*Our trusty air conditioner/heater unit! We use it for a few minutes and the living room really heats up. The official heat gets turned on November 1. We hear gurgling in our pipes and can smell coal in the air so that gives us hope. We have south facing windows and it's been really sunny, so it doesn't feel all that cold.
*The cold and upcoming winter gives my Chinese teachers lots of opportunities to talk to us about the relationship of cold and health. This is a strong belief in China and has some actual basis to it. Our grammar teacher lectured the Japanese and Korean young students as they were falling asleep in class. "Don't fall asleep in the cold. If you fall asleep in the cold, you will become very ill." Our classrooms are really cold, colder than outside. Our speaking teacher told us that we need to wear many clothes and drink red tea. Red tea is for winter.
With the coming of winter, the da bai cai and da cong have reappeared. Here is the view from our window this morning.
See the bunch on the edge of the grass?
Leeks and cabbages.
*Large cabbages and leeks are bought and laid outside to dry for the winter. They are used all winter for soups and other dishes like sauerkraut.. It is mostly the older people who have memories of winters without food that do this.These all started to appear this week. I don't know if there is some official day that marks the beginning of this but it's pretty interesting.
* We've been told that this winter will be especially cold, so people are stocking up early. If this winter is colder than last winter, I don't know what I will do. Seriously!
* Elisabeth took her PSAT's last week. How did that happen?
* Our foster baby has been fighting a cold and super congestion. His doctors have been in to see him twice but so far there is no congestion to the lungs or a reappearance of pneumonia. Go, baby!
* In Chinese class, some of us were struggling to understand the reading. Our wonderful reading teacher just stopped us and said very quietly "Jia You." This literally means "Add oil" and is used to encourage people to work harder or apply more effort. It was used in the Olympics to encourage athletes. I don't know why it cracked me up so much, but I did show up to the next class totally prepared!
* I attended a parent planning meeting yesterday. Some of our high school kids are planning a service trip to the Philippines over Chinese New Years. We are working on some support raising opportunities for them, including selling food at the upcoming volleyball tournament. At the meeting, I was the only non-American. The rest of the moms were Korean. It totally cracks me up that I can be in China, planning a trip to the Philippines, with Korean moms.
* Our Friday night conversation group is growing by leaps and bounds. We have more foreigners coming and discussions have been deep and good. We had a some people from that group over to watch a movie and plan to have them back to decorate Christmas cookies.
* In my Chinese class, the one of our vocabulary words was "Mai Dang Lao" or Mac Donalds. One of the North Koreans was asking the teacher how to pronounce it correctly. It was all I could do not to ask if him they had McDonalds in North Korea. However, I reigned in my tendency to joke inappropriately and kept my mouth shut.
*Finally, a here are a few pictures of the cat and the baby. The baby is totally fascinated by the cat and the cat has come to a level of toleration of the baby.
The cat cuddled up by the baby as the baby plays on the floor. The baby is wrapped in a blanket because he is cold and his head is elevated because he has a cold.
The cat decides it's time to get up.
and walks away with the baby looking longingly at him.
The interest in the cat is replaced by his fascination with his hand.
Here is the cat with the formula scoop in his mouth. This has become his favorite toy and we try not to over-interpret the fact the the cat's favorite toy comes from the baby's source of nutrition!