JD happily sat with this man for ten minutes, watching him make a broom and asking him questions. I was more intrigued by the upside-down English on his jacket.
JD and I enjoyed a very relaxed and, in many ways, un-Chinese wedding last Saturday. My old friend Lilly Pu married Cedic - a French guy - in a lovely restaurant next to the Green Lake. We arrived at 2pm as instructed and I was pleasantly surprised to find my British work colleague Tom and his Chinese fiancé there too. Neither of us realised we both knew Lilly. It was good to have an extended chat with him as we usually only meet briefly for work maters. Nice guy. JD soon made friends with 2-3 Chinese children and spent the afternoon running around and playing with his toys. Later, there was a short ceremony, some very nice food, and the wedding cake.
What to do with a five-year old on a rainy day, with JiaJia in Shenzhen? Cooking! So JD and I planned what we'd need for our "dream meal", got our umbrellas out and headed to the market. JD can interact with the locals more fluently than I can these day (embarrassing!) so he did most of the bargaining. Then home for an hour of food preparation and 45 minutes of cooking. Voila! Lasagne, peas and corn, mushrooms, fresh home-made bread, gravy and orange juice. Very tasty. Well done, son!
With our favourite forest retreat closed over the Winter and Spring (for fear of forest fires ...too many "f"s there!!), JD has had to be content with making indoor dens under the dining table!
But yesterday, JD and I decide to see if our "secret forest" had reopened and, if so, check on the state of our den there. To our delight the barrier was up and the den proved to be in great condition. JD even managed to scale the den walls to add extra bark to the roof.
JD enjoyed another free trial class yesterday, this time in computer programming. He spent an hour learning to code alongside a couple of other 5 year-olds and, oddly, a ten year-old. It was quite demanding for a youngster (angle degrees, X/Y coordinates etc) but he followed the teacher really well and thoroughly enjoyed it. He was chuffed with his certificate afterwards too.
JD was invited to a free Lego Trial Class yesterday. One of his school friends already attends every Sunday afternoon. The class had five boys in it and a very professional teacher who talked them though the different stages of making a sniper's rifle with the aid of a Powerpoint presentation (not my favourite object for them to be building, but it varies from week to week). JD loved the 1½ hour lesson, and he and his friend especially enjoyed "chasing and killing" me with the guns after class. Unfortunately, the Lego school is a good 30 minutes drive away, which has made us think twice about signing up.
China launched its first self-built aircraft carrier today. Its only previous one was a refurbished second-hand Russian ship. The military build up in China is getting very noticeable and a little bit worrying.
Closer to home, JD's choice of outing today was to YuanTong Temple across town. He's recently been copying Jiajia when she prays to Buddha and he wanted to try praying by himself! He particularly enjoyed the prayer wheels at the Tibetan Temple next door.
JD was having trouble grasping how long it is until we visit the UK, so I wrote a countdown on a block of post-its and now, every day, he rips off the top one and we stick it up on the top of the wardrobe.
We are all really looking forward to the trip. Six weeks seemed a lot of time for us to fill, at first, but we appear to be squeezing far too much in once again in order to see everyone and do all the things we want to. And of course, we're still waiting to see if Jiajia gets her visa without a hiccup.
JD's Birthday Party has been put back again and again, due to illnesses, bad weather and conflicting events. But, last weekend, he finally got his party with his preferred guests (American friends, Kaiya and Zaden) with a trip to the Waterfall Park to do various activities and share a picnic. Together the kids did boating, fishing, robot driving, a car ride, trampolining and ice-creams. We got there by e-bike, subway and tuk-tuk, and returned by open-topped bus and e-bike. The weather stayed dry, the picnic was enjoyed and great fun was had by all.
JD and I took the 7½ hour daytime train back to Kunming today. It's been an even more successful trip than I had hoped for with plenty of exercise, adventures, friends and fresh air. JD says his highlight (alongside the boat, the chairlift and the horse riding) was the easy access to various construction vehicles ...each to his own!
JD and I walked to the Three Pagodas this morning (the hotel told us it was 1km. It was at least 3km!) and were able to get in for free with yesterday's boat ticket. Then up a ten-minute chairlift to get to the top of CangShan mountain. JD was keen to visit a couple of caves there (armed with a tiny torch he had bought especially) but, after a 4km walk along the "cloud path" we found they had been closed due to a rockfall. So another 4km back to the chairlift, via a picnic and back to the hotel. Ten kilometres is a lot of short legs, and JD was hardly able to stay awake by the time we got to our room!
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