Goodbyes stink.

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When the time drew near for departure time, everybody starting getting all touchy feely.  We had to get in enough hugs and love to last us for the next ten months until we meet them again in Texas!

A funny moment came when these matching coffee cups arrived in the mail.  I had ordered these cups so that Mama and I could drink from the same cup when we drank our coffee everyday.  However, somehow, that directive got confused and Dad claimed the cup as his because of the fabulous lip on it…according to me and Dad, all coffee cups should have a lip so you don’t dribble…and Mama never got to use the cup.  Dad took the cup home with him saying how special it was that I ordered us matching cups to drink coffee together across the ocean.  Sometimes you just have to roll with it and embrace the love.  And love me, my daddy does!cambry18

More snuggles and no smiles.  The tears hadn’t quite started yet, but the desperation was evident to us all.  The love of a grandparent is best kind of love to have.  It is selfless and fun and unconditional.  It rarely says no and it will travel the earth and back for you.

did request a smiling picture with my sweet niece!  I adore Cambry with every auntie gene I possess.  I am an aunt to many, and I love them all, but this one who has called me Sissy since she could talk has a place in my heart that makes her feel like one of my own.  I am so very thankful for a brother and sister-in-law who bought her a ticket and allowed her to travel so far away to bless our hearts.  What a special time it was!

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Fun. Fun. Fun.

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One of our favorite treats is an afternoon at the “spa”.  For about $8 you can get a facial and hair wash/style.  It is about a 90 minutes process and includes a mini massage.  We love it, and couldn’t wait to introduce Cambry to the loveliness.

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Mom and I snuck away one afternoon for a coconut oil massage.  Mom and I don’t have the best track record when it comes to massages, but this one was great!  We laughed so much our faces hurt, as is usual when we play together.  When I was a teenager, I would have definitely said that I was a Daddy’s girl because Dad and I are two peas in a pod.  But, as soon as I got married and moved out, I realized what an amazing woman my mama is.  She is everything I could ever want in a mom and a friend. I am so blessed she is mine (and that she loves me as much as I love her!). cambry3

I love having my mama here.  And my girls (and me too!) adore Cambry.

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One morning, Cambry got up early with me and climbed the mountain of stairs.  Not only did she brave riding on the pink scooter with me driving, she never once complained about the climb.  Once at the top, we took some time to ask His blessing over the city and the people and asked Him for opportunities to be bold.  Not 5 minutes later, He opened a door for us.  We were talking about faith and what it looks like when we noticed a man standing a couple feet from us staring.  I turned and asked him (in Chinese) if he understood English.  He replied that he understand a little bit.  So I asked if he knew what we were talking about.  When he said no, I took the opportunity to share the best Story.  He patiently listened with interest, but wasn’t ready to believe.  A seed was planted and Father’s faithfulness was proven once again!  Some day, that young man may place his trust in the One True Savior and remember the two white girls who shared with him up on the highest pagoda that breezy October morning.

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Food. Fun. More Food.

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The beach was, of course, a necessity and highlight of family coming to visit.  Cambry was giddy with excitement to see the South China Sea, and we were just as thrilled to be the ones to introduce her to its majesty.  Seeing the ocean is like seeing a glimpse of His glory, and it humbles me every time I go.  The girls had a neat opportunity to talk to a local college student who was practicing his English while they built a sand masterpiece.  Turned out that he was a brother, but we were so proud of the boldness of our girls!cambry9

We went to all our favorite places to eat and introduced Cambry to many new foods.  Her favorite was the bread that is cooked in a charcoal heated metal container.  We lovingly refer to it as “trash can bread”.  She asked for it daily!  She also wanted to shop at every store we passed…cambry17

We went to a special fish restaurant that serves whole fish cooked on top of your veggies.  It is fabulous, and I am pretty sure Cambry ate at least half of the girls share of fish!  She was a joy to introduce new food to because of her exuberant reactions!  We were also treated to Baskin Robbins by one of Mama’s friends.  We love ice cream, but at $5 for a single scoop, we don’t indulge often!  And one of my sweet friends sent me a Texas hat that I am wearing with pride as I eat my pulled noodles!cambry8

Mom decided that the “fried ice cream” was the best thing on the island.  It isn’t really ice cream, and it’s also not really fried, but that is the literal translation so we go with it.  You choose your fresh fruits and they blend them with some condensed milk then it freezes on a frozen griddle as it is stirred.  It is a refreshing treat in the heat!cambry5

The girls went on a girls day and all crammed into a one bench cart to get from Point A to Point B.  We were wedged in tightly and the scooter was unable to go fast because of our weight, but it was an experience none of us will soon forget!

This dinner picture cracked me up because of the expressions on their faces.  You would think they ate something not so great, but it is just a fluke of the camera.  They truly loved the Hong Kong style cuisine at this restaurant named “Double Happiness”.cambry4

More fun shopping, said none of us.  Ever.

Man! This girl can shop!!  I love to shop, but this was a whole new level.  We laughed and willingly let her drag us all over the city to visit 5 different versions of the same store.  And once the selfie stick was purchased, we had to endure the selfie shots every where we went, marking us as complete tourists.  Not that we are ever inconspicuous in our city…cambry2

Cam grilled us salmon, after he bought the big fish and filleted it.  Cambry had never eaten salmon before, and she is ruined for life, she decided!

Spicy Sichuan food takes us back to the first city we lived in, so it is a favorite of all of ours!

Teenagers, selfies, and funny faces.  The combo makes great fun for the adults who post on social media!cambry1

More food.  Seriously, we all gained weight!  We went to a hot pot place, which is a lot like fondue in America I am told.  I just call it boiled meat, but apparently that makes it sound gross, regardless of the truth in it.  We boiled, ahem, fondued our choice of meats and veggies.  The noodles and potatoes were the favorites.

No surprise there.  We are Americans.

We also made a pit stop into KFC for hot fudge sundaes one day.  You can’t beat the price, and the yumminess factor is pretty spot on!

We love getting to show the people we love all the fun and food we have in our city.  It helps us remember how many things there are here to enjoy!

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Daddy, Mama, and Cambry take on Sanya!

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Clean house…check!

Fresh flowers…check!

Hot cinnamon rolls…check!

Daddy, Mama, and Cambry (our niece)…CHECK!cambry12

We saw them through the gate and excited isn’t a strong enough word to describe our emotions.  I was prepared with my phone (which I apologize for…the iPhone 4 obviously does not have the best camera!) to take video because I just knew the squeals would abound.  To my utmost surprise, there was more laughter and unshed tears than noisy exclamations.  I was shaking, trying not to cry, thus all the pictures have a sweet blur.cambry13

Notice the twisting of the pigtails in anticipation.  Also take note of ALL THE LUGGAGE!cambry14At some point my status as daughter was replaced with granddaughters, and I barely got a hug.  Not that I am jealous or bitter.

Not at all.

Thinking back to when we were in the process of moving overseas, I remember whining about the probability of my parents ever getting to visit.  Knowing that they aren’t wealthy and funds to travel here are nonexistent, I am in awe of Father’s goodness to me.  He knows how important family is to my heart, and that He has provided means to them to visit every year is overwhelming to my soul!

(Two weeks of documented fun is soon to come!)

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