I’m sitting here at 5:00 a.m. attempting to keep the children quiet so that our sleeping neighbors are not bothered. We are sharing this apartment with a couple from Provo named Dana and Jay Thelin, two single young men named Simon and Chris (SLC and England respectively) and a young woman named Tracy. I don’t know where she is from, but she did her student teaching at Rock Canyon Elementary in Provo. (Jody, I’ll be asking about the relationship when they get up! Update: Yes, you’re related! Jay is your dad’s first cousin! They know my puppy too! ;o)
I have been I.M.ing Amanda in the next apartment already and she told me that Dana will show me how to get around this morning. Apparently it is difficult to get a taxi right now because it is so close to the Chinese New Year. I’ll also be looking into what types of celebrations there will be this weekend. I hope we can find something fun!
As I sit here typing in my bed, I can smell the pollution. Even inside the smell is smokey and dusty. I keep praying that a nice strong wind will come up in the next few days. My throat is sore and my nose is stuffy. It is probably a combination of the pollution and the exhaustion that we are feeling.
It is now 3:30 p.m. and we have already had a full day. Because we were up earlier than everyone else, we read scriptures in a whisper and then dressed and cleaned up our room as quietly as we could. At about 7 we headed out to the kitchen and whipped up some apple cinnamon oatmeal and some Swiss Miss hot chocolate. The girls were anxious to get to the babies and so we headed almost immediately up to the baby room upstairs. Tianshi headed straight to Malin, a little boy with a colostomy bag. He is so very sweet, has great eye contact. I believe he is about 4 months old. He loves Tianshi and he goes right to sleep when ever she picks him up. Lingxing has fallen for a little guy named Joseph. He is missing his hand just like Jiajing and I’d take him home in a heartbeat! Jiajing is loving a little boy named Jack. He has hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, but is the sweetest little guy in the world. He constantly asks for “Abinda” (Amanda) and sings happy birthday in Chinese. He is so sweet! Jiajing spends her time bringing him toys and playing with him at his highchair. Lewen is adjusting well and is doing a good job with the kids. She shares goldfish with the babies, but also eats her fair share!
After playing with the babies we decided that we needed a trip to the grocery store. The plan had been to go with Amanda in the afternoon to Walmart, but we opted to walk to the much closer Lotus Shopping Center. It is HUGE and will probably fulfill all our needs while we are here! On our way we discovered a KFC and the girls wanted lunch and so we stopped. We were reminded how much we like the hot wings here in China…they are NOT the same as the ones in the States! After lunch we hit the market. We found slippers for the Foster Home (we are not allowed to wear shoes inside), the girls favorite rice cookies, bananas, Rambutan, clean and clear (Tianshi), hangers and toilet paper. We are heading back tomorrow after some surprises for the New Year and peanut butter. We had several “only in China” moments, such as having to walk through a huge puddle to go around the bus that was parked on the sidewalk and standing in the middle of the street while waiting for an opportune time to “finish” crossing.
After the shopping excursion we came home to find Amanda, Dana and Jay eating a lunch of chili and fresh home made rolls. We were disappointed that we already ate, but the girls were hungry and it would have been another hour to wait. (Believe me, it is better to feed a hungry 4 year old than to wait!) While I was chatting with the grownups, Tianshi got out her violin and started to warm up to practice. Within seconds I heard the now familiar “ting” of a broken string and then I heard a sob! This is the second trip in the past 6 months that we’ve had a broken string on the very first day! Amanda jumped into action when she heard the heartbreak and asked her assistant to take us to find a new one. Within minutes Tianshi and I were in a taxi headed to a music store. The taxi trip cost Y23 and the replacement string only Y3. In the states a new string would have cost us $10, and we were out and back under $5.
Now we are home and the girls are doing some chores to help the Thelin’s keep the house. Lingxing is sweeping and Tianshi is scrubbing ancient scum off antique Chinese furniture. I threw in some laundry and am hoping to get my first shower now that the hot water is now working.
Amanda’s assistant (can’t remember her name at the moment) is looking for a Chinese tutor for us and thinks that we can find someone to spend 1/2 the day with us. I’m looking forward to getting that all settled.
Here are a couple of photos from the past couple of days. I haven’t taken my camera out yet, so these are from Tianshi’s. I know your all anxious for photos of the babies, so I’ll head over there now and see if I can get a post out soon!
Weather, blowing (howling) wind, sleet and very cold. BTW, the heater in the family room blew out! Thank heavens the one in our bedroom still works!