Happy Halloween from Shanghai!

Dongjiao Villas, Pudong. All photos in this post taken by V’s husband FF.
On Saturday, our church hosted its annual “Trunk-or-Treat” party for children. V was in charge of food, decorations and games. It was a fantastic event. LL helped decorate and she and I ran a game station. The kids really enjoyed it. After all the partying, we walked from car to car, collecting more sugar.
My peeps, LL and V. Love these ladies.
Miss M and The Kid.
Princess Pinky Stinky.
Laughing with my friend Alison.
Thanks to FF for these fantastic photos. He is a stellar photographer. I’ll post some of my photos tomorrow…

“More Than Aware” Part 2

Moroni Chapter 7, Verse 37: “For it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men…”

Yesterday, over two hundred women (and two extremely supportive men) came together for my friend’s event, “More Than Aware.” But let me start further back…
Twenty-nine days ago, my friend Suzanne’s mom passed away from breast cancer, ending her valiant fifteen-year battle with the disease. Last Tuesday evening, Suzanne awoke from a midnight dream, where she saw many people congregated to learn, celebrate and fellowship. On Wednesday, she sent out an email, inviting her friends to spread the word. She started selling tickets, with the luncheon (at a discounted price) to be hosted by the posh and expensive Kerry Parkside Hotel. On Friday, she received the approval from the Hotel. A few days later, they approved the cost of the luncheon, which Suzanne had already advertised.
When Suzanne envisioned many people joining together, her goal was to gather 150 women. On Friday, we had collectively sold maybe fifty tickets. On the following Wednesday, over two hundred of us came together.

This event came together from vision to reality in seven days. Tickets were sold prior to venue approval. Speakers, including nurses and doctors, were approached. At every moment, Suzanne’s faith preceded her miracles. I weep and marvel at the strength, courage and faith of my friend. It was a beautiful event, with amazing items donated by vendors for a charitable cause. People were generous in their bidding. The silent auctions exceeded goals in raising funds of over 20,000RMB for breast cancer awareness. In fact, we more than doubled it.

[My friend Mo.]
[One of the "Mormon Tables" with LDS people from California, Texas, Hong Kong, Italy, Argentina, Utah and Japan. We're everywhere. Now bonded together as Shanghai Sisters.]
[Honk if you love me. Mo, Suzanne and K, practicing an exam. Please try this at home.]
We were enlightened, empowered, strengthened and uplifted.
All for a beautiful cause.

“More Than Aware”

“More Than Aware” Breast Cancer awareness luncheon. Pudong, Shanghai.
My sweet Shanghai friend Suzanne’s beautiful mother passed away 28 days ago from a fifteen year battle with breast cancer. This week, my friends and I had the honor of helping Suzanne as she created an “awareness” luncheon, which included informative speakers, silent auctions and a wonderful lunch in the Grand Ballroom at Kerry Parkside Hotel. I sat with six friends from Church, including two of my besties V and LL.
More photos to come…

A Perfect Faith

Tonight, I’ve been contemplating a great deal about Faith, particularly the verses in James, Chapter 2:
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac is cited, extolling Abraham’s full and complete faith:
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

During the summer, I received a special Priesthood blessing from a dear friend. In his prayer, he mentioned that I had a purpose here in China. Nearly every day since my return, I have clung to his words. Tonight, I realized that having faith in these promises is not enough; additionally, to receive a fullness of these promises, work is required. In my case, it means practicing patience, having charity, compassion and forgivness for those who wound me and cause me heartache, serving all of God’s children and finding JOY in my daily life.

Despite the loogies. Yep.

Third Time’s the Charm

Or so I’ve heard.
Yep, that’s right. Day 3 of The Hubs MIA and I was back to the doctor for a third type of antibiotics. Three antibiotics in four days. My gastro-intestinal insides must be completely sterilized by this point. (Bring on the street food! Just kidding, Dr. D.) Above all, I am extremely grateful for access to western medical care. Sure, the staff barely speaks English and mix ups occur, like when they sent me to see Dr. Ting (rising 2nd tone), a family practitioner, instead of Dr. Ting (falling 4th tone), a surgeon for gallbladder removal. And so what if last month they confirmed my 10:40 appointment only to tell me when I got there at 10:30 that they had heard 9:20. It sounds nearly the same, right? And should I really be concerned that the new antibiotic I was prescribed (which was manufactured in China) cost me 1RMB or 15 CENTS for 28 pills, when my daughter’s imported Barbie shoes cost 230RMB/$40USD?

Thankfully, my physicians so far have been American, Australian and Canadian. Mr. Smith, my driver is astounded that my visits take around an hour. “Don’t you need to wait all day in line to see if you get in?” he asks. Because that’s what he did in April, standing in line at his local hospital with his sick 1-year-old, hoping to be seen that same day. Americans think they want socialized medicine, because they’ve never tried it. Come to China and see how it really works… [almost getting off soapbox...] U.S. peeps, you have no idea how good you’ve got it. [okay, done, thanks.]

Many expats go to Parkway Health which has a more international feel but I prefer the Shanghai United Family clinic on Hongfeng Lu. It is the most western-style clinic in Pudong and feels like an American doctor’s office. In a few years, if they can overcome the hurdles of bureaucratic red tape, they may become a full-fledged hospital, complete with Emergency room with other specialty doctors. For now, it’s a Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 clinic. (Yes, that’s right. The nearest western-style emergency center is 40 minutes across the river. Count your blessings and pray for us, people.)

Reception and cashier desk.
In-house pharmacy.
Waiting room, complete with Tom & Jerry.

I meant it in June when I posted that I was grateful for quality healthcare.

Here’s to hoping that a third antibiotic is the charm…

Children’s Market

Welcome to my world. Children’s Market, near People’s Square, Puxi.
On Saturday, The Circus rolled over to Puxi to look for shoes for Pinky Stinky.
Again, shops galore, hawking the exact same wares as their competitors for identical prices.
Hairbows, clothings, coats, backpacks, toys, shoes…
Fluffed up, decked out, bejeweled, bedazzled and ribbonified. What I’d give for a Payless. The only plain pair of black dress shoes did not come in PS’s size.
We purchased Barbie sneakers for 230RMB/$40USD. Forget Payless. What I’d give for a Target.

Chestnut Vendor

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”
Whatever the season, I cannot see a chestnut without hearing Nat King Cole’s voice in my head. We picked up a bag for The Kid while we were at Painter Street. They were piping hot and according to him, “deeeelicious!” I accepted his word, since my stomach condition did not allow me to partake.

In addition to food poisoning, I have had the good fortune of developing a kidney infection. I’ve received two antibiotics and am thankful for access to Western medicine out here. Whilst The Hubs is away on his 10-day business trip, I’ll be enjoying DVDs galore, consuming gallons of liquids (Promise, Mom!) and thinking about the approaching holiday season. In two months it will be Christmas. And you know what that means? Six months until I am back in the “Land of the Free” for summer break. Woohoo!

Let the super early countdown to Christmas begin…