Amanda and her family stopped by to see us for a short night before they went on a hiatus in the States for a few weeks. I greatly appreciated her talk with me; she was weary from travel and all I’d offered in return is a meal and a bed. Man, she’s got some patience with me! Did I mention we also shot this at 9:30pm?
Be warned expats. If you stay with me, you will be interviewed!
What’s with American Neighbors?
During our talk, she reminded me about an aspect of American culture I forgot and formally perpetuated. We’re such standoffish snobs. I was quite a snob in the States. I really didn’t like chatting with strangers. My husband’s bubbling-over extroversion in the grocery line made me titter from embarrassment as he trapped the clerk into a painfully awkward conversation.
The snobbery of our culture combined with my introversion followed me to Beijing. When I wrote my first article for a Beijing magazine back in September 2014, I nearly died from my heart palpitations and my jittering hands forgot how to write notes.
Those days are thankfully over, since I can’t avoid talking to strangers in this city. Sometimes expats avoid conversations with other expats, but there’s a curious Chinese observer of my family or me at some point along our weekly subway rides to work or to church.
When I was a young girl tagging along with my papaw to different shops, or when I’ve observed older Americans, they’re not snobs. They actually talk to people and enjoy the companionship. I don’t know what’s happened between my papaw’s generation and mine, but Americans should change. We need to stop being jerks.
We need to stop caring more about the people we see or read about on a screen and more about the living, breathing people next to us. When’s the last time you talked to your neighbor? If it’s been a while, try taking something awesome. Everyone likes homemade or thoughtful gifts and treats.
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Fostering, Orphans and HIV in China
I greatly admire Amanda and Daniel’s heart for orphans and adoption. They’ve had the privilege of fostering two Chinese children. One child in their care found a forever home, but the other child’s story ended in a way they never could have imagined.
Although HIV is now one of the most low maintenance “special needs” of any adoption cases, the child they fostered did not get the chance to find a forever home. While sick, outside of their care, and trying to find a hospital that would accept him, 13 year-old “David” died. Please watch the video learn more about his story.
HIV orphans in China needlessly suffer from a horrible cultural climate based on stigma, superstition, outdated medical facts and simply poor medical procedures, (If a Chinese medical personnel were to get HIV, I would suspect unsafe medical practices – I’ve personally seen nurses handle my blood and bodily fluids without gloves!).
The only way one can get HIV is through unsafe sex, childbirth/breastfeeding, blood transfusions or shared needles. By the way, once blood contacts the air, the HIV virus dies.
The good news is that HIV education is becoming a less taboo issue with even the president’s wife making strides to educate and advocate for Chinese people with HIV.
If you’re interested in fostering, adopting or supporting the different organizations seeking to help those under this current cultural burden, please refer to the Lily Project here.