Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lost in Transitsion 80/365

We currently live in a nice house on a hill in the the country with lots of goats, two dogs and several cats. We've been there for 5 months. We thought that we had become well adjusted to our new life in America. We can go to the grocery store without getting lost and over whelmed in the juice isle. We can be in public places without standing too close to people or forgetting to say "excuse me" if we accidentally bump into them. We even stand in line in civilized manner....

But it seems when we do leave our hill or our small town we get a little confused. What do you mean my passport can't be used as my main form of ID? America has a lot of silly rules for a country that boasts of freedom. I can't even walk across the isle from my bag to chase my baby in the airport?

After a very long day of traveling and feeling a little out of place William asked me "Why are we so messed up?! I thought we were a lot better adjusted than this."
Well so did I, but I guess we need a bit more practice coming down off our hill of goats.

I tried to comfort William as best I could. You see, we spent ever waking moment for the past three years trying to adapt, understand and even at times mimic a completely different culture. There were times when we tried to "be Chinese." There were other times when we felt completely lost too, but we usually tried to understand those times and figure out how to we could 'fit in' better.

Anyway, that's a lot of effort put into a another culture and sometimes even to forget or let go of our own.

But now we are back in our own culture. Mostly. We are still living in the upper south of the US, which is totally different from California where we both grew up.
So I think it's going to take us a little time and maybe a little more effort to adjust back. Or maybe we just never will and we'll always feel a bit out of place where ever go.

At any rate, please forgive us if we stand too close to you in public, or if we crowd the elevator door, if we forget to how to stand in line, or if we don't have what Americans seem to think is proper ID.

The Skies are indeed Friendly 79/365

Today was a very long day. It was also flight 23 and 24 of Bonnie Rose's life. She's such a good flier. 

We woke up at 4:45 so we could drive to the airport. Bonnie Rose was such a good sport about it.
Tired during breakfast in the airport
Even though we were lucky enough to have an empty seat on both our flights Bonnie Rose just wanted to be held and cuddled the first flight. She very much enjoyed her own seat on the second one though.
Flying sleepy with Daddy
The first thing we did after we arrived was visit one of our favorite places to eat of all time. In and Out. They are only in California so we've very much missed them.
Double Double, Animal Style
William said, "Now I feel like I'm back in America"
Mission Accomplished!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Packing Day 78/365

The last time we visited William's family, 2 years ago, his mom asked me if "I had ever considered packing light?"
That suite case was about half the size of the one I packed today.
Considered? yes. Achieved? not so much.

In my defense I am traveling with a whole extra person who routinely spills, throws up on, pees on or just generally gets dirty most of her clothes. And that's not even considering what she does to mine.
Also it is winter. There is 10 feet of snow on the ground at our destination. AND the local area has a history of people getting stuck in the snow and eating each other.
Which means we both need lots and lots of layers.

Plus extra food. Cause I don't want to be eaten.

The Most Random Blog Post Ever 77/365

Sometimes at the end of the day I feel like nothing interesting or exciting happened. I usually complain that "I have nothing to say or post on my blog." Then I look at the pictures on my camera or walk through the house on the way to bed and see the remnants of a fun with my Baby Girl.

Yesterday was one of those days.

We girls had a dance party. Baby has very eclectic taste in music. We find out yesterday that she likes AC/DC
video

Right before bed Bonnie Rose got a bath and her hair was so beautiful.  I kept trying to get a good picture of her curls but I just couldn't capture just how beautiful her hair is. You'll have to take my word for it.

Baby Girl has a great fondness for boxes. They make the best toys.

On the way to bed I was admiring all the laundry I did. Doing laundry in The States is so wonderful.  This is a picture of ONE load of laundry I did yesterday...
In China this would have been two or three loads. We had a very small machine and it was actually larger than some I'd seen.  Also, most people in China don't have a dryer. So all the laundry has to be hung up to dry. Most people hang their laundry out side.

You can see more pictures of laundry out to dry on my mom's blog here. 

With the humidity of Shanghai laundry takes all day to dry. This one load of laundry would have taken me two days to wash and dry in Shanghai...not to mention the other two loads I did yesterday.
Amazing.
America is so convenient.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Markets and Smiles 75-76/365

Saturday we went to Nashville's Farmer's Market. It was raining again so that meant no crowds. It was so much fun to see piles of fruits and vegetables for sale by local farmers. It kind of reminded us of the markets we went to in Shanghai.
We also found an Indian market there. So many spices and rices and flours and food imported from India. The whole store smelled like Indian food. It was wonderful.
They had the biggest bag of rice flour I had ever seen!
They had a whole isle of rice. "A proper rice isle" as I called it. With large bags of rice, very much like what we were used to in China. Not like in the states where the largest bag of rice you can find is only 1pound.
After the Farmer's Market and the Indian market we when to Trader Joe's for our much needed Gluten Free Waffles and green salsa. We had 4 things on our list and we came out of there with a trunk full of goodies. Some good for us and some just good.

Down the road from Trader Joe's is a Whole Foods. I'd never wandered around a WholeFoods before and I wanted to see if I could find some sugar free candy for Baby's Easter basket. I didn't find any candy that I wanted for Baby but I did find this!

Whole sections of Gluten Free foods of all kinds! It was so exciting to find so much Gluten Free food in one place. Some of it I didn't even know existed! As you can see Mom and I were giddy about it.
They even had Gluten Free English Muffins! I was just saying to William last week that I missed English Muffins the most. But look at those prices! $6 for five muffins! We didn't buy anything from Wholefoods because it was all so expensive, but it was fun to look at everything.
It was a long day of shopping but it was fun to get out and see what Nashville has to offer. William bought me a really beautiful rose at the Farmer's Market and Bonnie Rose really loved smelling it. She really loves flowers.
Sunday was a lazy day. The only picture I took was of Baby Girl sitting in church with her Daddy.
The rest of the day was spent with naps and watching Cleopatra, in memory of Elizabeth Taylor who recently died. It is a long movie so it took all day watch it, but I'm glad I finally got to watch it. I've been meaning to for years but never got around to it. 
Beauty, drama, glamor, scandals, compaction, love, passion... Whatever your opinion of her, Elizabeth Taylor was a presence in Hollywood that will definitely be missed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday William! 74/365

Yesterday was William's Birthday. William is my funny and ever so serious husband, and friend. I usually try not to say things like "I'm married to my best friend" because I don't like to take the romantic love I feel for William out of our marriage, and that just doesn't sound romantic to me. But yeah, I don't know what I'd do without him. He's my partner in crime, my fellow adventurer and he's always cheering me on in all of my craziness--even if he is pretending to be appalled by my silliness. He keeps me grounded while I keep him silly and young. He's my biggest supporter and my champion. He's my rock and my sunshine. I love this man. I love this artist.

But enough of this mushy stuff. Let's see some pictures!

Here are some great shots of William when he was a kid. Miriam took some really amazing pictures of him growing up and it was really hard to pick just a few.

Apparently this is how fishermen size up their children.

William on his second birthday. Birthday's are very serious.

I just really love this picture. 

William and I when we were 5. Look at those smiles. It was destiny.

William graduates high school! Which is an accomplishment really since he never went to kindergarten.

So to celebrate this lovely man we had a day out and about. First Baby Girl and I took him out to breakfast. Ok, so really it was more like brunch because everyone should sleep-in on their Birthday.

Actually I really think that everyone should take off work on their birthdays. This was the first year I managed to convince William to that however, but I think he liked it and hopefully we can keep the tradition going. 
Also, you should have Ice Cream for breakfast on your birthday.  
William takes his ice cream very seriously.

After breakfast we drove to Nashville and went to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Art Museum. 

Everything was in bloom and so so lovely. It was perfect that it was a little rainy because it meant we had the place almost all to ourselves.

We spent some time in the Japanese Garden where the cherry tree was in full bloom and looked heavenly. The whole ground was sprinkled with little pink peddles.

Then we walked the sculpture garden trail. We came upon a sculpture of some animals in a circle and Bonnie Rose spend 20 minutes going from each animal and petting it. I think she would have stayed longer but it was raining.

Then we found the a pet cemetery. We were guessing maybe they were dogs. They had funny names and short lives. The first one in the circle was born in 1928.

Even though it was raining, it was so beautiful to see everything blooming. Spring in Tennessee has so many bright and vibrant colors.

For William's birthday I let him play on his iPhone as much as he wanted. (I'm usually telling him to put the damn thing down as it's impossible to have a conversation with him when it's always in front of his face.) This is what he looked like all day long.
After Cheekwood we met up with Anandit and Albert one more time for dinner and had some wonderful Indian food. It was good to spend time with friends and especially with people who appreciate William. We made wishful plans to visit Shanghai with them someday.

When we got home we were very exhausted but there was still some birthday celebrating to do. Bonnie Rose helped her Nana back a cake, and licked the mixers, and then made a card for her Daddy.

We put 3 and 2 candles on the cake for 32.

William wanted a chocolate cake with lemon frosting on it. He made his own frosting and my mom made the cake. It's not a combination I would suggest trying. But the cake was good and the frosting was good...separately.

We ended a very long day with cards, gifts and cake and then we all fell into bed. I hope William had a good birthday and I hope he feels loved and appreciated. Because he is.
So that was the first day of celebrating William's birthday. We still have a whole weekend ahead of us for lots more celebrating, rain or shine. 

Happy Birthday William.

Friday, March 25, 2011

tea for fussy babies and fatties 73/365

Today was a weird funky day. Baby didn't feel quite right and was fussy all morning. She's such a happy baby all the time so when she's not happy it really worries me. I held her and tried to comfort her as much as she would let me. Finally I gave her some chamomile tea and read her some books till she calmed down enough to nurse herself to sleep. After her nap she was our happy baby girl again.
She played and laughed and ate lots of dinner and then had a nice long bath. I'm glad she's feeling better.

And speaking of tea, I have the box of tea that a friend in China gave me...
From what I can tell from translating the box, it's lotus root tea. Apparently it's good for losing weight. With my weird food allergies and because I'm nursing I don't like to try things without researching them first, especially weight loss stuff.  So I looked online and tried to figure out if this was ok for breastfeeding moms.

My favorite breastfeeding site, kellymom.com, doesn't have much on Chinese herbs (although it does have a lot of info on other herbs that should be avoided) so I was trying to translate Chinese sites and figure it out. I'm so out of practice is sad.

I did find this site www.zixiutangusa.com and thought the Cheng-lish description of lotus root was very funny.
Here it is EXACTLY as it's written on the site.

 [Tageted Group] Pure fatness .postpartum fatness,induding fatties unable to reduce and control their weight with diet controe or sports
.
[Not suitable for ]pregnant and breast-feeding women ,adolescant,people with serious disease and allergic to this pruduct.
 So there you go. This tea is good for fatties!



our beautiful spring sunset
the sun set over the pond

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My wonderful life 72/365

I am very much in love with spring. Today we spent most of our day outside. It was wonderful.

Playing with Daddy

Baby smells the flowers

Friends say good bye

Baby rides her bike
Baby Girl had such a wonderful time outside today learning about the flowers and the dirt. William showed her a dead mouse and she got to play with sticks. I love how comfortable and confident she is outside.

And for an extra special end of the day I taught Baby Girl how to lick her plate. She seemed to think it was great fun and I know it's a skill she'll thank me more for later in life when she doesn't want to miss a single drop of some wonderful food on her plate.
My life sure is wonderful.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A day is not enough 71/365

Yesterday our dear friends Albert and Anandit visited us from California with their daughter.

2007, when we were young.
The first time I met Anandit it was love at first site. We met in church on our second time visiting The Church of Southland. She was hard to miss with her brightly colored clothes and her gentle smile. I remember driving home from church that day and saying to William, "I think I'm in love, do you think she'll call me?"
She didn't. But we saw each other at church and talked about our common love for India. (she being from India and me just being obsessed with it)

In 2006 we became more than just friends. Anandit invited me to visit India with her. It was a trip that bonded us together as sisters. We have shared that bond and sisterly love ever since.

Since our trip to India she has graduated medical school, she got married, I moved to China, and we both had babies.  No matter how far apart we are and no matter how crappy I am at keeping in touch with my friends, she has always been a faithful friend.

Her husband Albert is pretty cool too.

The last time we saw Anandit and Albert was two years ago. We were both pregnant and it stressful transitional stages in our lives.

So much has changed over the years. I feel like I'm a completely different person than I was when I first went to India, and even just 2 years ago. It's so wonderful to be able to visit with old friends and know that no matter how life changes, and how much we change, our friendship is still strong and precious.

Yesterday we talked all day and watched our daughters play and get to know each other. We look a long walk and spent most of the day in the goat pen. We ate wonderful food that William made and marveled at the fact that we have kids now.

Our babies are just three months apart and loved following each other around and learning from each other.
Collecting rocks in the goat pen

Playing in the goat's water

getting each other very wet

Learning about the guitar from Albert

Daddy and Daughter prayer meeting

very tired little girls

A beautiful smile from a beautiful child

Bed time reading
Today Albert and Anandit are leaving. We've had the most wonderful day together and I'm so thankful for it. But a day just isn't long enough.