Monday, September 3, 2007

I Look Chinese! (From the Back)

After dropping off Peter and Jack at their school, it was off to Sophie's first exciting day.  Here she is, getting dropped off, with her teacher.

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My head and coat got a little wet, but I'll dry quickly!  I am standing outside of Sophie's classroom.

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We dropped off our bicycles at home, and grabbed a cab to the Security Bureau.  I told them our situation of not having the letter yet due to a US holiday (Labor Day), and they gave us a couple of extra days' grace period, so that I could get to Shanghai to get the letter I need.

Next it was off to the train station to buy a ticket to Shanghai.  We stood in a long line, and as I got to the front of the line, my turn, people kept shoving in front of me with their money and yelling an order for the ticket THEY wanted.  Solution:  Drop your shoulder and push back.  A menacing glare from a tall, stressed out foreigner also helps.  I asked for a ticket for tomorrow to Shanghai, and after all that, they told me I was standing in the WRONG LINE!  Arrgh!  So after 15 minutes of standing in the NEXT line, I was able to procure a ticket for tomorrow's 7:40am train!  SUCCESS!

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Now all I have to do is figure out what car and seat I am supposed to be in!

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Now that Sue and I had our business taken care of, and NO KIDS (Yahoo!) it was time to go do some sight seeing.  We went to the Dragon Tea Village but there were very few, if any taxis, so we stayed a very short time and then hopped into the only taxi around so that we wouldn't be stranded there while school let out.

Below are some of the Dragon's Well tea plants that Sue is standing in front of.

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We hopped another taxi to the Southeast, less populated side of Westlake and found a very picturesque area; still lots of rain though!

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We sat in this beautiful tea house and had some green tea, and ate from a huge buffet selection of all kinds of foods and sweets, for over an hour.  Did I mention we didn't have any kids with us??

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They had these little delicacies wrapped in a banana leaf that contained rice and meat.  Yummy!

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Sitting by the window with a lovely view, eating a very peaceful and delicious lunch!

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Sue's still not sure about all of these leaves in her tea.  "Haven't they heard of tea bags??"

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This was the view out the window...

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Lots of beautiful willow trees...

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We stopped by the store to buy biking rain ponchos on the way to pick up Sophie, and Sue took hers off and jumped into a store to buy some fruit.  I'm sitting here with the bikes and it is DUMPING!  Some water on the lens here...  I think it's funny that when we drive down the road, the 4 of us in our ponchos and Sophie on the back, no one can tell we're not Chinese unless they see our faces :). 

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Finally we are at Sophie's school to pick her up.  Here are the announcements for the day; I hope there's nothing important here!

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Looking through the window at Sophie's class.  Sophie looked up and smiled at us right away.  When we came in she said "Two more 5 minutes, two more 5 minutes!"  She didn't want to leave!  She had a great time but the teacher said she cried during nap because she didn't want to sleep.  Big surprise!

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Drying everything off before slip on my poncho.  It's raining hard!

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Next it's off to the boys' school to pick them up.  Here are some kids, ready to go, waving at the strange blue Americans.

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...then we're back on the road, commuting back home, with Peter and Jack in their new ponchos.  The ponchos have a clip on the front that clips to your bike basket, so you can keep yourself and your goods dry.  Very clever and it keeps you quite dry, except for pant legs.

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Finally we're back home, and Sophie, without a poncho is soaked to the bone and half asleep from her big day.

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We're proud of how the kids did on their first full day.  They were supposed to have their own chopsticks for lunch, so the school found some temporary ones for them.  In school, they stay in their classroom and the chefs bring the food to them.  Their lunch consisted of a tomato and egg dish, some sort of soup with a salty jelly substance in it, and rice.  They said it was very good, except for the soup was too salty.

Rather than the kids moving, the teachers move, and the kids stay in the same place, except for Science, when they move to the school laboratory.


Anonymous said...

It's such fun to see what you are doing everyday! What adventures! I loved the pictures of Sophie in her classroom. She sure fits right in!!!
Peter and Jack you are awesome along with your fabulous Mom and Dad! Such bravery!!! I'm impressed!!! Love to you all! Grandma Kapi

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful experience your
family is having. Mary

Anonymous said...

It's like turning back the clock
at least 40-50 years. You hangout
your clothes, handwash your dishes
and ride your bike or walk to the
corner store. Mary

Dana said...

The Armstrongs are reading! Finally found this (didn't think you'd get this up for awhile, what was I thinking!). As a former expat, I love reading your adventures and see what you notice the most. Thanks for including more pictures of yourselves, not just the kids (though they are very attractive of course). Miss you!