Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lunch in Nanyang

Yesterday I went to the orphanage in Nanyang (3 hrs one way!), while Jason stayed back with DY. We really weren't sure until the last minute how it was going to work. Would we all make the trip (kinda tough on a kiddo)? or would I go alone? or would we skip it altogether? There was no way Jason would have been able to go alone. DY would have been devastated.
This is the front door to the orphanage:
I spent a long time visiting with each child at the orphanage, rubbing their backs gently, talking quietly to them, smiling, rubbing their little (grubby) hands or stroking their cheeks.... I told them they were beautiful and each one is loved so much! I also prayed for them as I knelt with them. And I prayed for them during the 3 hours to and from the orphanage.

I gave them candy (several pieces throughout the course of my visit). And the caregivers also brought out cookies for them.

I won't say I was heartbroken. That makes it sound like it was surprising or unexpected in some way. I knew what to expect, from all the people who have gone before and shared their stories.

It's just that it.......hurt. A lot.

I think God knew that I needed to see it for myself (maybe it was a good thing I was the one to go, not Jason), so that I could enter into the experience personally. My blogger friend Angel talks a lot about learning what it means to have compassion. To me the word usually brings to mind "pity" or some diluted form of "love." But the word really means "to enter into another's pain."

Seeing the orphanage and the children there gave me greater confirmation that our decision to adopt DY was indeed the most important and most vital thing we've ever done, despite all the daily struggles and tiresome times.

My friend Terry sent me an e-mail before we left for China. She told me, "You can have an easy life or you can have a useful life."

These words comfort and strengthen me during the times when I wonder what in the world we've done.
The children there stole my heart. They are the sweetest, most darling things. Out of respect for the privacy of the children and their families, I won't post pictures here. I will show a few photos of the courtyard they "played" in though.

Unfortunately, though the outside of the orphanage is beautiful, the children never see it.
After visiting the children for about 1.5 hrs, the assistant director and various other people who work at the orphanage (?) invited me to a special lunch. It was served in a restaurant that looked like this little hut. Apparently each party gets their own hut for dinner. Although I'm not sure I really understood the entire proceding. We were in a remote area, so I'm not sure who would come there to eat.The guide told me they brought out all the best food (specialty items that are very rare, etc) and a very expensive wine that they wanted me to drink a lot of.
This was a very yummy dish (actually they all were!). The leafy things are a little bit like cilantro except they are only grown in this region of Nanyang, so it's a specialty. The white pieces are fruit I guess, but they tasted like walnuts. The guide said it was a fruit that they peeled open to get the white thingies.

Each time they presented me a dish, they watched for my expression. I always made appreciative noises and gave a thumbs-up to tell them how tasty it was. This was the only dish I raised an eyebrow at.

This will definitely go down as the most outrageous item I have ever eaten. Yup. You guessed right. Turtle. (Sorry, Seth.)

The assistant director took her chopstick and flipped the turtle shell over to reveal the soft meat underneath.

You'd probably guess it tasted "like chicken" but actually it had the consistency of a button mushroom and kinda tasted a little bit like it - firm but a little chewy, kind of like biting into a peach from a can.

It wasn't bad. In fact, I even went back for seconds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Em. What an awesome privelege you had to pray with the children and give them some face to face lovingkindness. DY is a beautiful boy! Will continue to pray for your family's transition. Love you dearly, Sj