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Children’s Day 2009

Ayi arrived this morning with two small bags of dried hawthrone roll-ups to give to Schäfer in celebration of Children’s Day.

I love Children’s Day. Thanks Ayi for the reminder!

We left shortly after because we had a play date with Yu. Generally, play dates with Yu involve going somewhere cheap, new and fun, but they also involve running into The Relatives (like the time we accidentally ended up Tomb Sweeping together) and taking care of various other small tasks along the way.

Honestly, it feels wonderful to be included.

Yu’s Mom, Zhang, works six days a week. Each morning, she gets on the bus at 7:15am and each evening she comes home about 6:30pm. The fact that she even wants get out of bed on her day off amazes me.

I’ve come to three conclusions:

1. Zhang and Yu are a blessing and our true friends.

2. It’s nice to hang out with extended family. We’ve even run into them when in town on our own – which makes this city of 1.4 million much more like a village.

3. Expect & embrace multi-tasking.

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About 9 o’clock we headed off. The bus dropped us off at the Children’s Park, but Zhang wanted to go to the Riverside Park. Even though it meant hauling our 30+ pounders through half the city, I agreed because I had a hunch there was some multi-tasking about to occur.

My hunch proved correct. Our first stop was at Aunt’s office to pick up a Children’s Day gift for Yu. Much like Christmas morning, Children’s Day is a day of gifts.

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Best buddies.

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Next, we stopped at a famous local dive to chow down on some RiGanMian – it’s a Hubei noodle dish. Zhang is also an expert on hole-in-the-wall breakfast spots. She ate at this one when she was a little girl.

(Now you can see how Hubs benefits from play dates with Yu!)

Schäfer had a hard time finishing his fermented rice soup because he wanted to watch the construction workers outside.

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I was really impressed with Yu’s chopstick ability. I need to start putting chopsticks out for Schäfer at every meal. We have them, but I forget.

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When we finally ended up at Riverside Park, we ran into the rest of The Relatives. Nai Nai immediately handed the kids a small bag of popcorn. Schäfer loved all this eating!

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First ride: a small train. Just look at how relaxing transportation is to Schäfer.

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Second ride: an electric horse. Ye Ye treated the kids to this ride. I wanted to get a photo of them together, but the horses didn’t agree.

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Third ride: this little ride was a mistake. It looked innocent enough until it started. The music was SO loud. Schäfer immediately asked to get off.

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After saying goodbye to The Relatives, we headed to the yogurt shop for another snack.

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Yu. Couldn’t you just gobble her up? When I tried to express this in Chinese I literally said, “I want to eat you! You are so sweet”

I didn’t know the word gobble in Chinese. (I just looked it up in the dictionary. There are three variations so I’ll need to call in a consult before I try to use one.)

Anyway, I hope I haven’t scared her for life: The foreigner wants to eat me! Help!

Let’s put “I could just gobble you up!” under the category of: Just Doesn’t Quite Translate.

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After the yogurt snack, Zhang got the kids each one small chicken wing from KFC. We waited outside because the entire city decided to eat KFC today for lunch.

Mickey just so happened to be in the square passing out advertisements.  Schäfer was completely unafraid and wanted to shake hands. His lack of fear got me thinking…Disneyland Hong Kong?!?

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What would Children’s Day be without a balloon?

Finally, after all the snacks (noodles, popcorn, yogurt, chicken) and rides and balloon running around, we hoped on the 7 to get to the top of campus then we took a small electric cart to get home. I was thankful for the interest the balloon perked. We didn’t get home until 1:30pm which should be well into Schäfer’s nap.

But who can come home and rest? We still needed to eat lunch.

After a great nap and some indoor play, we headed down to the Children’s Park to celebrate Children’s Day with Papa.

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We enjoyed a nice paddle boat ride.

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Then, we took Papa to the zoo. He had not been since the remodeling. In honor of Children’s Day, the seal show was occurring every 30 minutes.

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Hubs and Schäfer enjoyed the show.

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In fact, going to the zoo with Papa offers a completely different view.

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The most exciting event of the day was meeting The Zookeeper! Since MiMi the seal was performing every 30 minutes, they kept her out in the “show pool”. The Zookeeper stayed with her.

Schäfer asked me if he could go over and meet The Zookeeper. I said, “Of course!” So he turned around, walked up to Zookeeper Li and gave a hearty, “Ni hao!” Extrovert, for sure.

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Whew. What an awesome Children’s Day. Let’s head home for strawberry banana smoothies and supper.

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