Raine’s birthday and other notes about our 5th month.
It’s been a long time since an update, and I have to tell you, that I don’t spend nearly as much time on the computer now as I have in the past. Partially, because the connection is so slow, I don’t want to spend so much time waiting around for it, and at work, I actually use it for work; I don’t even read the news that much anymore.
Raine’s birthday has been a week-long chain of events, that lead to a pretty anti-climatic birthday. Of course, the koala kicked everything off, and anything following that was over-shadowed. My friend Melissa gave her Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, and Epic. –Absolute Awesome choices that we have loved! She always picks up cute little things for the girls. Today it was little girl donuts, a couple of weeks ago, it was finger puppets from a trip to IKEA. The neighbor girls got her some glitter pens and watercolor markers. Rumi and I got her a Barbie with a panda. (She picked it out). Because we couldn’t find anything “My Little Pony.” Well Karen, (our nanny) did, because she knew I was looking, and picked something a bit out of my price-range and bought it, so Kristina is helping out on that one.
Two days ago, I had Karen bring them to my work, and they “taught” my English Club –which is a kind of inter-active forum for all levels. The students could ask them all kinds of questions, and it was pretty fun. Then, we had a coupon from our absolute favorite restaurant for Raine’s free birthday dinner, so she wanted that after work. The place is right next door to my work. It was a Saturday night, so we had to wait about 40 minutes. She fell asleep on my lap. It’s so nice that she not too big for that yet.
I love this place and as busy as they were, every single staff member stopped by to say Happy Birthday to her. The manager even apologized for it being so busy on a Saturday, because he knows we usually go on a Monday or Tuesday. And on top of everything they gave her chocolate cake. The girls got to learn what the words “on the house” mean.
The sad part is, I left for work on Sunday at 9am, and she was still sleeping. I get home at 7 and she was in bed. She woke up a couple of hours later with a fever and a headache. They spent most of the day at the park with Karen having a great time, and she says this was her best birthday ever, but still, it’s sad to be sick on your actual birthday. The weather went from 95 to 84 on one day, so maybe it’s that.
At work, I have maintained a general rule of not speaking about my cancer to any non-Western people since I have lived in Asia. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t understand that you can survive, and I didn’t want them to think I was sick. I got a very clear understanding yesterday in class. I was teaching about inventions and innovations, specifically in the last 100 years. After all of the major technology things were brought up, they got into medicine and someone mentioned chemo-therapy.
One woman in my class began a very long debate. She said that no cancer treatment works because you always die of cancer. She talked about her cousin who was 35 and he died of throat cancer because he couldn’t eat any longer and had to have a feeding tube. She talked about her grandfather who took care of her cousin, and he got it too and died. I waited for anyone to say anything, but they just nodded in agreement. And finally, I had to break my rule.
I told them about me. I showed them my scars. They know I walk to work. They see me eat food all the time. They see me play with the girls and know I am healthy. They were speechless. I am very possibly the first person they have ever met or known about who has survived cancer. I told them it is not contagious. (Turns out, both her grandfather and cousin were heavy smokers). I also told them why I don’t tell people.
Here are some other random things that I have learned. They don’t start elementary school until about the age of 7 or 8. Half of the money used to build a skyscraper in Beijing is for the basement and the foundation. The two largest buildings in the world can be seen from my office. Typhoons aren’t scary, they are actually pleasant. In Shanghai, the men cook and clean and the women don’t.