DON'T SWEAT IT..................NOT!!

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Friday, May 22, 2009

Do you know how hard that simple phrase has become for us here?  No, it's not the stress of the world economy or other daily issues to be dealt with that makes it impossible 'not to sweat it' BUT rather it is the heat and humidity.  I know that any of our friends that live here and are reading this are probably laughing (or at least grinning) because it is only May and the summer gets much hotter and humid.

I take every precaution I can to not show up at school dripping wet.  I take a cold shower, dress slowly with as few clothes as possible, walk even slower on the shady side, think cool thoughts, pray for a sea breeze and sometimes manage to arrive 'dry'.  However, as soon as I stop moving (slowly) the water works turn on.  It's not that I mind sweating, but usually I am sprinting or racing on my bike not just sitting or standing still.  It's to the point that I'm afraid to sleep too long for fear of mushrooms growing where the 'sun don't shine'!  The only consolation as I sweat thinking that I am way too fat or out of shape is when I see many of the young fit teachers and students a fraction of my size not 'glow' but sweat too.  It is not uncommon to see very thin and well dressed men and women sweat right through their business suit jackets.

30 years ago the city we now live in (Zhuhai) was not much more than a few large villages on the Pearl River Peninsula where life was very difficult (as was everywhere in China) and owning a car meant you were very rich (an extremely rare site).  Owning a bicycle was also a privilege for the wealthier.  I have a friend my age who remembers how their family couldn't afford a $2 bicycle.  Even today, bicycles are used as tools (modes of transport) and not for recreation.  We see more being carried on bicycles and electric scooters than most of us transport in our motor vehicles back home.  Today cars are very common here and to own two is a sign of wealth.  My friend whose family couldn't afford a $2 bicycle 30 years ago now has two very nice cars and is doing very well for himself and his family.  This scenario is very typical now throughout many places in China.  How times have changed!!
Talking about changing times, when we left on this trip James had no interest in reading (as did Sophia the year before) and now we have to force Sabrina, Sophia and James to stop reading.  However, we are still at that stage wondering if Monique will ever learn to read. 
I usually like two hours or so alone early in the morning before everyone gets up to write, think get my work done but I will soon have to get up at 3:30 or 4am if I want that time or stay up later.  Yesterday morning (Thursday) both James and Sabrina where up READING their books at 6am!  James and Sophia are usually up after we go to bed reading.  James has become so addicted to reading that I now have to take his 956 page Harry Potter book from him at 9pm so he doesn't stay up all night (he just tuned 9).  
As a parent I have often asked myself what is my purpose in the eyes of our children.  If you know me you know that I have given this a lot of thought and perhaps too much so.  We have concluded that Janice and my purpose to our children are to prepare them for the world.  Most would agree that that should not have taken too long to figure out but what is more important is what does that looks like in action?  That means that we are the guardians' to these children and our job is to raise them up to leave us.  Pretty sad for Monday morning chit chat but a parent's ultimate happiness and satisfaction in life would (or at least should) come from knowing that their children can make it on their own and are able to offer the world more than they take.

Saturday we were invited to visit a factory that manufactures Cappuccino and Espresso machines for foreign markets.  We rode the buses for an hour to get to the industrial area where our friend was to show us around.  Just as we arrived our friend was called away to attend to some business and left us in the show room for over an hour.  We experimented with the Cappuccino machine making and tasting too many coffee concoctions. 

However, while waiting for our friend to return we had one of those quintessential family discussions at the table of a large corporate meeting room and talked about everything 'under the sun'.  In all our time traveling together we have touched on some subjects and other times the kids heard about what Janice and I were discussing but that day many things were in the open.  We talked about life and death and everything in between.  We discussed marriage, divorce, depression, suicide, homosexuality, politics, religion and our roles as parents.  We have never had such a free and open discussion on the 'big questions' but look forward to more.  We should never underestimate what a six year old wants and needs to know.  If we don't discuss these things (at the appropriate time) with those we love than they may have to learn the hard way.
Sabrina participated in a Band contest last week with the No.3 Middle School.  Sabrina is beginning to understand and experience the Chinese work ethic.  For example, the band leading up to the contest practised at 7am, 12:50pm and 4:15 EVERYDAY!  Now you can imagine why the Chinese are so good at some things...............they practise hard!  (More about that later when I tell you about my attempt at badminton and school life in China).
We participated in a school assembly on Monday and Janice and Sabrina judged knot art and flower arranging. We were interviewed by the City TV station and Newspaper as to our thoughts on the event.  We went back to Pearland on Wednesday to see the live entertainment and ride the rides.  Again, we were one of only a few groups of people in the park built for tens of thousands as it was a work day.
Learn Chinese in 5 minutes

Note: Although this list of translations may offend some people (more on political correctness next post), the list was originally sent to me by a Chinese friend of mine and other Chinese friends who have seen this have thoroughly enjoyed it.

That's not right... Sum Ting Wong
Are you harboring a fugitive?...Hu Yu Hai Ding?
See me ASAP...Kum Hia Nao
Stupid Man...Dum Gai
Small Horse...Tai Ni Po Ni
Did you go to the beach?...Wai Yu So Tan?
I bumped into a coffee table...Ai Bang Mai Ni
I think you need a face lift...Chin Tu Fat
It's very dark in here...Wai So Dim?
I thought you were on a diet...Wai Yu Mun Ching?
This is a tow away zone...No Pah King
Our meeting is scheduled for next week...Wai Yu Kum Nao?
Staying out of sight...Lei Ying Lo
He's cleaning his automobile...Wa Shing Ka
Your body odor is offensive...Yu Stin Ki Pu
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ndiloren on

Sum Tin Wong
I am always watching and listening.

When do you plan to be back to civilazation.

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