365 DAYS. COME. GONE. HERE.
I have lived overseas in China for one entire year.
My first year in China is complete and has come to an end.
How can I put the experiences of 365 days into one word?
If I had to pick I would say my first year in China was COLORFUL.
"The colors ae no longer the same," I reply. "China has changed them. China has changed me. The colors are not colors alone... they are places, people, and things that have been poured out and overflowed into my life. It has been a year full of color."
Black is my first mask that I wore through a few weeks of bad winter pollution.
Black is the tapioca pudding pearls inside a delicious warm cup of milk tea.
Black is my camera that has walked hundreds of miles with me and become a way for me to see things in the world I never would have noticed before.
Grey is the thousands of bricks that make up the Great Wall of China and my awe at finally seeing it in person.
Grey is stone statues and sculptures that decorate the country with culture and history.
Brown is the hundreds of gallons of tea I have consumed since moving to China (though that wasn’t a big change from when I was back in the U.S.)
Brown is the dirt from days and days of construction work and transformation Qingdao went through to prepare for the Global SCO Summit this past summer.
Brown is the wood of ancient temples, manors, and walkways that I visited throughout the year.
Crème is pet-sitting and loving on other people’s dogs to help me miss mine a little less.
Crème is the tasty clams, scallops, and oysters that deck seaside celebrations with friends.
Crème is long walks on sandy beaches.
White is 3 days of snow that lasted only a short time, but made for wonderful pictures and memories.
Pink is my uncharacteristically bright cartoon kitten face on my bus and subway card.
Pink is the fragrance of the millions of spring flowers planted in the month before the SCO Summit.
Purple is most of the Christmas decorations that I inherited for my first Christmas tree in China.
Purple is my kindle cover which has allowed for me to bring as many books as I can imagine to China with me (even though 30 boxes of real books are sitting in storage in the U.S. waiting for me).
Blue is the salty spray of the ocean breeze reflected in the morning glow of day.
Blue is our school colors and the sight of the happy mascot dolphins across athletic fields and outside the school library.
Blue is the Skype logo that means I am about to talk to friends and family far away.
Blue is the pillows decorating my bed and the soft blanket I sleep beneath every night
Green is the trees and bushes nestled beneath sky scrapers and around asphalt roads.
Green is algae lined beaches with hundreds of tourists enjoying the summer waves.
Green is the evergreens outside my windows where I wave to friends walking by and people watch from my reading bench in my window.
Green is pieces of broken glass from famous Tsingtao bottles worn down by the pounding sea day after day.
Green is the subway logo that transformed transportation for everyone in Qingdao and helped me to be more adventurous than ever.
Yellow is the sound of firecrackers celebrating wedding, holiday, or birthday along with hours of fireworks set off to impress the presidents of 16 Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Yellow is the only leaf color we seem to get when fall rolls in.
Yellow is the honey I buy locally to sweeten another cup of tea.
Yellow is the shade of my roommate’s cat Percy’s coat when he got into my vase of flowers featuring some very fertile lilies.
Orange is sunrises and sunsets that seem so much larger and closer than I ever imagined they could be.
Orange is the coat of Shere Khan in Mowgli’s hands as he learns what makes him special is his blend of cultures and experiences in life.
Red is paper lanterns at Lunar New Year… along with red money packets, prayer ribbons, and every communist banner set up along roadways and intersections.
Red is scratched hands and legs from hiking adventures that bestowed incredible views.
Red is May Fourth Square and other iconic Qingdao sights.
Red is the faded stamps that now decorate my passport.
Red is a flag that will always be names and faces and landscapes instead of stereotypes and historical ignorance from now on.
AND SO MANY MORE
More than anything, every color is a piece of a flag that is no longer an unknown land.
Those flags are the faces of students and friends.
Those flags are the taste of exotic foods and beautiful cultures.
Those flags are homelands of beloved people who have filled my life with more color than I could possibly ever imagine.
It is my pr*yer that these colors would grow more vibrant and root deeper and deeper into my heart in the years to come. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for creating out and challenging me to seek these colors that He has created in daily life.
Thanks for following YEAR ONE!
WHEN I SEE THE RAINBOW...
“When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between G*d and every living creature on earth.” Then G*d said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”
“Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day.
This is what the glory of the L*rd looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.”