Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Neighbor Ting

Susie playing blocks with her little friend.  Apparently she finds him funny!
It's been fun getting to know some of my neighbors better recently.  In our apartment complex, it seems like the majority of the tenants are couples with one child, and quite a few of them are Chinese.  I met Ting one day in the spring, when Susie and I were randomly walking and she appeared out of nowhere and offered to show me the way to the park.  She has one son, and is expecting a second child, a girl.

She is very very friendly, and since she can no longer work here, she is usually pretty available because she stays home all day.  I would say most people who live here know her, since she takes her child outside to play just about every day, and she is really outgoing.  Susie loves her because she is so smiley and obviously likes babies.

I wanted to have a baby shower for her, to celebrate this child, especially since it is rare in her culture to have more than one child (she has been very clear that she does not want any more kids after this).  When I told her we wanted to have a party for her, she told me she didn't need anything for the baby and she didn't want us to waste our money buying her presents.  She was firm on that.  She said we could just have a party and talk and "bring dishes", so that's what we decided to do!  Two of my girlfriends who also are/have been Ting's neighbors came and brought their children to play.  Let me just tell you, our living room was a sea of toys!!  It's what comes of 4 toddlers getting out every toy possible at the same time -- haha!  

I made cookies, and when Ting arrived, she saw me getting them off the cookie sheet and said "oh, you made that?  I can't make that."  According to her, ovens are pretty rare in China, and if anyone wants something baked, they would just buy it from the store, because it is not expensive.  I offered to teach her how to bake sometime, and she seemed really eager, even though she did not care for the cookies I made.  She said she doesn't like sweets, but her husband and son do.  So maybe she will want to learn for them!  She did bring over some bean soup, which, contrary to what you might assume was QUITE sweet!!  She said it had raw sugar in it. Hmmm.  I can't say I gobbled it up, but I was able to graciously "share" my bowl with Susie.  I told her I couldn't make anything like she made!

Ting goes to a Chinese church here that is a ministry of a local church here in town.  When I ask her about it, she says she goes every week, but we have rarely been able to talk much about beliefs.  I know they have a good relationship with the pastor, because he chose their son's name, and now they are asking him for a good name for their daughter!  

This relationship has been really interesting for me.  Relating to her takes effort, not just because of the language barrier, but also to just think of things to talk about that she will be interested in.  However challenging it has been, I've found myself really truly enjoying her company and friendship.  When I've been able to throw behind me any tentativeness about somehow misunderstanding her or making her feel foolish, I'm then able to be much more open to listening and learning.


Emma said...

That is interesting about the baking thing, I did not know that. I hope the Lord opens up more doors for you to share with her! :)

James and Christen said...

I think it is so great that you have been able to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to her. I think in cases like these the love of God that is demonstrated through you will open up the door for the Gospel. Keep up the good work!

Kimberly Kitchens said...

I met Ting and her son last year through Amelia at the church egg hunt. I will be praying for you as you continue to reach out to her and her family. Praying for her as she get ready to have her baby girl.