Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Household

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Well, well, well…where to start. It always seems like a whirlwind. Everything we do and teach is new. Everything involved in doing something new and teaching something new is also new. In fact, I feel like we’re all learning and experiencing more now than ever before. It’s all happening each new week, and just when you think it’s going to slow down, there’s a new plate waiting for you. It’s busy, lots of work, but very positive.

This particular entry will be dedicated to showing you some major walls/images in the ol’ Gribble household. Not your typical digs right now. Let’s start with our cats. (see the bottom and work your way up with each paragraph-I can't figure out how to manipulate where pictures go...) As I get up in the a.m., so do the cats, with immediate expectations after a rough and rowdy night. I open the door that leads to our living room before going into the bathroom. Our fluffy tabby, Beans, usually rushes by me into the bathroom, screaming, leaps onto the left side of the sink, waits for some obligatory petting, and soon settles under the faucet for his morning watering. Regular water next to the cat food is unacceptable at this point. Screaming will be relentless until water streams out of the faucet. Izzi will join the boy at times, but generally would rather go into the shower when we’re done. It has become an interesting obsession. Beans leads us to that faucet every time we enter the house, pretending at first to want petting, but then backing into where he wants us. Makes me think of Gary Larson—animals screwing with humans and living on the edge without letting us know what they do and say when we’re not there.

Joey has become enthralled with Chairman Mao’s reforms and thinks Obama would love it here. He’s got hats, shirts, and sweatshirts with blazing red stars. When it Rome…he’s bringing souvenirs home to friends to test the shock value in Washington. We’re educating that the humor may not transfer easily or well. Maybe him speaking Chinese will help. It’s fairly confusing to see the whole package at work. I can’t wait to watch it all myself!

How do you like the maps available in China? Interesting, don’t you think? Of course, China is the center of the world. Not sure I like this particular projection. Everywhere else becomes a bit convoluted and skewed to the point where you can’t see a realistic view. It’s as if the Western World is fairly insignificant. It does allow us to get a better understanding of Asia though.

Joey’s class took a trip to Inner Mongolia last week, which isn’t actually in Mongolia, as I’m sure most of you knew. It’s just south of Mongolia. The Gobi Desert is just one big playground. Meanwhile, Hailey was busy rock climbing and boating in SW of Shanghai, just outside of Guilin. Both had a ball while getting to see more of China. All students go on a week adventure each year starting in grade 6. It culminates in grade 11 as a service trip. Some explore Shanghai, others Beijing, Xian, etc.

We all thought it would be fun to make a Shanghai/China pros and cons list. It doesn’t get much amending since we started it in February. It’s just what it is, as they say. Many things we notice and other things go unnoticed, whether good nor bad. It’s all “interesting” in one way or another. Some of the things we don’t like are often transferred onto our list of items to bring to China after the summer break when we head back to Washington. Some things are so much a part of your everyday life in the states that they just make you more comfortable to have them…easy problem to solve with another suitcase Ü

Lastly, there are always some oddities that just have no real explanation. You just notice, look, wonder, think for reasons, make guesses, and then move on! Anne and I were visiting one of the local Starbucks last weekend. It was a bit warm inside, so while I added a bit of cinnamon to our drinks, Anne put a foot up on one of the planters outside and stretched a bit. She noticed two trees on each side that were growing well and were stabilized with ropes and wooden guides. In the middle of the planter was an exceptionally green evergreen. Oddly, some young shoots were growing out of the base, in the dirt. The top had some squared ends on the young branches of this 4 ft. tree, and they were shiny too! Yes, it was an artificial tree planted there with the best of them. THIS is China…Then, I step inside the big expat store, which has everything from the post office to sushi to motorcycles, and here’s a local woman in a nice Nike sweat suit wearing 8 inch stilettos that are supporting a 2 inch platform that she’s tippy toeing on, to shop…most of the sidewalks are some sort of stamped cobblestone-like texture with raised ribs for blind people to follow, yet 90% of all women wear high heels!

xoxo to all!

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