She came from a very long ways away, not necessarily to teach in Canada, but to learn, grow and work. But people who carry an anointing can’t help but live that anointing, no matter what situation they find themselves in. And my Chinese border Kiki is no different. During her four months here, she has taught me a great deal about her life and even, surprisingly, about my life.
Four months ago, when Kiki first arrived, I anticipated a shy, demure woman, dedicated to her studies, reserved socially, shut in to her room most of the time. That’s been my experience in the past, at least. And I understand.
I’d likely be very similar if I travelled to China for four months. It’s a completely foreign language, political system, economic system, and social scenario. From what I hear, I don’t think I’d do well in China.
But Kiki’s done exceedingly well here, and I’ve been very impressed. Instead of shutting herself in, she’s drinking up all of the experiences here with vigour and excitement. She’s been dedicating her weekends to participating in whatever I have planned. And literally, I mean whatever!
Kiki’s helped me at 6:30am to run a water station for a road race, she’s come with me to harvest vegetables from the garden I planted near Camrose, and she joins in whenever I have a BBQ, dinner party, baby shower, housewarming, wedding or church event. She’s been there, despite the fact that she may never have met these people, has different beliefs, or just would like to be back home with her own friends and family.
I greatly respect her bravery. She’s taught me to be open to new experiences, despite my fears, my past experience and my expectations. With all of the risks she’s taken, the great distance she’s come, the sacrifices she’s made to be here, (as a recap, Kiki’s husband and young child are eagerly awaiting her return back home) I think Kiki would say this experience had been an integral one. Sometimes the experiences we have don’t always come easy, but they do come for a reason.
For her, this experience has shown a different work-life balance, one that she sees a benefit in adopting. For me, it’s another affirmation that I can always be looking at my life and pruning out that which no longer serves me.
Some habit I used to have may have been a good one at the time, or it may just have been the best I knew how to do at the time. But as I grow, I need to get rid of what no longer fits. I need to discard the ‘clothes’ (and thoughts, beliefs, habits) that aren’t in fashion any longer, or that have worn through. As I learn and am exposed to different or better ways of doing things, I can take stock and assess whether my way is still better, if the new way has benefit, or if I can amalgamate the two.
Kiki has seen a whole new world, and is eager to take back some of the traditions she’s learned here, like LifeGroup.
Despite being a devout Buddhist, Kiki has joined me at my Christian church nearly every Sunday and has come along to my smaller LifeGroup, where we generally just spend time communing together, praying, eating and hanging out. As I understand, this isn’t done where she’s from.
Generally, the evenings are spent with family. Any evening events done with colleagues are always hosted out in public, which doesn’t lead to the intimate types of relationships and conversations we generally have at LifeGroup.
That intimacy was also something that shocked Kiki at a recent wedding we attended. Apparently, Chinese weddings are large and noisy. Ours are much smaller, much quieter.
It almost seems as though everything is different in China. But I have learned that no matter how different things can be, people remain people. Despite our differences, Kiki and I both are just people.
We’re women, and we both have our weaknesses for a good sale. While I scope the flyers for sales, she’s more bold and will ask right at the till if there are any further discounts available or bonus gifts she can have. She’s had success on occasion, so I think I’ll start asking too!
We both want to connect with those we love. She’s been using a video chat program to contact her family at all odd hours of the night. I’ve learned to share my family so that she doesn’t feel so far away. In fact, I think I’m going to adopt her nickname for my dad: with his somewhat untamed hair and friendly visage, Kiki has taken to calling him “Uncle Einstein”.
Finally, we just want to connect with each other. And I’m thankful for Kiki and who she is. If it had been anyone else, I’m not sure I would have learned quite so much.
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