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Okay, so now that the recently had adventures are done for the moment, it’s back to sharing items from memory lane. I’m heading back to China in these next batch posts…so hang on – here we go!


Another week to start in China. We’ve started “grammy school” to help give our girl some semblance of normal, but mum is off to meet a group of educators from Pace University for lunch so there’s a substitute teacher – Mum and she’s a meanie! Not at all like “Ms. M. Patience”, the regular teacher, who really is more patient than her name might imply. We’re about to start journal writing, but AEB has decided to hide and not participate – sigh. We’d go out to play, but it’s too hot with the sun beating down on the black top and equipment. We’ll, sadly, have to wait until the shade hits the area to cool things down.

I’m hoping that mum will be able to bring the bicycle back with her after lunch so we can get the seat adjusted and maybe AEB and I can go out for a ride. We need some outings that she can enjoy instead of feeling like we’re cooped up in the flat all day long. It will be so good to get her in with other children.

Okay, the bicycle that mum bought for hardly anything is worth hardly anything. Having tried to ride the bike I’ve never been on such an oddly balanced one. The peddles seem to be positioned in such a way that it makes it feel as if one were trying to ride a child’s bicycle. Now I know that the chinese female frame is different than the anglo female frame, but these seems decidedly odd even for the tiny frame of the typical chinese. So, we are now on the look out for a newer bicycle with a seat on the back for our girl. That’s the nice thing about China, quite a number of bicycles come with a seat on the back for a child. We’re thinking that if we find a nice enough one (and it isn’t stolen while we’re here) we might have it shipped back to the States for use there since AEB and I have a nice routine of riding to school and riding home. We could do more riding if she had a better seat than merely a towel laid on top of the rack that’s over the back wheel on the bicycle I currently use back at home.

I apparently spoke prophetically! Last night on our way back from dinner in the canteen we stopped to give our girl a chance to run around on the playground before turning in for the night. There on her favorite piece of equipment was the little girl she first encountered and thought of as her first friend in China. It’s amazing how well people can get on without a shared language. AEB and the little girl, who we think is named Liu Xi Chi, but she spoke so softly that it could be anything, though I’m pretty sure of the Liu part. She and AEB had a wonderful time running after each other, playing the the see-saw, the climbing frame and the spinning contraption. It was such a joy to see her having a great DSCN3862time. Eventually two little boys joined in the chasing and AEB left tired out and feeling really great about the evening – finally! She’s determined to go out every evening around the same time each evening that we do not have something scheduled so she can play with her little friend(s). Oh I do so hope we’re able to get her into a school before too much longer. She so needs the interaction with others her age, not to mention the language part of things as well. Fingers crossed folks, fingers crossed!

Ah, the news! I’ve been searching sites, both Chinese sites in English and expat sites to help with getting re-oriented with Nanjing since it has grown and changed so much! Found a banner that caught my funny bone. “Man accuses wife of cheating on him because his child is ugly. Discovers wife has had plastic surgery.” Anyway, I thought is was amusing, probably for all the wrong reasons, too.

This week I’ll try to get our girl out for an adventure on the bus to find a market that is supposed to have more organic produce. At least China and the Chinese are starting to be more concerned with their food and what’s put on it. It’s a step in the right direction, but we still wash everything that’s not going to be boiled to death, or washed in detol (hard to find in the states these days, but a worldwide antiseptic) and dish soap so that whatever’s on the fruit and veg is killed. We still generally peal apples before eating them, but it does help with tomatoes.

Well, after four people have tried three different schools it is looking very grim for our girl. There was one glimmer of hope with an international school, but wow today was that the teachers were far too busy with Children’s Day preparations to add to their burdens by adding a mei guo ren or a yang ten, fortunately they don’t use the term “lao wai” much which is nicely translated into “foreigner” in most chinese-english dictionaries, but usually means “foreign devil/ghost”. What a bummer. So now a bicycle is imperative! AEB and I will head out to far reaches of the city after we’ve had our morning lessons and hopeful Chinese tutoring so that the days are not wasted and don’t feel like we might as well pack up and go home for all the planning ahead of time. Sigh.

And as soon as this is all committed to “paper” there’s another call that there is a school that will take her, but those that tried to help could not answer any of the questions the vice principal had about the student so they didn’t get her enrolled. There were lots of calls, lots of translations and finally we have a meeting on Monday for us all to go down to speak with the folk at the school rather than people who don’t know our girl personally to get her placed. Fingers crossed folk!

Friday was movie night on the grounds of the Wu Tai gardens apartments. I was taken back to my time as a child in Africa when we watched films on reel-to-reel. There was a group that set up a nice screen and then they pulled out the film projector straight out of my childhood! It took a while to get things going and Amelia had a great time with her new little friends running around and enjoying the night while mum and I sat first through a PSA about avian flu and all the signs of what to look for in your poultry and what happens to them. The Chinese don’t try to gloss of things, they show you how it really is in all it’s gore and horror. Fortunately AEB was preoccupied for most of the horrific images. Then we were treated to the black and white edition of “Wu duo Jinhua” 五朵金花 ( “Five Golden Flowers”) you can look it up on IMBd and it’s on youtube, though we don’t have access to youtube at the moment. It took awhile for me to track down the name, but I figured it out from the two characters I knew and then found mum’s chinese textbook and found the final one and – hey presto – I found the title! I feel rather smug. When the young lovers sang there was lots of rhythmic clapping from the older generation sitting out watching. The kids sit and watch and get up and run around, but it was a nice evening. It was such a great serendipitous thing to find and enjoy. We didn’t stay for the entire film, it was getting late – “Cinderella” was about to turn back into a pumpkin!

Saturday, today, we went to the zoo. Yay! The Nanjing Hong Shan Zoo where we saw pandas, macaques, ostrich, peacock, penguin, tigers (white and orange!) meerkats, and there were more we did not see. AEB loved the meerkat and the panda, of course. We now have a panda from China to add to our family grouping of lovies and stuffed toys. No name as of yet, but AEB is working on just the right name, perhaps even a Chinese name – we’ll keep you posted. On the way back we saw a car decorated for a newly married couple and we saw hidden alleys with food stands. Pictures coming to go with the narrative.

Another week almost gone!