If I could have rebooked our return flights to give us more time I would have, but the cost was astronomical so we have powered through and done as much as we can. The good news is that we saw many awesome friends, a few of the children we had grown to love in China, got most of the shopping done that we needed (clothes, shoes, school books, program materials and brown sugar!) and had the opportunity to share about older orphans both formally at two churches and informally with many friends and family members. Not so good is that we missed seeing many people who we would have loved to spend time with, including many of our Eagles Wings kids. We also did not do the amount of support raising that we needed. Please visit the Donate page to learn more about what we need and how you can help.
So without further ado...here is how we spent our 2 months in the USA!
About This Blog
Part documentary, part family chronicle and part personal reflection as I try to sort through the ups and downs, the joys, heartaches and surprises of our life and work as we follow the path that God has set for us here in China!
Kristen to continue to adjust to college life and find good friends.
Donna to have wisdom in planning and implementing new programs for the youth and for financial provision to cover our expenses.