Cop-out? I hope not…Reflections on caring

A crowded train during Chinese New Year

Standing room only - people traveling home to see their families - Read more by clicking picture

I should have posted something last week on “Caring”.  Yet in the last post I spoke about freeing ourselves from the “shoulds”.  I created a “should” for myself without taking into consideration my life schedule. 

I am at a friend’s family home in a small city near the capital of Lioaning Province.  Spring Festival is upon us.  We are spending time getting to know the family, resting, and enjoying wonderful food!  I have no time to create a digital story about caring because I am too busy being cared for.  I am also caring for our children, trying to make sure they are not-overindulged by their surrogate grand-parents, or over-disciplined by an overly critical mommy.  My children are learning to care for another family’s home, and my son is learning to care for the fish in the family’s aquarium.  I am learning how to take care of my responsibilities while still caring for the relationships that are so critical in this culture.  I have a lot of deadlines for my coursework, but they are not as important as spending quality time with the people who consider this period as cherished as the Western Christmas holiday. 

Family is important in China.  A friend told me that more people are transported in China before Spring Festival (to be with family) than all the people transported during World War II.  This is, of course, an uncited statistic, but it begins to explain the logistics involved in getting train tickets.  You do not book them online.  They go on sale at a certain time each day.  But not any ticket, only the tickets for trains leaving ten or fewer days from the day.  Today I bought tickets for my return trip from Shenzhen on the 10th.  In two days time, I have to buy the ticket for the connecting train that leaves Heichang around 40 hours after the train I just bought tickets for.  It’s confusing, and there a lot of people in line also trying to get tickets.  There is a shortage because there is a shortage of trains.  The government can’t justify making or buying a LOT more trains just for a two-week period every year.  They care, but it just isn’t fiscally responsible.

So.  My theme of caring for last week has not been explored as thoroughly as I would like, but not because I don’t care.  See you all after I get back from the loooong train ride south!