Just a few snippets from the past week.
The weather has been great the last few days and everyone was back at work and school. Over the past many weeks, one or two of us have been sick and at home and I've been on fulltime nursing duty (when of course I was not the patient). So many trips to the doctor and so much medicine dispensed. Our personal pharmacy is pretty depleted. I pray we are done with all this illness business.
Now that I can get back outside, I went on a big walk today. I listened to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and laughed out while walking through the park and then a series of streets with people, bikes, motorcycles and cars all weaving around street vendors selling your usual vegetables, fruit and an assortment of wicker furniture. That's right--random "store" consisting of all things wicker was parked on the street across from the very practical plastic bucket store. My favorite thing about China has to be that you can think "I need a plastic bucket" and sure enough--entire store of buckets. The only tricky thing is remembering where that store is
or if it's some other obscure thing, finding the store for that obscure thing.
While walking back toward home, I was offered some street food and turned my head to see what the woman was selling. Just then, I saw a man holding a frog and cutting its head off with shears. Like the shears you would use in your kitchen or garden. I screamed, flapped my arms like a crazed chicken woman and picked up the pace. I'm not certain, but I have to imagine the frog was alive! I have seen the fish and meat being cut, but this was pretty graphic and disturbing to me. So of course I had to share.
I met Mark for lunch and that was great. We ate outside. I think we are heading into the eating outside a lot weather because we also ate dinner outside tonight. Yay. Love it. While finishing our meal, a man approached our table. We both immediately got the oh no feeling that we were about to be asked to buy something. Turns out though, he was just a nice, probably a bit lonely, older man and he wanted to chat. He asked if
we had any US coins or ballpoint pens in our backpacks (huh?) and then when we said no, he stayed to talk a bit. He charmed us by saying we were fluent in Chinese. Ha! Good stuff. He was 80 years old and wore about 4 layers of shirts/sweater/jackets. I had on short sleeves. It was probably in the high 60s. He touched my arm and said I must be cold and then showed me his layers and we had a good laugh about this extreme difference in our habits. Then he told us he was heading to the store to buy dinner and explained the ingredients and the bargain prices he would be paying to procure the half a duck, the rice and noodles (the noodles were for his wife). I love these little interchanges. Mark and I both admitted we were fearful at first that we were going to have to shoo this man away from our table.
Busy day with far too much time spent at restaurants. We seemed to go from table to table all day long. The good news is we sat outdoors at all but the last place and we had a
lot of fun and did spend time at a park and hanging out with friends.
The highlight of the day was finding a bunch of free plastic Easter eggs being given away as part of a promotion at Taikang Lu where we had wine and snacks. These eggs were instrumental in our ability to pull off an egg hunt on Sunday. Of course, they were Chinese red. No pastel eggs to be found even though as we all know, they are made in China.
Our egg hunt was comical but successful. I couldn't find eggs until we got the ones on Saturday--so that was good. Mark and I bought some candy and a few little gifts and put them in these baskets that were plastic and non-Easterish. But the kids didn't care. I set up 2 hunts--1 in each room to prevent fighting. I didn't dare try to pull off an egg hunt outside. I can only imagine the attention that would have drawn if I were to try to do this in a park or even outside of our apartment. So it was inside, and we made the most of it.
I booked brunch
at 11:30 (when it opened) at the Renaissance Zhongshan Park and we met Joanna, Ian, William and Sophie for a lovely and lengthy brunch. We literally stayed from 11:30-2:30. We did not eat for 3 hours straight. We had many drinks, ending in coffees and teas and just spent time relaxing at our table while the kids played in the "children's garden"...a playroom on the opposite side of the floor with tvs, Wii, and a candy bar. Not a bar of candy but a bar of various chocolates and candies from which they could choose. Dangerous. Luckily nobody got sick. Adults included. The food was great. So many choices and such nice service. Did I mention the kids ate free?
Wednesday, April 15
I went on this fascinating tour about Jewish history in Shanghai. It was a half day tour with a guide who has lived here for 8 years. He is an Israeli journalist/photographer/film maker. I learned a lot and enjoyed spending time with a group of strangers from all over the world. I'm still processing the vast amount of information I learned. This tour was on this list I have--things I need to do while here.
I am so glad I did it.
Kids are doing great. We have our third conference today at school which means half days for the next 2 days. Tomorrow Emily has a Daisy Scout field trip and Nathan and I will have quality time together to go on our own adventure. Win-win.
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