Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weekend Update

Jamie and I had our weekly date night while the girls stayed with the Ayi.  This week we had our first massages in China.  I made appointments for us at the salon where LBean and I have been getting our nails done.  It is so inexpensive; $20 for an hour!  I think I might need one every week, right honey?!  Jamie chose the traditional Chinese massage, which he said targeted some pressure points, but there was very little skin-to-skin contact (a towel over his back).  I had the head, neck and arms massage and I was seated in a recliner for the 60 minutes.  After carrying my fruits & vegetables back and forth from the wet market, it felt pretty good.  Afterwards we met some of Jamie’s co-workers at Big & Whistle, the German restaurant, for dinner and then walked home.
I expected the girls to be in bed and the apartment to be quiet when we walked in the door, but I had another lesson to learn.  I must be very specific with our Ayi about what I am expecting.  We got home at 10 p.m. and the TV was still on and the girls were sitting bleary-eyed in front of the screen.  Ayi was doing laundry and looked just as tired as the girls.  I think that I need to be specific and make a detailed schedule for Friday nights and I need to have someone who speaks Chinese explain to our Ayi that caring for our children is the only thing she needs to do on Friday nights.  No laundry, dishes or cleaning, just watching the girls and getting them to bed.  I’m assuming that the Ayi wants to do a good job and doesn’t want me to think that she is neglecting her responsibilities, but when I’m gone, I want her to spend time with the girls.  Something to work on for next Friday night.
On donut day (Saturday), everyone slept in because of the late bedtimes from the night before.  We started packing up our swimming gear when I realized that I was to supposed to Skype with one of my best friends from the States.  I didn’t want to miss that!  I got on the computer really quickly and there she was!  It was so good to see her and talk to her.  I know I talked too much, but I couldn’t help it, I wish all my friends could be here to share in the adventure.
After we wrapped up our conversation, it was time to throw on our swimsuits and head to the Suzhou Water Park.  But, before we could leave SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park), Jamie had to go to the bank with his passport, his China Construction Bank debit card and a little business card that has in Chinese “please change my U.S. dollars to RMB” on it.  When we wire transfer money from the U.S. to our Chinese bank account (doesn’t that sound like a spam email letter you’ve seen in your inbox?), the money doesn’t automatically change over to RMB.  Jamie has to physically go in and ask from the money to be exchanged.  Frankly, it’s a big pain.
After the bank we picked up some friends along the way and headed to Suzhou New District to the water park.  I’m so glad that the friend that came with us spoke some Chinese because it was going to be difficult pantomiming “I want 2 adult tickets, 1 child ticket and the baby is free”.  We stood in line for a long time to get our electronic wristbands loaded with money so we could buy food in the park (there was no cash accepted in the water park).  The park reminded of the Dell’s, complete with wave pool, slides and a lazy river.  Once we were all in the water, it was fun.  At lunch time Jamie was very brave and ordered a hot dog, which was served without a bun (turned out to be a spicy, "Chinese" flavored sausage) and a “yellow box” full of goodies (...had to be, the locals were buying them like crazy) that turned out to be two packages of jerky/meat flavored tofu (well...we’re pretty sure that it was some kind of tofu).  The girls and I stuck to the familiar and cream, twice.  And, I’m going to throw this out there...the fashion craze of men’s surf shorts/swim trunks has not made it this way yet.  There was a whole lotta spandex going on, just sayin’.  We stayed through nap times, so when we left...everyone was hot, tired and exhausted, but relatively happy.

A view of the water park
Another section of the water park.


Can't say that I've ever had to stain stick a water
floatie before!

The mysterious "meat" package
As soon as we got home I put Jamie on bath patrol (the Chinese let their kiddos pee on the ground, so you never really know what was in that puddle you just walked through, bathing is essential, bleach anyone?...and no shoes in the house) and I threw together an “all-American dinner”.  We had invited over another expat for dinner who is here in China without his family and I wanted to give him a little taste of home.  I managed to pull together meatloaf, steamed green beans, baked beans (that had to be doctored with brown sugar and bacon...the Chinese baked beans are a little different), corn on the cob, iced tea and banana bread for dessert.  As LBean was waiting for dinner to be served she started to fall asleep at the table, a first for her!  We tried to get them to bed early, but by that point they had gained that crazy “second wind”.  You know...where if they stop moving they’ll fall asleep.  

We got them to bed and Jamie and I settled down for our new favorite show, Modern Family.  I'm afraid that we'll run out of episodes to watch way too quickly.

I'm just going through this out there, Sunday was almost a "China" day-the day where things just don't go quite right.  Fellowship was great, lunch with friends was perfect, but LBean had another fit after church (she was tired from the day before), EBean had an accident at the restaurant, I couldn't get the washing machine to start to save my life, the girls never took a nap and I had a massive headache.  I don't want to give the impression that every day here is sunshine & rainbows and real life moments don't happen.  But, I didn't give in, no tears were necessary and I just moved on.  Here's to fresh starts & second (and third...) chances!


  1. Sounds like your life is "real" after all!!! :) What a trip. :)

  2. If I ever move overseas I'm packing you with me!