mile 11 of our half.
When I have run half marathons, it’s always mile 11 that really gets me. Mile 6 requires patience, Mile 9 requires stamina but those last couple tend to be all mental. It’s keeping the finish line in sight and being encouraged by it, but also keeping your pace and making sure you’ve got the basics covered like remembering you’ve still got two more miles left….18 or so minutes…I’ve ran for 98 minutes so far…must run farther. It’s getting encouraged by the thoughts and smells of the finish line.
Our finish line will be at 8:40 p.m. CST (roughly) on Friday. We’re hoping you’re there. It would be great to see everyone at BMI within reason. A warning – Brendan is incredibly shy and will most likely not want to speak when we are there…but he may want to see his big brother and little sister who he has been chatting about constantly…(phonetically) ba ba…ma ma….guh guh…mei mei….mao….mao…
Today was big. Our final hurdles were crossed. It’s an amazing view of the US from the outside when you walk into a consulate or embassy overseas…it gives you perspective on what is important and what isn’t. After an early breakfast, we made our way with our guide to the consulate which was a floor in a very guarded building. It worked the same as last time…cross a few security checkpoints…get ushered into a room with a bank of teller windows and exchange documents. In this case, because we were under the Hague convention, we took an oath saying everything was above board. It was similar, but different to Ethiopia. After a few families walked up, we went up, answered a few questions and off we went.
Guangzhou is a stunningly beautiful city. There are thousands of apartment buildings here that just are everywhere. There’s a highly efficient use of space, it seems, in driving. I feel like in some cases, some apartments could just look out their back window onto a road on a bridge. It’s something to behold structurally – it’s like a tetris game only with city pieces and everything is aesthetically done. The weather here is BRUTAL, btw. Get out past 11 and it’s the 7th ring of hell, with humidity. There is no dry heat.
After the appointment, I ran an errand to a local photo place to finish getting Brendan’s film he came with developed. I’m appreciative of people who don’t have english in their grasp but can communicate quite well what they need to and the guy who ran the photo place did just that. We exchanged money for goods and neither of us spoke each other’s language; it was magical.
My favorite point of the day was something I’d looked forward to all last week in Zhengzhou when we were struggling with the mid point of our race. Many (maybe not all) of the travel groups we’d seen from AWAA took a group picture in this ubiquitous staircase in the lobby of the China Marriott. I’d seen it *countless* times and recognized it when we came in the door. Today was our turn and it was a great first finish line and a time to reflect on God’s goodness to us through this time. We’d gotten a chance to take the photo with people we’d come to be quite fond of.
There’s also a Lamborghini dealership across the street and the Evans family and I walked over to take some photos. Surprisingly it was locked though a guy was in there (Dan said it best: “You need to come into the place with a briefcase full of cash”). We did get some fun photos though.
Afternoons with a five year old are incredibly quiet. Lunch, sleep, play. That’s how it rolled today too. Play doh is the weapon of choice here. Brendan has been fanatic about the Play doh. Pre Dinner we made it to another park, though it was INSANELY crowded. It didn’t quite work out, especially getting cased by some people trying to figure out if we had a wallet to pick. *sigh*.
Most of the group was able to get together for one final meal at food street – a chinese place in the hotel. I’ve come to appreciate just how diverse China is for cultures, traditions and food – food street had something from every region and there were about 300 things on the menu.
So…here we are. Tomorrow we pick up our Visa and Thursday we drive to Hong Kong. Be in prayer for traffic; we’re leaving post-rush hour so we have a feeling we should do well, but you never know.
3 more US sleeps (3.5 China sleeps) until we are home. See you all soon.