Greetings from the (remarkably silent) Mainland.
You know that something's wrong when there are 1.4 billion people in this country, and none of them are blogging. For the past few weeks, whenever we tried to load our blog the little wheel just spun and spun. Eventually a message pops up that tells us "You got blocked, Suckah!"
And then Batman arrived. I'll just leave it at that.
So what's new guys? Truth be told, the fact that we couldn't access our blog couldn't have come at a better time. Life has become, well, normal. Our todays are a lot like our yesterdays, and probably a lot like our tomorrows. This is a good thing, in that we're settled, but perhaps less that interesting to read about. To prove a point, I'll recap the last few weeks of our lives...
I got back from my little trip with a stomach full of brine and about 2 hours of battery life - if I wasn't plugged directly into the wall, I was out. But time cures all ills, even of the gastrointestinal variety, and I'm back on my feet. I finally finished the first Chinese textbook. Jessica finished it weeks ago, and has her teachers convinced that she is ten times smarter than me. I'll show them! The last laugh will be mine!!!
Jessica had the chance to travel to Sichuan, and had a jolly time. She came home with a lot of extremely beautiful pictures of people and places. We'll have to make a trip there as a family at some point. Jess is also happy that we finally bought a voltage adapter for the sewing machine that we lugged with us from Canada.
Actually, the purchase of the converter is a rather humorous story. We went to an electronics store nearby, intending to buy the converter. When we arrived, it suddenly dawned on me that we didn't know any of the key words - sewing machine (or even machine, for that matter), voltage, converter, or electricity. When I talked to the sales clerk, my first sentence was "Sorry, I only speak a little Chinese". This is the most useful sentence I know, but perhaps a little unnecessary. Stumbling and searching for words communicates the same message just as well. What I ended up saying to the sales clerk was, translated literally, "We are Canadian. My wife has a Make-Clothes-Thing (at which point I paused to pantomime using a sewing machine, complete with sound effects) but in Canada we use 110 electricity (here I used a prefix for electrical things, not the actual word for electricity). Do you sell something so that 110 can be 220?" It was a testimony to the man's intelligence that he eventually handed me exactly what I was looking for. And now Jess is happily working on a quilt that she started in Canada (the land of 110).
And the boys? Well, they've continued to grow and grow. Ari is now 41 inches tall, and Jude has cracked the 36 inch mark. They are getting lean (Ari especially - Jude still has a bit of an ursine quality to him) and strong. Other than that, Ari is testing the frontiers of his place in the social order. For example, on Friday he bit Jude five times (3 times hard enough to break the skin). One particularly nasty bite was right on Jude's temple. The strangest part of it is that it looked less like teeth marks and more like Jude had fallen on a bottle cap, because the marks were in a perfect circle. I couldn't help but wonder if Ari had unhinged his jaw like a boa and was really trying to swallow him.
Oh, and what were they fighting about? An umbrella. Really worth it.