Yup, it's been a 6 month break from the ol' blog and I'm just going to restart things with a typical day. Part of me feels an obligation to fill in what's been going on for the last half year, but that seems too daunting now. Maybe later. So we'll just say we've all had birthdays, happy days, and hard days. And now for a typical day.
Our full-time house helper has now left us. For good reasons though. She's expecting a baby in February, and I imagine it's pretty unappealing to take care of someone else's house when just standing up requires a tremendous amount of energy. Even though we've got part time help from the mother of all house helpers (she's worked for foreigners for nearly a decade), it's up to me to make sure the nuts and bolts of this little house in the big city are running smoothly. Hence the craziness that ensues on a routine trip to the grocery store.
Our grocery store is actually in our backyard. See? That's the view from our bathroom window on the 8th floor. I watch parking patterns while I take a shower. (Here's for hoping that the people parking aren't watching me!) Our boys call it Doctor Fa because that's how they interpreted the Chinese once upon a time, and it's stuck ever since. I've never seen kids get so excited about going to the "doctor."
Since Micah is in preschool during the mornings now, this grocery run fell to Sam, Hudson, and me. Usually we take the stroller, but since Sam asked if we could use the car shopping cart at the store, I decided to Ergo Hudson and let Sam walk there in order to fulfill his driving dreams. It was only when we were half way there that I realized that leaving the stroller meant I would have to walk home carrying all my groceries. This was a dim prospect since my list included laundry detergent, milk, and oil that comes in jugs the size of office water coolers. (What can I say? Chinese people love oil.) But I marched onward into a certain future of extraordinarily heavy purchases.
We got to the store and were thankfully able to obtain one of a few car grocery carts for the buddies to ride in. People here rarely have more than one child, so I was actually quite baffled when I first saw these monster carts at the store. Off I went, rumbling through the aisles pushing the aircraft carrier of all shopping carts with a black child at the wheel and a white child in the basket. As if I needed anything else in my life to draw more attention!
We paid our typical respects at the "live" fish/frog/turtle/sea cucumber/unidentifiable sea critter tanks. I'm pretty sure that more of the fish are dead than alive, but the boys seem content for now with my explanation that they're just resting. I kept my distance though because one time a fish flopped out of the tank onto the ground right in front of me, and I screamed. Again, as if I need anything else in my life to draw attention! I should just vow to avoid screaming and behemoth shopping carts.
We finally made it out of the store with a manageable amount of things and only having to give 8 people explanations that my husband isn't black and Hudson isn't a girl. We started the long march home, narrowly missing the zooming electric bikes but not so narrowly missing the grandma who fussed at me because Hudson's ankles were exposed to the elements. If she really wanted to help, she could have carried my milk.
We made it in the door in just enough time to drop the perishables off in the fridge and head back out to pick up Micah. We were technically a little early but it just seemed like too much trouble to strip the kids of shoes, coats, and outside clothes just to put it all back on 15 minutes later. So off we set again, this time with the stroller in tow, to take the bus a few stops away to Micah's school. Thankfully, the bus came quickly. Double thankfully, there was another grandma who took pity on me and helped get my kids on the bus while I folded up the stroller. In the ruckus of it all, I forgot to pay my bus fare. I now owe China 16 cents. This same grandma solicited help from other people on the bus to drag my stroller down the aisle, make sure I knew where to get off (which I already did but I appreciated her efforts nevertheless), and help me when the time came. I swear, if it weren't for the kindness of strangers, I really wouldn't be able to go anywhere in this town.
Finally, we reached the school while Micah & his classmates were finishing lunch. His teachers were so tickled by the entourage I had brought with me that they offered to feed both Sam & Hudson lunch as well. They of course couldn't have been more pleased to enjoy a lunch of steamed bread, stir fried green beans, chicken wings, and rice soup. All they would have gotten at home was peanut butter & jelly.
I sprung the $1.30 to take a taxi home and was very happy to find nap time quickly approaching when we walked in the door.