The students have gone away, the staff have mostly left for various home countries, the neighborhood is even a little quieter with families away on summer leave or furlough. It is quiet and peaceful and there is nothing more I want in the world than this right now.
It has been another long year and even though the sky is grey outside with a soft blanket of mist falling from it, I am not disappointed by the rain. I think we are all in need of the comfort that it brings. We need rest. We need to be together. We need to soak up the goodness and provision of Heaven.
For us, Summer in America means reuniting with family, traveling, blue skies, camping, eating our favorite foods and seeing old friends, shopping and stocking up for the coming term. Summer in America means go and revel and spend.
Summer in China means rest, routine, memorizing and reading, family time and few friends, rainy days and baffling heat. Summer in China means rest and reflect and restore.
So we are here in rainy China land with our Summer Schedule up on the fridge and I am thankful.
Everybody got a Super Summer Bucket with reading plans and journals, books and games, soccer jerseys (because it's a World Cup Craze going on in this house right now) and swimming gear in the hope that the rain won't be here forever.
I am also happily and gratefully heading out each morning for a couple hours of Chinese class, another of my top reasons for enjoying our summers in China... intense and profitable Chinese lessons. Though I did get a little teary eyed this morning at one point when I felt so overwhelmed at the vast amount of this language I still don't understand. Still, I love my morning walk by myself and the way it reminds me of those quiet, simple mornings when I took summer courses in college. The routine that develops with grabbing a coffee and your breakfast on the way to class, the focus you can give to a single subject. My life is so far from the freedom and study of those university days, but this little morning bit with my walk and my language lesson brings me back and makes me smile inside.
So does getting kids excited over new books and watching them chip away at memory work, like Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I am not sure who gets the greater benefit-- the ones memorizing, or the one helping them. I know all the words I have floating around in my head and on the tip of my tongue from Romans and Proverbs and Martin Luther King are a little like those rain drops outside, sent from above, settling into places in me that need a drink of something higher and better and wiser than myself.
Who would have thought, a summer in China, a little piece of heaven.