"DEAR, SWEET ROUTINE, HOW I'VE MISSED THEE"
It's official: the spring semester has begun, and I'm looking at four months until I leave one country I love to return to another country I love. My first class began today. It's an American oral English course, and the students seem sweet. I start four more classes this week for non-English majors, which will be followed in a couple weeks by two English majors classes. I have Thursdays and the weekends free. I can't complain (though it won't stop me from trying!).
I'm saddened that I've floundered at the prospect of writing about my three amazing weeks in Europe. Jessica and I left Shiyan on the 19th of January and were immediately made aware of our Providential guidance on this trip when we were able to secure an upgrade from hard seats to hard sleepers on our 20 hour train ride to Beijing. Had that been the only wonderful and unexpected thing to happen to us during our travels, we could have still counted our vacation a success. However, time and time again as we made our way through France, Spain, Andorra, and back, we were blessed so abundantly by our Father who made travels smooth, interactions pleasant, and memories unforgettable. We know that our family and friends all over the world were lifting us up as we traveled, and we felt His answer to their (and our own) prayers. Forgive me for not going into specifics about our vacation, but anything I write will not merely be inadequate but will quite assuredly insult my memories of this Euro trip. If my dear readers have any specific inquiries or interests in my trip, please feel free to e-mail me, and I'll do my best to promptly respond. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This weekend Jessica took her mom and her mom's cousin who have been visiting us for a week to Xi'an to visit all the great sights there. Unbeknownst to her, Trent orchestrated a surprise proposal Saturday night at the Big Goose Pagoda during the famous fountain show. Trent brought John, Megan, Kat, Luke, Finn and me with him to Xi'an Saturday where we stealthily avoided Jessica and her family while spoiling ourselves on Pizza Hut and DQ. Saturday evening after some close run-ins, a few panicked moments, and a sprint that recalled to mind the fact that I'm grossly out of shape, Trent found Jessica in a sea of people (a huge China miracle!) and proposed in, what I can only assume, was true Trent fashion - completely romantic. The rest of us were all so honored to be a small part in this, the next step, towards their beautiful life together.
So now I'm back home with a little less money but with a lot more memories. Today has passed in a familiar routine-like way, and, as a creature of habit, I much appreciate it. Please keep all of us in your prayers as we make our way through what, for many of us, will be our last semester in China.