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Monday, January 25, 2010

Squeezed Dry

The past 48 hours have been so full of ups and downs I am becoming dizzy.

On Sunday we heard that there was a place nearby to do laundry that was cheaper than the hotel, so we loaded up our dirty clothes and made the trek with the girls in tow. 6 blocks of walking later we found it, but since we didn't want to wait until Wednesday to pick it up, it would have cost us $3 a shirt to have things cleaned. Granted, the hotel charged $2 for a pair of underwear, but it still was too expensive to get things done for the four of us. After the walk back to the hotel, we went back out to a market to find the clothing in sizes to fit all of us. At first Hope refused to agree to anything, so I bought the sizes and colors that I thought would work. Amanda was VERY clear on what she wanted!!! We found/God led us to a vendor's stall that had a younger girl selling shirts who spoke both Chinese and English. She got Hope to agree to one shirt, and when I encouraged her to buy another, the seller had the wits to tell Hope that the second one was free, so Hope readily agreed to another. When we got done haggling on the price, I had to run back and hug her neck and thank her! She got my daughter to be more compliant than I ever could!

After that we bought swimsuits at a local store for the girls and I to use the hotel pool, but Hope totally shut down. she wouldn't try anything on, she wouldn't choose a color, she wouldn't even look at the suits or at us. Amanda was overjoyed with the prospect of going swimming, so she is very excited about being able to use the new suit!

When we get back to the hotel Hope took a 2 hour nap. I figured that she needed it, and thought it would put her in a better mood. The evening went on without a big problem, Hope watched a movie we bought for her until about 11 PM, and slept in her clothes (again). 
Monday morning Dave went to work and the girls and I woke up reasonably late. From the first few moments of being awake, Hope set the tone for the morning. She was having an extreme-moody day, wouldn't hardly look at me, and moped around the room. Amanda was hopping on one foot around the room, so I was eager to get out to breakfast! A friend on mine invited us over to her house to spend the day, which I was excited to do because I never thought I would ever see her again, but also because Helen was born in Hong Kong (thus spoke Cantonese) but had married a Chinese man and now lives in Shanghai ( and spoke Mandarin). She would be my "translator" for both my girls! Unfortunately, Hope did NOT like the idea, and flatly refused to leave the hotel room. Bless her heart, Helen had sent her driver to our hotel, and while he sat downstairs waiting for us, Helen talked to Hope for AN HOUR trying to "convince" her to come out to her place. Thankfully, Hope agreed, probably because Helen said we could do laundry at her place and I needed her help carrying the laundry. When I found that out I grabbed what I could and headed out the door...I should have brought it all, but I did NOT want Hope to change her mind while I was grabbing the last of the laundry!

We spent the whole day with Helen. She conversed with both the girls; I found out more about Hope and her life in China than I had until this point, Hope seemed to enjoy talking to Helen and even Amanda was responsive and fairly respectful. Helen let the girls ride her boys' scooters, which was a first for both of them, but the girls had a blast! they must have scootered in front of the house for almost an hour! I heard about what God is doing in China with the ex-pat community and with the ayis, how her children are doing both in Canada (at Queens University) and in Shanghai, etc, etc. When we finally came home, I had really hoped that we were all in a good mood and the rebellious nature was left behind. I was WRONG!

This time David saw what I had described. Between flatly ignoring us to refusing to do what we requested, she was becoming more insolent by the moment. Amanda was bouncing off the walls, laughing at everything, (do you remember the movie "Gremlins"? I liken her to that...not when they become violent, mind you, but one step before.) but yet noticing Hopes reactions (or lack thereof) and would watch us wide-eyed to see what we would do. It feels like a circus here, and I am a tube of toothpaste that an elephant has stepped on...squeezed out and dry, but needing to do it all over again tomorrow...and the next day...and the next...for over another week in China! I feel like I may have more leverage in the US, but here I am stuck, trampled, clueless.

On a positive note, Amanda is bonding with me more and more. She reaches for my hand unprompted, when faced with a stranger talking to her or an unknown situation, she will hide behind me, and she is trying to please. As tiring as she can be, I know that it is a good thing!

Tonight is almost done--Amanda is sleeping next to me and Hope is in the bathroom ( and has been for the past 45 minutes...for someone who doesn't want to shower, she certainly seems to stay a long time!). Maybe tomorrow will be better. I have to hold on to that hope for my Hope.

Please pray for us.

All my best,