Introduction and Arrival at Beijing

Greetings! Many of my readers will already know who I am, but for the benefit of anyone who happens to come across this blog while browsing the web, I will briefly introduce myself. My name is Valerie, and I am totally blind. I just graduated college with an AA degree in art. As recently as last November, just before Thanksgiving, I accepted a volunteer internship position at an orphanage called Bethel China, located in the suburbs of Beijing. This blog is being written specifically for those interested in my experiences teaching these young blind children the basics of the English language as a means of easing the transition once they are adopted by an English speaking family. I have already been at the orphanage for a few days, so in order to keep things straight, I will write about some of the things I have already experienced. I will divide each section by day to make it both easier for me, and--hopefully, for anyone else reading this.
Tuesday/Wednesday, February 12/13
I didn't get any sleep the night before because I was tending to some last minute stuff, so I think that made me feel a little more emotional than I would normally have been. The nerves I hadn't yet experienced started to mildly make their presence known. That was the day! The one I and so many of those who care for me have prepared for. Many people from my church, friends on Facebook, contributors on my Go Fund Me campaign, and most especially my family continuously supported me through prayer, encouragement and funding. Would I be able to let go enough to let God work in and through me? Could I focus on Him enough to keep thoughts of how small I was in this big plan? I didn't want to compare myself to anyone else, but I knew I could go down that road if I focused on what I could do and not what God is doing. So yeah, the nerves did play a part in my thoughts running wild for a bit.
I boarded my flight without a hitch. A good family friend from my church took me to LAX and helped me check my bags. The flight to San Francisco was nice and uneventful and gave me some time to rest. Once we landed, I made the most of the time to contact some of my people to let them know things had gone well, and that I might not have internet access for the next 12 hours. United Airlines had some really nice flight attendants on both flights. While on my way to China, they would regularly check in with me to see if I needed anything. Normally planes have a physical call button when you want to speak with a flight attendant, but that huge plane had a button on the touch screen panel just above the fold out tray table, so I couldn't access it myself. We tried to put a piece of tape to mark it, but I activated other parts of the screen in trying to look for the taped spot. I did appreciate their willingness to work with me, even if that idea didn't work out so well. They served us 3 meals during the flight. I thought they adorable presented because of how little the serving trays were, but my guess is that many might consider the meals standard fair on a flight that long. I had hoped to purchase interned access on board, but so many people were using the service that I couldn't access it at all, not even to get to the payment screen. My biggest concern was that I couldn't contact anyone at Bethel to tell them when I'd landed. I think it was a test in trust. Whatever happened would happened, so I had to trust that God would see me through this, since He brought me through thus far--quite spectacularly too. Panicking on a 12 hour flight wouldn't do me any good. An attendant helped me fill out the forms needed to go through Customs and once we landed, someone was waiting to help me off the plane.
My first impression of Beijing is a bit of a blur. It was a whirlwind of people taking me from customs to the baggage area, someone contacting the staff at Bethel, asking me if I had their number--and thankfully I had it in their handbook. Then trying to talk to someone who knew very little English, being asked how many bags I had--3--and how big and what color--big blue, big red and little red bag. Eventually, we found them. They also found the driver Bethel sent to fetch me, and then it was time for the long ride to Bethel.
It felt like it took ages, but my perceptions might be a little off because I was in great need of a bathroom at this point, so couldn't focus on much else. Upon arrival, I was met by 2 women. One was the person with whom I had corresponded since November, and the other is now my room mate. We get on quite well, but I will write more on that later.
I was given a tour of the apartment we share with the orphan girls and their nannies, but the little girls were sleeping, so I had to wait until we were at school the next morning to meet them.
More later. I will post this for now to make sure it goes through. I chose to call this blog Light Perception as a play on words. Many of the children here have light perception, which means they can only see light. Some are completely blind or partially blind as well, but my spin on LP is God's Light, and how much we Perceive.
Take care, all.


  1. Your such a great writer! I can't wait to read more about your adventures!


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