Yay! 2007 is here! I celebrated the end of 2006 with teachers and students at a New Year's Party that the students hosted. They performed songs, skits, and dances for all the teachers and then we had "free dance" where we got to dance with them. We did the Cha-Cha, Tennessee Waltz, and some line dances (but not country western line dances). It felt a little like a middle school dance because the boys were on one side of the room and the girls were on the other. You would watch the boys sheepishly ask girls to dance and then when dancing they stood a foot apart from each other. There is such an innocence that is refreshing as I watch the way they interact with each other.
My Christmas was also wonderful and I didn't get as homesick as I thought I would. I talked to my mom I think about 6 times, and I know that helped me as much as it helped her. I had to go up to the school Monday morning to give something to the students and as soon as I walked in they all said, "Merry Christmas Miss Lori!!" Several of them gave me Christmas cards and I received 2 boxes of chocolate from the school. I was also able to share with my students why Christmas was special to me. After returning from the school, I slipped back into my snowflake pajamas and was able to watch the FBC Mauldin Christmas Eve service live through the Internet. It was such a worshipful experience and I just cannot express how touched I am that so many people worked hard all day on Sunday to arrange that for me. After watching the service, I curled up on the couch and watched a Christmas movie. It was such a relaxing day and was exactly what I needed.
Tuesday afternoon I went with Dee's family to the Yiling Caves. It was so incredible. We went on a tour of the park first and were able to experience a little Chinese culture. There were all these interactive stations where you could get an idea of how hard people in the country must work to carry food and make it themselves. Unfortunately they do not have the convenience of t.v. dinners! Then we went on a tour of these underground caves. The best word to describe it is magical. I felt like I was in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Unfortunately my camera wouldn't take good shots because it was so dark, but I am going back with my parents and will hopefully have a new camera by then.
On Tuesday, I got a special surprise from many of you back home. My mom kept saying, "Check your mailbox." When I finally did, I had the most wonderful treat waiting for me; 16 Christmas cards from friends in Mauldin! For anyone who has ever spent a lot of time away from home you know that emails are great, but handwritten cards are twice as nice. I am reminded of the Phillippian church and how they supported and loved Paul. FBC Mauldin you are my Phillippian church. "I thank my God every time I remember you." 1:3