Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Farewell China

After 8ish years abroad, We have finally repatriated back to Mei Guo- our homeland. There's so much to think about, we built our marriage and family and adulthood in China, and transitioning to the Bay Area, settling in. I will begin a series chronicling our misadventures abroad, so that Alden may some day laugh at this crazy life he was born into, I am afraid he will forget his beginnings in China- one of his first languages, his friends, family, and way of life. I also want to chronicle repatriation for others going the same path. Its tough, crazy, and I couldn't find ANY information or advice on best methods for suddenly getting rid of everything, going to a new country and not totally stressing out. With a toddler. In his 2s.

First- setting the scene:

It's December 2015, and we are again celebrating Christmas in a land where people only see it as another retail holiday. There's decor all over the sparkling city, but lacks the depth and warmth of our childhood memories. We take Alden to see Santa for the first time- a genuinely old white man with a true American accent! (Pretty impressive) Anyways, we are at the phase of our lives where our careers are going well and, like most expats, we miss home. For T, its been 12 years. I'm surprised he still speaks english. Thru friends networks, T receives a job offer in Silicon Valley, and they want him in 2 weeks. We are paying our own relocation. The challenge was I had a week long photoshoot scheduled in SF during Chun Jie.... and our tickets were already purchased for our annual pilgrimage. Suddenly what would have been a routine family visit was moving countries. I repeat, moving, countries. We sadly broke the news to our community. It was really, really tough. Heart breaking. I was about 4 month pregnant. People said, "I thought you'd be here forever. You've always been here," and "You can't leave before us!". We had a centrally located apartment and hosted many a gatherings on the years. Holidays. Slumber parties. Costume parties, dinners, birthdays, play dates, ridiculous parties, baby showers for men, and then some. If anyone needed anything, we usually had it. People would just show up for random things, like a power ranger costume. We had built such a strong community, it felt like we were pulling the bottom Jenga tile. And we would have to re build in America. The promised land. We always imagined this day would eventually come- as it does from most expats in China (few foreigners are allowed residence permits, usually for a seismic business deed) Since we both moved to China directly after university its the only Adult life we knew.

Suddenly we had 4-6 weeks to pack up and move to America. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Alden over 8 months

1 month

2 months

3 months
4 months
5 months
6 months

7 months
8 months

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sports rehabilitation center, shenzhen

Between moving, flying, and our ever growing baby, two weeks ago I hurt my back.

So I ventured to a rehabilitation clinic for shorts injuries - Timon found it and since I was unable to stand out sit without pain I said Yes!

It was far off in Futian district, about 30 minutes by car. Timon stayed home with baby A while I hobbled out, and for an excruciating minute thought I may never obtain a cab.

When I arrived, I found that it was a huge sports area with several stadiums and training grounds. A kind fellow offered to guide me to the clinic, but I was in so much pain I want sure I could make it.  I said to myself, "you gave birth to an almost 9lb baby!  This is nothing! " so I told the security guard I would be fine, and continued according to his directions. After about 100meters my back could no longer hold me up and I was really confused because where there should have been a path it was bushes and chained off stairs. I ran into a convenience store where I saw a stool - a respite of relief - and then cried.

Over the phone  Timon helped and then the cashier lent me his arm and held my bag for me. He have me lots of encouragement as he his me to the clinic around the corner. I felt really embarrassed and small, and also grateful for the strangers help.

When I entered the clinic they were all expecting me,  and took care of my situation instantly. They were thorough in inquiring about all my physical activities,  and poked and prodded, trying isolated motions to determine what the unhappy muscle was.

After a massage,  I could stand up straight with out pain!  They also put me on a warm buzz table for 30 minutes. Ahhhh.  It felt so much better!

I would definitely go back.

Breakfast at the tencent cafe

Alden left his little signature on the Tencent note wall. Tencent is trees here internet company behind QQ, WeChat and other apps.

The had dozens of versions of their mascot logo penguin in different costumes. We have the snake costume one since alden is year of the snake.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lunch break

1. Extruded foam corn sticks. I think they taste like styrofoam-not that I've eaten styrofoam.
2. Baby bunny seller. Baskets of cute waiting for a home.
3. Lone Lion dancer offering his services to the restaurants.
Lastly I since this is a lunch post,  I guess I should mention what I are. Lamb and veggie dumplings with garlicky vinegar sauce. Yum!
An old lady also told  me alden shouldn't wear such a huge diaper because it wasn't good. I said, "but he pees so much! "

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Visit to Shekou

Aldie in his new Sack n' seat portable chair!
After a long first week settling in, we headed south to Shekou for brunch, Al fresco by the ocean ish. Shekou is the expat area of the city, and also where one ferry departs to HK.
We ate at Mama's,  open air bacon and pancakes for T(78rmb) and a croissandwich with salmon and home fries (42) and a caramel roll (25). It was in a cool area of restaurants mostly western with a large open plaza like Santa Monica. At the end of the plaza was a small cruise ship. It was a hotel and restaurant, with palm trees on its open deck. Hotel Rooms began at around 500rmb. We boarded the shop only to find it was docked in a teeny body of water,  and we still a ways from the actual ocean. Funny thing was that there was a whole mess  of people on the ship deck taking photos and sitting next smoking,  then a lady with a no came up and yelled at us to all get of the ship!  As we made out way down,  more groups of people were trying to board the ship. It's a pretty cool idea and seemed to be in partnership with Paulaner.

We also got to try out Alden's new fabric chair- which was awesome! He is grabbing and reaching for everything, so it was relief to be able to eat together without juggling him back and forth, except that he kept chucking his toys on the floor. He can throw surprisingly far. Ok - its not really throwing, but he can wave his arms a great deal and release his grip at the same time = toy across the room. But he's not quite aware and sit there confused... like, "Where did my toy go??"

The char is easy to use. Slide it on the back, buckle around the seat (so he can't stand up and pop it off the back) and then buckle the strap under his armpits through upper loops which is an upwards seatbelt if you will. The shoulder straps were a bit big for him- as you can see, his 6 month little arms can't quite reach around the straps to hold things with both hands.

Friday, November 1, 2013

First weekend shenzhen

Sunday afternoon naptime

Horse performance- reenacting a battle. Flaming arrows, and other cool tricks.

Splendid China park with mini versions of famous historical places of China, and also replicas of minority homes. We saw a war reenactment on horse, zip line over a mini west lake. And took naps.

 The first parking lot - walmart I've ever seen in China.