Tomorrow it will be four weeks that Sunny has been part of our family. Time flies when you’re having fun really is true! 🙂
Saturday, September 1, we got to the airport early… sign in hand. We figured if we had her picture on the sign, she’d find us FOR SURE! Yup!
We met her friend, Cindy, who lives with a family in Eden Prairie and attends Southwest Christian. Wonderful she had a friend to travel with – 15 hours is a long time “on the road”! She traveled well.
She unpacked and got a little settled. Then we met Benjamin and Ashley for dinner – we wanted to keep her up as long as possible. She wants to experience American cuisine – Red Robin is just the ticket!! We COULD have had them sing happy birthday to her (her birthday was August 27), but… well… we didn’t want to push it too far!
Day 2 – State Fair! Why hold back? We figured we may as well dive right into Minnesota culture and with only two days left of the State Fair, Sunday was the day. After all, come Monday most of the animals are back on the farm and things are winding down. Had a great time seeing the sites and getting some fun rides in – the girls, that is!
Think about this… moving to another country, living with people you don’t even know, trying to learn a difficult, inconsistent language – this girl is BRAVE!
And what about her name… Sarah and I had thought Zoey would be a good name. We think she looks like a Zoey. If she hadn’t come up with an American name when she got here, we were going to suggest that. Yet, Zoey Zhou doesn’t have the “ring” that Sunny Zhou does (note: Zhou begins with a sound similar to a “j”, mixed with “sh”, well kind of… it’s hard to portray Chinese pronunciation with English letters/words! Not that I”m an expert or anything…)
I learned that she chose her name because it sounds like her given name (Shang, pronounced (kind of) Shun). Sunny is a wonderful and perfect name for her – it reflects her “sunny” disposition. It has also been cause for some laughter… as I talked about the weather on the way to school (OK, it DOES get more interesting than that most of the time! C’mon!) and I say something about it being sunny out… Sunny looks at me, “Yes, mom?”. (canned laughter heard… oh wait, no – actually, it was REAL laughter!).
She’s gotten to know me quickly – my quirky-ness, my goofy sense of humor. Thankfully, I think she still likes me! Whew! She hasn’t experienced the “where are my glasses” (when they’re right on my head) or putting the phone in the fridge, but I’m sure those times will come soon enough…
Moving on… I have several Google calendars – work, my boss’s calendar, volunteer calendar for school, volleyball, soccer, basketball, reading… and now an “International Student” calendar. I’m keeping track of everything we do, everything she does – knowing FULL WELL that I won’t remember it all. Hoping to use it to chronicle her time with us at the end of the year… I’m not the artsy kind, but Sarah can help me out in that arena!! Love having a right-brained child! Whew, again!
First day of school – everyone was excited, looking forward to it! Gotta love that!
Five days after her arrival, she leaves for a two day all-school retreat – an opportunity to “jump in with all fours” (try to picture that… no, she didn’t jump in the lake. The water was too cold!). The group discussion times were not sinking in – yet, but the community time was priceless, valuable, memorable – I LOVE this school!!
Two weeks into her time with us – hangout time with friends of Sarah’s. More accurately, it was a birthday party with a few people she knew, many people she didn’t. She “jumped in with all fours”. She is brave, she wants to experience all we have to offer. I love that about her. It was a fun night of “Just Dance” (she was front and center, by the way), volleyball in the backyard, bonfire (they smelled like smoke when they got home, but who cares!)… fun was had by all!
REALLY fun news from school – Sunny made the play! Arsenic and Old Lace and she says, with a big grin and a chuckle, she is Mr. Gibbs… yes, a man… and she’s OK with that. If you live in the Twin Cities and are free November 2 or 3, you should come – guaranteed good time.
Next in the journey, an “all the girls from school” sleepover at Marta’s house. Just being at Marta’s house is an adventure, I’m sure. (love ya, Marta!) While some of the girls were at VB practice, Marta took the others on a journey. They were to write a letter/note to someone they didn’t know and they left the messages on car windshields in a parking lot nearby. Well, Sunny wrote hers in Chinese! We’re hoping whoever got it knows someone to translate! I’m sure it was a sweet note, but only if you know what it says! 🙂
She’s making herself at home, slowly but surely – getting her own breakfast, cleaning out her lunch bag and putting the icepack in the freezer (without being asked, thankyouverymuch!). We haven’t jumped into chores yet, but that will come soon. Don’t want to scare the poor girl away by dumping on her! Family rules are slowly being communicated (we’ll get to “no technology after 9 PM” soon… although Sarah is Skyping with a friend right now and it’s 11:00 PM. Who’s enforcing these rules anyway??? Oh, yeah, me – well, it’s Friday. That’s OK!).
So, we tick off one month and look forward to the next 8+. It will be so fun to look back at these days 8 months from now and see how far we’ve all come. Because, you know, Sunny won’t be the only one learning and growing – we’ll be right in there with her. And we’re all in for the “ride” – care to join us?