In this land, nothing is ever as it seems or was planned.
And today was a perfect example of that truth.
A week ago Chi.nese bestie Michael called me up and told me that this weekend he had a small personal donation for the orphans and wanted me to go with him. He also said that two teenagers would go with us in his car and that he wanted me to talk to them about, "the love."
"What do you mean, 'the love'?" I asked.
"You know, church, and the love."
So today began with Michael banging on my dorm door at 8am because he forgot his phone, gifting me a gorgeous Estee Lauder makeup kit, "because I travel a lot and wear a lot of makeup." hahhaha. And then we were off to the orphan hospital to meet Lin. I noticed the absence of the two highschoolers and he replied that they were, "meeting us there with their families."
Oh dear, I thought, 6 more Chin.ese people to have to deal with. (I was in a sunshiny mood - not, haha).
We chatted away for the hour drive and pulled into the orphan hospital driveway to see a hoard of families - and about 10 young children running around like mad in the parking lot. No teenagers anywhere.
We looked at each other in shock as my heart sank a bit - having that many people is a bit of an annoyance to the staff and I was in NO mood to deal with children screaming "foreigner" in my face.
My heart sank even deeper when I spied my dear friend Lin who works at the hospital was on the opposite side of the parking lot as the families with a look of "WTF is going on" on her face.
We parked and a woman approached Michael. I listened to their chat and figured out what had happened. Apparently, Michael had mentioned to a surgeon during heart surgery that he would go this weekend to the orphanage. He invited her and her husband and child. She then invited her whole apartment floor.
So there they were. Token families of 3, one-child policy style. Waiting in the parking lot for someone to tell them what to do.
But then something amazing happened.
All these (seemingly rich) people opened the trunks of their cars. And started pulling out boxes of Pampers and milk powder. And then Michael and I led them into the lobby of the orphanage and up to the fourth floor like a wild, milk-toting parade.
And I felt joy.
What was supposed to be just me and Michael and two teens, turned into me and Michael and two teens and their parents, and then ultimately was me and Michael and a whole apartment block.
This is such a perfect metaphor for Chi.na life (or many kinds of life). Nothing goes as planned. The in-between causes stress. But the outcome is greater than the original plan. Repeat.
Here's some pics:
the diaper brigade entering the hospital:
L - fave of faves. One of my modern day heros. A sister, friend, and inspirer. She's fiesty, warm-hearted, doesn't give a crap about the rules, only cares about what's best for the kids, and wears sequins to work. Basically, everything I aspire to. :) haha.
My little friend remembers me each time. I tend to not get to close to the children because I hate the in-and-out of volunteers in the hospital. It's not healthy for the kids:
Here's a video of some of the rich little kids singing to the orphans (sitting in the circle). The woman in the green shirt on the left is the orphan's teacher. She is a jewel (who makes less than 300USD a month).
After the visit, Michael and I were taken to a fancy, yummy lunch by one of his co-workers who was at the visit. We talked about Chin.ese food, learning English, and...the Love.
Nothing works out as planned. Many situations are stressful. Everything works out differently and better than expected. If we only wait and see.
Today's lessons learned.
walk slow. xoxo.