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So Long Dear Friend

Ting left this morning.

I thought I’d be just fine. After all, she’s BFF #3 to leave.

But I wasn’t.

Hubs helped me make a DVD of photos set to music to give as a going away gift. Only, some of the photos were cropped incorrectly so we had to rebuild and burn it. When Ting was finally ready to drive out (literally the engine was running), I asked if she could wait 7 minutes for her gift to finish.

Suckers at 9:30am – a rare treat!

Mi Le thought about driving himself home.

Hubs ran down with the final DVD. And she was off. She cried. Her Mom cried. I cried too.

Ting was one of the first Mom’s in the neighborhood to really want to be my friend. It didn’t hurt that we only lived two floors from each other. Even on rainy days, we’d get together.

I say that she wanted to be my friend because it does take extra effort to be friends with someone who speaks Chinese as a second language.

  • She had to slow down her speaking.
  • Use standard Mandarin instead of local dialect.
  • Simplify her vocabulary.
  • Repeat things.
  • Teach me new words.
  • Endure my mispronunciation.
  • Write down characters in my pocket notebook.
  • Understand my text messages when I used the wrong character.

She gave that extra effort.


I only have a few friends who are Stay at Home Mom’s. We live in a culture where women retire at 50 and men retire at 55. Thus, making Grandparents available to raise the grandkids while the parents work. Of all of Schäfer’s neighborhood playmates – only 2 have Moms during the day. The rest have Grandma’s who love them dearly.

After Ting drove off, we had a playdate with Zi Hai so we got on the bus and headed for the square. I didn’t really care what we did so we ended up at Jump Zone. Schäfer asked several times where Mi Le was. I told him that Mi Le was on his way to a big city in another province, but none of this made sense to him.

It was when Schäfer sat on one side of the see-saw and pointed to the other end and said, “This is where Mi Le sits.” that it finally hit me. I said goodbye to my BFF and Schäfer said goodbye to his BFF too.

As we left the indoor play area, I was in this fog. I offered to carry Schäfer for three city blocks to the bus stop because I needed him close.

After lunch, Hubs left for his next bike adventure. Last weekend, he was invited to join the Yichang Team as they race 18km straight up a mountain.

Since he found out about the race last week, he hasn’t trained – unless you count 4 hours of hauling and additional 30lbs. up and down the Great Wall last week.

A local bike shop has outfitted Hubs with a new mountain bike (borrowed just for the race). The bike store was so generous when building the bike that I told Hubs he should wear their logo when they race. This evening, I got a text from Hubs and he said they all have shirts that are “Just like Lance’s.”

Meanwhile back at the ranch, despite his tiredness Schäfer refused to go down for a nap. It was ridiculous.

This morning, he woke up at 6am so between my late night with strawberries and his early morning rise, I was hoping for a nap too. Finally, at 3:30 I told him he could play with cars on the coffee table while I napped on the couch. I think I drifted for about 10 minutes when someone snuggled up beside me and crashed.

This evening, we went to the playground. Schäfer asked where Mi Le was, but for the most part he played pretty well. We made two new friends. One little boy is very active and is close to Schäfer in age.

Tomorrow is Labor Day.  Everyone seems to be thankful for a day off. I’m suppose to go mountain climbing with Schäfer (how do I get myself into these things?), but there’s talk of rain. I don’t mind mountain climbing (read: stair stepping), but it will probably be particularly crowded since tomorrow is a national holiday.

Based off the frog volume coming from the Lotus Pond, I’d say we’re in for some rain.

1 comment to So Long Dear Friend

  • Patti

    what a sweet post, yes I cried for you. moving is so tough if you are doing or just a friend. here’s to good friends.

    and I love your kitchen!

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