Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

This week was all about pain...sort of.  Monday morning started out with a new boot camp exercise class. It was appealing because the class it taught here at our apartment compound and I can go early in the morning and be back in time to get LBean breakfast before school.  I am not a morning person, so this is a major commitment for me.  The other class members told me that if I felt like I was going to throw up, then I was doing it correctly.  Well, I must be a very quick learner because I was feeling pretty sick.  The members also gave me a heads up on the pain that I would be experiencing the next few days, but they assured me that the first day was the hardest.  I'm not sure that I believe that part, but only time will tell.

Monday afternoon was another kind of pain, the struggle to learn a new language.  I am currently signed up to take 2 one-hour lessons a week.  This is going to be a challenge.  For those that aren't familiar, Mandarin has 4 (or 5, depending on who you ask) tones.  So, based on how you say "mu" it can have four different meanings.  There is a high tone, as if you were singing, a rising tone, a sweeping tone and a short, stern descending tone.  Of course I'm hearing this all through the lens of a speech-pathologist and a type A personality, so I feel behind before I got started.  If I can learn just a few new words or understand a few nuances in each class I think it should be considered a successful class.

The highlight of Monday though was getting to talk to not one, but two people on Skype.  A big shout-out to my friend Sally for letting me interrupt her Sunday night and chat.  I also caught my niece on the computer and she filled me in on her life.  It made my day!

Tuesday EBean and I took advantage of a slow morning and did some cooking.  We made some frozen banana bites and granola bars.  EBean loved licking the spoon and "cleaning" the dishes!

Wednesday afternoon I had a meeting with the volunteer coordinator for the local orphanage.  I let EBean stay with the Ayi and play Polly Pockets and I took the opportunity to attend the meeting by myself.  I turned on my iPod, opened up my umbrella (here it's used to block out the sun too, not just the rain), and sang to myself all the way to Starbucks.  I'm sure I looked (and sounded) like a crazy person, but it was fun.

Thursday started off great.  EBean had her first day of preschool.  She was very excited to pack a backpack, each lunch at school and be just like her big sister. I decided to enjoy my morning without children at Starbucks reading and working on the computer.  I also managed to schedule a Chinese foot massage that everyone talks about around here.  It was great! I didn't fall asleep like many people do, but I did get very close.

I picked up EBean from school and the first thing she said to me was, "I play by myself" in a very defiant tone.  A little socialization might not hurt.  I also chuckled as she ran down the sidewalk because the whole back side of her leg was plastered with rice.  Any guesses as to what she had for lunch?

I just knew that EBean would be so tired from playing at school that she would take a fantastic nap for me.  Unfortunately I misjudged her and she was up all afternoon.  During that time I was also fielding emails from the moving company.  Our sea shipment arrived in Shanghai on August 4th and finally made it through customs last week.  The company wanted to deliver our things on Friday, but that was going to be a very busy day for us.  Emails were traded and I suggested Saturday when Jamie would be home and we could devote the entire day to it.  It took some special approval, but we were able to schedule a weekend delivery.

EBean and I walked to the bus stop and picked up LBean.  I decided we'd turn the day around by stopping at the little grocery store in our apartment compound and pick up a treat.  As we were walking home we decided to playground hop and stop at each playground on the way home.  I read LBean's school/home journal from her teacher while we were at the first playground and found out that he needed volunteers on Fridays, the same day I was scheduled to volunteer at the orphanage, arggh!

We moved onto the next playground and there it happened.  I looked away for a moment and it happened in an instant.  LBean was on the monkey bars, I turned away to look at EBean and I looked back when I heard a loud thud.  LBean had done a belly flop off the monkey bars.  I thought she'd just knocked the wind out of her, but when I pulled her up there was blood everywhere.  I checked her mouth and it was fine, it was actually coming from underneath her chin.  She was crying and I started crying too.  In that instant China stopped just being a fun adventure and life became serious again.  What should I do?  Where do I need to take her?  I called a friend who lived in the apartment next to the playground.  She wasn't home, but they were across the street at the pool and she'd send her husband over.  I had my hand over LBean's bleeding chin, but blood was running down my arm and all over her school uniform.  I was so thankful that an Ayi of a little girl that sits next to LBean on the bus was close by and she kept handing me wet wipes.  The Ayi only speaks Chinese, so I wasn't able to fully communicate my thankfulness, but I hope that my face and gestures communicated it clearly.

After we decided that LBean didn't need stitches was headed for home.  I texted Jamie, "LBean fell off the monkey bars, mommy crying."  He texted back that he would be home as soon as possible.  It was such a cruddy day that I didn't even want to order Sherpa's.  Too many decisions to make on what to order and I wasn't willing to wait for delivery.  After baths (and two potty accidents), supper, and school work, we all gave up and went to bed.  I knew that a China day would happen eventually, but this was a doozy.

Thankfully Friday was a much better day, I'm mean really, how could it not?  EBean had preschool and I had my first photography class.  I am finally learning how to use Jamie's SLR camera.  The blog will certainly benefit from my improved photography skills!  Jamie and I spent date night at a reception at LBean's school and dinner out.

Saturday was a special day for us.  Our sea shipment finally arrived!  I was able to nap in my own bed and it was amazing!  We had a combination of 187 boxes and pieces of furniture delivered.  It took three hours to bring everything up in the elevator, but it's going to take a whole lot longer to get everything put away.  The Sherpa man stopped by our apartment twice and I think I'm going to look into getting shirts made that say "I heart Sherpa".  I was very interested in what the girls gravitated to first when we were unpacking.  EBean really wanted the little red rocking chair unwrapped and both girls dove into the tub of baby toys I had brought along.

The most memorable part of Sunday was unfortunately a very small accident EBean had.  She was happily skipping along towards the Mexican restaurant with LBean and a friend when she fell.  Since she had on tights it stopped her from sliding on her knees and made her hit her chin on the sidewalk.  For part of the day both my girls had bandaids on their banged up chins.  Sheesh, what a week and enough pain for us all!

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