I have your attention with the title, don't I? Good. Now you'll have to read the whole very-long post. :)
So this was supposed to be a post about how much fun we had with our friends Wendong and Alison on our outing to the north side of Beijing yesterday, where we visited a beautiful gorge/lake, rode a boat, and even went for a hike. It was such a perfect day. I was even making a mental blog post as I took pictures! It was definitely a GCD (Good China Day.)
But it ended horribly. And so now instead of a beautiful, feel-good post, you're getting this.
For one thing I'm sick. I hate chilly fall days to begin with since it means winter is coming, and in China, it seems that EVERYONE gets sick this time of year. I'm now no exception. (Please pray it stops with me and doesn't go to Jacob!!) I'd been avoiding it by doing everything I could to stay healthy -- washing my hands a lot, not eating after people, etc. But, it hit. And now I have a nasty chest cold and a fever. I feel awful. So, I'm sure that negatively colors everything else that happened yesterday.
So on the ride home from the subway station last night, we were stopped by the police at a routine traffic check. Long story short, they impounded our scooter and sent us home in a cab (which wasn't cheap!!). They even threatened to arrest us and suspected that we had stolen the scooter... until our friend, Alison, talked them down over the cell-phone. It seems we were misinformed by the people who sold us the scooter and many of our friends... it turns out you DO need a license to drive this small scooter in Beijing, so we were (unknowingly) illegally driving it for the last 7 months.
It wasn't all bad. The police were very polite to us, even hailing a cab and forcing the driver to take us home -- which we wouldn't have been able to do on our own, as no one wants to go so far out in the country without a return fare. To be kind to the cabbie, who was put in a situation he couldn't say no to, we paid him for a two-way ride. But, without the police's help, we would have been stranded. And, after the whole ordeal was over, the police apologized to us for not speaking better English. What?! We're in China. I don't think it is expected that he speak English. Can you imagine a police officer in the USA saying that? No, in the USA, the general sentiment would be to tell us to "go home" if we aren't able to speak the language fluently.
We'll get the scooter back in the next couple of days... just have to take a friend who has a motorcycle license to pick it up, and we have to pay a fine. Don't yet know how much that will be. So it is all going to work out OK.
The really awful part about this is that it was our one tiny piece of freedom. Jacob and I could get on that and escape. Since we could ride to a subway station, the whole city of Beijing was open to us! We could explore, do what we wanted, and not rely on others to do everything for us. It really was our sanity. The thought of not having it anymore is very disheartening. See, the problem is, we've been told we aren't eligible for driver's licenses because we don't have the right type of visa. So, unless that is also misinformation, we can't get the license.
So, sick and depressed, I called my family to cheer myself up. I talked to my little brother, who turned 15 today, and at the end of our conversation he asked if we could come home before Christmas. So, now we can add missing my brother's birthday and missing him to the list of things I hate about this place. So, with nothing else left to do, I hopped in the shower and had myself a mini-meltdown. I was such a mess. Crying and coughing, all at the same time. And then, just to add the icing on the cake, I dropped the soap... and, as fate would have it, it fell in the toilet. (For those who don't know, our shower is just in the middle of the bathroom. So, we have to lift up the lid on our toilet to keep the toilet seat from getting soaked when we take a shower. I HATE our shower, as the floor stays wet the whole day, and you can't go to the bathroom without taking off your socks.) So, on my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad morning, I dropped the soap in the toilet. Let's just say that didn't help.
I cried my eyes out and asked God where the heck He was in all of this and why this had to be so incredibly hard, and then I just wore myself out from crying. So I got out of the shower and took a very long nap. This afternoon after I woke up, I loaded up a blog that a friend had sent me a link to. A song by David Crowder started playing on the blog. Now the Crowder band is one of my all-time favorite bands. I know most of their songs and have heard most of their music. But I've never heard this song. Music speaks to me deeply, and this song met me just where I was. It's called All I Can Say, and you can hear it here (the video is a little different, but the song is good).
Lord I'm tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I'm so alone
And Lord the dark
Is creeping in
To swallow me
I think I'll stop
Rest here a while
And didn't You see me cry'n?
And didn't You hear me call Your name?
Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You'd remember
Where you sat it down
And this is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give
I didn't notice
You were standing here
I didn't know that
That was You holding me
I didn't notice
You were cry'n too
I didn't know that
That was You washing my feet
Maybe it was just chance... but maybe it was more. Maybe it was a reminder that He's not forsaken us and that He's here with us. Even on the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days.