This week I was ELATED to find a playground that is just a short 5 min drive from my house. And once again found myself thankful for our car! Without it, I would not be able to explore this area with 3 kids in tote and would not have found this playground. I was reminded of how last summer we went back to the U.S. for a few months and how I had a blast watching my kids "catch" up on physical playground skills. Things that they hadn't had access to here, they were catching up to their peers (without any problems). It took Abby 2 tries to master the monkey bars - which she was incredibly proud of! Then I was sort of sad thinking about what they do not have being raised here in Asia. So, when I found this playground early this week, I didn't think twice about paying $1.47 per kid to get in and for the kids to play for an hour or so, until a friend posted on facebook about how playgrounds are free in the U.S. Hmmm. . .. that's right! Not only does the U.S. have lots of playgrounds (pubic playgrounds and school playgrounds) but they are both free to the publics use (the school ones are when school is not in session anyway). Here, it is not so. But I am thankful for our $1.47 playground and we will go back weekly I think!
Last night as I was driving on the interstate I had a car from behind me start turning their lights on and off. Other times I've been driving at night I've had cars flash brights on and off right behind me. In the U.S. where I come from this would be a very aggressive thing to do on the road. I might think some nasty thoughts about what they want or why they are doing it and I (more likely) might get a bit scared thinking about their intentions. But here, it is a common courtesy to let the person ahead of you know that you are going to pass them. It's a road courtesy to prevent accidents. I am hoping that I don't adapt too much so that it overflows into my stateside driving skills!
Last night I went to the grocery store (the import one) for some western groceries. I was looking at the cereal aisle which would look skimpy in America but which actually has quite a few selections considering where I live and that they really don't typically eat cereal for breakfast - thus- there are very few Chinese options here. (so they are all imported) I had never seen a box of Kix cereal here before and there was one box on the way tip top shelf. I reached up to pull it down and saw the price tag as I was pulling it down from the shelf. $8.65 for a normal size box. Is that insane or what?! I have not bought Kix in the states (maybe not ever) in a long time, if ever. . . so I don't know what the comparison is but I'm thinking it is at least double the price right? If you live in the United States and can shed light for me on the cost of a normal (not family sized) box of Kix is I would love it!
Well, today my standard line of "I'll have to ask my mother about that. . ." did not work to fend off 4. .. count them 1. . .2 .. . 3. . .4 Chinese grandmothers who were ready to have my hung for taking Levi outside. Let me paint the picture for you. It was 57 degrees outside, sunny with a light breeze. I was wearing jeans, a short sleeve shirt and a spring jacket and was sweating a little bit when in the sun. Hudson desperately needed to get outside this morning for some fresh air and run around time. It was Levi's nap time, so I packed him up in his winter snowsuit and put him in the baby carrier that buckles into my sit and stand stroller. He was NOT cold. I'm positive of that. In fact, he was cooing and smiling at me until he fell asleep. One of the little old ladies came over to see him and smiled before squinting her eyes at me and in an accusatory voice told me I was really not smart for taking such a little baby outside. Then she yells at another one to come and see the "foreigner with a baby! She has him outside. .. he is way too small to be outside." To which they then both call another old lady over and this continued until 4 old ladies and one old man were all gathered around my stroller. I was blocked in and they wouldn't let me leave. I started by thanking them for their concern and that I was sure he was old enough to be outside, just please don't touch him. I want to protect him from germs. They went on and on and on. Most of which I could understand, but a lot I couldn't. They were so angry at me. . . I just kept trying to escape the situation. I finally moved my stroller away and closer to where Hudson was kicking his soccer ball around. They followed me! They told me that I needed to have him in the sun and that he was not warm enough over here in the shade. I started to explain that he shouldn't be in the sun for too long because his skin is really sensitive and could get burned and then I realized they were not listening. They were too busy talking about me to each other to listen. I was providing them with entertainment today so I finally said that I would ask my mom about that because she is in her 50's and raised 3 kids and is a nurse and. . . and the truth is they did not care. I finally told them very directly to leave me and my boys alone today. We are trying to get some fresh air and exercise and they were interupting me from enjoying this time. How is that for majorly direct? Well. . . I figured if they were going to be so direct towards me, they wouldn't be offended by my being direct towards them. I could at least be honest. It actually didn't deter them. 2 of them stayed and kept talking to me about how cold it must be for the baby. I just ignored them. I kicked the ball around with Hudson and didn't look at them even though they stayed right nearby. We stayed until Hudson wanted to leave and I was SO relieved when he finally was done and ready to find another place to play! Not an everyday occurance I hope and pray!