Kiah has been in Beijing with us for almost 4 months and when she returns to the states with us this month she will be going back to school and not returning to China with us. Lucky for us BYU-I only allows the students to go to two semesters and the University chooses. Some kids might go Fall/Spring and then some like Kiah go Fall/Winter. That allows her @ a 5 month break. It’s been a wonderful experience for her and for us to have her here. A blessing you might say.
Because Kiah was the one and only for almost 8 years(before sweet Sofia came along) she was my little shadow and sometimes more like a little friend and it’s continued to feel that way at times with her. I have a special bond with each one of our kids and for Kiah and I it’s that we can talk for hours about anything. She has always told me everything that has gone on in her day, sometimes even facts that personally I could do without but that’s our relationship and I’d rather have her feel comfortable about talking to me than not. It’s special (for lack of a better word) and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
After watching Kiah walk out of customs at the PEK airport I finally realized how my mom could produce such big alligator tears at the airport anytime I left or came home from somewhere far away. We had just seen Kiah about 2 1/2 months before she arrived but because of the distance and lousy phone connection, it felt like it had been much longer. I know that time frame is very short compared to my friends who have kids on missions but still I couldn’t stop myself from crying when I saw her smiling(tired) face. I wanted to announce to everyone that she was my daughter and say “isn’t she beautiful and amazing”? Not that they would have understood me and there was no way I could’ve said that in Mandarin.
Now it’s getting close to our time to go back to the states to visit family and we will leave her there and not see her for 4 months. I’ve already started getting a little emotional. I think part of the issue is that Kiah is 19, she’s getting older and her life is evolving and changing all the time. My baby is growing up. I sometimes wonder if this was our last time for her to come live with us before her life starts changing even more. If that’s the case then I think we had a pretty amazing last summer vacation together.
We have had some great moments here in China together and as a family. We’ve seen some cool sites around the city and outside of Beijing. I’m glad she was here to do all of them with us. We’ve had fun shopping for everything from shoes to beads to fabric to have clothes made from by a local tailor(even though the fabric market was a nightmare). Kiah has surpassed me in her bargaining skills and can get a bit of an attitude when the girls at some of the markets grab my arm and wont let me move. It’s good to know she had my back. 🙂
We’ve tried some interesting foods together, had some pretty awesome Chinese food and I know she is going to miss a lot of the food here. I don’t think she is going to miss the smell of Cho Tofu though(stinky tofu, sorry Chinese friends it is a bit on the stinky side though). We’ve had a lot of foot and leg massages together and cringed when we’d forgotten to shave our legs and wondered if when the people doing the massages were talking if they were talking about us. Oh well. I’m sad to say I haven’t ridden on the subway with Kiah or taken a bus with her but we’ve taken A LOT of taxi’s (they are cheap here) and at times held on for dear life. We almost mutinied against Mark out in the grasslands of Mongolia and also along the road from Mongolia to Chengde. Now we laugh about it but at the time we just looked at each other and shook our heads. We’ve watched a ton of movies together and I’ve even convinced her to watch a few scary ones that she would normally never watch. It’s fun to see her jump.
I’ve watched Kiah grow here, become more independent and to branch out a little. Kiah has always been caring and open to people from all over the world, from other lifestyles than her own and she’s not a judgmental person at all, yet living outside the US and especially in Asia has opened her eyes even more and it’s been wonderful to witness.Kiah is an amazing girl/woman. She couldn’t make me any prouder. Love you Kiah.