Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
I went out tonight on my own. Now I have done this before, but tonight it was particularly dark, and I had to cross a busy road. There were about three other people crossing at the same time. We all took our chances and crossed halfway then almost got mowed down by a turning car. We all crunched together quickly as the car turned. the woman beside me was saying nasty things, thank goodness I couldn't understand. We made our way to the other side only to hear the ringing of bicycle bells. I just stood still while they went around me. How embarrassing would it be to be taken out by a bike? They really should have lights.
So i must say sorry for my absence. Things got a little crazy but I'm back again.
Christmas is in full swing here. I have been surprised at the commercialism here, since this is not a very big holiday here. Evidently many of the young Chinese like to decorate for Christmas, and in the last few years it has really caught on. There has been a noticeable increase in traffic and my trip to the grocery last week was extra crowded. There are lights and decorations everywhere. Friday was the last day of school and we have finally taken the time to decorate the tree after the last days of winter concerts and school parties.
here are a few headlines from my area:
these two women, caged and catlike, sat outside a shopping mall to call for people to shop eating cat meat. I have a friend who visited the local wet market and there was a bucket of cats, yum. some of the restaurants are reportedly serving cat now since the weather has cooled. Supposedly cat meat makes you warm.
Santa rides an ostrich - local zoo. What else can I say! In Finland he rides a goat, so why not and ostrich?
46 injured in popular Hong Kong shopping area. Two 750ml bottles of acid were dropped from above. No suspects were found. I will never understand what drives people to commit these types of acts.
I promise to return.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
what is your favorite christmas carol? why?
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come,
O ye beneath life's crushing load,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
this is my favorite. it seems to encompass all. then and now. the beauty of that first christmas and the hope of what is yet to come.
what is your favorite?
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
here is my cloisonne i commissioned from a local artist. i always stop and admire his work. when ordering this piece i failed to notice the child is wearing those pants that are open in the back. i suppose then it is more authentic.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
And thou shalt in thy daughter see, This picture, once, resembled thee.[Ambrose Philips (1675-1749),
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
So the topic for this Tuesday is Christmas cards.
Last year I received two Christmas cards in the mail. One from my sister-in-law. The other was from my gynecologist. You know the one, with the stamped signature and the picture of the office staff wearing Santa hats. Of course this may be due to the fact that in eight years I haven't sent cards. I always meant well, in the days before I completely gave up. I would carefully pick my cards. I would make sure they said me. I would get out my address book and write messages. Then I would never mail them. To this day I have several boxes of cards, addressed and not, just hanging out taking up space.
Now I send email cards. Easier in many ways, but the irony of the situation is that I love mail. I love to open the mailbox and find a letter or a card. I imagine having a box on my mantel, full of the many Christmas cards sent to me by friends and family. I dream of having meaningful correspondence through the post. Who knows, maybe this year I will change my stripes, or not.
Looking back now there were so many things she should have seen. She became pregnant. She guessed it was a lot of responsibility for a young couple just starting out, but she was happy. He worried about how they would make ends meet. He often came home late after having gone out with the guys. Just letting off some steam. He had always been one to enjoy a party and the company of a lively crowd. It became more and more frequent and the tensions at home seemed to mount. She moved out.
Now four years later she would take their son to visit him. His once strong and vibrant body emaciated. His thick curly hair falling out. Lesions on his skin. His body under attack. A life full of careless choices. His drinking had made way to other things. Money exchanged in dark passages for a few hours of escape. A series of women who were always willing to share in the fun. She wondered where they were now. She also felt the guilt of thinking she should have been there, maybe if she had stayed it would have been different. Looking at her son she was glad she hadn't.
hiv/aids is the topic for bloggers unite this month. i am sure i have not done it justice but i am glad to be able to join my voice with the many who today will address this topic. we have come a long way since the beginning of this terrible world epidemic. the number of people affected is astounding. many are children and youth. education is vital to help, our youth especially, make choices that will keep them safe.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
we cross the road at the traffic light being ever alert that everyone is actually going to stop at the light and checking for bikes. we pass men having a break from work. they all stare in wonder at his blonde hair and try to touch him, not caring that he glares at them and quickly runs away. they laugh. we pass the men playing a gambling game. they squat down on the ground coins in hand, little pieces of torn cardboard for playing pieces.
across from the school there is a park with benches and landscaping. areas to sit and relax. in contrast, in the front of the school we wind our way through the people waving metal tins at us. shouts of hello, hello. deformed limbs and slow minds. sometimes we give a bit of something to eat, a package of bread, an apple, but today, of all days i have nothing.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
- two vials of blood
- visual acuity
- ear, nose, throat check
- height, weight, reflexes
- chest x-ray
if you have ever seen the movie "the court jester" it reminds me of that. in the movie Danny Kaye's character is to be quickly knighted so they just grab him and frantically shuttle him around from one event to the next so that he can speedily be knighted. it is very funny and i couldn't help thinking of this as i ran from room to room fulfilling all the requirements for residency. watch it you will die of laughter.
the last thing i did was the urine deposit. i had to laugh because you just deposited the open cup of urine on a cart outside the bathroom door. secure right. in about a week i will know if i am going to receive an all right. then it will be on to the police to register with them.
Parrish making friends at the hospital. this gentleman along with three women, all from the Philippines, is here for four months. they are working at the Sheraton as entertainers. singers i think.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Now in China there is no option. My driver is quite nice, although we can barely understand each other. it was also reported to me that he thinks the same of me. Evidently a great coup. He is reported as saying i never make him just sit and wait for me all day just in case i decide to go out. I obviously am not a proper expat woman yet. Larry and I share the use but as right now Larry is only here on the weekends we have had no conflicts.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I had over 60 comments.
I hope many of you will return.
I very much enjoyed reading your blogs and
will be dropping in on you.
If i did not leave you a message know that I am
still answering some of the comments
I am getting so excited about moving into our new home. Last Thursday the realtors called and said could I please come and inspect the house, because it is ready and they would like us to sign the paperwork. I did go and they have done much of the work, but they are not finished. There were workmen everywhere. Most of the things that need to be done are minor except for a large water stain in the master bedroom. It is a new stain as there is fresh paint on the walls. I hope the problem is located and properly corrected since I do not wish to deal with a large water leak after I move in.
The hotel is beginning to feel cramped. I am sure if I was a more organized person everything would be fine, but let's face it, this is me! This is the girl who wouldn't clean her bedroom - even though she couldn't see her bed - just because it was expected of her. I hate clutter, I hate disorganization, but that nasty habit of procrastination is ever present. It tells me to read a couple of chapters in my book, do some knitting, watch a little TV, read some blogs. Then there is the homework, the story reading, the Lego play, and the refereeing.
My two oldest children will be getting there own rooms, while the two youngest will be sharing. Everyone has big plans for their space and Bronwyn has asked for a bedroom makeover for Christmas. I think this is a fine idea. Remy wants a loft bed with desk underneath and a sitting area. The little ones are excited about sharing bunk beds. Gwendolyn's turn on top with the promise of a curtain on the bottom for Parrish.
Such expectations; I hope everyone is not disappointed. This will be the first time in quite a while that we will be able to step out our door and do things like ride bikes. We will have a backyard and I foresee being able to throw a ball and have a picnic. Remy is already planning a camp out. So even if Santa is having an economic dilemma this year we will have a wonderful Christmas.
Can't wait to move in and give everyone the tour. Next week planning a trip to the Dragon Store with a friend. Will have pictures for you so see you then.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We are living in the Guangdong Province, in a city called Shenzhen ( we are actually in the Shekou area). It is located just across the border from Hong Kong. You can easily take a ferry or train to Hong Kong for a nice day trip. Although I have not had the opportunity to visit much of mainland China yet I have the impression that this city is not like others in China. There are many foreign investors in the city, everything from electronics to clothing, pharmaceutical to machinery. It has become a proving ground of sorts to show the world how China is opening up.
One of the difficulties we have found here is the attention we draw as westerners, especially our children, having four plus the fair skin. Often on just a trip to the grocery store we will be assailed with people touching their hair and taking photos - with themselves in the picture of course. Last week we went to dinner and were stopped just outside the door for the photo fest. I think I could make a pretty penny if I set up a booth.
In Shenzhen there are restaurants for every taste. We have Japanese restaurants, thai, italian, tex-mex, and of course various fast food places. I have really enjoyed the chinese food although it is different from what I what see in the U.S. My particular favorites are the celery which is cooked in what I think is a sort of chicken broth and lotus root which is not only beautiful to see but tasty too. Martin Yan also has a cooking school here and gives classes.
Let's talk a little about language. Upon learning I was moving here I started to look into some mandarin. Finding that the words were in the same order as english i took heart, as this has been difficult for me in spanish. There are no singular and plural nouns, no gender specific nouns. You do not need to worry about past or present, active or passive, or pronouns. Wow, this sounded great. The pronunciation is so difficult and one word can have many meanings just by changing the inflection of your voice. so you must memorize where all the correct inflections go. How do you have a language with no alphabet! I see long nights of studying with headphones clamped to my head. àn bù jiù ban - one step at a time.
As I have the opportunity to travel more here I will share those experiences with you, so I hope you will all visit often. I leave you with some photos
visiting a temple
view from temple hike
hong kong haze
chinese cemetery from bus window
a favorite italian restaurant
a local shop
Thursday, November 13, 2008
When travelling to different countries I am ever more aware of the things I do. Do people think I am rude or affected, even insincere. I recently was in my seven year old's class-room and it was snack time. the teacher reminded the children that they must practice eating their snack with mouths closed and no slurping, as this is an American school. So the question is should we impose our cultural norms upon the world because they are what is comfortable for us?
About six years ago I was invited to a ladies dinner potluck, hosted by a dear Scottish lady. In my head I pictured us sitting in chairs around the lawn, a plate on our lap. I whipped up some not beautiful, but very yummy coconut oatmeal cake bars, and deviled eggs. I arrived to a beautifully set table with candles. I don't think one of my cake bars was eaten. Someone had bought a beautiful chocolate cake covered with chocolate shavings. It was all quite posh, and surprisingly formal. Isn't it funny how different our take on what the event was going to be. It was just supposed to be a bunch of us getting together for a girl's night but it was something quite culturally different.
While living in Brasil one of the customs was that when someone came to your home they must leave through the same door they entered, as being allowed in the front door and then ushered out the back meant you were not welcome. In China you always take your shoes off at the door. So many things to learn everywhere you go. Hopefully in my journeys I will be able to present myself well and also be able to embrace all that is good about others.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
here everyone is showing their school spirit by wearing the school colours.
crazy hair day
you probably can't tell, but gwendolyn was a beehive complete with little bumblebees. i don't know how crazy remys hair was as it looks like that often. bronwyn had what we called mini brains all over her head.
the girls show their spirit on pajama day.
do you like the backwards princess?
the last day was character day and we were running late and forgot to take the picture. sorry.
pumpkin carving with fraser place hotel.
ready for the fall fair the next day and the costume parade. someone at the fair asked me where the face painting was - i was so proud