I have so many posts on this blog, that I'm always worried about duplicating a subject. I looked through all 400 something posts i have made on this blog, and didn't see this story, so I'll risk telling it.
When we were living in China, we were viewed something like a celebrity. Everywhere we went, people stared, and wanted to talk to us, or wanted to hold our children. I soon learned how to use my body language to minimize the crowds that would gather around us, but there were still times that groups would gather. I've even been asked for my autograph.
One day I took my children and we went out to buy something. Someone on the street noticed that my youngest had a sty on his eyelid. They stopped us to give advice on what to do about it. While we were talking, another woman came and started asking questions about us. She asked where we lived, and I pointed to our hotel and told her we lived at the top. Finally I was able to take leave of them and I went home.
A few days later the cleaners came to our apartment. They would have come every day, but I only had them come three times a week. They were vaccuuming and such and had their cart of supplies just outside the door. The door was open so that they could get their supplies easily.
I came in the room and looked up, and there at my open door was the woman I had met on the street. I was a little surprised to see her because our hotel had strict security. I hadn't invited her to come. But I thought I should be nice to her, so I invited her in. She asked me if I knew anyone that worked for the US embassy. She said she really needed to talk to them. I told her that I did know someone from church. She asked if I could call and see if she could come meet with them. I felt uncomfortable, but thought if I called him, he would probably tell me no, so I decided that would end it for her. I picked up our church phone list to look up his number. She was asking me questions, and we were talking while I was looking through the list. Suddenly my baby started crying. I realized he needed a diaper change, so I excused myself and said I would be just a minute.
When I came back in to the room, there she was, copying the church phone list down as fast as she could in to a little spiral notebook. My adrenaline took over and I grabbed hold of the book. It was almost like life was moving in slow motion at that point. We were struggling back and forth with the book. I was angry and telling her she wasn't allowed to do this. But I was determined she wasn't going to get those numbers, so I wrestled the book away from her and tore the pages she had written on from the book. Then I said, "I absolutely will NOT help you! YOu need to leave." She tried to apologize, but I made her leave. She did try calling me a little later (once again...where was hotel security?), and she tried to apologize again, but I told her not to call me back.
There are many lessons that can be learned from this. I shouldn't have told a stranger where I lived. I shouldn't have been nice to her when she showed up uninvited. I shouldn't have left the phone list sitting there in the open. But one good lesson I learned is that adrenaline kicks in when you need it.