Those left on the Mainland spent the evening outside today, enjoying beautiful weather. I walked with Jude in the stroller while Ari rode his bike. We went to a more picturesque French or Italian looking neighborhood, just across the highway. I have included pictures of the walk. The first picture is actually a shot of the MCC office building (the office occupying maybe 0.0001% of the building). It was very pleasurable, broken only by training Ari what attitude to have toward cars. Either he would see a car far off in the distance, scream and desert his bike, or when I cautioned him about cars coming from behind, he would nonchalantly brush me off.
For the most part this neighborhood is quite a bit quieter, but we did have one scare. A huge van having just passed I figured it was safe to cross the road. But no, the van kicked into reverse and gunned it right back toward us. It loomed closer and closer, closing us in against the curb. Ari froze, screaming and I dashed to get him and his bike (and Jude in the stroller) up on the curb before we could be harmed. I may have dramatized it a little, (it certainly wasn't life threatening) but it did teach me that I should never assume that a car that has passed is no longer a threat. I'll add that to my list of cautions, along with "Never assume the sidewalk is safe". I actually had a car honk rudely at me on the sidewalk the other day and butt me over to the side of the sidewalk in his ambition to get by (glaring I might add). Which one of us supposedly belongs on the sidewalk? Definitely not the car, and definitely with all four wheels, using it as a road.
So we walked along, generating the usual interest and questions from the people we passed. "They must be twins!" Also as usual, my Chinese was tested, but I managed to do a mediocre job. We sat for a while watching some recreational basketball, eating pocky and drinking green tea, and then finished the walk with spin around the pond.
I have just put the boys in bed. We finished reading Stuart Little this evening, and I'm sad to report that I am extremely relieved to be done with such a tiresome book. E.B. White had a great idea, but had horrible delivery. James and I have decided that by the end you just want Stuart Little to drive off a cliff. Highly surprising coming from the same author as Charlotte's Web.
In conclusion, I apologize that the blog will probably have a different feel while James is gone. I promise not to use it to bemoan child related frustrations and I will try not to talk only about mundane household events. But, that said it will be lacking James' usual zaniness (sorry no upcoming series on all the different types of ashtrays I've seen in Beijing!). But I'll do my best!