Henry the Kung Fu Master

IMG_0773It is almost Chinese New Year and that means it is time for Henry to dazzle us all with his kung fu skills!  He has been taking kung fu after school for a while now and was excited to get a chance to show off his moves during the school performance.  Allegedly this routine originally had the song “Kung Fu Fighting” as the accompanying music.  I have no proof of this and I am so sorry to report that for the actual performance they used some more generic Chinese music.

They performed twice and the first video I shot includes mainly the backs of other people’s heads.  It is just like the pirated DVDs we can get here!  While I am sure you all would have enjoyed watching Henry through the crowd of other parents, I managed to slide closer for the second show.  Please excuse the giant pole that blocks his floor moves!  My video skills could use some work, obviously.  The best part of the performance occurred when the kids took the stage and the children in the audience from Henry’s class started calling out, “Henry! Henry!”  I don’t think I captured that on film, but you might get to see his dismissive wave as he walks to his spot.  Stars have no time for the commoners, you know.


Catching Up

So, helloo….  Here in China many things have been happening.  But basically after Bali, it has been school, school, and more school.  Henry is chafing at the possibility that he might actually have to finish out the year at his current school.  Why he thought he would be moving to Lucas and Ava’s school in the middle of the year is anyone’s guess.  He has been telling his teachers since August that this week is really his last.  Enjoy his wit and wisdom while you can, suckers!  Henry isn’t going to be here for you to kick around much longer!  Of course, he eats those words every Monday morning as I march him right back to his classroom.  He has begun to parrot back to me all the things we tried to say so diplomatically when it became obvious that Ava would need to make a change last year.  “It just isn’t a good fit for me!” he will announce as he attempts, once again, to have a sick day.  No dice, little buddy.  Every day he asks how much longer until summer vacation and scowls when I inform him that it is a long, long way away.

Ava is thriving at her new school.  This is a big deal for her after last year and I am relieved.  So, so, so relieved.  Her most recent parent teacher conference involved me seeing her progress and then bursting into tears.  Ava was leading the conference so I was forced to explain that they were ”happy tears”.  I looked less ridiculous when her teacher started crying too.

And Lucas is, well, Lucas.  He likes his school but complains in the morning.  He likes riding the bus.  He does well in his classes.  He is playing the clarinet.  He loves the swim team.  He likes China but sometimes wishes we could move back to Maryland and settle back into our cozy yellow house.  But usually he is happy.

They are all speaking more Chinese than I ever imagined.  Henry mumbles to himself and sings Chinese songs.  Ava and Lucas argue over the pronunciation and meaning of characters.  All of them love correcting me, of course.  I am the Mandarin idiot around here, still struggling with the most basic things.  Lucas has needed to translate for me with workmen more times than I would like to admit.  Even Henry congratulated me a few weeks ago after a trip to the wet market.  It had been so smart of me to bring him along.  He had helped me so much with his “translating”.

I am still less settled in than the children, I think.  Being a tai tai* is less exciting than one might think.  I go to my Chinese class twice a week.  I spend an obscene amount of time procuring food for the family.  I go to the fabric market and the fake market and the flower market to buy more crazy things. I have lunch with my new friends.  I work on my never ending dissertation.  I try to wrap my head around daily life in China and usually fail miserably.  Why do Chinese people do that?  I have no idea.  Don’t ask me.  I am thinking about next year and how I want things to be.  I am considering going back to work but I am unsure of how that will pan out.  We will see.  So things are fine.  Things are good.  Thanks for asking.

*Tai tai means wife, but since I am White and unemployed by choice it is the equivalent of “ladies who lunch.” Yes, this is killing me.  Let’s never speak of it again.

Finishing the School Year

It has been some rough times this school year, but I’m finally moving on.  My dad tried to move me at the beginning of the year to another school, but it didn’t really work.  All they would do is be a butt.  My dad thought it would be hard if I left my school at the end of the year because I would have made friends and it would be hard to leave them behind.  Leaving them behind would not be easy because it would give me a bad feeling.  Some of my friends live very close so I can probably see them a lot, but others I am not so sure.  I’m hoping to get the phone numbers of all my friends so then I can invite them over for playdates and sleepovers.  I hope next school year works out.


Dictated to Gwen by Ava

Next Year

Next year I am going to change schools because we think Yew Chung isn’t the right fit for me.  So I am going to go to SAS which I hope will be a better fit for me.  Just to let you know, I’m not really lovin’ YCIS.  It is sort of an ok school, but it does a lot of work that I’m not really used to.  Everybody thinks that the work I do is easy but for me it is not.  I would be fine if I had to stay there but it just isn’t really the right place for me.

I will miss my friends there and they have already said they will miss me, but still, I have to do what is right for me.  I can have play dates and sleepovers whenever I want, but for school I have to do what is best for me, not what is best for everyone else.

I hope that SAS will be a better fit, but if it isn’t… there are always other schools!


Dictated to Gwen by Ava

Chopstick Dance

I miss Freerealms.  That game was all about me.  I really want to play Freerealms.  I was all about Freerealms.

On Friday, I ate pork and pork and pork and pork.  I had it for dinner at a restaurant.  I loved it.

We saw a dance at my school.  There was a Chopstick Dance.  I also did the Chopstick Dance with my class.  We did it in the morning.  I didn’t have chopsticks so I practiced with my fingers.  For the dance they gave us fancy chopsticks with red streamers.  They are light colored wood.  Just to borrow.  Not to take home.  I wore special clothes on Friday.  I wore a red and gold jacket with fancy buttons.  My pants had dragons on them.  It was silky material.  I wore it because it was a special day.  It was for Chinese New Year.  I showed my mom one move from the dance.

Dictated to Gwen