This year, May 10th marked an important “first” for me, my first Mother’s Day! I hadn’t thought much about it since I’m not yet a mother, but the second I woke up on Sunday (bloody early since I always have to pee), Trent rolled over and told me, “Happy Mother’s Day!” He kissed me and baby “Trangie” and then let me roll over and fall back asleep. When I finally got up, I got a text from my bestie Catherine, also wishing me a happy first Mother’s Day.
Trent and I had already decided that we would be missing church that morning because we had been invited, along with many other co-workers, to go on a hike up the hill by our school. We have really been trying to be intentional about relationships as we enter into the last few weeks we have here. We’re also trying to cross things off of our Qingdao “bucket list,” so this seemed like a great opportunity!
It was a crystal-clear day, the kind that are extremely rare in Qingdao (well, probably in China in general). I packed us lunches and sliced up some bread I had baked a week before (when we were on holiday) to share with the group. Then we set out to meet them at the front gate of QISS. When we’d all arrived, the group of 20 or so of us set out up the back side of the hill by our school.
It was a pretty easy hike- there were lots of stairs, but nothing too steep for a pregnant lady or small children. Trent and I were hiking with almost half of our Pre-K/Kindergarteners that morning. We made it to the top in about 30-45 minutes.
The view from there was incredible, due to the lack of pollution and the clear day! We could see all the way to the ocean on multiple sides! We could pick out other landmarks too, like the iconic lotus flower of the Horticulture Convention or the Chateau Huadong Winery that we enjoyed so much.
We took a bunch of photos, including a grouop shot of all of us, and then had lunch together at the top. We shared the apricot cranberry bread and the chocolate chip banana bread that we had brought, and chowed down on some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nectarines, and bananas.
After lunch, all the moms got together to take a few photos. These ladies are all moms I love and admire, so I was happy to be included!
Then we hiked back down the other side (which Trent and I had explored before). We hit several pagodas along the way, and enjoyed the views from each. The kids all thought it would be cool to have walking sticks, so most of them had picked one up along the way. We stopped by the big Buddha statue with the cherry blossom flute on the way back down.
When we reached the bottom, we decided to visit a lovely coffee shop that some have dubbed “The Secret Garden Café.” Its real name is “Arles Country Garden,” but it is completely reminiscent of The Secret Garden. It is a beautiful little oasis in the middle of… well, China. We walked around looking at the flowers and plants and some of the other little knick-knacks that they had for sale. Then Trent and I shared a slice of apple pie and enjoyed chatting with our friends. The pie made me think of Julia’s mom, who passed away earlier this year; she used to make all of the baked goods for this café.
Then we left and headed back to school. Trent and I had some work to do still, and Clint and Dina were also heading out. We walked together and stopped at the flower shops along the street while the two of them popped into the stores looking for some pots. We stayed outside and admired the gorgeous flowers. Trent told me that if there were any that I wanted, that I should pick them out for Mother’s Day, but since we’re trying to get rid of stuff before we leave, I decided to just admire them there.
When I got back to school, I was reminded that the Cherie Hearts staff (the Kindergarten who we share a building with) had also given me a rose and some baked cookies for my first Mother’s Day.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, watching a sermon from our home church (Revolution!), and then meeting up with a student and his mom for a really nice dinner (a blog post to follow… someday).
I received many more texts and messages throughout the day, and really felt appreciated. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mother and am thankful to all the women I’ve watched be amazing moms. I’ve learned so much from you! Thank you to ALL the mothers out there- your job is not easy!