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!
We arrived safely in the UK yesterday after a little hiccup at Heathrow airport (my parents had got caught in traffic and arrived some 20 mins after we did!). After our 24-hour door-to-door journey we took it easy at "home" today - chilling in my parents' flower-filled garden and enjoying some home-cooking!
So begins our month of travelling, shopping, sightseeing and visiting friends and family.
Bored of the Dance
Today was Children's Day in China and JD's Kindergarten took over the Kunming City Stadium for the morning to allow each class to perform their well-practised dances.
One parent of each student had been drafted in to perform with the children and Jiajia made her excuses. So I was one of four Dads along with twenty-five Mums! We've been rehearsing for 6 weeks.
Our performance today was 11th out of 16, so a certain amount of tedium had crept into the audience as we began to strut our stuff. We started with some hip-hop and then transitioned into traditional ethnic dances. JD did his part this time (having refused to do anything at all at the dress rehearsal, probably because I wasn't able to make it to that practice) and afterwards Jiajia said, "It was beyond my imagination" which I think was a compliment.
My good wife brought our video camera with us too ...and then completely forgot to use it! But they say there will be a professionally put together DVD of the whole event in due course.
Apparently we won first prize ...as did every one of the dance troupes. This is socialist China after all! Altogether it took four hours to get through and then we were told not to bother taking our kids back to school for the afternoon. I'm not sure UK school would get away with that sort of thing!
Keeping a secret'S HARD
My amazing Dad turned 80 this week and, as well as a celebratory get-together with his church friends last weekend and 60+ cards on his actual birthday, my brothers and I had also arranged a trip up the Shard for afternoon tea with the family. The Shard is Europe's tallest building and quite an imposing sight in the London skyline. They had a great time, by all accounts, and I was really sorry I couldn't be there in person. We even failed to get a Skype connection up. Dad also received a book of 100+ comments, compliments and anecdotes from relatives, friends and ex-work colleagues. A small momento of a life of service to others, good humour and great respect from all who have known him. Happy Birthday, Dad. We're all very proud of you. I have wonderful parents.
Spudding and pudding
We have arrived in the UK and are spending the first few days at my parents in Sidcup. They met us at the airport with a huge hand-drawn Welcome sign and pork pies! It's really hot here, so Ava is loving their beautiful garden while JD is loving "helping" by digging up spuds and watering the vegetables. As for me, I'm relishing the prospect of all my favourite "unobtainable" dishes such as casserole, fish-n-chips, toad-in-the-hole and rhubarb crumble ...oh and a large Wetherspoons breakfast which is planned for tomorrow morning. So happy to see my old folks after 1.5 years away and 24 hours of travelling. Let the holidays begin!
Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
Past blog entries