This has been an interesting few days. On the 5th I went to get train tickets to Guilin as a vacation trip during our time off. What I got were tickets that were for hard seats and none of us was interested in sitting on hard seats for 16-20 hours. My plan was to go on the 6th to return the tickets but I got a touch of some unattractive stomach ailment so I asked Chuck if he would make the return for me. He did and while I was working on getting well and staying off the toilet I played my computer farm games. The day was also Laba Day which is a Buddhist holiday marking the coming of spring. I started during the Han dynasty and is celebrated during the 12th lunar month (la) and on the 8th day (ba).
Tuesday the 7th was better and I was feeling much better. Apple asked me if I wanted to go with a group to see Echo and her new baby on Wednesday. I said yes, but what that meant was I had to finish the baby blanket that I was crocheting for her little one. I was mostly finished I only had 5 rows of the last color to do and then the boarder. I got this done and the skirt that I had ordered online from taobao had come in. Boni, who actually did the ordering, brought the skirt over and agreed to help me buy an electric piano online. I then went to dinner with Ted and he introduced me to a Chinese meal of chicken and rice, huangmen ji mifan 黄焖鸡米饭. This is a wonderful dish and later in the week the family and I went to eat this dish.
Wednesday the 8th I went with my friend Apple from the university to visit Echo who is sitting the month or Zuo Yuezi 坐月子. This is the tradition in Chinese culture that has new mothers doing nothing but rest, and tends to the feeding of their baby; housework and chores are handled by the woman’s mother who stays with them for this time (30-45 days). I’ve been doing some research into this; as this interests me greatly. The new mother is not allowed to bathe, or drink water during this time and she has special foods to eat that will restore the balance of yin and yang to her body after giving birth, she also stays in the house and keeps warm during this time. Traditionally there are no visitors and visitors are welcomed at a party at the end of this time. Today many Chinese women will follow some of the rules of Zuo Yuezi the no visitor rule was bent but it is week 2 for my friend and after I had my son, I could not imagine not having friends around me to share my little cuddly new baby. The visit was a very brief one lasting about 20 minutes but I was able to give her the baby blanket that I crocheted for her little one. I started thinking about making this blanket back when I learned that she was having a baby and I was thrilled that I had my crochet hooks from America and could do this for my Chinese friend. I have been much honored to have been allowed to participate in this very traditional Chinese ritual; I love that I can get a glimpse of Chinese life through these encounters with century old traditions.
After this I had lunch and went with a friend to the end of the 167 bus line. The end of the route was in front of Zhengzhou Center Hospital which is where I went to have my eyes checked out and get my prescription for my ocular hypertension. Once at the hospital we got on bus 919 that took us to Wanda Plaza 万达广场 (Wanda Guangchang) where we went to Boobear coffee. We got hot milk teas and went shopping at Wal-Mart. We then got the B26 bus and rode it until we got off to catch the 45 bus which runs outside the apartments.
Thursday the 9th was a beauty maintenance day for me as I spent the mid morning getting my hair colored. I was concerned as the salon used a new product and it went on bright green. I was thinking I want black not shocking green hair but all turned out well. Nate also had some work done on his hair, he got a haircut.
Friday the 10th TODAY! The day started out with a message from my friend Apple who told me she had my schedule and the text books for my classes. She asked if I had time to come over today and get them. It was a great pleasure to get my schedule as I’ve had a few students tell me they will have me or their friends will have me for a teacher next semester. While at building 6, I saw another teacher friend, Shirley. She teaches math she has an 8 year old son who asks me questions on speaking English from time to time. It was only after talking with her and getting my lunch that I realized that I had locked my keys in the apartment. I ate my lunch and drank my hot milk tea in the hallway outside my room waiting for people to come and let me in. As I waited, Boni sent me a message that my piano was in so off to the campus I went. I have my piano now and I’m thrilled, I spent the evening playing Chopin and other classical works. I will be taking piano lessons from a Chinese piano teacher at the piano store in Wanda Plaza so having a piano here at home is essential to being able to practice. I will also get a chance to play music by Chinese composers.