Adapt means to modify, alter, adjust, readjust, remodel, reshape, and rework. All things considered, our boys did beautifully. Kids do.
Adapting is something American adults have a bit more trouble doing, being silver spoon-fed at all. We are used to luxury or at least the best we can afford in our home- away-from-home. There are different levels of adapting: we can all adapt to a guy in a Goofy costume coming up for a hug, but that isn’t a real acid test.
Our world-adventure stretched us to new levels of tolerance. Of course, looking backward from the comfort of our own dining room table makes every awkward situation seem funny. Everyone has their own favorite “meltdown story,” and occasionally stories sound vaguely similar.
There was a lot of room for complaining but we had made everyone aware of what to expect before we left. And yet, we still had surprises.
Street Food – Sometimes it looked sketchy, but of course we could easily turn the food-thing into a competition. They guys each longed to win the game: ‘what-was-the-weirdest-thing-you-ever-ate?” But street food didn’t make us sick. In fact, there were only a total of four throw-ups for six people the whole six months. And street food was a daily diet. Hunger forced us all to adapt.
Electronic withdrawals – The boys used their smartphones for photography. They knew there was no Facebook and limited social media in China. They said they could hack it. But you know how that goes — nobody ever sees how truly addicted they are until they no longer have the ability to connect. Took about two days; and they adapted.
Entertainment – Boys make everything from handrails to luggage ramps to subway hand rings into a playground. And if you follow our Our Backpack Facebook page, you know the value of the ‘ball.’ As parents, if you focus upon how it is going to look to the locals, you are fighting a losing battle. And there was no ‘deep cover.’ We were an American family with three boys, in a country with a one-child rule. And the Chinese have contempt for truant students. Yet, we were overwhelmed by their kindness to us.
Time alone. I think that was one of the most difficult struggles. Ron and I knew when the other needed a break. We were each other’s Plan B.
Again let me stress this was not a vacation. But remember, the “A” in Adventure, is the same “A” in Achievement. We brought home another “A” for accomplishment, which is impossible to do unless you . . .