I've been spending a lot of time with JD this week as he's been off school with a nasty cough. He's a good lad and he's on the right track!
JiaJia, JD and I went to a Birthday Meal of one of JD's classmates last week along with half a dozen other classmates and their parents. A huge banquet with top quality food. The dishes moved slowly around the circular table by electronic motor and there was a strange forest decoration in the middle of the table including various wildlife. Yes folks, some of the food was a little deer! Geddit?
I returned from an overnight visit to Chongqing yesterday - a huge city an hour's flight away with a population of over 30 million. JD and I both need to renew our passports and you have to do it there in person (and then fly back to pick them up a month later).
The door key in my hotel had a bizarre mix of accurate English and almost poetic Chinglish gibberish!
JD's Kindergarten do have an annoying habit of sending out homework with very tight deadlines (...almost as if they don't plan their lessons in advance!?)
So last Sunday morning we got a text saying that all students had to visit a "Memorial to student martyrs" in ShiDa University and provide photographic evidence you were there. So JiaJia, JD and I jumped on my e-bike for what we hoped would be a quick "in-photo-out" visit. But we hadn't bargained on the trainee volunteer guides lying in wait. And then, when five other students from JD's class turned up, the whole visit turned into a massive game of chase! Still, homework done (until the next one)!
Dicos is the Chinese equivalent of McDonalds or KFC. I often pop in for a cheap coffee while waiting to pick up JD from Kindergarten. Yesterday I noticed that the staff door has a strange board along the bottom that the off-duty workers have to step over. Some have said it's to stop rats but this is the staff rest room, not the actual kitchens on the floor below (which are open plan). Very odd.
Even urban cities in China have the occasional wildlife surprises. I found this 20cm long beauty by the door of our flat yesterday. I moved it to some nearby bushes to give it a chance of survival and it was still there when JD returned from Kindergarten, much to his delight. Although stick insects are renowned for their slow moving I think this one was especially lethargic due to the recent cold snap here. Otherwise he looked pretty healthy.
We've had bucketloads of rain every day here recently. Talk of droughts from a few years ago are long forgotten! But we were cheered up yesterday evening by the most amazing (double) rainbow - the clearest I've ever seen. This [right] was the view from my flat - photos don't do justice to the brightness and clarity of the colours. Students at my University had even better views [below] with the full arc on display. Very impressive indeed.
JD and I made some new friends yesterday. The Mum is a teacher of Vietnamese at my University, with a Chinese husband. Their two kids are a little older and little younger than JD which made for perfect playmates. The common language in JD's bedroom was Chinese, whilst for us adults, English. We shared a nice buffet lunch and chatted for many hours. I did wonder if they were winding me up about their English names - Grass, Plane and Boat!?
This week is a Chinese National Holiday celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China on 1st October 1949. This T-shirt sums up the prevailing mood in China these days. Whereas in the West there is a clear distinction between Country and Government, it is very blurred here and often to love one's leaders means to love one's country and vice versa. It's certainly an "interesting" viewpoint, if a bit worrying at times!
JD's been off school this last week with a nasty cough. But I took him back in today, as he's feeling better, only to be told by the nurses who check the kids' health on arrival that he still has a fever (despite their own thermometers registering a perfectly normal 37ºC).
So I've had to take him home and cancel the Halloween party he was due to attend. Instead, we have built a huge indoor Halloween den where he and I slept last night complete with snacks, sweets and ghost stories! Scary?
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