You wag, you!
After school last Friday, Jiajia and I drove JD (and Ma) to a very posh 5* hotel near DianChi lake for a gourmet meal, courtesy of a free £100 VIP voucher from Jiajia's bank, and in celebration of JD's 10th Birthday! Ma hated it (of course), but JD loved it, chatting to our personal chef and experiencing Japanese WagYu beef, New Zealand lamb, squid, etc - all perfectly cooked in front of us.
The next morning, I was woken at 1am by flashing bedroom lights and spooky noises. I later realised it was April Fools Day and my scallywag son never misses the chance for a prank!
Ten quid for two squid
Despite us all having coughs and colds, we travelled to Green Lake today to have a lunch, celebrating my Birthday in a pretty (if pricey) restaurant there. Ma joined us, despite "being on her death bed" all last week (she said). Jiajia ordered a wide variety of meat and veg. JD especially loved the squid. We'd brought along a birthday cake too but, by dessert time, were all too full to eat it. So we'll tuck into that this evening.
My birthday present from Jiajia this year (as last year) is to pay for my upcoming cataract eye operation. Hence the cheeky card....
We took JD to his "girlfiend's" 10th Birthday Party yesterday. Unfortunately, the English on their signage let them down and I spent the first 20 minutes looking for a lost girl!!
It was Ma's 81st birthday yesterday. We were all too busy to celebrate then, but we went over to her flat today for lunch, presents and a birthday cake.
Ma has been holed up at home for the last two weeks due to some gout in her little finger. Apparently this has stopped her from walking, shopping or cooking. Until, that is, she decided to walk to hospital and see a doctor there who told it's a minor thing - go home!
We finally managed to organise JD's flight simulator visit today - a treat promised for his birthday back in March! He had been before, along with 50 other kids for a brief 15 minute "flight". But planes are JD's passion and he very much wants to be a pilot when he grows up.
A type of party
JD celebrated his birthday this weekend. His favourite present was a second-hand typewriter - something he's been wanting for months.
For his party we met up with five of his friends and their families for a vegetarian buffet in a quaint restaurant overlooking LianHua Lake. This was followed by two birthday cakes, the opening of presents and an hour sailing (and ramming!) a small flotilla of electric boats on the lake. It was a really fun time for all.
It was my 56th Birthday today (LVI). Although it was a normal working day, I had some treats along the way including a steak lunch, lots of texts and e-mails, a parcel of goodies from the UK and another "ride" on the exercise bike - my main present from Jiajia. Cake on Saturday.
Mother-in-law celebrated her birthday this week - her 79th or 80th depending on who asked her. We think she doesn't know.
Ma was her usual "cheery" self on receiving her gifts; a jumper ("Too tight. I don't like the colour"), flowers ("I can't take them home - you look after them") and a home-made gift from JD ("My birthday was two days ago - it's late"). She did manage to fake a quick smile for the camera in front of her birthday cake before declaring, "It's too sweet for me. I don't want any."
My wonderful Mum turned 80 today. Isn't she looking good? I was able to join her, my Dad and two brothers (and sis-in-law) by Zoom to see Mum watching the video greetings we had put together for her. So many friends and family had contributed to that and the kind words expressed by all were well-deserved. Lovely to (almost) be a part of the day's celebrations. What a woman! Here's to the next 80 years!
Today is JD's half-birthday. So, as is traditional in our household, we celebrated by unwrapping half a present and a torn card, eating half a cake and singing just two line of "Happy Birthday to you!". Happy 7½ year Birthday, JD!
Snappers and biters
We took a trip to the Bird and Flower market the other day to fulfill a Birthday promise to JD to buy a couple of gerbils. Unfortunately Kunming doesn't seem to know about gerbils, but we were able to get a two dwarf hamsters instead and JD is delighted with them. "Mr White" was tame from the beginning, but "Goldie" is a biter and needs more gradual human contact! I also bought a Venus Fly Trap while there which I'm hoping will help keep the flying insects to a minimum in Jiajia's balcony garden!
Time's zooming by
The global lockdown does have a few positives. We've been meeting together as a family on Zoom every week for a month or more now. It's proven a good way to keep in touch and support each other.
'Today's meet-up coincided with Andy's 51st Birthday!
JD turned seven today. No chance of a party under the current lockdown, but we did manage a Pizza Hut delivery, half a dozen presents and JD's preferred cake. Happy Birthday, Bug!
55 and still alive
JD had his birthday party today. We had to rearrange the restaurant's balloons on arrival as they spelled "Happy Baithdry"! Ten of JD's best friends came along with their parents. Then, after lunch we headed upstairs to the cinema and watched the live-action "Dumbo" film (3D in Chinese). Everything went really smoothly and JD had a blast!
JD has attended two birthday parties in the last two weeks, and his mind is now racing ahead to his own birthday celebrations in a couple of week's time. A typical Chinese kid's Birthday party is a large meal (mostly aimed at the parents!) and then some opportunities for the kids to run around, either in the restaurant or nearby outside. In contrast, we are hoping to invite JD's friends to ten-pin bowling with a mid-bowl pizza delivery. We'll see!
Jiajia's birthday was a few days ago, preceded by my sister-in-law's, while tomorrow is my other sister-in-law's. JD was invited to a mountain picnic party last Saturday [see photos] and today got another invite to a schoolmate's party this Saturday. And then his own birthday is the week after. I can't keep up with the cards, gifts and outings!
My age? Three cubed doubled
It was my birthday today. Once JD realised, he gave me a big hug and a kiss, and a "surprise" homemade card (which I'd helped him to make last week). It took the wife an hour after getting up to recall that this was my special day, but she is a bit poorly. We think she gave me an early present a few months in advance, but neither of us can remember what it was! Ma-in-law bought a cake. We all enjoyed a nice meal at a buffet hotpot midday and got the candles out in the evening. Add in a swim in the morning with JD and a bedroom den built in the afternoon and it was quite a fun day overall.
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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