Welcome to Day 2 of China and Amy Anniversary Week here at the Messy Middle.

One of the few down sides of being in China a long time is that I simply cannot see China through fresh eyes. So, I’ve asked the group I just spent a month with in Beijing if any of them FOP (fresh off the plane, never in China before) would be willing to let us see China through their eyes and two said YES! Today Sarah has graciously agreed to let me grill her and was even brave to share an embarrassing aspect of life here. Hey, this is a real part of adjusting to life in China! Without further ado, I bring you Sarah.

Rough age and where you are  going

I am mid-20’s. I’m going to  Zhengzhou, Henan Province. There will be five people on my team!

Let’s go back to basics: the five senses. So, what is something you have __________ in China

  • Seen: The Great Wall- It was so surreal to experience that!
  • Smelled: China has a unique smell, but I’m not really sure how to describe it.
  • Tasted: Absolutely delicious food. My favorites: Garlic Broccoli and Jiaozi {dumplings}.
  • Heard: Car horns… all the time
  • Touched: Well, I’’ve had a lot of strangers touch me on the bus, but I try to NOT touch them :)

What’s something that’s going to take more time in China than they US?

Everything! The other day, we wanted to get from one place in Beijing to another that was not that far, still within the first ring road. We decided to hop on the bus, and that bus ride took an hour! Also, laundry takes a long time. Who knew clothes took so long to dry without a dryer?

 Impressions of

  • traffic: reminds me of Argentina – no one follows any rules, but somehow it still all works out. Sometimes I want to close my eyes while in a taxi, and open them when I get to my destination.
  • food: DELICIOUS!  My favorites are the broccoli, jiaozi, and three treasures dish. I wasn’t a fan of drinking hot water during meals when I first got here, but now I love it. Funny how things change so fast. My favorite part of food here might just be that it is very communal. Every meal is ordered as a group; you don’t get individual dishes. The tables are giant lazy-susans, so everyone gets to try all the dishes. I LOVE that.
  • people: They are so sweet and kind. I love them. I met a lady the other night at an exercise park, and she showed me how to use the different machines. She didn’t speak any English, so I could to try out my meager Chinese. I learned where she was from and her name. I told her that I was an English teacher in Zhengzhou. It was basic, but very encouraging. I could understand some of what she said! Her daughter who spoke a little English came and talked with me as well. They were so nice and loved to laugh. All it takes is a ‘ni hao’ and people just smile!
  • clothes: All of the women are so fashionable everywhere they go. Even if they will be hiking, they will wear high heels.
  • you  (yup, not all about the Chinese, it’s about you too!): I feel that I am doing well here. I love China so far, and I’m leaning on the Lord and His love. I really feel like I’m walking with Him, really walking with Him, and that is overwhelming in a very good way. I’m humbled by China. I know it is exactly where I am supposed to be.

 Share something you’ve done that you laughed at yourself.

Are you ready for this story? I don’t even know if I should share it, but here it goes. I had gone to the mall with my beautiful friend, Emily. We ate dinner, and then just walked around and talked. We wanted to stop by the restroom on the way out. In most Chinese public restrooms in Beijing, there is one western-style toilet, and then many squatty potties. I chose a squatty, even remarking about how I thought they were more sanitary, since you didn’t have to touch anything. Well, after using the squatty potty, you have to maneuver around to press down the flush with your foot. As I was turning, I lost balance, and I stepped right into the squatty potty!!! Ack! Horror!

Obviously, I never had this problem in The States. There has never, in my life, been any chance that I would step into a toilet bowl. But, since the toilets are in the ground in China, that is a very real hazard of life here. And, the irony of the supposed “better sanitation” was not lost on me. I told Emily, and she could not stop laughing. Earlier that day, Joann Pittman had told us that if you will laugh about something eventually, you should just go ahead and laugh now. So, I laughed and sighed and thought, “Well, that’s life in China.” I am much more careful now. Lesson learned. :) {editorial note: we’ve all been there, Sarah, thanks for sharing!}

 Name one thing you appreciate about China and why you appreciate it.

I appreciate how relational it is. Everything centers around the community, no just the individual. This streams into all areas of life, even the way traffic flows and how dinners are served. I love that people are so people-focused.

What’s a food or drink you are going to miss?

Turkey sandwiches with sliced avocado, greek green olives and white cheddar cheez-its. I basically ate a variation of this meal every day for lunch. I miss it now. It’s such a simple meal, but not available here. I will also miss my sister’s chicken-and-rice casserole.

Finally, is there a passage of scripture or attribute of God that you’re seeing in a new light?

Basically the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, but specifically verses 8,10,13, and 16. “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going… For he was looking to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God… they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared from them a city.”

I’ve always lived in Texas, and I will miss it dearly. But, it is not really my home. Neither is China. Through this passage (and a few others, and life events), I am learning where to place my hope. I’m not looking for any city on earth to be my “home” because they were never meant to be. Heaven is my home. I’m looking to the city that is to come. I’m a sojourner here on the earth. So, while I am here, I should have my eyes ever on the Father, as He is my true hope. 


Sarah, thanks for the chance to walk in your shoes, even knowing where they’d been. You have blessed us! Amy

Though Sarah is busy setting up her life in Zhengzhou and may not get to it this week, what questions or words of encouragement do you have for her? You can also follow her on her blog at http://onecandleofalife.blogspot.com/

Leave A Comment

  1. Amy F. August 28, 2012 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Love it! Go Sarah and Co.! :) 加油!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Isn’t she great?! The Emily she referenced is at your old school.

  2. Melinda Oberhelman August 28, 2012 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Hey Amy–I’m not commenting about the blog, per se, but as I pulled it up and was getting ready to read it, I saw your smiling face. I had to smile and just tell you– “I Love You, friend!!”

    BTW, the blog was great–thanks for sharing Sarah!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      I love you back! Would love to have a cup of tea and chat!

  3. Cousin Nancy Begg August 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    It sounds as if she has found her ‘place’, China, as you have done. And she sounds so happy, even stepping in the toilet and then laughing about it.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 29, 2012 at 5:37 am - Reply

      Sarah has a great approach to life! :)

  4. Paul Kerr August 29, 2012 at 5:09 am - Reply

    Wow what a great testimony! Thanks for the humor, too. What a heart and what a great perspective! We are lifting you all up from here in Texas!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 29, 2012 at 5:37 am - Reply

      Sarah was a delight to get to know this past month!

  5. liz August 29, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    love me some sarah!!!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 29, 2012 at 11:00 am - Reply

      She, most definitely, is a keeper!! Thanks for stopping by Liz. :)

  6. Cindy (Stevens) Sefiane August 30, 2012 at 5:51 am - Reply


    I loved this!!! And I Think it is great Sarah is going to Zhengzhou, I was there 2 of my years and LOVED it! I hope she has a great year and keeps the excitement I can hear in her words! Things can be tough, but keep looking up!!! =) And continue to have FUN!!!! =)


    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 30, 2012 at 6:01 am - Reply

      Thanks Cindy! And Sarah, I echo Cindy’s blessing to keep having fun! :)

  7. Holly September 1, 2012 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Oh, this was so wonderful! I just loved hearing Sarah’s initial impressions and perspectives on China, very delightful. I especially appreciated the thoughts on where “home” truly is. Thank you Sarah and Amy!

Related Posts