Monday, October 30, 2006

Last China Post for awhile...

I leave tomorrow for Beijing, spend the night, and continue on through Japan and Portland before arriving in Spokane. I HOPE that nothing happens between here and Beijing that is in anyway blog worthy.

Anyway, yesterday I went for a walk and said good-bye to my friends Sewing Machine Lady and her mom. Since I was with a few other people we decided to venture into Sewing Machine Lady's "housing development". Though in my neighborhood and visible from my bedroom window, it is quite different from where I live. There has been a lot of recent development in the area where I live and I am hoping that when I come back from the US that Sewing Machine Lady and her mother have not had to move. It won't be too long before someone will want to tear down that building and all the squatters will be forced to relocate.

I wish that I had a super good digital camera because I could get some very interesting shots from my bedroom window. These homes have no heat and only whatever electricity they can find from nearby and pirate. Looking down you can get a view of the whole setup and not cause any attention. Having a foreigner (probably even a Chinese person who doesn't "belong" there) going down the narrow corridor that leads to this interior courtyard of housing is something that is immediately noticed. Very hard to blend.

Leek and sour cabbage season is approaching, and people have it outside EVERYWHERE to dry. It hangs out of windows, rests on sidewalks and streets, and is constantly underfoot. There was even some out on the bank steps. If I had to eat like the locals, I would lose quite a bit of weight. I would have to be really hungry to want some of the stuff they eat.

The other night I did go out with some consulate people to a Uighur restaurant. (Look up Uighur in a search engine if you don't know about this Chinese minority). I ate bread and fatty lamb kababs until I was ready to burst. SO good! Right now just thinking about it I want to walk over and grab a few for lunch. At 12 cents a kabob it is hard to go wrong! It is a local restaurant, but Uighur food and not typical of Northeast China so I don't know that it counts as eating like a local.

Here are some pictures of me from October 29th. My last pregnant pictures in China. I leave October 31st!
Thirty pounds heavier already and two months to go. :(

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22, 2006

Still pregnant, and even bigger! Even my three year old nephew, Ian, has to admit that I look like I have a baby ready to pop out of me. Is it December yet?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Here are some new pics of me. The one in the black dress is from yesterday (10/8) and the one with ultraman is from today. I was told that in the black dress unless looking at me from the side that I didn't look pregnant, just fat. Great.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Conversation with a Cab Driver

Sure, I have been taking Chinese lessons since January. I started out with two hours, twice a week. I went to Bangkok in February and took 2 weeks off. I went to Australia in March and took 3 weeks off. I got pregnant and felt miserable for the first trimester and took 3 months off. In July I started again, but this time two hours one time a week. In September my teacher cut me back to one hour a week because I shouldn't sit still for so long. So when you look at it, I really haven't had as much time learning Chinese as you would think. When I don't feel like I am progressing much, Rob reminds me that I rarely study or even go over any of the materials except when my teacher is here. I guess that means I must be doing alright. This is how a conversation with a cab driver goes when I am forced to speak in Chinese.

Me: Hello.
Cab Driver: Hello. Where are you going?
Me: American Consulate
Cab Driver: Okay.
Cab Driver: (asks me a question)
Me: I don't understand. I don't speak Chinese.
Cab Driver: You are going to the American Consulate. Are you American?
Me: Yes, I am.
Cab Driver: (asks me a question)
Me: I don't understand.
Cab Driver: What's your name?
Me: I'm Wei Lin.
Cab Driver: (asks me a question)
Me: I don't understand.
Cab Driver: Do you want me to go straight or turn left here?
Me: It doesn't matter.
Cab driver turns left and then right and we are at the end of the block where he will let me off. I give him about $1.
Me: Thank you.
Cab Driver: Good bye
Me: Good bye.

I have decided that "I don't understand" is probably the most important phrase I know. I use it all the time. The other key phrases are "American Consulate" and "Intercontinental Hotel" so I can get places. Maybe Baby is hearing enough Chinese that she will be better with the tones. :)