The Mailman

postoffice2Had to go to the Post Office to get some stamps for my mom’s b-day card. Asked K2 (2 1/2 years old) if he wanted to see the mailman. Agreed. The twins stayed at home with daddy to celebrate their 6 mo. old, mommy at work, and I got out of the house, holding his little hand. He is carrying a plastic container with a lid, fresh from the dishwasher. I don’t mind.
“You’ll be in the stroller,” I apprise the young man. I get the vehicle from the garage and try to lift the top in a sitting position. I don’t know how. I push and pull, and look under it to find a button or something. The little boy tries to help as well. In vain.
“You have to lie down,” I inform my subordinate. He wants to see the mailman anyway and he listens to me. Then off we go. He keeps opening and closing the lid on top of the container while we go down the hill. We cross the street and walk in the newly remodeled Post Office. Now he is allowed to sit up and watch the mailman as we are waiting in the line. When we get to the counter, I tell the postman he has an admirer. They wave at each other, I pay for the stamps and we are out the door. The little guy closes his eyes. I can see the plastic container gets heavy in his hand. “Well, you don’t fall asleep in the stroller. You sleep in your bed.”
He stays awake. He saw the mailman.

***

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Don’t Ask

biffar-doors-high-security-district-small-12820PHASE 1 – It might be easier to walk into the White House without appointment than into the 99c Store’s restroom on Harbor. It took two representatives, one out loud call on the store’s microphone, one guy from the loading section in the back and an angry security lady to finally open that door that had a 9 digit pass.
I felt honored. 
PHASE 2 – While inside, another victorious elderly lady with a walker stepped in the high security area next to me. When she kindly asked for some toilet paper, “If you, by any chance, have some to spare.” She stretched her hand under the little wall between stalls, and I handed her the treasure.
Sharing with others brings joy.
***
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No, Thank You -30-

china(Continuation)

While taking the public transportation as a foreigner in Bucharest made you the target of the pocket thieves, that didn’t seem to apply to Beijing. I felt safe there, even though I stayed alert to what was going on around me, with all my documents and cash placed in a pouch hanging under my clothes. It looked like the many years of practicing fencing helped me be on guard and pretty vigilant.

We checked in the hotel and went to leave our bags in our rooms before taking a walk in the city. Not everybody from our team came back from the field and our meeting was at dinner. About an hour under the hot sun by the tall buildings, and walking without a specific target, we lost our interest in discovering the city on foot. Had some lunch and walked back to the hotel.

When I saw it. I was mesmerized. It was a small purse shop in the subway.

Some may wonder what was so amazing about that? I’ll tell you what: those purses had personality. Their design was so unique and beautiful that made me slow down and let my friends go without me. “Are you sure you don’t want to come back with us?” the translator asked me. I was sure. The hotel was straight ahead at about ten minutes away. They didn’t insist. I walked down to the subway again and got inside that store. It was full of dust, with bags and purses piled on top of each other, to maximize every inch. I didn’t care. There were at least ten purses I overwhelmingly liked from the first sight.

You may think that I’m a purse spender. I’m not. Every time when I needed, it was hard for me to find the “perfect” purse. But there they were lined up, faultless.

Made of black and purple leather with long handles, this one was parted in two compartments, with a tiny clasp on the exterior that was Mickey Mouse’s head. I bought it. Yes, I came to China from California and got a Disneyland purse.

Looking around the table I could see us, the few men and women who left the LAX airport not long ago, but something significant was changed. We missed one of us.

After being spread into the heart of China and encountering such a need for the Word of God, after being witnesses of poverty and pain in so many ways, we gained a new heart, a humble heart.

(To be continued)

This Saturday’s Mystery

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SATURDAY between Good Friday and Easter morning is a mystery. There is a word saying that Jesus, after He died and before His resurrection went to Sheol / hell.
“He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” 1Peter 3:18-20 NIV
Even though I can’t comprehend this, one thing is sure.
HOPE arises on Saturday before Easter. We don’s see it, we are still in the waiting room, but we know something extraordinary is happening. The whole unseen world moves. The tomb trembles. His body is still there, but not for long.
Behold!

Holy Thursday

holy_thursdayHOLY THURSDAY – the Thursday before Easter- is a big celebration in churches in Romania. Even though, the unwritten custom was to observe the day without working, but fasting, meditating and praying, my both grandmas and my mother kept doing the daily labor, while praying and fasting.
At dawn they went to a church gathering, grandmas in the villages and mom in our city. Sometimes my dad would attend, as well, but was pretty worried not to be caught by the communist secret police and lose his job as a supervisor.
I didn’t like going to church, especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It was too sad to go through the real story of Jesus who suffered and was murdered without blame. At that time, I didn’t care about Jesus. I thought God – if there was a God- was for old people. My life was ahead, and fun was its name. Because I learned that God and fun were opposite – boring stuff on God’s side, and excitement life without God.
I didn’t know people made it sound like that.
It was years after when I encountered God in a personal way and proved to me as the sweetest, loving, joyful person on earth. I mean in Heaven and earth.

***

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No, Thank You -29-

china(Continuation)

When I heard the announcement that Beijing was the next stop, I thought, “Smog.” I was ready for it. I have read that Beijing was covered in pollution, but that day and the days that followed were sunny and full of light.

My first impression when we got off the train was that we were in the Bucharest of the 1980s; that was my first thought. Maybe because the travelers swarming in the immense rail station, rigid kind of people, looked too worried and stressed out to show a smile. We pulled our luggage alongside the river of people and managed to get to subway. I couldn’t wait to take a first glimpse of the city. Our translator bought us the tickets and we boarded a train packed with proletarians, the working machine of a country that was building their communist era. When one would fall, it didn’t matter. The Party and the masses were large enough to replace the sick and the dead without sorrow.

The doors opened and we rushed out to keep up with our guide. The city was marvelous. Breathtaking. But something was odd about the buildings. The skyscrapers made of steel and glass imitated Manhattan. I didn’t know that most of the largest cities in China boasted with replica of iconic buildings in Europe and US.

(According to DailyMail.com – “the head of one of the companies behind the development, …said: ‘…When we decide to learn from others, we should not make any improvements or changes.’ ” Article by Daniel Miller, January 8, 2013, “Chinese fakeaway: How the world’s most famous buildings – and even whole cities – are being cloned in the Far East.”

That was so sad.

-To be continued-

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Taxes, Duh !

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A few days left to do my taxes.
Early this morning – getting mentally ready to go through personal docs to find the Tax File.
Coffee.
I don’t take an early breakfast.
Breakfast anyway.
Thinking of looking for that file.
Watched Live our Secretary of State’s Rex Tillerson statements in Moscow.
Came in my office and cognitively tracked down personal docs’s location.
Swept the floor in the kitchen. Slowly.
I need to do my taxes.
Pulled out the Tax File.
Found some family pictures in the process.
I miss my mom.
Maybe I should eat some fruit.
Green tea it is.
Second green tea.
Opened the Tax File.
I feel I could use another coffee.
I don’t like procrastination. I will just do this.
The End
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