Thursday, August 30, 2007

First Day of School

Today was Peter and Jack's first day of school!  We left our lovely apartment building this morning, here it is in all its glory!

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The cost for the kids was about $800 US apiece, to go to school for the year, but the ATM would only allow me to withdraw about $200 US per day, so I have been diligently going to the cash machine for the past few days and getting out the maximum.  We also needed $600 for Sophie's school, so we've been hoarding our cash as much as we can!   Finally, we got what we needed for the boys' school (60 bills!)

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Here is Peter getting introduced to his Chinese class.  This is his mathematics class; the boys have 7 subjects; math, art, music, PE, English, Chinese, and rest period where they are expected to take a nap :).  He had a struggle today as EVERYTHING was in Chinese and he didn't understand a word.  He received textbooks today that were all in Chinese, so he is overwhelmed.  I told him not to worry - his giant brain will catch on quick, just be patient with himself!

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Jack, sitting in his Chinese classroom.  He rated his first day an "8".   The kids (mostly girls) tried speaking some English to him.  He says his class is really rowdy - that he could have shouted at the top of his lungs and no one would have noticed!

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Can you guess which one Jack is?

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Here are two English teachers at school, "Green", and "Ms. Ho".  Green is Peter's teacher and Ms. Ho is Jack's teacher.  They are both very nice and extremely helpful!

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Without the boys, near the hospital going to get Sophie's hospital record for the school.

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We made a stop at the local market, here are some scenes...

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Pig legs and other pork products...

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Nice store, although Sue did see a huge rat going between the aisles!

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Sue buying some cake in celebration of the boys' first day!

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Sophie's happy wherever she is!

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Now, how to get all of our purchases home on our two bicycles!

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Me at home, diligently studying my Chinese.  Is the book upside down?  I can't tell.

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Sophie at a little sidewalk playground.  Danger Girl strikes again!

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Yesterday's shopping trip... we go to the store often as we always are finding things we need at home.

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Here's Jack having done his shopping...

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Peter helping with the groceries on his bike.

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Peter and Jack having fun on the sidewalk, with spectators as always!

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Going home with the groceries!

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Wow, he's movin' fast!

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Sophie, meeting the locals!

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Last night we got the boys haircuts.  First you sit down and they soap up your head and massage it for about 20 minutes.  Then they rinse it off and massage it for another 15 minutes.  Then a haircut, and another rinse.  All of this for about $8 US!  If you pay $15 US you get an upper body massage while they cut your hair.  I'm definitely going back there when my hair needs cutting!

I may have to jump on the train and go back to Shanghai.  Apparently we need a proof of family relationship document to show that our children belong to us, before they can get residence permits.  Our application expires on Monday (9/3), so I have been on the phone on hold with the US consulate many times and it's IMPOSSIBLE to get through. 

Sue is very nervous about me leaving her with kids in a strange city.  She is experiencing culture shock big time, and is very moody and grumpy lately!  She doesn't have any language ability or friends, so it's more scary for her.

However, after school today we met one of the Moms who speaks English and is an English teacher at a local university, and we exchanged numbers, so she may be a good friend to help Sue get adjusted!

Current adjustment factor (which changes by the minute):

Tim:  OK
Jack:  OK
Peter:  Almost OK
Sophie:  Wahoo!!
Sue:  Crankster!

Our apartment internet comes tomorrow!  Can't wait - this internet cafe is so smoky.  I think there are other people here but I can't see through the haze!


momweatbrook said...

Oh guys, the first day of school made me sad, it is a day that we usually go down to the bus stop with the boys and we could'nt do that this year. I can imagine it is really scary there for Sue. Tim, aren't you glad that you know as much Chinese as you do? Life would be doubly hard if you didn't. We really miss you guys! I'll be glad when we can Skype again. Love mom

Anonymous said...

Hugs to Sue!! Sue, you are an amazing woman with incredible strength and a fantastic sense of adventure! I have no doubt at all that in no time you will be all settled in and will be surrounded by friends in the place you made into a wonderful home. Hang in there, girlfriend! Kelly