21st Bday Reflection

I will get around to posting about the rest of my trip soon but in the meantime...

Today is a special day for me. It's my 21st birthday! But one thing I remembered earlier is that there are some very special people to me, half way across the world who I wish could be here to celebrate with me! It also caused me to reflect upon my journey with China and some of the best and worst parts of it. 

(I may come back and add to this list later)

*Knowing it's all worth the money, time and effort when you see how excited the kids are that you have returned to see them again. On my recent trip a few kids in particular were so excited when they saw me!! Two being Wendy/WenFei and FuQiang. 

*Seeing progress in the kids over different trips! Be it XiaoLin, the boy who was abandoned in the summer while I was there, seeming so much happier and secure than he did in the summer. He is obviously very mentally delayed, but he looks well and is cared for! And is drooling a lot less it seems! Be it WenFei's walking continuing to improve and improve, to the point where I imagine next time I see her she may not need a walker anymore! In the summer she had to hold her arms out for balance and would fall over easily, but now she seems so much stronger and stable!! That girl is a miracle. 

*Seeing how some kids are so ready to form real and meaningful bonds when someone is readily available and there to do that. Each of the children I have worked with have experienced such loss and pain, and they all deal with it in different ways. Some are very quick to form surface or artificial bonds, others will  be much more reluctant to bond and receive love. And there are those who do form real bonds when someone takes the time to invest in them.

*The importance of the kids having positive male role models. Particularly for the boys, as most of the nannies and staff in orphanages and foster homes are female - it is important for them to bond with guys too! 

*Coming home, trying to get on with life when there is somewhere else I would rather be. That is tough. I know I need to make the most of life here until it is time to move to China, but it's hard!

*Heartbreak. It isn't all fun and games, trust me. 

So far

Trip is going great so far!! Arrived in China on Saturday evening after two flights. The first flight was quite rough, it was a small plane so turbulence was bad! Second flight was bad at first, they had to stop serving food because the turbulence was so bad! But it did calm down and I got some sleep and made a friend too!

Sunday went into Beijing city walked around some markets, chance to just breath in some Chinese atmosphere again!! Then we went to a meeting in the evening for foreigners.

This week (Monday-Thursday) I've been volunteering at a foster home which has been lots of fun! I wanted a taster to see if it's somewhere I would like to spend more time in the future, and yes it is! I think it's one of the best homes I've been to for orphans. The staff here are so caring! It's mainly run by Chinese staff with some foreigners to help too. I think that's a great model to have! Made some new friends too with some cute kids! One in particular who just came back from heart surgery when I got there! He is always happy to see me when I walk in!

The community here is really great too! For New Year we had a big party with the foreign and chinese staff! We played lots of games, ate good food and stayed up late! That's definitely one thing I love about this organisation, the great community!

I'm not allowed to share photos but you'll have to trust me that they're cute kids!

Pry points:
*Thankful for safe travels, good health and a great week so far.
*Ask for energy as jet-lag has been bad so far waking up at 4/5am! Today for the first time I was woken up by my alarm at 7am!
*Safety and great experiences for the last week of my trip!