Welcome to Day 3 of China and Amy Anniversary Week here at the Messy Middle.

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! Yesterday we heard from Sarah.

I moved to China full time the summer of 1995. As one last hurrah, the spring before my friend Amy came out to Colorado to go skiing. It just so happened that her husband’s uncle and cousins were at the same ski slope. Friend Amy was in a small ski incident and the cousins were boys who had the strongest southern accents. Their “Amy, OHHHH, Amy!” after watching her knock down two skiers in an impressive move still drawls in my head.

One of those boys contacted me last fall, saying that he was applying with my organization and did I have any tips for him. I clarified first if he was a Jayhawk fan or a Razorback, though the answer was a tiny bit disappointing, it turns out those southern boys have turned into fine men. Though my path had only crossed once with Lee’s many years ago, it was like having a piece of family here this past month. Lee humored me and let me interview him. Without further ado, I joyfully bring you Lee. Rough age and where you are going 

Mid-to-late 20s, Nanchang, Jiangxi, there will be five adults and two kids on my team

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

  • Seen: picture of a van loaded with dead dogs, ready to be butchered and cooked
  • Smelled: I don’t know what it was, and I don’t want to know!
  • Tasted: pig elbows
  • Heard: construction, all night long
  • Touched: 10 people at one time in a line at the forbidden city

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

I heard a haircut takes a long time, and since curly hair is rare in China, I think it will take a while {Editorial note: it will! We’ll check back later and ask how your first haircut goes. They are going to love your curly hair! And by love, I mean be mystified by it. Good times in your future, my friend. Good times.}  

Impressions of

  • traffic: efficient
  • food: fresh and quick
  • people: friendly and curious
  • clothes: trendy
  •  you  (yup, not all about the Chinese, it’s about you too!): a little more adventurous that I thought I was

Would you go hiking in these? Chinese dress for the photo, leading me to often be woefully under-dressed for outings. You’d think this would give me an advantage when it comes to hiking. You would be wrong. Amy

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

I laughed at myself after I became infatuated with Chinese women’s crazy, cool, and uncomfortable looking shoes. {Editorial note: modern Chinese footwear has been likened to “modern foot-binding” and can be like a car wreck … horrifying, but you can’t help looking.}  

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

I love the way China handles fender bender car wrecks. It is so efficient and logical to argue it out on the spot, and pay cash, then go about your business. It saves so much money, it decreases the need for traffic patrol, lowers the cost of insurance and auto body repairs.

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

Dr. Pepper and my homeade Quesadillas

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

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. Psalm 92: 12 -13

That verse impacted me a few weeks ago before I left. “Flourishing” was a word that stood out to me.  It revealed that I can do all things, and flourish in anything, as long as I stay in fellowship with the Father. It gave me confidence and power before I left The States.


Lee, thanks for the chance to see China through your eyes. You have blessed us! Rock Chalk Jayhawk, go KU! :) Amy

Though Lee is busy setting up his life in Nanchang and may not get to it this week, what questions or words of encouragement do you have for him?

Leave A Comment

  1. Loren Pinilis August 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this little slice of life in China. And pig elbows?!?!?
    Anyway, as far as encouragement for Lee, I think it’s exciting that you’re able to jump out of your comfort zone. Don’t quit doing that.

  2. JoDee August 30, 2012 at 12:42 am - Reply

    I’m gonna have to weigh in on the hair thing….RUN, RUN!! If at all possible, DO NOT get your hair cut!! Speaking from years of experience. I finally quit having it cut and let it grow. They have NO idea what to do with the stuff, but they won’t admit it as they are the “professionals”. And you can’t tell them either. Just sayin’… of course, you may need to get just that one hair cut so you have a story to tell and can then believe me, so I’ll look forward to hearing it! :) Part of the new adventure!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 30, 2012 at 6:03 am - Reply

      Oh JoDee, thank you for your words of wisdom!!! Lee, listen to JoDee, not me, when it comes to hair. I’ve had enough trouble with the amount of natural bounce/curl in my hair (and you can tell it’s not that curly) that I don’t get my hair cut in China any more. JoDee, you rock!

    • Katie Spohr December 4, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

      Get your haircut in thailand, it is a much better experience and you won’t leave with a mullet.

  3. Karin (an alien parisienne) August 31, 2012 at 5:58 am - Reply

    My old Chinese stompin’ grounds. :) It’s been 21 years since I was in Nanchang, but that is where I arrived, FOP in 1990 for a year of teaching.

    I just want to advise him to eat the spicy noodles! They are so good in Nanchang; I have never had them anyplace else that were as delicious. Oh, and the spicy eel, too. I actually became kind of fond of that dish. Once you get over the backbone that is in the middle of the chopped sections of eel, it’s really tasty, especially in the summer as the spiciness makes you sweat and cool off.

    Maybe someday I will return, but I’d ask Lee to please go to the People’s Park and the Nanchang Square as well as pass the gates of Jiangxi Shi Da and say “hello” for me. I would appreciate that very much.

    And I hope that he loves “my Chinese city” as much as I did 21-going-on-22 years ago. Good luck, Lee!


    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 31, 2012 at 6:13 am - Reply

      I’d forgotten that’s where you’d been! I remembered SW, but the detail was lost. I’ll have Lee send your greeting! Wish you could come back, you might not recognize it :)!!

  4. Amy F. August 31, 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    1. Wait until Thailand to get your hair cut. Odds are it will be a better (er, more professional) cut there. (but keep your fingers crossed and pray…PRAY!)
    2. I’m never going back to store-bought tortillas after making my own. (have Amy ask me for the easy recipe or look in your Wycliffe cookbook…probably there also. You’ll need to experiment some though). As long as you can find cheese, then you are set! ^_^ You’ll be eating quesadillas and breakfast tacos in no time! Plus, your teammates will love you! Taco night, anyone?
    His best to you, Lee!

    • Avatar photo
      Amy August 31, 2012 at 10:20 am - Reply

      GREAT tips Amy!

  5. Sherri Nelson December 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Lee, don’t listen to everything the nay-sayers throw out there. I have had several curly-haired teammates, including two now, who regularly get haircuts here in Hefei. Find a good place – and maybe you have, since in that last interview from Amy, you didn’t report anything negative about your cut. :)

    And not everyone who goes to the L’Oreal shop in Chiang Mai comes out with a good cut!! I have seen a few beaut’s.

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