This weekend we have had many visitors. Some of the other teachers and other acquaintances have introduced us to many English speaking people and/or people that want to improve their English, so we invited them to our apartment.
Here I am getting a Chinese lesson from Ms. Wang who was very helpful. She has a Masters in Chinese and writes Chinese poetry, so her level of Chinese is far beyond what I could use but she was a good teacher!
She was introduced to us by Ms. Li who is sitting next to Sue, so we had a nice chat with them.
This is Ms. Li's daughter, who is 13 and starting to learn English too.
We went with some of the foreign teachers to the Hangzhou "Hooters" restaurant where the pretty waitresses dress in very skimpy outfits. They are known for having a delicious American breakfast so we went there to try it out, and it was! Sophie enjoyed playing with the waitresses and we were the only people in the whole restaurant!
Sue and the boys went back out to Enrique and Olga's house to check on their fish again. The ones that we saved still survive which I'm happy about! As you can see it is a very nice neighborhood, and the houses rent there for about $5,000 US! WOW! Our friend gets his rent paid by the US gov't since he works for the state dept, so I told him those were my tax dollars at work and we were moving in!
The kids stopped by a local playground in their neighborhood.
We went to the Maya bar last night for dinner and met this man, also named Tim who comes from Kentucky. He is married to a Chinese woman and is here teaching and working on a Philosophy dissertation.
Sophie caught some virus and has red spots all over her face, but nowhere else. At first we thought they were mosquito bites but no one else seems to be getting them. Her school was rightfully concerned so today (Sunday) I took her to the hospital to get checked out. Thanks to my friend Liu for being my Chinese interpreter!
The sore on her lip was not caused by the virus, but rather her big brother! Peter tried to jump over her at the park and missed; his foot striking her in the mouth! She fell over, and he fell over,both bleeding - what a mess! He felt so bad I think he learned his lesson!
The hospital was an experience! You pay first, $8 US, then go to the 3rd floor, pediatrician in this case. In the examination room, rather than being there by yourself, you are there with many other people - this isn't the waiting area but the examination room itself! The doctor is there dispensing advice, and kids are in various states of examination. Some have thermometers sticking out of their bottoms, some are in various states of undress, and several are crying. Tongue depressors look pretty old; they get reused here. After looking at Sophie the doctor directed us to a specialist in another wing. The specialist identified the problem as a virus, however he wrote us an antibiotic prescription and a topical ointment to make the itching stop - so we'll let you know her progress. Her level of activity and mood so far haven't been affected. So other than being a bit uglier she is doing fine. We were told to keep her home for the next couple of days so Sue is bummed out her free days will be spent sitting at home with Sophie!
Today we also played some Uno with some local college kids that Sue met (sitting on our little orange couch), Alexis are neighbor (back right), our ayi Xiao Xue (far right), and her daughter who calls herself Cindy to westerners (front right). Although they were all here to practice English, the conversation was 90% Chinese, so Sue and I learned a lot of Chinese today!
Here are the 4 college gals buying some roasted sweet potatoes on the street for us to try. Yum!
I also received a call from my mother today who has been in Beijing the past couple of days. She called at 7:15 this morning and was boarding a bus for an all day trip to the Great Wall, and not expecting to come home until 9:30 tonight, so I'm sure she'll be worn out! We will see her in Suzhou on the 27th. We have booked our hotel but when I tried to buy a train ticket I was told that I could not buy one until 10 days before the train leaves. So much for prior planning! Americans tend to plan much further in advance than Chinese from what I can tell!