Saturday, July 10, 2010

I have some feelings....

about organization.

If the world were a perfect place, everything would always be organized and look darn cute at the same time. Drawers, computer files, and closets would all be in tip top shape. You could find anything you were looking for in a matter of seconds, while at the same time admiring how cute your organizers are labeled and maintained. Sometimes you would get frustrated with the orderliness of it all and decide to make a mess, just so that you could put everything back again.

But we're all sort of a big, gnarly mess in the real world. And being clean on the outside doesn't mean your life is all put together. It's rather frustrating to know that no matter how efficiently or attractively you've arranged all your earthly materials, it can't make you one ounce holier than the next slob down the street.

At the same time, I would really like to know that for everything there is a place and for every place there is a thing. There's some comfort in knowing that your scissors is exactly where it ought to be.

All this to say--I wrote a pretty extensive to-do list of over fifty items that need to be organized in an already clean and set-up room. Is that obsessive compulsive? Maybe I'm just over-compensating for how messy public places are in China. In other news--you can be witness to the fact that Adam said I may help him set up his classroom for the next school year!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Amber Waves of Grain

Wheat from the Johnson's farm.
I thought that the colors were so beautiful.
These pictures are unedited because Adam's laptop doesn't remember how to do that sort of thing anymore.

The Fourth of July in America


We had hardly been in America for more than a few days when the 4th of July rolled around and we were struck by American patriotism full force. Don't get us wrong, we LOVE America, but it was a bit shocking to plunge back into American pride and values so quickly. Overall, it was a very long and enjoyable weekend.

Thursday morning we arrived at O'Hare's international airport--after standing in very long lines in order to get checked through US Customs, we were able to pick up all of our luggage successfully and meet our family members who had come to welcome us home. We were very excited to see our Johnson and Kang families. Hannah had made us some cute welcome home signs, complete with Chinese characters. We had lots of hugs and then headed towards the city for lunch. Adam and I missed Panang, so our families endured our craving for Thai food. We enjoyed sharing a meal with our families whom we love and missed so much! After lunch, we said good bye to the Kangs and began driving to Adam's family's home...but not before stopping at Dunkin' Donuts and Garret's Popcorn. Adam ate three donuts in the car!

Adam's family was kind enough to open their home to Emma as well so that she was able to have some extra visiting time with Adam and me. Here she is playing Rock Band with Luke and Adam. She enjoyed playing video games, riding four-wheelers, playing with the kittens, and shooting birds with air soft guns. I was glad for the extra time that I got to spend with my little sister! She is so much fun and I love being friends with my sister!

After a few days of hanging out with Adam's family--the rest of my family came for an overnight visit during the holiday weekend.Erica had to return to her home, so it was sad to say goodbye--but we were happy for the time that we had been able to spend with her! It was good to see my dad, since he was unable to come to the airport when we first landed. We ate delicious food and spent time catching up with one another. Just before dark, we headed into town to watch Momence's firework display.

The Kang Family Visit to Momence

[pictures taken by Sam Kang]

On Monday we said goodbye to my family around noon and then headed over to Adam's grandparents' home to spend some time with his extended family. It was great to see Adam's Aunts, Uncles and cousins; we couldn't believe how much his cousins had grown in a year!

We also were able to get together with Adam's college roommate, Wil, and his wife, Lylli as they were on their way to their home in Kentucky. Here are pictures from July 5 when we were able to visit with the Johnson family and the Francos!

Wil and Lylli's Fun Visit

Adam's Mom's daisies are beautiful!

Waiting for Wil and Lylli to arrive, drinking ice water on the front porch--Adam loves being home!

Some of Mr. Johnson's tractors on display in his front yard---talk of the town!

Soon after Wil and Lylli arrived, Wil mentioned that he would like to shoot a gun and ride a four wheeler--so that's what we did! Adam teaching Wil how to shift gears:

Wil getting closer to his target:

We were so glad to get to see Wil and Lylli while we were in Illinois! Adam and I were so happy that they were willing to stop by on their way back home from visiting family--we were so blessed by their visit! We certainly wish that we could see the Franco's more often!

July 4th with the Johnson Family


Bowling in Shenyang

Recently, we have found that bowling can be a fun way to spend free time in Shenyang. To play one game and rent a pair of shoes, it is relatively inexpensive--plus, you can almost imagine that you are playing in an American bowling alley.

The bowling alley smells like an old basement and moth balls. I like how it smells.

One of our good friends here in Shenyang who has played several games with us.

We're trying to improve at bowling, but we're inconsistent at best. I think that Adam is much more skilled at bowling than I will ever be.Here in Shenyang, he has to wear the largest pair of bowling shoes--he also has to use the heaviest bowling ball since his fingers will not fit in any of the other/lighter sizes that are available.

Check out the Chinese characters on Adam's Coke can...

Adam's very large shoes...