Monthly Archives March 2007

Girls Day Out!


Maddie is becoming a great shopper. In spite of her shyness, she manages to talk to people that have the potential of selling her something that she really wants. Today, she really wanted a cricket cage. They are very simple metal cages that look to be size of a Christmas ornament and she LOVES them! Sissy, Maddie, and I hopped on the subway and then walked over to Dong Tai Lu which is the old antique street. It has become even more touristy since I arrived in Shanghai two years ago, but you can still get some pretty cool stuff there. Sissy managed to pick up some funky things like golden pigs and golden buddhas, Maddie’s cuteness did not serve her well as the sellers would not budge from 80rmb for a cricket cage!

After romping around Dong Tai Lu, we hopped in a taxi and headed down ...

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Goodbye to Old Shanghai

There is a photographer in Shanghai, Gangfeng Wang, who is actually quite famous in our little community here and beyond. He grew up in Shanghai amongst the Shikumen houses off of Wuxing Lu. He gave us a walking tour of a very large city block that will be torn down within the month as it was just bought by Hong Kong developers for $2 billion. We found out the developers are not actually buying the land – they are leasing the land for 50 years. So they will tear down the old – quickly. They will build the modern new buildings – quickly. They will start earning their money back and then some – quickly. In the end, the Chinese government will get the land and buildings.

The photographer walked us through the alleyways and eventually into people’s homes...

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Blocked in China? Yes, Blocked in China.


One of the coolest days we’ve experienced in the blogosphere world occurred on March 19, 2007. In a nutshell, the whole reason I got into blogging was because of Beckett-To-Be’s Blog. Beckett is a young lad that lives in Texas where his dad, Christian, eloquently deciphers his babbles on a daily basis and then shares this with the world via a blog. Go check out his March 19 entry and perhaps you’ll see somebody you know! I had “boose-gumps” running all over my skin the entire day when I saw Maddie on Beckett’s blog. Every single one of 90+ 8th grade students gathered around computers throughout the day to see how famous Maddie had become…. to be mentioned clear across the world like that just makes the drive even greater to document life.

So as this exciting world opens up to our fam...

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Clothes, Clothes, Clothes!!!

Should a three year old have a tailor? One of the many nice things about Shanghai is the fabric market. When we first arrived in Shanghai, the fabric market was in an outside area with a “roof” of sorts and very dim lighting. The floors were dirt and the whole thing was musky yet very charming. Now, because of the Expo arriving in 2010, the fabric market has been moved to a shiny new building with shiny floors and bright lights. This means the price of fabric has gone up, but it’s still downright cheap.

Today we took Jan and Greg to the fabric market so that Greg could get a suit and cashmere coat made and Jan could get a coat and other fabric for Taylor Zhu. Well, we kind of stopped at my favorite brocade silk stall at the market and the guy recognized Madeline immediately...

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Friday Guests to School

Almost all of our guests have come to school this year. Jan and Greg came a second day to read to the class and spend some quality “center” time with the kids. Maddie and the rest of the kids love being read to and often follow up by playing teacher themselves, reading to each other and holding the book up for others to see. Reading upside down is a true art form and takes years of practice – they might as well start the training now!

Greg read a book about ambulances as Travis, my nephew, is a paramedic/emt/firefighter for the Air Force. Jan also read a book and then they helped the kids in their centers with play-doh and painting. Ain’t it fun to be three???!!!! I sure hope they are enjoying getting over jetlag!!

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Aunt Sissy and Uncle Bubba Come to School!

Our last set of guests of the school year arrived last night and to “help” them get over jet lag we invited them to school to visit Maddie’s classroom. It was a beautiful day here at Shanghai Links so they walked to school and I met them near the entrance as the guard escorted them onto the school grounds. Sissy was so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about being escorted by Chinese guards. I had Patty cover my class for me so that I could take Jan and Greg to the Pre-K, K, 1 Chinese performance. (Did I mention that I LOVE being a teacher in Maddie’s school?!)

So here’s the thing with 3 year olds on stage… they either perform for the audience or ignore the audience and go about their lives...

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Finallly…. a haircut for the peanut

I mentioned awhile ago how easy it really is to get Maddie’s haircut here. Well, I finally got it together and made the call! We hopped in the car and she “helped” me drive the three blocks to Cheryl’s house (Read: honking horn, lights turning off and on, blinkers blinking, windshield wipers frantically wiping the front window.)

Cheryl’s son, Andrew, was gracious enough to take pics while the task was done. We do the same thing each time as Maddie seems to be a real creature of habit. I sit down and put my cape on and then Maddie sits on my lap and gets her cape on. Her cape is much more interesting though with the ice cream cones! She sits quietly almost afraid to move the entire time, but I think she really feels like a BIG girl when she gets this done...

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Turtles and Frogs

Maddie REALLY needs a haircut. It actually couldn’t be any easier. I call Cheryl who lives down the street, make an appointment for the next day, and then Maddie and I walk down to her house. So why can’t I get it together enough to just CALL??!! Today has nothing to do with a haircut but when I download pics, the first thing I see is Maddie’s hair. Mother of the Year Award – part 100! 😉

We did a major shopping excursion today to prepare for Jan and Greg’s arrival on Wednesday. Andy was downright amazing as I usually hear about how I’m hording JELLO (ha, ha), but today he mentioned nothing about the massive amounts of food I was putting into the cart. We went to METRO this time which is usually Maddie’s favorite place because of the fish section...

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We live in China!

We live in China. HELLO!!! We live in China. Sometimes I forget that believe it or not! It really hit home a week ago Friday when Andy and I were in a taxi coming home from a lovely night out with Jeff and Daneah. We were crossing the Nanpu Bridge at 11:30 and Andy’s phone rang. I thought it was Jeff and Daneah calling, but his words were quick and to the point. “OK. We will be home in 15-20 minutes.” Ms. Zhou’s exact words to him were this; “Maddie sick.” My first thought was that this is the first time in two years that our incredible ayi has called us while we’ve been out. My second thought was WHY didn’t I continue with my Mandarin lessons? We communicate great in person, but on the phone? Not so much!

In the end Maddie was not as bad as I had imagined on the 45 minute taxi ...

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Love of Reading Week

Last month I mentioned how cool it is for Maddie to have her daddy at school all the time. When I attended the elementary assembly on Monday with Maddie to kick off Love of Reading Week, I was completely gob-smacked when she turned to me and said, “Look Mommy! It’s Mr. Torris!”

Even though I’m a professional working woman, I’m also a mom and working in this environment let’s me be a mom even when I am working. Everyday I walk to school with Maddie, I think of all those moms back home that drop their children off with family members or day care providers. How lucky am I? Sitting front and center at the assemblies with Maddie lets me talk to her about her day when we get home. We spent the rest of the week talking about Mr. B’s silly socks on stage.

To quote Maddie’s teacher, “children...

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Wedding of the Century/Parent of the Year

We knew that today would be an adventure! Xiebin, our driver from school, gave us an invitation to his wedding about one week ago. All of the Chinese staff at school have been asking all week long, “Is Maddie coming to the wedding?” Maddie has slowly warmed up to Xiebin over the past year and will greet him when she is in a good mood. She put her party dress on and we headed out to The Pacific Hotel right across from People’s Square in downtown Shanghai. The hotel was built in 1928 and was at one point the tallest building in Shanghai. The Chinese have been very busy getting married this year because it has been a “double happiness” year. Today marks the actual end of the Chinese Year so Xiebin and Wei Wei were just getting in under the wire!

This is Maddie’s second Chinese wedding ...

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Birthday Parties!

Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Earl flew home this morning. We had a WONDERFUL time while they were here and Maddie really loved being a granddaughter while they were here! After Andy left to take them to the airport, Maddie and I went to Rigel’s birthday party. Maddie helped wrap the present this morning and made a card where she signed her own name. It was nice having all of the young children together on a Saturday. Roqueya and Malin were there from Maddie’s class and Roxanne and Wrenzi were there to help all of the little ones during the dinosaur egg hunt! Ri-Ri as his family and friends call him is in sync with Maddie. They are like magnets to each other and seem to be on the same wavelength. It’s fun watching them talk with each other!

Maddie spent most of the party telling him ...

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Ms. Zhou and Maddie’s Fridays


Maddie did not go to school during our first year in China as she was too young. So she stayed home every single day with Ms. Zhou, Maddie’s ayi. I was so interesting watching their relationship grow. As Maddie was learning to speak English coherently, she was learning how to understand and speak Chinese. Andy and I quickly learned that we should not even try to speak Chinese to Maddie… it just doesn’t make sense for a non-Chinese person to speak Chinese to her. So over the past year and a half, Ms. Zhou has used very little English with Maddie. I love coming home from school and sneaking in the house simply because I can hear them in the back room chattering away in Chinese having tea parties and paint sessions!

Ms. Zhou stays overnight at our house every Friday...

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