Archive for February, 2009

Get Your Own Square!

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

The Chinese love “physical checks.”  Chris and I were required to have all sorts of medical tests done back in December in order to get our invitation letters from Tsinghua. These tests included EKGs, HIV tests, and lung x-rays, and our doctors had to verify that we weren’t suffering from such ailments as leprosy, black plague, or yellow fever.  A few days after our arrival, we were notified that we would need to have our physical checks verified by the Chinese government, so we were loaded into a van and carted across the city to a place where we were told we’d have to have new physical checks done.  Who knows why, but the good news is that we’re still HIV and plague-free.


Finally Online.

Friday, February 27th, 2009

We finally have an internet connection in our apartment.  Our previous wireless thievery required us to check our email in places in the apartment where computers should never be used.  Case in point:


We have so much to report, but we’re off to buy bikes now.  Expect more soon.  Don’t worry.  All posts from this point on will be typed at an actual desk.  Good thing germs aren’t transmitted electronically…

Still Alive.

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posting.  To say this has been an overwhelming week would be an understatement.  Wee P’s ayi started yesterday seems to be a very nice person.  P starts her school tomorrow.  We’re all excited about that!

Right now, we are stealing someone’s wireless connection, and there are huge chunks of the day that we’re unable to get online.  We’re hoping to have our own connection by tonight or tomorrow.  At that point, we’ll be able to post more frequently.

Wanted: Chinese Gingy.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Great news!  In the past two days, we’ve succeeded in both hiring a nanny (ayi) for Wee P and getting P into the “kindergarten” here on campus.  P went with me to check out the kindergarten today and cried when she realized she wasn’t going to be able to start today.  I reminded her that everyone at the school speaks Mandarin and that for a while, she won’t be able to understand what people are saying to her.  To this, she responded, “That’s okay.  I’m sure I’ll find someone to play with.”  If only adults could adapt to change so gracefully! (more…)

Home, Sweet Home.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

We’re finally in our apartment and can tell already that this place it going to feel like home really quickly. P loves her new bedroom and is having a fantastic time setting it up to her specifications. She’s currently in the living room watching Dora the Explorer in Mandarin. The kid is in heaven!

While I’m on the topic of P, this morning, she brought me a piece of paper and asked me to write her name on it. She then went into her room and came out a few minutes later to show me this:



Monday, February 16th, 2009

Forgive the telegraphic nature of this post.  It’s 3:30 am and all four of us are wide awake.  P is in bed eating from a box of cereal proclaiming it to be the “bestest Chinese cereal in the world.”


Announcement: We’re Both Posting.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Everyone — if you intend on following along, please keep your eye out for the fact that some of the posts will be Chris’s and some will be Christie’s. We decided that it made little sense for Chris to post his reflections at his blog, since that would require some people to go back and forth between the two blogs, and it would also mean that people reading Chris’s blog would have to sift through boring posts on Confucius to find the trip-related stuff. So it’ll all be right here under “one roof.” Just look below each post for “Tags” so see who the author is. Also, since we’re both posting, you might want to scroll down a bit — there may be more than one post on any given day.

Three Themes of Day One.

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Three themes ruled our first day in China.

1)  Gratitude. We’ve been amazed at how incredibly helpful people have been to us since we arrived.  The Chinese love children, so I think we’re receiving VIP treatment thanks to the presence of P and Wee P.  Everywhere we go, people go out of their way to help us in various ways.


When Understanding is Overrated.

Friday, February 13th, 2009

We’re in the airport in Chicago right now.  There were two loud-talking, mom jean-wearing businessmen sitting behind us on the flight here.  They seemed to both work in the exciting world of air filtration, so all the “filter this, filter that” became white noise after a while – until one said, “We’re opening up a new plant in Canada, because the labor rate is lower there.  Also, you know, Canadians are a lot smarter than Mexicans.”

Somehow, I’m looking forward to living in a place where I rarely understand anything anyone says for a while.

Phoning In and Heading Out.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

I’m way too tired from packing and remembering all the five million things I need to remember to actually put words together, so I’m scrounging some recent photos from my camera and calling this a post.