Sharing Joys and Burdens, Part 1: Song from Beijing

Yesterday should have been a relaxing Sunday, the kind meant for napping, but I was restless. Too often the effects of working from home catch up with me and I feel like I just need to GET OUT, so Luke and I went for a walk. We made our way down winding Lowland Road and over the expressway to downtown Nyack where we knew a fall festival had been taking place. The festival was over by the time we arrived, so we found an empty park bench overlooking the Hudson river and continued what had turned into a somewhat involved conversation about our future.

My body was turned toward Luke as we sat, and in the middle of our conversation I saw him look past me for a split second with confusion on his face. A very pregnant Asian woman had sat down next to me--I mean RIGHT next to me--on the park bench. I felt a little invaded, a little irked, and immediately I attributed her actions to her internationality. Luke and I tapered off our conversation and as much I wanted to get up and leave then, I looked at the woman and said "Hello." In all honesty, I didn't even know if she spoke English. But she said hi back and apologized if she had interrupted our conversation, she was just so tired. I noticed how beautiful she was. Cropped black hair that fell in short waves around her roundish Chinese face, bright white teeth, very stylish sunglasses and a camel poncho that tied just above her big belly. She was a real estate broker in Manhattan, but she had only moved from Beijing in 2009. I asked a few more questions about what brought her to Nyack that day until the conversation inevitably went to the pregnancy of her first child.

"When are you due?"

"November the 6th."

"Do you know what you're having?"

"A baby girl."

I'm not sure why, but at the mention of her baby girl, tears came to my eyes. I was filled with joy for this complete stranger. We continued our conversation for a little while until Luke asked if they had a name picked out. She smiled, hesitated, and then said "You will be the first ones I've told." We all started laughing at the craziness of it: Luke and I, having no connection to this woman whatsoever, knowing the name of this precious baby even before the grandparents?! We felt honored and promised not to tell anyone she knows.

We parted ways soon after that, but I was very touched by our meeting. I was ultimately glad she sat down on our park bench in a stroke of very un-New-York-like behavior. I was also glad I didn't get up like I wanted to and walk away without a word. It was a good reminder that in a society where anonymity and keeping to ourselves is the cultural norm, that's not what we we were made for. We were made to connect with one another, to share the joys and burdens even of strangers on a very personal level. Getting up from that park bench would have been to miss a great opportunity to live out what I am created for.

So for little Cleo Song who will be out in the world in less than a month, I pray God's grace and blessings. Her middle name is after her mama, who I was glad to know for a very short time on an early fall afternoon. 

 

I'll be back this week with part two about a burden shared with a New York City bicycle deliveryman.

 

seen | Erie Basin Antiques & an announcement

Today I stumbled across a Tumblr feed that absolutely captured me. Add "antique dealer" to my list of career paths to pursue. No really, I may try to get into the antique business in New York City. Ah, yes, New York--we have not quite filled you all in regarding our move, but here is the announcement with all the details and information I know.

About a month ago Luke was contacted by the head coach of the men's soccer team at Nyack College in Nyack, New York (just north of New York City) asking if he was interested in a graduate assistantship with the team. This means that Luke would serve as an assistant coach to the team while attending grad school. After a several day process of applying, chatting with head coach Keith Davie, and generally thinking/scrutinizing/praying about our options Luke was offered the assistantship and accepted it, positioning us to leave the wonderful south at the end of July (insert sad face here, with a crooked frown though, because I can't quite be sad since I'm actually really excited too). They offered him half tuition for his Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and a monthly stipend for his coaching responsibilities. They are also providing us with housing--a 1br apartment on campus--which we are extremely thankful for, seeing as we could never afford living so close to NYC on our own. So this is a very exciting move for us and I really cannot wait to live closer to my family and so close to NYC. I've always felt that I wanted to live there temporarily. Although this isn't the big city at all (see how our new town is situated right on the Hudson in the photo above?) I've already mapped out the public transportation to take me directly to Grand Central Station and it appears very easy. Yes, I'm incredibly excited.

Now that you're filled in, I need to share some of this amazing old stuff with you. I'll say it now and I'll say it forever: I LOVE OLD STUFF. This shop seems to specialize in artwork and jewelry, but the pristine photography is what makes these old pieces absolutely shine.

 

All images by Erie Basin. That last one especially is so charming. It makes me like this shop owner quite a bit, that amongst the glitz and glam they would be drawn to this piece.

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Have a beautiful day!