culture

Don’t tell jokes while driving

Here in China, just like everywhere else, they place important messages on street signs to remind you of driving safely. These messages are about driving after drinking, talking on your cell phone, or driving while drowsy. But the message Jacquelyn and I recently came across made me double back to make sure I read it right. 


It says this, “Cracking jokes while driving endangers safety.”
While my kids might agree that listening to my jokes is dangerous, it’s not usually limited to the car. 

So, keep the roads safe, people! Don’t drive while joking. 

Things We See in Tianjin

These past weeks we have experienced many firsts as a family here in our new city.

Since everything we’re seeing is rather new to us, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things that we see around us.

Our landlord is fond of floral print.

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Our housing complex has some play areas between the buildings.

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The bus ride to a grocery store – the girls.

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The bus ride to a grocery store – the boys.

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Yogurt sampling at a grocery store. They love their yogurt here!

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Playing video games.

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Movie night.

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Getting on the school bus!

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Eloise getting some attention at the school.

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Micah getting ready for class!

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“China Day” at the kids’ school.

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Eloise getting some attention at “China Day”.

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More silliness at “China Day”.

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Eating “Longyan”

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Eating at a local Korean Restaurant.

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Eloise in a box.

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Cute girls with their pollution masks.

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It’s a bit staticky in Tianjin.

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Our first team meeting.

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Our first fellowship meeting.

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Kids connecting on FaceTime with family.

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Our first trip to China McDonalds!

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Getting Adjusted…

…to the time

It’s been a full week since we’ve arrived in China and we’re getting adjusted nicely. Plus, we’ve got a great team of people here that welcomed us. When people arrive on the team they are each assigned a family to help them get acquainted to the apartment and local area. They also help us in getting adjusted to the local time by making sure we have dinner plans with them, another family, or by providing a meal. This has given us goals to stay up a bit later each night and get out of the house a little. Nonetheless, we have had a few nights where we have just crashed. And since everyone’s been waking up at about 4am, I’m sure our new neighbours below us are not happy about the fact that we have moved in.

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…to the food

One of the first things we did with our host family was to get some food at a nearby restaurant. Jacquelyn and I just about died and went to heaven when we got to eat some “real” Chinese food. Spicy green beans, lamb on a stick, and some other things that I don’t really know how to translate brought us right back to when we used to live in China. The kids, on the other hand, don’t have such positive memories of the food here…or any, for that matter, so we have been introducing them (sometimes through tears) to the local fare.

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…to the apartment

Our apartment is really great. It’s 4 bedrooms and has a large living area. On arrival, Anna quickly located her room and was pleasantly surprised by it. She even said, “I think I can used to living here.” The boys are sharing a room and a bed for the time being. We hope to locate some bunk beds soon. The master bedroom is a good size with a king size bed. Our kitchen, though not big, is really nice. The table isn’t really designed for a family of 6, but we’ve enjoyed figuring out how to best make use of the space. We’re still hoping to get a few items for the house.

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…to school

Anna and Micah started school this week. Lucas will start on Thursday when his teacher gets back from a conference out of town. Anna has done really great with everything. She was so anxious to get started and join the class that she could hardly contain herself. On the first day her teacher said she could eat lunch with me if she wanted or she could join the class. She chose the class. Micah has never been in school, so this is completely brand new to him. He’s baffled by the Chinese language. At one point He said, “What are those sounds people are making?” But he’s going to do great with time. Right now we have him enrolled in the half day program.

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…to work

Today I had my first meeting with the team I’ll be working with. It was great to hear about what’s going on in the immediate future and how I will get to be involved. Other than that, I’ve just been focused on learning peoples names getting my office set up.

Appendix Gone

So last weekend I had my appendix taken out. Friday night I started to feel nauseous, but didn’t think anything of it since I had just returned from a large Chinese dinner with important people. (Large Chinese dinners with important people means lots of strange food.) The pain endured until the next day. I still wasn’t too concerned at this point as I figured my body was just indecisive on how it was  going to get rid of the food.

By Saturday morning my body did make its decision and I threw up 5 times over a 10 hour period. Each time I was expecting some relief of the pain in my stomach, but none came. After about 10 hours of this and becoming paler and weaker each moment,  I started getting concerned that there was something more serious going on. That’s when it hit me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen alot of ER and House episodes or what, but I suddenly thought “appendicitis”.

I looked up the symptoms online and confirmed that I had most: Lowish fever, abdominal pain (that was quite obvious), loss of appetite. So I headed to an international clinic (Bellaire) where I was given antibiotics. (Chinese try to control it before removing it.) After several hours on the IV, they sent me home to wait for an ultrasound in the morning. At that point they would make the final diagnosis. It was about 8pm when I got home.

I didn’t make it to the morning. As soon as I got home I threw up again – this time a scary green. Also, the pain had quite localized itself to the lower right quadrant. We called a friend of ours who is a nurse. After discussing our various options, we called back Bellaire to say that I needed emergency help.

The overnight nurse came and picked us up in a taxi and accompanied us to the emergency room. While she was running around paying our various bills (which if you know Chinese hospitals, can be quite a challenge),  an endless amount of people poked at my abdominal area each confirming that I was indeed in pain when they did that. They sent me up to the ultrasound room where they confirmed that I did have an infection. Blood results also confirmed it.

At one point the the doctor asked, Are you ready for an operation? I was thinking, yeah!, Get this thing out of me before it explodes! So, the Bellaire nurse paid some more bills and then we all headed to the operation room.

In the elevator, the doctor asked me if I wanted general or local anesthesia (Chinese usually do local, but he knew foreigners preferred general).

Jacquelyn wasn’t allowed to accompany me beyond the operation room doors. At the doors, the operating room nurses asked, “Where’s your patient clothes”? I said, “You haven’t given them to me yet”. This is when I learned that when you go to the hospital for an emergency operation in China, you should first stop at the hospital store and buy patient clothes…which at that hour was closed anyway. So, I stripped down to my skivvies.

In the operation room all the people made their preparations. At one point the doctor said, “Don’t worry, I’ve worked on alot of foreigners. Just recently worked on a German.” Truth be told, I wasn’t worried. With 7 million people in our small city, I’m sure the doctors have taken an appendix or two out before. Eventually they started the anesthetic via an IV. I panicked for a few seconds because I lost my ability to swallow and I thought that was important. Then I relaxed thinking, surely, swallowing isn’t a necessity.

I woke up being wheeled to the recovery room. My friend Nathan Greene flanking one side and my wife the other. Jacquelyn’s friend was also there, but my vision was so blurry and she was standing in my periphery that I couldn’t see her. I said quite a few funny things coming out from anesthesia. I decided that the word appendix was too difficult to remember and renamed it to my “adidas”. I kept calling myself sexy and sang, I’m too sexy for my ladies when JK and her friend walked out of the room.

The next day we signed out of the hospital and went back to Bellaire to recover in a better environment.

I’m hoping to get the stitches out on Sunday.

Rebekah’s Wedding

This past weekend my family and I had the privilege of going to my assistant’s wedding.

The wedding was in a small town. We were treated like royalty and ate like royalty as well.

Anna Mae had a great time making a new friend on the 5 hour bus ride down.

She also got to be a flower girl. She took the job very seriously.

It was really exciting getting to see small-town life.

Congratulations Rebekah and David!