Sunday, April 6, 2008

Life in China

While our time in China lasts a little longer than we would have liked, we are grateful for some extra time to get to know our son without all the distractions of home. He is a happy, busy toddler who teaches us new things about himself every day.

Also, some of our observations about life in China...


While we practice defensive driving in the U.S., the rule here is offensive driving. And check your horn every three seconds to make sure it's still working.

The Clear Blue Sky

It must be up there somewhere. If you ever see pictures of China with a beautiful blue sky, you can be sure it is computer-engineered. The other night, as we were coming out of dinner, the fog (or so we thought) was so thick we could hardly see across the street. Our guide informed us that it was not fog but pollution.


KFC is quite popular here and you can find one almost anywhere. The other night I had a chicken sandwich and there were peas, carrots, and corn baked right into the chicken patty. I had heard KFC was trying to get a healthier image but that was a little much.


When you go into a KFC and there are 20-30 people waiting to order as usual, they won't be in lines. They don't form lines here. They form a nice, polite mob and then slowly push their way foward (but very nicely - everyone is super polite here).

If problems arise with this method, a polite "discussion" ensues. Once, it looked like our guide stole a taxi cab from someone else, but she said, "It's okay, I discussed it with her."

Another time a man behind Phil decided that Phil was taking too long, so he mumbled something at him and put his stuff in front of Phil's. When the cashier suggested that that was rude, the man responded, "Oh, I discussed it with him."

And once, when we were looking for a table in a crowded restaurant, our guide went up to a man sitting by himself at a table. She said a few Chinese words to him and then quickly motioned us over. "Come sit here - he's almost finished." We all hung back, reluctant to sit down at this man's table while he was still eating.

"Oh, it's okay," she insisted. "I already discussed it with him." So there we sat, five Americans awkwardly staring at this man as he hastily slurped up his noodles.


Education is very important here. Kids of all ages attend school from 7am to 5pm and even the primary students will bring an hour of homework home. A 12-year-old could expect to have three hours of homework in the evening.

I haven't told anyone how long we spend homeschooling each day. I'm afraid they may decide I'm an unfit mother.

Attitudes About Adoption

For whatever I've said about all the people staring at us, they are always very positive about what we are doing. The ones that can speak English usually thank us and have nice things to say to us. One man said, "I really appreciate what you are doing and I hope Americans know there are many boys who need their help."

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