Sunday, May 25, 2008

Jed's field day

Friday was Jed's school field day. They have great facilities at his school and here you can see him training for the Olympics which begin August 8. Though we are heading back to the Great United States of America for the summer, we will arrive back in China that day and we have tickets to some Track and Field Events later that month so maybe he's hoping for a little competition?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Huck's birthday Party

Today was Huck's birthday party. We had a clown as entertainment. He does magic and balloons and the kids love him. It's hilarious. He speaks only Chinese. He teaches the kids to say their equivalent of abrakadabra and they shout it enthusiastically. They speak to him in Chinese and it's fun to see how much they know. The sign says "Happy Birthday."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From Tom this morning...

"I know it sounds sappy, but I just had the honor of helping to deliver several tons of U.S. AID sponsored goods to the Chinese people. It came out of a big, gray U.S. Air Force plane and the first pallet off the plane had a big American flag on it.

I wish every American, especially those that are quick to criticize our government, could have some of the experiences, like this one, I have had."

There was an aftershock this morning...

Zeke and Ayi

Here is Zeke with his beloved Ayi. They love each other. It's so great. She loves when I do things so she is left with him. She is great with him and he loves to be with her.

When we were expecting him, everyone said we needed to get another ayi because 4 kid and 1 ayi was too much. Many people have 1 ayi for the kids and 1 for housework. Some even have 1 ayi per kid! We are doing just fine, though. I'm still the Mom, still the main caregiver, but so happy to be able to count on someone to help when I have something else to do or somewhere to go. It is definitely a luxury and we are blessed to have someone so great who truly loves the kids. Right now, I can here her playing with Zeke, and kissing him every so often.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wednesday Morning in Chengdu

Here is this morning's message from Tom...

Everything is fine in Chengdu. If you did not see the news, there would be no way of knowing that there was a quake 100 km from here,

Two nights ago the government warned of likely strong aftershocks and ordered the evacuation of Chengdu and Chongching. This only caused chaos and worry. Here in Chengdu thousands are choosing to sleep on the street and not in their homes in case there are further (serious) tremors.

And it is raining, and forecast to continue for the next several days.

Take care!


Mrs. Murphy's Law

This one, I learned from my Mom...

Murphy's Law is... if something can go wrong, it will go wrong.
Mrs. Murphy's Law is the addendum that says it will go wrong when Mr. Murphy is away on a business trip.

Welcome to my life.

I guess what happened to me would be better described as Mrs. Wang's Law (or, Wang TaiTai's Law to be linguistically accurate) since I live in China.

I guess it's better to end a day badly than to start it badly since you can just go to bed after the incident and start fresh the next day, rather than have the bad incident start you off on a dreadful tailspin for the rest of your day. --- That's me looking on the bright side of things.

So, it was just after 8:00. Tom is away, I was tired, so I thought I'd check my email, check on the children and go to bed for as good of a full night sleep a nursing mom can expect. I turned out the lights, checked that the doors were locked and went upstairs. I went into my room and attempted to switch on the light but first switched off the light switch that doesn't turn on or off anything in the room, so then I switched the two switches at the same time and BOOM! CLINK! CRASH! A light bulb burned out and exploded into the air... all over my bed. This happens regularly here because of the bad wiring, so I was cursing this place. It feels like everything is made badly and doesn't work quite right. Even the kids know it. When something goes wrong, they say, "well, that's because it was made in China!"

After a few choice, yet muted, words (I didn't want to make matters worse by waking the children) I turned on the hall light to survey the damage... I mean, I tried to turn on the hall light but the fuse had blown, too, so after more choice words, I headed downstairs and out to the garage to flip the switch.

As you saw from my previous post, we'd had a sand storm today so everything is even more dirty than normal and I'd already taken a shower, so more choice words as I headed outside to climb on the filthy bins in our garage to reach the fuse box. I steadied myself on the folded baby carriage and bins, hoisted myself up, and, while precariously balanced, knocked over 2 bins and a folded case of drill bits and other shiny silver tool type things (whatever) that crashed and scattered all over the driveway and into the bushes. Finally, after scratching and bruising myself, I reached the nearly-out-of-reach switch and flipped it. As I climbed down from my perch, I saw one of our friendly neighborhood uniformed guards walking my way, staring. I smiled, contemplated asking him "ni keyi bang wo ma" (can you help me) decided against it, uttered a "ni hao" and continued with my mission.

Then I spent the next 10 minutes gathering small, shiny, bits and bobs. I picked up the Halloween decorations and novelties that had scattered and put them back in the bin and piled the bins back up, a bit more neatly. I vacuumed up the bed and floor and now I'll go take a shower.

I'm keeping it in perspective. My loved ones and I are all safe and have a comfortable house to live in, while thousands are suffering right now in this country. Tom says thousands are living in the streets of Chengdu because they are afraid to go into the buildings. He will sleep with his flashlight and boots by his bed and pray for safety.

It is now 9:25. Good night.

Sand Storm

Today we had a sand storm. I was outside, eating lunch with friends, then I went home, got Zeke in the stroller and headed out to the bus stop to get Jack and Jed and in the few minutes I was inside, the air changed dramatically. Now the air is so bad, I won't let the kids go out to play. We can even taste the dirt in the air, it's really awful. You can see, it looks brown! Now there is a layer of dirt coating everything.
This photo was taken in front of our house at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Earthquake Help

Tom is on his way to Chengdu in the morning to help with the United States' effort to help earthquake victims. The US is bringing in relief items in large numbers. Of course we worry about his safety but the boys and I are proud of him for volunteering to help.

He will take his camera and I will post pictures upon his return.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Today, Tom took Huck to the nearby plaza to get a toy and a hot chocolate and found a fair had been set up in the parking lot. They walked around for a little while, looking at what was offered and Tom found a basket he thought would be nice to have for magazines next to his nightstand.

This label shows an example of they way things are described here for the benefit of westerners. It's a nice attempt, you can see what they were aiming for, but they usually miss the mark.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Earthquake...

Don't know if you heard, but there was a 7.8 earthquake here today. It was in Chengdu, though, so only a little movement was felt here in Beijing. Jack and Jed had to use their knowledge from the earthquake drills they've done and then were evacuated from school for about 45 minutes (teachers called it a fire drill since that's what they had taught them) and all afternoon activities were canceled, including the meeting I was on my way to at the time of the quake. Jack's teacher was doing work at her desk on the third floor while the kids were in PE and she felt the quake. Everyone is home, safe and sound, now.

Here's a picture from Mothers' Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Glad I didn't miss these photo ops

I went for a walk with a friend yesterday, as I often do. I was on my way out the door when I thought about grabbing my camera but then remembered the SD card was already in the computer, uploading other photos, so I thought I'd go without the camera. Then, I changed my mind, found another SD card and put my camera in my pocket. I just had a feeling I might have a photo op I wouldn't want to miss.

It's good that I did that because I hit the photo trifecta. Here are the three photos I took. The "pet's toilet" is in the park at the end of our street in our villa compound. I guess it's an effort to get people to stop leaving their dogs' output around the compound. The second photo shows a River Garden worker painting one of the MANY speed bumps in the compound. They do this about every 3 months because the paint gets so dirty and faded so quickly. The third photo shows a definite "only in China" scene. No explanation necessary. Right after I shot the photo, one of the guys gave me a thumbs up!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Because we live in China, much of our shopping is done online. The condition the boxes arrive in often reminds us of how we feel sometimes when we deal with the local attitudes... well beaten. Here is a picture of how a recent order arrived.

Even the boys know about shopping online and that it is our lifeline to normalcy. Here, you can see them looking at books online (they are sitting at the computer in our office). Every day when Tom walks in the door, Jed asks, "did any packages come?" Right now, the boys are waiting for some books to arrive. They love to read and we don't exactly have Borders or Barnes and Noble here.