My poor, neglected blog is well overdue for an update. Again.
But I have a good excuse this time. We were away in Yunnan for several weeks at the end of July, visiting old friends and family. Most of you reading this blog probably already know that my husband’s family back home consists of his two older brothers, their wives, and their kids. There are some assorted cousins and aunts and uncles and such, but as for immediate family, the brothers are it. My husband has lost a lot of interest in visiting home since his dad died back in 2007, but I’ve been trying to push for at least annual trips back, since these are the only relatives our son has in China, and I’d like to maintain the connection.
Probably the closest to my husband is our nephew, who just graduated from college. My husband is 12 years younger than his oldest brother, and 12 years older than his oldest brother’s kid, our nephew Wang Chong Jun. Chong Jun is a good kid — he’s the first in the family to finish college and has a steady girlfriend who he plans to marry. When we went to visit, Chong Jun hadn’t found a job yet and we invited him to Beijing to help us out in December when Baby #2 arrives, but we found out last week that Chong Jun was hired as a PE teacher at a middle school in Yunnan near Mengzi, where he went to college, and also near where his girlfriend will be working as an English teacher. This is good news for Chong Jun, although we were hoping he’d be able to come to Beijing. We had also briefly entertained the idea of having Chong Jun’s younger sister, Cui Yu, come up and work as a nanny for us, but Cui Yu’s mom, my sister in law, laughed that idea out of consideration, saying that Cui Yu can’t even do her own laundry and she’d end up being just one more kid for us to take care of. Hmm, no thanks!
In any case, it was good seeing the family and Dylan’s cousins adored him, as he adored being the center of attention. It was also good to see Kunming again and reconnect with the few remaining old friends back in town. While in Yunnan we took the opportunity to travel around a bit, and went to Zhongdian and Lijiang. In Lijiang we met up with my husband’s friend Zhang Quan, who was a member of the now defunct band Ye Haizi, and who has a little girl just about Dylan’s age. The two kids really hit it off and it was so fun seeing Dylan finally click with another toddler. Most of the kids we’ve run into who are around Dylan’s age are much more reserved than he is, and his energy seems to frighten them, but this girl was unphased and the two had a ball.
Pretty much as soon as we returned from Yunnan we started our house hunt and finally got settled into a new apartment next week. The new apartment is bigger than the old one by about 30sqm or so, with an extra bedroom, as well as more space in the other two bedrooms. It is also nicely renovated, with dark hardwood floors and trim, a newly redone kitchen, and fresh paint on the walls. It is a huge step up from our last apartment, and we are really glad to be in a place that is more comfortable. The old apartment was really starting to get to me — there were cracks in the walls, the tile was dirty, and there were bugs that we could never get rid of (because of the cracks in the walls). The old apartment was last renovated in 1996, whereas this apartment was redone only about 2 years ago, so the difference is really noticeable.
And well, the busy-ness continues. I taught a session of Summer classes last week and our regular classes begin again on the 3rd. I’ll be glad to see my students again, and my 11th graders will now be 12th graders and preparing for SATs and APs. The school has put me on the dreaded “oral English” duty this year, which I’m not too pleased about having taught literature, AP English, and reading last semester, but there’s been a change in administration this year and the new boss is of the traditional “foreign teachers can only teach speaking” mindset that really bugs. I won’t go into it too much here, but after 7 years teaching, 2 of which were spent running my own school, I think I’m more qualified than I’m being given credit for. But oh well. The school says that the all oral English schedule is for my convenience, because it will be “easy” and I need an “easy” schedule since I’m pregnant and can’t go exerting myself.
Speaking of pregnancy, #2 is well and good and growing on target. I had a bit of a scare with my last ultrasound when the technician wrote down the wrong measurement for the baby’s head. When I brought the US results to the doctor, her eyes about burst out of her skull and she started asking me if anyone had said anything to me about genetic defects or abnormalities. Um, no? So she called up the US technician and luckily they had my results still stored on the computer and as it turns out the woman had made a mistake and recorded the wrong number, which made the baby’s head look like it was measuring at 29 weeks when I was only 23 weeks. I was freaking out there for the 5 minutes that she kept me waiting, but after that I found it kind of funny. This is what we’re paying the big money for! And speaking of that, we did finally decide to go with the more expensive public hospital, because as it turns out, foreigners in Beijing don’t really have a choice. Either you go to a really expensive (without insurance) expat private hospital, or you go to the best public hospital. The other local hospitals are not allowed to deliver your baby! So we had a choice of three hospitals pretty much, and decided to go with the one we’d been to before. Ah well. If ever there is a #3, we’ll just say forget it and go back to Kunming.