What goes around...
I spent a few hours yesterday with three Lattitude volunteers from the last intake, visiting Kunming over the May Day holiday. I took JD and we met them at Green Lake Park on a warm, sunny day. One area was plastered with photocopied signs and photos. It turns out they were all advertising for a girlfriend/boyfriend, something I'd not seen in Kunming before. There were, as you'd expect, some surprising and amusing things; firstly, almost equal numbers of men and women, secondly all the pictures had been photoshopped with candidates standing by Big Ben, on Bondai Beach, in front of huge butterflies, hovering above the Great Wall, etc! Thirdly, I was initially amazed to see adverts for people aged 86, 89 and 92, until I later realised that these were birth years, not their age! And lastly, it seems your height is the one factor that is vital to include. Most signs had no photo, but all had their height displayed prominently. But not their weight. Odd.
In conversation with our new nanny, Molly, last Friday she mentioned that she was from a town called Eshan. I told her that I had visited the Minorities Middle School there a few times to check on the Lattitude volunteers I had trained. "No way!" she exclaimed, "I was taught to speak English by Lattitude volunteers ten years ago". Small world.
Changing nappies and nannies
Our full-time, live-in Nanny finally left today after two years with us, changing nappies, washing clothes, bathing and feeding JD. Ma-in-law finally saw her off with yet another tirade of abuse a week ago, and we were lucky and grateful the Nanny agreed to stay on for one further week to give us time to find a replacement. After some thought, Ava and I decided it was time to try and "downsize" to a weekend-only Nanny, with me taking the main responsibility for looking after JD throughout the weekdays. So we have welcomed "Molly" into our family [see photo]. She is a biology teacher during the week but will look after JD Friday evenings to Sunday evenings aided (or otherwise) by Ma-in-law. She comes to us from foreign colleagues at work who didn't need her help anymore and she speaks some English too. It will be an interesting time of transition for us all, and it remains to be seen whether the new arrangements will be sustainable long-term. Fingers crossed.
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
Past blog entries