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Published: January 4th 2019
Happy New Year! Little late, but better late than never. Want to start by wishing you all the very best for 2019 and thanking you for reading these blogs! Your comments and messages have meant so much, and it’s been (and still is) a pleasure to share some of this adventure with you all.
Going back to almost a week ago now, Saturday was yet another exercise in spontaneity - if that’s a thing! I was given about 2 minutes notice that we were leaving and as usual not told where. We eventually ended up at an old people’s home, where Robbie and his classmates were doing some singing for the residents. I was watching from the back when Bella comes up and says “Simeon, you can play piano and sing” so I was reluctantly bustled up to the front where I gave a quick rendition of the first song that came to mind. It was “In Case” by Demi Lovato if you’re wondering. So that was all very interesting. Looking back I think it would have been much better if I’d just gone and sung “Away in a Manger” or something - easier and more seasonal - but I
wasn't really given the time to think!
It’s pretty crazy just not knowing where we’re going or why or when we’ll be back. Obviously I always try and ask the boys, but they’ve increasingly been answering questions with “I don’t know” or “Nothing” which is a little frustrating. I know they know something! They’ve just found that it’s less effort to say they don’t know. Of course it’s a bit annoying sometimes having to get up and leave at a moments notice, but I also think being a bit more spontaneous is good for me - I’m not the most spontaneous of people!
Saturday evening we went out for dinner with the classic family friend group - 4 or 5 families all with boys similar ages to Robbie and Tyler. That was great because it meant Dom was there too. It’s been brilliant that our families are good friends because going to a dinner like that by myself would be fairly boring. Both Bella and Butter got pretty drunk, and I actually had to help quite a lot to get us home. Thank the Lord that we had a driver from the restaurant. Now that was something not
in my job description - looking after drunk host parents!
I didn’t go to the Bible study or Church this week, because neither was happening. Bit of a shame, but turned out well timed. We spent almost all of Sunday at Butter’s brother’s house with his family. An easy trip for me because the boys just played with their cousin! Then Tuesday was New Year’s day, and as you might imagine I’d had a rather late night. It ended up quite similar to Christmas eve in fact. Around 10 of us met up and went out for dinner before doing some karaoke and then going back to one of the au pair’s houses to stay the night. His host family own another house in the same apartment complex and so he essentially has an entire house to himself! Nice to have somewhere to be together and play card and dice games into the early hours of the new year.
I’m enjoying eating quite a lot of tofu. I don’t think I’d ever had it before coming here, but it’s actually really nice. I love that it exists in harmony with meat as well - I feel like in the UK it’s seen pretty exclusively as a meat substitute (that’s what I thought anyway) whereas here having both in the same meal is totally normal. I’m still enjoying using chopsticks too, and the grandad in particular is impressed at my proficiency. I drop things now and then, but I’ve found that it’s not actually that embarrassing - even Bella and Butter will drop things sometimes. What is embarrassing is dropping something and not being able to pick it up again. I thought that’s quite a good metaphor for life really - don’t be embarrassed about failure because everyone fails, it’s picking yourself up that matters.
Something a little more amusing is that the concept of saying “Bless you” after a sneeze doesn’t exist - there’s just no word for it in Chinese. Now it’s not something you think would be a big deal, but it’s actually really strange having people sneeze and not hearing a single bless you. I’ve occasionally caught myself saying bless you out loud when a stranger sneezes on the subway. Perhaps I’m incurably British.
The boys were given 3 days of holiday for the new year, (one of which was a Sunday - yes they have to be given Sunday off. It’s crazy) which they definitely needed. It was really nice not having to do English work when I was with them. Doing Lego together, play fighting and even just hanging around made me feel a lot more like an elder brother instead of a live-in English tutor. It’s always those moments that are the best - the look of utter horror on Tyler’s face when he realised that I’ve lived 18 years without ever eating a dumpling was priceless.
Looking back, 2018 has been a fantastic year for me - probably the best year of my life so far in fact. So much to be thankful for what with A Levels, a perfect end to my time at Monkton, getting to go back to Senegal for a few weeks and now being in Beijing! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness.
This time next week there will be another Lapworth in Beijing! Weird thinking that I might well be the only Lapworth in China. Anyway - please pray that Dad will have a safe flight and has a great time here!
Bye for now.
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