Yesterday was such a typical day of how things work for me. My lovely nanny, Karen has been taking training classes every Sunday all summer, and yesterday she had her big test. She arranged for my good friend, Jane to come babysit the girls while I was at work. Jane is always more than happy to help out. Jane, her husband Kevin, their 2 year-old son Bill, and Kevin’s mother-in-law who’s visiting for the month, and Jane’s nanny, had the girls for the day. “Grandma” made the girls dumplings, because it’s their favorite. Of course, she didn’t think the girls were eating enough. How universal is that? Everyone went to the park for hours, then they surprise picked me up at work and took US out for pizza for dinner. A very simple example of the wonderful Chinese hospitality that is spoiling me.
Meanwhile, I was teaching a class yesterday on a subject NO ONE wanted to do. The topic was energy sources, and it involves a lot of cause and effect dealing with pollution. We did what we HAD to do, and then had about 50 minutes of “Let’s talk about whatever you want.” Well, the subject turned to dating in China. There were 4 single people in the room including me. So we were talking about good ways to meet people, what is a blind date, and how parents try to find the best match, things like that. We were comparing stories, and talking about cause and effect –which were the objectives of the lesson, by the way. I had just read an article that talked about how Level A women can’t get a date (This means highly educated and well-paid). This young female lawyer agreed. The engineer sitting next to her raised his hand to say he would date her. Anyway, by the end of the class, I think the young female lawyer and the young mechanical engineer went out for coffee together. The other older woman and I decided we were pretty good matchmakers and asked them to report back next week.
Last week, Rumi came down with something awful. She threw up for an hour starting at 5am. She had a fever of 104 on and off, and after 8 hours I was just about ready to take her to the hospital, but she got better. I forgot my girls have amazing immune systems. She got so much better that she wanted spaghetti the next day. Who does that? Me, on the other hand, got sick the next day and stayed sick for 4 days. I threw up several times over the course of a day, and had a fever for 3 days or so. The good thing is, the girls did very well for me without any help. I called my nanny to help, but she was sick as well. The other good thing is, Raine didn’t get it at all. I think I lost a lot of weight in those 4 days, but like Rumi, I was starving afterwards.
The last time Jane took the girls for a few hours, while I was sick last week, Rumi found a 50RMB bill on the ground. That’s almost $10, and it’s been burning a hole in her pocket forever. That, plus some money Rita sent and her tooth fairy money promised to be a good day at Toys R Us. Also, Rumi has grown over a size and out of everything already, so I had to get her fall/winter clothes and shoes. The poor girl honestly had NO shoes left once her flip flops broke this week. For less than $100 I bought 5 pair of pants, 2 pair of shoes, 2 shirts and a jacket, mostly at H&M which might be my new favorite store. So we get home, have a fashion show, and I notice that most of the clothes say, “Made in Turkey.” Oh, she got the latest Mariposa Barbie, and Raine took her birthday money and bought a Rapunzel. All four of them are in the bubble bath so I can write this.
Fall festival is coming up on Thursday. I am not familiar with this holiday, but it is my understanding that everyone passes out moon cakes. It is also my understanding that no one seems to actually like them or eat them. We Westerners have this theory that it is like a fruit cake. The same ones just get passed around and around. I got a coupon for moon cakes, so I gave it to Karen, my nanny. I just found out I could have sold it back to the store. It’s ok, Karen probably did. I also got a 500 RMB gift certificate for a local foreign grocery store. By foreign, I mean American. I like to buy meat there, so that will be good. I might splurge on a few other things like baking stuff or cottage cheese.
Well, it’s 86 degrees and the windows are open, but my job for the day is to sort out the fall/winter clothes, and I know I will realize that Raine has a closet full and Rumi will just have whatever I just bought. It makes me cringe, laugh and get angry when I think of the stupid pediatrician who insisted Rumi was “failure to thrive.” I can’t keep her in clothes more than 4 months. Glad that woman finally lost her license.
Wait! I forgot a funny story. Last week, I took the girls across the street to this toy store that also has art tables where they can do different art. They love making the sand art pictures. SO we’re sitting there for the longest time, and I hear this guy speaking to his son in perfect English. “Ok,” I say. “I have to know where you learned English.” He said he grew up in Seattle. I told him we were from Cleveland, Ohio, and he said he went to college in Ohio. When I asked him where, he said, “A very little-known college called Oberlin.”