One More Day…

Nothing too serious… you just have one more day to ask questions about life in China!  I’m compiling a list and planning to answer them all Monday.  It isn’t that you can’t ask questions at other times; I’d just like to include as many as possible in this FAQ post.

I’ve had a couple of interesting experiences this week.  About a week ago, we said goodbye to Jacob’s brother and his fiancee, and it always stinks to say goodbye to family.  It makes the ocean feel mighty large.  In addition to just the general “down-ness” that saying goodbye to people you love brings about, we knew they were headed back to the states to plan a wedding and look for their first house.

Here’s a little-known “Jacob and Carrie fact.”  When we were dating, we would sometimes go to Home Depot and look at their model kitchens and talk about what we’d want someday.  I was probably 18 or so at the time.  We never dreamed that we’d be in our late-20s and never have owned a house nor have any house-purchase on the horizon.  While I’m not really a homebody, creating my own home has always been so important to me, and sometimes it leaves me feeling so sad that I haven’t really been able to do that.

This is the apartment complex where we live.  We’re in the building on the far right.

I know there are lots of other perspectives on this — we don’t have a mortgage; we have our whole lives to own a home; we don’t have to deal with maintenance, etc.  But to be honest, there’s nothing I really want more than my own little nest.  And it has very little to do with the stage of life I’m in right now and more to do with a lifelong yearning.  The fact that Jacob’s little brother is now well on his way to achieving this “growing up” milestone just makes us feel even more like we’re in some weird twilight zone where we never really move through the stages of life but instead remain stuck in this dusty Chinese village while everyone else is moving on… buying new homes and cars, having babies, getting promotions, etc.

Last weekend was hard.  I threw a little pity party and stayed far too late.  I wrote this miserable “woe is me” blog post and realized it really shouldn’t be published.  And then the busy-ness of the week took over, and I didn’t really think about it anymore.

Until Friday night when my apartment was invaded by 6 of my closest friends.  They were all cuddled under blankets in our living room and suddenly everyone started to get really sleepy.  I was teasing them, since it was only about 7 pm, and then they said… “It’s because your house is so comforting.  The soft music, warm lighting, candles burning… It’s so relaxing we can’t help but get sleepy.”

Ahhh, how my heart swelled.

I do want a home someday.  And one of my biggest concerns about staying long-term in China is that I’ll never have that.  I may never be able to let go of that dream.  But I think I might be learning that a home isn’t about cabinets and countertops or wood floors and recessed lighting.  It’s about a haven of warmth and love.  And I don’t have to own my four walls to create that.

There’s another part of this story worth mentioning… About a month ago, Jacob and I had the opportunity to stay in a really nice hotel for one night that had an amazing bathtub.  Seriously.  It was gorgeous.  It was deep and long — actually long enough for me to stretch all the way out in, which is unusual since I’m tall.  And it was on the 18th floor of the hotel and set against floor to ceiling windows looking out over the city.  I was in heaven.  I took 3 baths in less than 24 hours.  I didn’t want to leave my little paradise when check-out time came.

But you know what?

If we had a bathtub at home, I don’t think I would have appreciated it nearly as much.  So here’s what I’m telling myself – a simple life helps me savor the finer things when I get an opportunity to enjoy them!

9 thoughts on “One More Day…

  1. Carrie,
    I understand where you are coming from, but home isn't about the walls, it is about the people in it. I had always dreamed about owning a story 1/2 home. I made that purchase by myself when I was 27, it was a GORGEOUS 1937 home in a beautiful old neighborhood, I made it mine and it was cozy. However, when I brought my daughter home from China the home started to feel like a burden. Too much upkeep, yardwork, expense taking away from time I could spend with my daughter.
    6-months after coming home I gave up my dream home to pursue my dream of parenting. We now live in a BORING townhouse. After a 1-year pitty party I started making it home and now it is cozy – and ours and that old dream doesn't seem nearly as important as the time I have with my daughter.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that so many people overextend themselves – or live to make their house a home, when really your home is in you…and you are making home for so many there, not just in your cozy apartment, but in the orphanage and in foster homes. Your home is bigger than anyone I know and is filled with the warmth of hundreds of little smiles.
    You may have set your dream aside, like I did, but the dream you are pusuing is so much better; please don't waste a minute more thinking about a house – – you have so so much more!


  2. I was going to write what I hoped would be this oh-so-eloquent comment to your beautiful post, but then I read Sharie's comment. And now all I am left with is: yeah. What she said. *grin*


  3. Thank you for reminding me what really matters…yet again. 🙂 You have such a way of doing that! And thank you for reminding me to appreciate what I have. God's been working on me with the whole “house” thing (specifically cabinets, countertops, wood floors, and anything else not “builder grade”). You're right–those things aren't what make a home. I guess I will have to start dreaming about more scuffs and scratches…and all the other signs of a well-loved, lived in HOME! 🙂


  4. Wow Carrie! What can I say! You always know just how to put it into words! Our dishwasher broke before Christmas it was going to be as much as a new one to fix…not the best timing. Then our downstairs heater stopped working. Lovely! We got the heater fixed just before the below freezing temps but thought we'd have to wait a month or so to purchase a new dishwasher. I *thought* I would just 'die' of dishpan hands! But then my in-laws generously mailed us a check and the new one was installed last week. Funny thing is….I keep forgetting its here and we keep using paper plates! We have yet to dirty enough dishes to actually run it! LOL!


  5. Oh sweet Carrie, I can imagine your home is very much a home indeed! You heart wills it to be, and so it is! And you are so right about appreciating the finer things when we are not around them. I used to DREAM of living at the beach. I would obsess about finding Rob a job down there and living the perfect, calm, & peaceful life.
    Now I realize the Lord didn't allow that because He never intended for me to live that life…and so when I visit there, I enjoy it all the more! 😉
    What a great, honest, heartfelt post that allows us a look into the life of someone in a foreign land…thank you for sharing! We learn so much from you! (I know sometimes you probably get tired of being the teacher, but you're a GREAT one! 😉


  6. I Absolutely 100% agree with your other posters. It is so much more than the 4 walls. And honestly, I see so much sadness around me as women struggle to meet the ideals in their heads. It hurts them. Me too, when I get hung up in it.

    But, yes, I hear your woman's heart desire to make a nest. It is such a tough balance. Can I pray for you to be encouraged in this?

    P.S. My nearly 14 year old is dying to know what it would look like for us to move to China (a family dream). On our adoption trips we were warned to “not drink the water”. What do you do about that? Get used to it? Filter it? How about those veggies at Subway? The first thing our ds wanted was a Subway sandwich with all the veggies when we landed in Vancouver this passed November. Anyway, that is his burning question. 🙂


  7. Carrie,
    I love your post about “home.” It is real and shows that sometimes following God's plan when it means putting our dreams back for later is not just a piece of cake. But I learned something about home today that I want to share. Not to be a downer, because I do not mean it that way at ALL. We have spent the weekend in a hospital room with my mother-in-law who, Friday, found out VERY unexpectedly, that she has cancer. She was going through the guests from today that visited her and named us and her daughter, and I thought, “We're not guests, if this is where you are, we are home.” I know that sounds so cliche, “home is where the heart is,” but I realized tonight how true that is. No matter how difficult this battle or how long, we will be at home if we are together.

    It sounds to me like God has made you a very beautiful home, just like HE would want it to be.

    I love your posts and am praying for you guys.


  8. Oh, remember what Jesus said about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of heaven!

    A house is merely a financial investment (or burden!) – but a home can be made anywhere – obviously, you are making your home right where you are – surrounded by your husband and your precious friends and LOVE!


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