Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's worse than 7-11 food?

Chinese 7-11 food!!!

Fast food tofu and fish balls

Friday, November 25, 2011

Desperate Times... for desperate measures!! Ryan just takes that to the extreme sometimes.

Last year, some great people in Shenzhen organized a 10K at midnight to benefit the charity that employs Ryan, Captivating International. Ryan didn't train at all, ran the 10K at midnight, and had to speak the next morning at our fellowship. He nearly died :)

October rolled around again (quickly!), and the successful midnight 10K was organized again. Ryan had weeks to train. I won't tell you how many times he went out running before the night of the 10K, but let's just say he wasn't prepared and was dreading it. A few days before the race, I came down with a cold and Ryan said he wasn't feeling the best. I wondered if maybe this would really be a blessing. He could get sick and be unable to run! But no, he woke up feeling fine the next day.

The morning before the race, he headed out the door to the office. He usually takes the scooter around the mountain since it's faster than waiting on the bus. I understand that he likes to take the scooter, but it always makes me say an extra prayer for safety. Since we moved to 'the other side of the mountain,' we're off a busy trucking highway. It's a slower moving highway, but still pretty busy. He has to ride on part of it to get around the mountain. We've already had several close calls on the scooter and in taxis.
He called me after he got there and explained what happened on his way over. A bicycle was up ahead of him on the right going the same direction as he was. The man on the bike made a sharp left turn without looking (it seems like they NEVER look over here!), causing Ryan to throw on the breaks. Between that and some gravel on the road, he wrecked. He flew over the handlebars and rolled in the middle of the road. He ripped his thick backpack, his shoe flew off, and he banged himself up. Thankfully, he was fine. No injuries to the head (or the laptop in his bag!). I don't know if the guy on the bike ever realized what he had caused because he never stopped.

Even though he was fine, he was so sore and stiff. That night, whenever he rolled over, he groaned in his sleep. There was no way he was in any condition to run a 10K the next day, so he had to opt out. What timing!

He had a few errands to run the day of the 10K. He was slow moving, but he could still get out of the house. As he headed out the door to the grocery store, he paused and said to me, dead serious, "I am so thankful I wrecked my scooter!" I never thought I would hear him say that. And I don't want to see how he tries to get out of the 10K next year!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lael's Birth Story

Four days before my due date, I felt like something was wrong. I was dizzy, seeing spots, and my ankles were swelling quickly. Since I had had a family member with preeclampsia during her pregnancy, so I knew to think about my blood pressure. Sure enough, it was climbing quickly on Friday. We finally decided to head to the hospital Friday night.

When we arrived at the hospital, my blood pressure was 152/119. We figured we would get prompt medical care for what we thought was a serious situation, but instead...

...we sat for hours at the nurses station, while I monitored my own blood pressure.
Not only did the head doctor refuse to treat this as an emergency situation, she didn't even come over and check me until we were there for almost an hour. Since I was the one who thought this was a serious situation, they were leaving it up to me--they could give me a c-section right then if I wanted one, or I could wait. They wouldn't induce me, though, because my BP was too high for that.

They said if I did a c-section, they needed to do at least two hours worth of tests beforehand, so I said at least we could go through the tests and then decide. They came and took my blood, then it sat there on the counter the rest of the time we were there. I never got the results back from this test. I wonder what happened to those four vials.

(this was sitting next to me at the nurse's station the whole time) All thanks to the Lord, my blood pressure amazingly came down enough to where we thought we could try for an induction in the morning. So after waiting and being mocked several times by the head doctor in front of her nurses (I was having a hard time being patient with her), we decided to salvage the rest of the night, sleep, and meet our little girl in the morning.

The hospital had 50 beds, but 63 women staying overnight. They let us stay in the private delivery room for the night. As soon as we left that head doctor and headed to our (delivery) room for the night, our experience was completely different. The little nurse back here was adorable using hand motions to try to talk to me :) We had learned from Rylan's delivery that the beds here are basically boards, so our friends let us bring their mattress. Ryan slept on the little delivery bed. The nurse kept telling him to be careful or he would break it :)

3:15am--bedtime. We were waiting for our 9am induction, but God had other plans. After about twenty minutes of sleep for me, at 5:15am, my water broke a little. Lael was coming three days early (just like Rylan, except he broke my water at 5:30am)!
Mild contractions started about 5:45am, but I let Ryan sleep. At 8:30, the head doctor (a different one for the day shift) made me wake Ryan up. We needed to move to the laboring room so they could clean the delivery room for us.

The hospital blankets. :)

In the laboring room around 8:30am...I was in here with three other women. Chinese women stay in bed, lie flat on their backs, and are usually silent in labor. I was up walking (and not silent!)--I had a noon deadline for this baby! If she would come before noon, she would be an October baby for here, but a September baby for the States. I walked around and jumped in bed when a contraction came. I did that for about an hour, then got to the point that I just wanted to stay in bed--no more walking for me.

(The plastic shoes we had to wear :) I was 1cm at 8:30, and at 10:30, I was 4cm. They said I was ready to go back to the delivery room. They brought a bed to take me there, but I wanted to walk. I couldn't find my shoes, so I started down the hall barefoot. I got quite the reaction, but I didn't want to waste precious non-contraction time looking for shoes. I wanted to be back in bed on my left side before the next one came!

Lacey and Hayley. Hayley, the only one of us who speaks Chinese (therefore, an absolute necessity for me!!), was told by the first head doctor that she could not be in there for delivery to help me because she was pregnant. We told her that the main head doctor in charge of the delivery floor had already ok-ed her being in there. She replied, "Well, she's not here right now, so 'no'." Thankfully, she wasn't on duty when I went into labor, so Hayley got to be in there.

In the delivery room. Little did we know, but I only had about thirty minutes left!

15 more minutes!!

And she's here!!!! Lael Hope Morgan was born on October 1st, at 11:18am. She was 7lb 10oz and 21 inches long.

Proud dad :)

She came out face up, so she didn't have the usual cone head, but her forehead was purple for hours.

They don't wash the babies off here until the next day, so she got her cute blanket all dirty.

Lael Hope Morgan. Lael (pronounced lay-EL) is a Hebrew name for "Belonging to God."

Hi sweet girl!!

Meeting Daddy

She's 30 minutes old here.

It's hard to hold a baby on such a small bed!

The nurses felt it safe now to get out their cell phones and start taking pictures :)

Me and my support team!! I couldn't have done it without them!! My sister Hayley, my mom, Ryan, and my sister Lacey.

Finally resting in our amazingly large VIP suite (and this room really was VIP quality for China, not like the 'VIP' room we had at the other hospital for Rylan!). We are so thankful to the Lord for starting my labor naturally and making a very scary situation end up wonderfully.

After her first bath.

This is NOT our baby, but this is baby swimming. We were planning on doing this with Lael, but they said we had to stay an extra day so she would be three days old to do this. I wanted to GO HOME, so we skipped this part. I thought it would have made some cute pictures of her.

I loved seeing Rylan's expressions. I said she was a baby, so now he calls her "bai-ee."

At home, Day 3. Ryan's gearing up to give me my injection. Last time we brought these from the States, this time we bought it in Hong Kong. I need it because my blood type is negative, and Ryan's is positive. Chinese are 99% positive, so they don't have this medicine in China. We were both nervous about him giving this to me (okay, me more than him), because he had one 'shot' to get it right--that injection cost more than Lael's entire hospital bill!

We praise the Lord, the Giver of Life, for our little blessing, Lael Hope Morgan.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's for dessert?

Chinese people generally don't like to eat sweet things. They would rather gnaw on freeze-dried, spicy chicken feet than grab a Snickers. So when Dunkin Donuts opened up here with their slightly less-sweet versions of some of the donuts they sell in America, I guess they were still too sweet. So after a few weeks, the bad boy on the right popped up on the shelf: the Pork Floss Donut. It's called 'targeting your local market.' Can you get more of a Chinese donut than that?

Its Chinese cousin, the slightly better sesame seed & nut donut (it's not in the picture, but I felt like a bird after I sampled that one) have been staples on the shelf for over a year now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You'll Thank Me...

...for not posting a picture with this one. Chinese people get car sick ALL of the time. I've never seen so much throw up as I have here. I remember one day during my first year here, I saw four different people throw up. It's not uncommon at all to get off the bus and see a pile where someone juuuuust made it off the bus and then let it all go.
Last week we were trying to get familiar with the bus routes around our new apartment (guess I should post some pictures of that!), and we got off the bus for the first time at one of the stops near our home. Even before I stepped off the bus, I smelled it. We got off, and I looked around. There were FOUR very different piles at that bus stop. That's a record that I don't want to top!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Growing Up

I didn't think this day would ever come, but it has. I didn't think twice about sawing off the head and feet of my chicken when I boiled it. When we first moved here, I used to be freaked out about seeing those things in my food. First, I used to have them cut off at the store. Then I used to have Ryan do it for me at home. Now I can do it all by myself! I guess I'm a big girl now. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hospital Adventures

Last Friday I had a pretty interesting hospital visit. I was meeting up at the hospital right before 8am with my sister (I wouldn't be able to do pregnancy in China without her!) so we could both see the doctor. She's about five weeks earlier on in her pregnancy than I am. Anyway, we wanted to be early to stand in line before the masses arrived.

Right when I got to the hospital entrance, I noticed a crowd of people standing around and heard a squeaking metal sound and some shouting. There's always a flood of bikes and motorbikes going south on the hospital road to the factories and offices around 7:45 in the morning. In the middle of the street, I saw two motorbikes on their side. To the left of that, I saw a man, completely still, lying on the ground with a puddle of blood around his head. "Don't look...don't look...breathe" I was telling myself so I wouldn't get sick. The metal sound was a gurney two nurses had brought down the hill from the hospital. They began lifting him onto the stretcher as I walked by with my eyes focused on the sidewalk in front of me.

I left the scene behind me and walked up the hill to wait for Hayley. She was running late, so they ended up wheeling the man right in front of where I was waiting into the hallway. Hayley showed up five minutes later, so we went in for our visit.

The hospital is expanding on one side, so I've always wondered where they put the emergency room. I found it on Friday! When we walked into the hospital, I saw the crowd in the hallway. There were about twenty people standing in the hallway looking in the open door at the man on the stretcher in the emergency room. The emergency room was just a small room off to the right. I've walked past that room with the open door every time I went in and out of the hospital, never realizing that was their emergency room! Hayley and I walked past and stood in line to pay our US$1 to see the doctor. As we were waiting, we heard the man screaming in pain. And everyone was there in the hallway still watching.

We went upstairs into the little room to see the doctor. There were about ten other pregnant women in the small room with us. No one waits in line. The doctor sits at the desk, and everyone takes their little medical book with all of their test results, ultrasound pictures, and any other important information (you'd be in serious trouble if you ever lost that book!) and puts in right in front of the doctor's face as she's reading another person's book. She'll either put it on the desk next to her, or, if you're lucky, she'll open yours and start helping you instead. After fifteen minutes, she opened my sister's book and ordered some tests for me and her.

After you have the papers ordering your tests, you have to go down the hallway to wait in another line that you will get cut in on if you're not watching to pay for your tests. We waited there about ten minutes. After you pay, they print out a receipt and glue it on the back of each paper. I hadn't been to the doctor yet for this pregnancy, so I had about 15 different tests. Which means she had to print out and glue 15 different receipts on the back of each test.

Off to more lines! Hayley waited in the blood-drawing line while I took my urine test (consisting of carrying my sample in a tiny, flimsy plastic cup from the squatter down the hallway across the hospital to the lab counter with all the other people carrying cup samples of this or stick samples of that. There's a lot of urine on the floor, on the counter, and on the walls in this area because of those flimsy cups--hope that's not TMI for you!). After that test, I met up with my sister to give my eight vials of blood after she had waited in line for nearly 20 minutes. Let's just say there's always lots of people everywhere!

Back to the little room with the doctor for our doppler test...This is when we were in there with 17 other pregnant women. The doctor kept locking the door to keep more people from coming in, but as soon as one would walk out, two or three more would come in. We gave our books to the doctor and had to wait only five minutes this time. I guess she knew we were almost done. Nothing like getting tests done, though, with everyone there watching the white ladies! There's not a whole lot of privacy.

The doppler finished our tests for that morning. As we walked out of the hospital 2 1/2 hours later, I looked into the emergency room to see if the man from the accident was still in there, but it was empty. As we walked down the hill in front of the hospital to the road, I told my sister about what I had seen of the accident. The crowd had cleared up by the time she had arrived, so she didn't see anything but two scooters by the side of the road.

We got to the road right in front of the hospital, and there was the man's big puddle of blood...still there on the road next to the sidewalk right in front of the hospital...with a bunch of bicycle tread marks through it.


Chinese products can be funny. Whether it is clothes, a food product, or toys, there's usually something on the label, whether the design or the English written on it, that identifies them as being Chinese.

We were shopping for a birthday present for one of our American friend's little boy who was turning three. We didn't want something corny or something with really cheap plastic. Ryan found a set of six metal jets that we figured we wouldn't be able to top unless we went to a really nice toy store. It wasn't until we got home that we noticed the "Chinesey" part of the toy:

So in between an EF-111A Raven and an SR-71 Blackbird, there's a sign for a rental car return. And it cracks me up because it's not just a rental car return, but it comes with a "Caution."

Gotta watch out for those rental cars.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

After being in the States for the past two months, we are finally back in China. It was great seeing family and friends, showing Rylan off, and sharing about the work going on over here. But after being away for eight weeks, I was ready to get back to MY home.

Rylan did much better on the trip back to China than he did going to America. Out of the 24 hours it took for us to get from one place to the other, he slept for two of them on the trip eight weeks ago. Obviously, that was no fun for anyone, so we asked for a lot of prayer when we came back here. Thankfully, he did much better and slept off and on for probably seven hours.

We got back to our little green apartment at nine on Tuesday night. The first thought for the both of us was, “Wow, this place is tiny!” But it was good to be home. We’ve spent the past week unpacking, getting settled back in, and going to bed by 8:30pm.

We didn’t have the mold in our apartment this time like we did when we came back last year thanks to a friend who came in a few times a week and dumped the water out of our dehumidifier. However, we did have another stinky problem. When I opened one of our suitcases, the one with all of the new clothes for the year for Rylan and for our little girl on the way, it smelled. Bad. I pulled out a few bags of things, but I couldn’t figure it out. Ryan took over the unpacking and later on came to me sheepishly and told me he found out what smelled so badly. Now, Ryan has a habit of hiding things between the clothes in our suitcases without telling me when we’re packing so I won’t protest with “We don’t need that!” I have started to look forward, in a way, to what I will find every trip back. His latest hidden treasure was the smelly culprit…catfish stinkbait. He brought a jar of catfish stinkbait back from America! “Just in case I can fish in the jungle at the orphanage in Dongguan,” he tells me. He wisely double-bagged it in case it leaked, which it did. Thankfully, the liquid itself stayed in the bag, but the stink got all over the clothes. All over my new, cute, pink, little girl clothes. Over the past week, all but one outfit have aired out. The outfit that got it the worst, the one packed right under the stinkbait, is one of Ryan’s mom’s favorite dresses she bought for our little girl. It’s still stinky, but I’m confident it’ll come out in the wash. Ryan says “Sorry, Mom.”

So we’re excited to be back, to get going, to start working for another year. We love our life together here, and we’re thankful to be here!

Had to add another picture :) Is he not the cutest little guy?!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'll Have Seconds, Please!

Ryan was out paying bills a few weeks ago, and when he came back, he was all excited to tell me what he had nearly stumbled on. He said he was walking down the road, heard a hiss, and jumped away from a cage. Out in front of a big seafood restaurant was a cage full of cobras! He couldn't wait to go back so we could take pictures :)

Killed and seasoned fresh!

We have yet to eat snake here. We've had some dog (I'll spare you the pictures of those hanging up!), some chicken brain (it's pretty small), and bugs. Cobra is next on the list...

On another note, our apartment security guards caught a python behind our building last year. They called one of the local restaurant chefs to come down and slice it up for them. Free dinner!