Had you seen us Sunday night, sitting in an American-style cafe, smiling and chatting as the Chinese owner and one of his chefs (complete with toque) entertained the audience with live music, you might have thought our first week in Shanghai went rather smoothly.  You would have been mistaken.

We spent the first week living out of our suitcases in a guest house, as repairs were in order at our apartment.  In addition, Anna wanted us to paint the entire apartment, which was an adventure in and of itself.  After several bus rides to B&Q, conflict about color choice, and unwittingly paying someone way more than the going rate to paint, we have a very colorful abode.  As we were dealing with all of this, a fussy toddler trying to adjust, and trying to adjust ourselves, we managed to get locked out of our apartment.  Twice.

But even after all that, the fact remains that we really did end up sitting in that cafe, enjoying our new life.  The sky didn’t fall, and the world is still spinning.  And such is life.  Utopic bedlam, Anna calls it.  I remember at one point last week saying, “There’s got to be a point to all this…but is all of it really necessary?”  The answer is, of course it is.  Nothing unnecessary happens in our lives.  There’s no overkill as far as trials go.  It’s so hard to remember that I’m being purified.  I don’t want to waste the difficult times that come my way.  They’re going to come regardless, so I don’t want to just drudge through them, not getting anything out of them.  I want to come out shining.  And if I can do that while sipping a caramel machiatto, listening to a Chinese guy singing Hey Jude, well…that’s pretty awesome.

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