11.10.2013

four friends

Let me introduce you more formally to a few of the girls I love seeing every day. These are four of the more than two-hundred eighth graders that make me feel alive. I love them so much. 



Ally
If you’ve followed my instagram or tumblr (www.shelbysadventuring.tumblr.com), you’ve probably seen or heard of Ally before. I met her my first week of school, and she’s been my buddy ever since. Her favorite subject is definitely English, and her dream is to come to America. She loves cheese. Her dad is a chef, and she’s always telling me that she likes her dad’s food the best. We were talking over lunch last week, and she told me her two best friends were two girls from her primary school, and she only keeps in touch with them over QQ, the Chinese social media. So now I’m her friend! I even get to call her “ru ru,” her favorite nickname.
Even though she is fairly quiet, Ally is a confident girl, and is very willing to take charge if things aren’t going the way they should. But at the same time, she is easily torn down by mean words or failure. When she didn’t do well as her class representative in the sports competition last month, she cried. I told her it’s okay to cry. I want her to know that she is important for who she is, not what she does. But she finds much of her identity in other things. She is proud to be a part of the Chinese Communist Youth League, and I even attended one of the meetings with her. She is very loyal to her country, and respects her authorities. Together, we talk about many things, and I want her to know Truth, because Truth will give her so much meaning in life. I love Ally!




Li Jia
Her English name is “Betty,” but I love her Chinese name, Li Jia. I didn’t meet her for several weeks when I first came. I actually met her when I went on a home visit with a few teachers to meet her father and have a short interview with him in their home. It was just a little apartment, and Li Jia was obviously very uncomfortable, and who wouldn’t be with three teachers and the American in your one room apartment? Anyway, I hoped she wouldn’t be too afraid of me afterward, especially because she seemed smart and had a lot of potential.
Within the next week, I got assigned to do the morning readings in her class every other day. I quickly got to know her more, and knew I could count on her to be paying attention and help me give instructions. I appreciated her down-to-earth personality that is a bit rare among whimsical, my-life-is-a-cute-cartoon Chinese girls. On our field trip day, she was my main companion, and I gladly followed her around all day, talking about many things. We talked about God at the Heavenly Temple, and she told me that she doesn’t believe in Him; she believes in herself.
About three weeks ago, she asked if she could practice her oral English with me more regularly. Which basically means I get to just talk to her about anything whenever we get free time! On Friday afternoons, we talk for 30 minutes to an hour, and sometimes I walk with her to get her little brother from his school, which is another hour together. I am so excited about the possibilities and opportunities to get to know her and her story. She is beautiful, and I love her!



Julie
This spunky little squirt has been on my heart since day one. She’s possibly the smallest girl in the eighth grade, but she makes up for it in personality and determination. Sometimes, she can be rude to her classmates or she might sleep through class, but something about her still tugs at my heart-strings! Her smile lights up my face, and she usually calls out, “Hi Xiaoya!” whenever she sees me.
She wants to be an astronaut, and I want to tell her she can accomplish anything if she works hard for it. The working hard part may be the problem for Julie… but most of all, I want her to know she is loved. She taught me her Chinese name, Jiang Xin Yu, and I hope calling her that name will remind her that she is special to me. I love her so much!




 Christina
On our very first day of class, Christina came right up and talked to us about music, favorite foods, and other things. We probably used up most of her vocabulary! But we haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time together for the past few weeks, except maybe kicking the jianzi (like a hacky-sack) every once in a while, or eating with her class sometimes. But she always greets me energetically whenever we pass each other walking around the school!
Yesterday, Saturday, she was at the school waiting to go sing in a fundraiser concert for the school. I sat down on the bench with her, happy to have some time to finally talk a bit. She’s happy and spunky, full of life and generosity. She gave me some candy that she had, and then we talked for a while, and she started teaching me a song. I recorded her singing it so I can listen and learn it, but also so I can just listen to her sweet voice. I love Christina! 


These girls are so special to me, and I hope this gives you just a taste of why. My heart’s desire is to let them know just how much I love them, and to tell them of Someone who loves them far more.

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