Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Early Christmas

Since I will be working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we held Christmas today, December 22. Here we are around our little Christmas tree ready to open our packages.  We put on Christmas carols, drank hot chocolate, and cajoled the kids into smiling for our Christmas picture :).  Hangzhou 020

Earlier today I took Sophie down the street to get her hair cut.  The salon charged me 5 quai (about $.80 US) to cut her hair.  Then we fed 3 of us lunch for 8 quai (a little over a dollar).  Finally it was time to go back upstairs to open gifts.

"Daddy, can't we PLEEEEASE open presents now?"
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Some of the booty that was opened:  A stuffed animal for Sophie, who is a popular local character, and Sue got a bag from Tibet which I found on a local crafts street.  Sue identified it as something she wanted weeks ago but it was 80 quai (more than $10 US!) so she passed it up.  Being in China for the past few months sure has made us stingy!
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Peter and Jack were tricked by an addition of marbles to their boxes to make them extra heavy.  They both received leather wallets with money inside.  Jack says, "Where is the PRESENT??" as he searches through his box of marbles and newspaper.
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Amy and Bob gave the boys a Nerf basketball hoop which was a BIG HIT!  They put it together immediately and we played a little two on one.  I was the one.  They're starting to get big enough where it's getting physically exhausting to take them both on!
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More of the gift-exchange aftermath!

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After the clean-up, we started on the puzzle that Grandma gave us.  Sophie is quite a good helper; she has put several pieces together already!
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Here's Dad, getting ready for the daily blog!
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"Christmas Morning" Construction

The construction on our building is continuing at a harrowing pace.  Yesterday a man knocked on the door and drilled two 4 inch holes in our bedroom and kitchen.  They had already covered one up where the rat had come in, so now the rat has 2 alternative routes.  They also made a big mess on Sophie's bed and in the kitchen that we had to clean up.

This morning we again woke up to hammering and yelling outside our window, and the workers started to take part of the scaffolding down.
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This is the view leaning outside our window, and looking east.  The men climb up and down this scaffolding from 5:30am to about 8pm with hammers, drills, buckets of cement, mud, and tiles.  Very labor intensive and dangerous!

Every morning at 5:30 they start the cement mixer.  By the time I pass them at 6:20 to catch my bus, they are well under way.
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Here's the "disaster zone" that we pass through every day to get to our stairwell from the street around the corner.
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... and our stairwell entrance with a piece of plywood overhead to catch falling debris; the cement mixer in the foreground.  The workers sleep behind that red, white and blue tarp on the left side of the picture.  They have no door or windows, so it is just like sleeping outside!  BRRR!
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Although we certainly weren't in as luxurious conditions as normal, we all sure had a good time, and it will be a memorable Christmas, for sure!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! liz