Friday, September 25, 2015

Piece of Humble Pie

Remember that time last weekend when I hopped on an airplane with LBean to go to her orthodontist appointment and I realized half-way through the flight that her appointment was actually the next weekend? Yes, that was my weekend.  How about yours?

Let me back up a bit.  LBean is of the age where orthodontics is a regular part of our monthly routine.  When we lived in Suzhou, we would drive the hour to Hongqiao (a Western-suburb/neighborhood of Shanghai) for her monthly orthodontist appointments.  After we moved to Xi’an, we talked with Jamie’s company about how to continue her orthodontic treatment and if it was even possible to continue her treatment in Xi’an.  It was decided that it would be best that LBean and one parent fly to Shanghai for her appointments.  It’s a 2 1/2 hour flight each way, so think about that the next time you’re sitting at the dentist or orthodontist waiting for your appointment!

Thankfully LBean’s orthodontist suggested that her appointments could be spaced out every 2-3 months and we won't have to make the flight every month.  And, I found out that other families in Xi’an have flown to Chang Mai, Thailand for orthodontic treatment, which made me feel a whole lot less ridiculous about it all.  At least we were staying in the country!

Checked in and ready to go
Speed ahead to this past Saturday.  LBean and I packed our bags, hopped on our flight and were enjoying some great mother/daughter time.  About half-way through the flight I decided I needed to double-check the time of the appointment so I could better plan our day.  As I was reaching for my planner a few thoughts converged…hmmm, I never got a text reminding me of her appointment, and wouldn’t that be funny if her appointment was next Saturday.

I opened my planner and staring back at me was her appointment time, which was listed for the next Saturday.  Right next to it in the notes section of my planner were our flights.  Why I didn’t put two and two together, I don’t know.  I put my head in my hands and LBean became concerned.  “Are you crying mom?”  I lifted my head and I was laughing.  I mean, really, who does something like this?  I just couldn’t stop laughing.  I said, “Just wait till I call your dad.  He won’t be mad.  At least I don’t think so…”

Starbucks helps our subway ride go well
We got off the plane and I immediately called the orthodontist’s office.  “Can you please confirm my daughter’s appointment?  Hmmm, next Saturday, well now I get to admit something very embarrassing to you.”  Thankfully, LBean’s orthodontist has three offices, 1 in Hong Kong, 1 in Hongqiao (where we were staying) and 1 in Pudong (closer to the big airport).  We were in luck because the doctor was in the other Shanghai office.  Instead of walking out the front door of our hotel and across the driveway to the Hongqiao office, LBean and I trekked to the other side of a 24 million person city.

We dropped our bags off at the hotel, grabbed a quick lunch and started our 1 1/2 hour journey to the other office.  We stood on the subway for an hour where we changed subway lines three times and then walked about 25 minutes to the other office.  But, we made it!  In the process we discovered a whole new part of Shanghai that we had not been to before.  LBean was such a good sport about it all and had a great attitude.

LBean enjoying her new book and taking a break.

Still happy and standing in line in Marks & Spencer
To break up the 90 minute return trip, we stopped at West Nanjing street for a little retail therapy and a snack at Marks & Spencer.  That night we celebrated our success with a tasty hotdog and cheeseburger from Blue Frog. (And, our waitress did ask why she hadn't seen us for a long time).  I told Jamie that the extra 3 hours we spent getting to the other office was my penance for making such a big mistake.  

Just a few people at the West Nanjing Road subway stop
LBean and I spent Sunday morning going through the import grocery store stocking up on a few things that I haven’t managed to find in Xi’an yet (or haven’t looked for on TaoBao).  We stopped at the Pearl Market for a few gifts for the little sisters and enjoyed one last tasty meal.  
We brought two big suitcases for our overnight trip.
You can see why! 
That is a proper stack of nachos.
The weekend turned out to be wonderful, but I dined on a big slice of humble pie for my mistake with a huge scoop of grace on the side.  I was right, Jamie was not mad and he has given me a lot of grace for my mistake.

I will consult my calendar before the next appointment.  I promise.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Well, hello there!

I feel like I must re-introduce myself.  My name is Kara.  And I live in China.  Still.

We did not fall off the face of the earth, just moved our family.  It’s been a whirl-wind 6 months and we’re getting settled into our apartment, the girls are enjoying their new schools and we got a puppy.  Bring on the chaos!

As I mentioned in my last post, we fully intended/believed that we would be moving back to the United States this summer.  Needless to say the move to Xi’an was a bit of a surprise.

Let me take a moment to introduce to our hew city…

Name: Xi’an (pronounced something like “She ahn”)

Population: At least 8.5 million people (which is roughly the size of New York City)

Fun Facts:
  • One of the oldest cities in China
  • It’s the oldest of the Four Ancient Capitals of China
  • It is the start of the famous Silk Road
  • It is the home of the Terracotta Warriors
  • Xi’an people love noodles.  Generally speaking the people in the southern part of the county eat rice with their meals.  For those in the north, it is noodles.  

Beijing is in the NE corner of China.  Suzhou (our home from 2011-2015) is by the big red arrow.
Our new city is 2.5 hours inland by plane (by the blue star).

(All my facts are from Wikipedia because we know that everything we read on the internet is true.)

I am looking forward to getting back to blogging and introducing you to our new city.