This blog posting unfortunately has no theme. It is a mix and match. However, I have been planning for some time now to do a feature (or maybe two) on Chinese fashion. I was actually scolded last week for taking pictures of the clothing in a department store. That should appear on hear somewhere in the near future.
A few nights ago, Ari drew that picture that you see here. James and I were quite surprised by it. Its not as though he has spent hours staring at pictures of ships and water, but somehow, he used a really unique persective to capture this scene. He did this entirely by himself with no help from us. There are even tropical-like fish swimming in the water. He was very pleased to hear that I would put it up on the blog for the whole world to see.
James took the other picture of Ari one night when he woke him up to go to the bathroom. He is totally asleep in this picture, but it seems that before he fell asleep that night, he took the time to tie a pair of socks around his feet. True child logic for you.
Last night we were invited to go out for Karoke with our Chinese teachers and some friends who are leaving Beijing. This is a truely favorite pastime in China. Everyone sings karoke (they call it KTV) and they take it very seriously. Sometimes when there were a few too many selections of extremely slow and sentimental Chinese songs, it was a little boring, but we spruced it up for ourselves with our own selections. James and I sang a dramatic duet of "A Whole New World" , "Sweet Home Alabama" and some Beatles songs. Our friends selected "Hey Jude" and felt that I was the most logical person to sing that song. Jude danced at the front of the room for the whole song.
Recently we have had a number of expat friends leave for their home countries, and it is a bit strange to see them leave. This is especially in light of the fact that we have another 20 months before we will see our Home and Native Land. I admit that it has made me a little on the homesick side, and it doesn't help that we have had smuggy weather for a week straight. Tomorrow I fly to Chengdu for the day, but it is usually just as bad there as far as air quality goes. Last week, James was in South Korea and I wanted to cry when I saw all of his pictures of clean air and open spaces. Oh to be surrounded by feilds again!
On the bright side we are not entirely without reminders of home! In fact, as I write my sister Tannis and her husband Carlos are driving to Vancouver where they will depart for Beijing this Saturday. Hurray! It seems a little hard to believe.
We are truly excited to have them come as this is our first family visit. It couldn't come at a better time! We've been fighting a bit of the blues lately and welcome the chance to be with some family again and show them our world. They have strict instructions to buy several Kgs of Tim Horton's coffee, some fresh Honey Glazed Donuts and fresh Fruit Explosion muffins from the Tim Hortons at the Vancouver airport before they leave. Granted that 12 hours on the plane will make them a little less fresh, but who cares about that! Yikes, does that ever sound like it is from a Tim Hortons comercial! For the record, I did work for them while I was in high school, so maybe I owe them this free advertising.
Along with them, we also eagerly await the arrival of James' guitar, maple syrup, vanilla, Canadian Smarties, rhubarb (if it doesn't get confiscated!), Canadian gifts for our friends, books, and much more. We anticipate many happy evenings of playing Settlers and eating popcorn, a visit to a water park, sightseeing (of course), and just some good and fun conversations. We have a lot to do and I think that the time will go by very fast.
In closing, I must shamefacedly admit that I completely forgot that today is Canada Day. As trivial as it sounds, I actually do feel a little cheated that I have been deprived of my annual shot of patriotism. Canada grows quite dear to my heart these days and right now it seems very far away.
Chinese perceptions of Canada are very interesting. The other day a total stranger said to me, "You Canadians don't lock your doors when you leave the house." I was quick to correct her. "Actually we do. Of course we do!." The response was instant, "No you don't, because there are so few people in Canada, and you don't have bad people." At times like this, I wish I could climb into their heads and see exactly what they imagine when they think about Canada. I also thought it was interesting during this conversation that the lady felt so free to tell me exactly what state I leave my doors in when I leave the house.
Enough for now! Be expecting a fashion blog sometime in the near future. What I really wish I could do is post the Chinese fashion shows that are always played on the bus. Now those are interesting! The most recent ones have had muscular men dipped in silver paint to look like Greek statues. Very very dramatic!