I spent a few hours with JD in our neighbourhood today on a "bug hunt". We spotted 20-30 tiny snail shells, woodlice, ants, worms, a rat, a spider catching and wrapping up a fly, some goldfish and this huge spider. JD spotted the monster first and approached it very bravely ...until it started to move.
JD and I went on a bit of a mystery trip the other day. A double-decker bus and subway train up to the north of the city to check out a rumour of a large children's play area in a newly opened shopping mall. We tracked it down but there wasn't enough time to justify the rather hefty fee for access to all the play areas, settling instead for a more modestly priced ticket for ten minutes on a large digger. JD loved it, of course. Then an open-topped bus and taxi home again.
Ava, JD and I went to the Grand Opening of our friends' new Tea Shop yesterday. We had only intended to stay an hour or so, but it turned out we were the only ones there, so we stayed longer to show our support. The owners, "Dancing Lady" and her husband, showed us a tea ceremony and we were offered tiny cups of different flavoured teas. I managed to switch to a cup of coffee after a while. Having lived in a major tea-growing part of China, I must have seen a dozen tea ceremonies before and I really don't like the taste anyway! As the Chinese chatted together, JD and I got increasingly bored and ended up making various pictures with the nut husks. Something to do!
JD's Kindergarten organised an outing to a park last weekend, The organised activities started with a team race of Daddies running with their children perched on their feet. Our team won and JD got his first balloon of the day. The second activity was even more inventive. Each team stood next to a large piece of card and their shadows were drawn around. Then the shapes were coloured in to make a unique record of the team. Unfortunately, the sun went behind a cloud when our team were trying to make our shadows so Jiajia and I got to work inventing imaginary shadows which the kids then enjoyed painting [see below]. As Jiajia, JD and I left for lunch in a restaurant with the family of JD's best friend - a cute little girl named QiQi - it just started to rain, so we had certainly got the best of the weather.
About a month ago, my University put up posters advertising matches between their basketball team and teams from Cuba. I was really impressed that Kunming rated a visit from a country so far away. It was only this morning that an amused student informed me that CUBA means Chinese University Basketball Association. How embarrassing!
Ava's pet project - a new, small flat about ten minutes from where we live - is progressing slowly. In China, flats are sold as concrete shells so she has needed to arrange workers to install electrics and plumbing, plaster the walls, lay floors, attach doors and build a kitchen and bathroom. It's slow work as she has to monitor everything for quality and purchase all the materials herself. My role has been minimal - heavy lifting, transporting things to the flat and. of late, mopping the floor. Next step is the furniture which is what Ava is looking to most.
A couple of weeks ago adverts went up in JD's Kindergarten asking for children to take part in a fashion show. Ava and I decided we weren't really interested - JD gets quite enough attention as it is. But his teachers kept badgering us and, last week, on going to pick him up after school we saw that the catwalk had been set up in the playground, nearly all the students were taking part and the teachers had already pinned a number on JD and popped him in the queue.
We relented reluctantly and watched the show. Unlike the other children JD wasn't wearing any special clothes, hadn't prepared any poses and didn't know where to walk! But, dressed in normal school clothes, he sauntered up to the front, shot the judges with an imaginary finger gun and hopped all the way back up the catwalk to much laughter from the audience. On Monday we saw the list of students who had qualified for the next "city-wide" round and, to our amusement, JD was one of them. Surely enough is enough, though?
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