Monday, November 28, 2011

i carry your heart

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

By E. E. Cummings 1894–1962

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy No Water After 13:00 Thanksgiving.

  * Before we start on Thanksgiving, a couple of people asked how we dealt with our foster's croup when we didn't have water. The common treatment for croup is steam and no water means no steamy showers. But cold air also when he woke up barking like a seal, we wrapped him up in a warm shawl and took him to our building roof.  Except the door was frozen shut.  So we took him down six flights of stairs and stood on our icy front stoop under the critical eye of our first floor neighbor/gossip/spy.  She went to two of her windows to see what the crazy foreigners were doing.  We did that twice that night.  The next day we had our water back and we did the steam.  Honestly, standing outside on a dark, starry night with bright white snow is better than sweating it out in a small steamy bathroom.  Either way, he is less croupy and slowly getting better.
So, Thanksgiving 2011. It was a good one. The night before Thanksgiving, I asked Paul to please get the innards out of the turkey.  I was going out with some friends and I wanted it done before I came home.  The truth is, I can't stand gizzards and the like.  I came home a few hours later to Paul  and Elisabeth laughing about their "blogworthy find" and found this in our fridge.

Yes, it's not exactly Butterball, is it?

Time for your close-up, Mr. Tom Turkey!  Oh darn, your eyes are closed.
Honestly, if I had reached in and touched that, I would have needed some psychiatric care. It was all I could do to pick it up with a paper towel to take pictures for the blog.  Yes, I did it for the blog!

Anyway, the next day I headed off to our sweet friend's apartment and used her full size oven to roast it.  Somehow, the international school finds full sized ovens for their staff and they all get them in their apartments.  Ovens are just not used here.  I was in a van once with one of the cooks ( a Chinese woman)  from the international school.  Someone asked her where she was going and she said to buy an oven.  She was then asked what they would use it for and she said she had no idea!
So..the full sized oven with the turkey in it.

Cooking a turkey in China is a little different.  They are skinnier with less juice.  I had to brush quite a bit of olive oil on the skin and baste quite a bit.  It turned out pretty well.

While I was waiting for the turkey to cook, I had to make a quick run to the store and bank. By quick I mean it took about an hour on my bike.  I came across these guys chopping up the ice.  China has quite a bit of man power!  They work together in dense groups and chop and hack until the ice is gone.  These scenes are all over the city as we have quite a bit of ice right now.

One more part of Thanksgiving Day is that we knew that we were going to lose our water at one o'clock.  This time there was a notice on the doors.  It said when the water was going off but not when it was going back on.  So we knew it could be a short time or very long.  So we were determined to be prepared. 

That's just one bathroom's worth of water!  We had jugs in our other bathroom and tubs in the kitchen.
So if you are thinking, wow that's a lot of water.  You guys must be really afraid of being thirsty....
Well, no!

This is the water that we drink!  The other water is for flushing toilets and washing dishes and hands.
Ironically when we got home around 9:30 last night, the water was back on.  So we ended up dumping most of it!  But better safe than sorry.
We had a great Thanksgiving with some other ex-pat friends.  We ate all the usual stuff- turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie.  All was made from scratch- no cans or pre-made crusts here.  It was a good day and a day in which we were very thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Laughing and crying and trying not to be enraged in China.

I have a funny story to tell...but first, look at this!  Someone knows how to draw..or at least has the basic idea!
Of course, he is drawing on one of his books.  But he doesn't know how to actually make a mark so it's all good.
So here is our story.  Paul got a phone call from a woman we know- MC. She is involved in our son's medical care and she said she wanted to come and see me and our foster son and his ayi.  So all good.  We really like MC and we thought it would be a great time for our ayi to ask questions from a Chinese medical professional.  So good, good, good! 
However, on the day she was to come...she didn't come. We waited for over and hour and then called  no answer.  Then we got through and she said something had come up and she would come tomorrow. I assumed some kind of medical emergency.
So the next day, I came home from teaching expecting MC.  However, our other friend HC was there.   Apparently she is the one who had called Paul and said she was coming.  The names sound somewhat similar and the phone is an enemy to good understanding!  Anyway, she was there trying to sell me Mary Kay cosmetics. I've learned the 10 ways to say no without making the other person lose face.  I claimed allergy which is not a lie- I am allergic to almost all eye-make-up.  She was gracious and didn't push.
So no orphan care conversation..just an attempt to sell make-up.  This isn't the first time we've had this kind of mix-up.
Yesterday was a day where I needed to laugh and was reasonably successful at it.
First off,...we just had our first snowfall.  Right now it is white and pretty with lots of ice.  By the end of's another story.

Snow is removed here mostly manually.  These are city workers shovels-they were all around our city today.
Anyway, we were getting ready to go out to the school bus, when our water went off.  Let's just say that the toilets weren't flushed yet and leave it at that.  Sometimes the water goes off for a while and then comes back after a few hours.  No big deal.
So off we went to the school bus...which was majorly delayed because of a traffic accident because of the ice.  The kids were great, snowballs were thrown and we got to school with a replacement bus.  It was cold but sunny and everyone lived.  When we got to school, the electricity was out for the first two hours but the toilets flushed and all was good.
But when I got home, the water still wasn't on. People were in our home that day and that evening and the toilets were used.  We got water to flush but it wasn't enough.  That's when I began to be irritated.  It was gross.  Really gross.  We finally went to bed (but spent most of the night up with our little guy who had croup) and finally heard the water go on around 4:00.  I begged Paul to get up and flush/plunge and he did.  At five, I got up and scrubbed the toilets.  At 6:30, we got up and started the day.
The busses were delayed again.  This time we put the kids in a bus that had extra seats and taxied the rest out.  When we got to the school, there was no electricity or heat.  A big snow storm is headed our way and the school wisely decided to send everyone home after a few hours.
I write this not to make China look bad or anything like that.  I write this because it's part of the reality of living in another culture.  Things are beyond your control.  Your limited language makes you misunderstand what people say on the phone.  Water gets turned off.  We found out later that all the landlords and owners were texted about this.  We have a pretty good landlord but he didn't let us know that the water was going off.  Most of our friends didn't know either.  We have decided that it's time to keep a large container of water in our bathroom.  Most Chinese people do.  It's just smart.
Most of the time I can laugh or go with the flow.  But sometimes it just wears on you.
When I got home today, I heated this for lunch.

We were at the foreign market the other day and this just looked home.  Even though we rarely eat it at home.  It was a nice reminder today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

After one year and three months....

we had an almost miracle.

We had a bath that did not involve shrieking, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Every bath since we have gotten our little guy has taken two of us - one to hold him and one to scrub.  We hope that this progress is permanent and that taking a bath becomes an enjoyable time for all of us!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet cheeks...

This cute little girl in the middle is running through a museum in China in a classic Chinese outfit- bundled from head to toe but with split pants with a full view of the sweet cheeks! It may look like a part of the pattern of her pants, but it's really the full smile!  Her mother  and sister are running with her because she started to squat to go to the bathroom and they felt that the newly redone national museum in Tiananmen Square wouldn't be the proper venue! 
Split pants have a certain practical use but I always wonder when I see the kids all bundled up except their  doesn't any Chinese child ever complain that their behinds are cold?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The creatures of Shenyang

We recently had some friends come to our city so of course we had to take them to the main tourist attraction of Shenyang - the Old Imperial Palace  or Gugong.  Think of the Forbidden City minus the crowds, ticket prices and size.  We've been there several times and I have many pictures.  This time, I focused on the creatures-the small details of the palaces and rooms.  The creatures are charming and fun and some have symbolism.

Dragons are the symbol of the Emperor- meaning properity and long life.  There are dragons all over the palace.

Dragon banners and military uniforms. 

The roofs also have creatures- I think this may be an elephant.

A woman riding something, more creatures and a wire to prevent a lightening strike.

There are the guard creatures.

Multi-colored creatures on the roof- plus amazing tile.

Going up the stairs.

Close up detail.

A sign for the human creatures- "Grass blue under the foot is forgiving."  Or.."Keep off the grass."

Speaking of creatures, we saw this fur hanging at a store outside the palace.  To me, these look like cat furs on some kind of white fur.  We went over to ask the man and he said they were the furs of wild cats that were bigger than domestic cats.  Maybe, maybe not- it was creepy.

Outside of the palace, something that people might be surprised to see in China- a Christian bookstore name Manna.

Across the street is the scroll shop where they make scrolls with Bible verses- if you look closely you can see that the sign above the door says "God is love" in English.  They have some beautiful things.

And when we got home, we were greated by our favorite Shenyang creature.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Little man, little man.

Little man , little man, look at you now!  In Chinese class the other night, we learned the word for "self satisfied" and that it can have a positive meaning.  You are self satisfied, clapping for yourself with joy.
I remember when you came, all skin and bones and hyper-vigilent and hungry.  I remember that you couldn't lift your head up.  I remember the sweetness of you.  I think about your parents a lot and I wonder if they remember you.  How much they are missing.
Here are the words that you will never read but I pray that they are tucked in your heart.  I will always remember you, my darling boy.  You are the child of my heart.  You will not always remember me but a part of me will always be in your heart.  Remember the love, my love.  You have mine forever.  Remember.\


From Five minute Fridays- Five minutes of unedited, unscripted writing.  Today's word:  Remember

Wednesday, November 2, 2011