Thursday, September 18, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Rainy Day

It's raining here in Xi'an and we just came home from a little walk to a local mall. The mall here is like 8 stories high and arranged like a very upscale open air market. All the stores are arranged around the escalator and there's not really an official opening or doorway per store.
I have had so much to process and think about that I decided to share with you all the stuff going on in my head. Be afraid. Be very afraid! These are just some of my observations of traveling to another nation, all the way across the globe. Are you ready for this? (Keep in mind, most of it is typed with my tongue firmly in my cheek and there is no offense intended!)
  • My beauty regime and daily preparations to "face the world" are meaningless in this land. Once they get done staring and poking each other to look at my big, wild red hair, the natives' gazes immediately drop to my feet. I'm guessing it is to see what fashionable, middle-aged white women wear when abroad.

  • The boxes that they pass off for beds here make me feel older than I ever thought possible by the time I drag myself out of bed each morning. My bones feel bruised and my joints ache by 4 a.m. They warned me about the hard beds. I knew it was coming. So far, the only good thing I can glean from these hard "beds" is that Aidan doesn't even feel me sliding out from under the covers in the mornings.

  • One great thing about a daughter who doesn't hear from one ear is how deeply she sleeps. Seriously, her habit is to turn her head onto her hearing ear when she's really asleep, so The Boss and I don't really have to soft-shoe around the sleeping baby. This bodes well for Shaggy's drum practice and Dr. D's French horn rehearsals :)

  • If I loved my front-loader washer and dryer before I came to China, I am absolutely crazy about them now. I canNOT wait to wash every single thing we brought with us. Packing light by utilizing only 2 or 3 color schemes was a terrific idea. I am now sick of aqua and brown and rust. And I may never wear those brown capris again. Or at least for a couple weeks!

  • I am thankful for my flip flops. We had been warned that, while the hotels are very nice and almost luxurious, the management doesn't have the same concern for clean floors that we (I?) do. I am also grateful for my Sw!ffer and Mr. St*nley Ste*mer.

  • I am actually beginning to miss the smell of my town. For those of you who know where I live and what piggy place is nearby, you may really think I've gone off the deep end. But trust me, facing all these foreign smells is challenging at best. The thoughts of the land of pig processing is strangely comforting. (Seriously, it's mostly that industrial diesel smell, but on a rainy day one can really smell the sewers here.)

  • After more than a week of old HBO and time-delayed CNN, I am thinking that I might spend Sunday after our flight home just watching about 14 shows at once. In English. With no Stallone anywhere in sight.

  • I am seriously grateful for Uncle Bob D's blackberry tip. He knows what I'm talking about. It has rescued The Boss and I numerous times from gastrointestinal distress of varying kinds. And Uncle Bob? While I've not seen any fresh peaches any where since we've arrived, I think this land is some kind of Coca Col* nirvana. Brilliant stroke of marketing on their part but really unfortunate for The Boss and I. We've gone over to the dark side and become P*psi people (you can blame The Boss, he started it!). Can someone get me a Diet Wild Cherry P*psi please?
Well, that's not all. There's plenty more crazy thoughts like these running through my head almost every minute of our time here. Except for when we're crossing streets. Then all I can think is "Please don't let me get hit. Please don't let me get hit." But seriously, my mom commented earlier in the week about sensory overload - that's my brain. I canNOT shut it off. Many of these thoughts make me giggle, and so I'm sure the Chinese people are quite entertained by the crazy white lady with the frizzy red hair laughing to herself as she walks down the sidewalks. Hmmmph. Welcome to my life :)

So, I know why you are all here and I won't make you wait any more. Prepare to feel the sweetness running through your veins. There should be a warning on pics like these: "Warning! Cuteness Quotient Likely to be Exceeded When Viewing Pictures." So don't say I didn't warn you.

The obligatory shampoo mohawk shot. I now have one of all 5 of my kids :)

My new favorite - she's a Water Baby!

Now she smells like a Gang baby - fresh, clean and all Johnson & Johnson-y.

There, were they cute enough for ya? We're off to catch the show at the lobby fish tank. Scared of it at first, she is now completely entranced by the colors and motion. And by The Boss's imitations of fish lips. Personally, that's the part that scares me. Just a little.


A Beautiful Mess said...

what a smile!!!

soooo cute:)

safe and happy travels!

Kateri said...

Oh the one of her fresh from the bath with die for!!!
Thanks for starting my day with a laugh, my dear friend. I REALLY needed that. Things are a bit crazy around here and I can always count on you...even if you are half way around the world:)
Are they touching your hair? I was surprised to find them touching Kyrsten's hair since it's very dark but I guess they texture was of interest???
Thanks for my morning dose of cuteness. I can preceed with my day now:)

Kempers said...

Just had to check for more pictures on my way out the door to the gym. Love the mohawk!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop in and let you know that hubby and I are having so much fun following your adventures! As a fellow "hard of hearing in one ear gal" I will attest to the fact that it comes in handy sometimes. Besides the selective hearing excuse (don't use that one on Phil) I can sleep wonderfully while camping, when kids are making noise etc etc. Stinks to be a little girl at a sleepover while all the other little girls are whispering juicy gossip but is wonderful as an adult to turn out noise! :>) When the kids were babys, Phil heard them crying and would poke me to wake me. In the morning, he never knew he did it and I could fall into a wonderful deep sleep!
As for the beds, we pushed both our singles together, asked for more duvets, put them under the sheets and slept together accross both beds with the seam in the middle. Actually felt pretty good... Just an idea since you re-arrange your room anyway....
Your little lady is a charmer!!! Those cheeks are just so yummy!! Enjoy your last couple days in Xi'an. GZ is a whole different atmosphere inside and out - it will be a good change for you! Take care ~ Vonda

Brittany Ray said...

Hello Gang,

We loved the bath pictures and can really relate to your thoughts regarding beds, smells, etc. and I so wish I had know about the blackberry brandy.

Brittany, Bayley, and Addie

Aus said...

You are a HOOT! A royal stitch! And this was a morning, when more than most - I needed that! You're 100% correct - the 'smells' in China were the toughest thing I had to adjust too! So great to see you guys - thanks so much for sharing your adventure with the world!

aus and family

Anonymous said...

Hello Gang
I love the bath picture she must smell so nice now.I know what you mean about the blackberry b
It has helped
Hurry back for Uncle C meatballs XOXOXO I AM OFF TO THE GYM NOW LOVE YOU GUYS

Kay Bratt said...

So much of this is familiar to me! (Except somehow I missed the mall in Xi'an..)

Did you know that some hotels will "loan" you a pillow top mattress to go on your hard bed? We spent three months on hard beds and when our shipment of household good arrived in China and our old,comfy bed was set up....I cried. I really, really cried. I was so happy.

Oh, the smells. To those that have never spent time in China...there is no way to describe it.

The crossing streets-- yes, every time you reach the other side in one piece, you feel as though you have tempted fate.

Lastly, your daughter is absolutely gorgeous. You are a lucky Mom...


BBE said...

Mommy and Daddy, I love you very much. The pictures are very cute! I'll be happy to see you and Aidan when you get home. I can't wait to hold her. Love, Baby Blue Eyes

VikingClanEnMass said...

Mornin' all! Love the note from BBE!! Great bath shots!
Our guys have developed a habit of coming to me after baths and saying, "smew my hay-yo," (Which translates from toddler- speak to English as, "Smell my hair!" of course!)
Though now that I think of it...VikingBoys1&2 have not done that in quite a number of years! I guess at some point teenagers don't want their mommy smelling their hay-yo.
Nice mohawk...maybe you'll start a fashion trend to be seen in all the "haute couture" baby mags!
I second the idea of pushing beds together and padding with extra duvets! Good rest is essential to parents of little ones
...especially until they learn the fine art of sleeping in, by which time you are already accustomed to rising at the crack of dawn.
Well, off to start my day with laundry and a run on the treadmill. Thanks for the pics, have a great day!

Anonymous said...

She really is very cute! Love those cheeks. VB

Mervy said...

Ok - pictures aside - I'm trying to figure out why the locals would stare at your feet - maybe they're so big or the nail polish - cause I know you're wearing sandles and all...or wondering why you would wear sandles with squatty potties abounding...I dunno - that's what I would be thinking.

Elissa said...

Love these kinds of posts. It's easy to get so wrapped up in your delicious baby and forget to record the tidbits about China that you'll surely want to remember (ok, maybe you won't want to remember the smell, but you know what I mean :)

Aidan truly is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen! Kiss those cheeks and tell her it's from her blog aunt in Texas :)

Salzwedel Family said...

Ahhh...pure sweetness! Love your commentary.

Betsy Bell said...

So glad to see everyone this happy! She is adorable of course!
The sights, sounds and smells of China are part of the magic there for me! When I visit my friends we sleep on a bed made out of plywood with a 1 inch thick cotton quilt on top for comfort so the beds in Xi'an and GZ were pretty comfy in comparison! Enjoy everything, even the difficult stuff, it'll be a memory soon.

Amie@HeartSmiles said...

oh the mohawk shot is pricelss! And that smile.... too sweet!


Carol said...

That is a great smile! We never got close to that in China!! You go Girl!!! Kudos!!!!

We stayed in Xian too, so we totally know what you are talking about!

We got laughed at quite a bit...wonder what they would say now that my son has a mohawk....LOL

Anonymous said...

Looks like some good bonding is happening. Adorable pictures and we are counting the days. God certainly has His hand on our clan.
Love you and miss you, GramO

Jonni, John & Sofia said...

I am definitely having cuteness overload with those sweet princess photos of Aidan, what a sweetheart! The good news is that once you get to Guangzhout the beds are so mucg softer. I was so happy when we finally got to a place with a soft bed. I hear ya on the traveling light thing too. I was also sick of those same 4 outfits by the time we left. Just think, you are almost home. Please give Aidan a kiss from us. Those cheeks are just scrumptious!

Love you guys,

Jonni, John & Sofia said...

Sorry, I meant Guangzhou.

Deborah said...

Hello Gang...we are fellow LH'ers and were in Xian in February. Jo was our guide as well and we loved her! Please tell her Lily says "Hi!" and that she is doing great! The Chinese notary who officiated your adoption did ours as well! We were lucky enough to travel in the Winter and didn't get too many funky smells. We loved the Muslim Market and the Terra Cotta Warriors and hope you do, too. Have a great trip!!!
Deborah DeBraal

Melissa said...

I'm in love!!! Can you bring back one for me, too????

David and Sarah said...

Thanks for the laugh!

The pictures are adorable. She is a cutie.


Matt Newell said...

She is so cute, I'm soo happy for you guys,I can't wait to meet her when I come back for Christmas.

julie said...

Loved the pictures in the bath tub, she is a cutey!!!

TCC said...

I love the mohawk look! We did that too.