Monday, March 31, 2008

Friends in Bangkok

One of the shocking things about Bangkok was that Thai people like children in general, and Tovina in particular, even more than Chinese people. We had not thought this was possible. Below are photos of just a few of the friends Tovina made during our trip. I don't think we had enough memory on the camera to get a photo of every person who held her or played with her or took their photo with her. She had quite the time!

Here is Tovina making friends with a nice woman who had a store front eatery. (This was right before the nice man gave Tovina the orange.)

And here are the nice girls she met inside the neighborhood Wat (temple).

These were some folks who ran some drink booths at a food court. They watched Tovina while I ate lunch. During those 30 minutes Tovina was taken around and introduced to every single vendor surrounding the eating area where I was seated. When she came back to me, Tovina had the monkey that you can see around her neck in the photo. The girl on the far right had gotten it for her.

At the palace these tour guides entertained Tovina while I tried to cool her off by keeping her in the shade and feeding her watermelon.

These were from our dinner Monday night where the waiter finally gave in to temptation and rather than simply making faces at her, picked Tovina up and took her over to share with some of the other staff.

This was on our way out of the country where the staff of the store played with Tovina for about 30 minutes and brought over various toys from around the store to keep her entertained.

And finally her buddy on the airplane who was up for holding her as much as we would let him. He was very good at quiting a fussy baby especially considering that he has no children of his own.
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Friday, March 28, 2008

The sweet kindness of strangers

While in Bangkok, Tovina discovered that hot and humid weather can be tough on a well-insulated baby. Have no fears, however: Thai pedestrians came to her rescue. As we were walking along - searching in vain for the Nattaporn Ice Cream Parlor - a man passed us, walking the other way. He was peeling apart an orange and stopped to say hello. I guess he thought Tovina looked a little in need of nourishment, for he promptly offered her a wedge of his orange.

Mmmm. Orange.....

Hey - got any more where that came from?
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Home from Bangkok

We have made it home safe and sound and thanks to copious applications of suntan lotion and judicious use of an umbrella, not a single sunburn! We have a lot more pictures and stories coming, but here are just a few to start things off.
First is Tovina helping us with a map of Bangkok. She seemed to feel that a 3-D representation would be easier to use.
Here is Tovina at Sanam Chandra Palace

And Tovina in front of a different section of the palace. I was trying to get the guards and elephant statues in the picture too but they are hard to see.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Maybe a few more pics

My old job site had a going away lunch for a few folks so Tovina and joined up. Here she is playing with all sorts of people and having fun making funny faces.

In the last pic, the woman holding her was specifically positioning Tovina so that only Tovina showed up in the pic.
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

World travelers

This is going to be the last post for a while 'cause the family is heading over to Thailand for a bit of a vacation. It was occurring to me that we seem to be traveling a lot but then I looked around. Admittedly Tovina is going on her 16th plane ride today but Sophia is also about to get on another a plane, though she is heading to Singapore.
These two gals have probably done more traveling in their 7 months of life than... well, I am not sure exactly what to compare them too, but it's a whole lot of flying! Too bad they won't remember any of it.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So close...

The other day we decided to go out and have a nice family lunch so we all got in the car and we drove to a nearby complex with an underground parking garage and lots of shops and restaurants. After some initial frustration driving around in the parking area, one of the guards jogged ahead of us and directed us to a space.
After maneuvering the car into the available area, Michael took Tovina in hand, we located the closest stairway, and up we went. As we neared the top we admired the sun shining in the clean, glass walled enclosure.
And then we tried the door...
which was locked..
because, really, why would anyone want to leave the parking area through a door marked 'exit'?

Michael panicked...

but Tovina kept her cool and she suggested going back down and looking for another way out.

While the temptation to break the door lock was great, we decided to follow Tovina's advice and eventually ended up at a lovely Japanese restaurant where we had our own private-ish spot where we took off our shoes so we could sit cross legged on the raised wooden floor and Tovina was able to crawl around and bang on the floor and shake the wall hangings and only minimally annoy the rest of the customers.

As a final note, having doors randomly locked is something we run into everywhere in China. We like to think that there is some method to this madness but thus far we have not been able to determine what it might be.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Last day in Shanghai

Here is Tovina 'playing' the piano with Hsiao.

And making sure the spoons are up to spec with Friedbert.
And of course saying hi to Sally
And on the way home she sat in her very own chair while I ate dinner on the plane. It was a special moment.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

MBA locations

WikiMap locations (thanks Seth!)
Here is the airport I normally fly into.
Here is where our classes are held
Here is the first hotel I stayed in
Here is the hotel I stay in now

Friday, March 14, 2008

things to do in a hotel

Tovina doesn't mind the showers here at the hotel and I know this because she had to take a shower this morning.
Because her diaper, shall we say... failed in its duty early this morning.
If you are really observant you may notice that the sheet is missing from the bed on which Tovina is smiling.

Yup, she thought it was great fun.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Exploitation of Cute Baby for Her Own Good

Tovina and I fly into the Hongqiao airport in Shanghai. It is a pretty good airport other than their taxi line. That thing is just atrocious. It is often more than a 45 min wait for a taxi. Sometimes more than an hour. And usually there is a huge backlog of taxis just waiting to pick up people but they are unable to get to passengers because the setup is so bad. When we arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday the line snaked out of the queue area and around the corner.

I tried to settle down for the long wait, started fanning the cigarette smoke away from Tovina, and hoped that she wouldn't need to eat or sleep before we arrived at the hotel.

And that was the moment when Chinese baby love kicked in! One of the airport guards in his green uniform noticed Tovina sitting on my hip watching the cigarette smoke float by. The nice young man came over, waved me out of line, and ushered me all the way around to the queue gate, had another guard unlock and open the gate, and then directed me all the way up to the front of line. When the next taxi pulled up - it was all ours!

Now this also happened the first time Tovina and I came to Shanghai but not the second which makes it hard for me to rely on the grace of the guards. I also find that as we wait in line wondering if they are going to notice this adorable baby shriveling away in the vicious outdoor weather (it was about 70F/20C Wednesday) I have bouts of hesitancy about accepting such preferential treatment. I sincerely doubt there is anyone who wants to wait and Tovina can probably stick it out and if I was the person waiting in line I would get really annoyed if I saw someone skip ahead....

Then the guard comes over and I follow him right to the front.
(I tried to not make eye contact with the people still in line as we stole their taxi. )

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And again

Its time for our monthly trip to Shanghai. So glad this finishes up in a few months.

Teething sucks

I sort of thought we were home free now that the first tooth popped free. (or teeth because I think there are 3 showing now but it turns out Tovina is shy about the inside of her mouth and refuses to let me see or really feel exactly what is going on in there.)

But I was sadly mistaken

The poor little thing has woken up with severe crying jags the past week or so and seems to be in a lot of mouth pain. We are trying all the usual tricks but its just no fun.

Since our Chinese babysitter is not here at night when Tovina is the most upset, we give her cold teething rings, wet, cold wash clothes, and sometimes even frozen bananas. (gasp!) They all seem to help for about 5 minutes a piece.

Kilroy was here

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Getting centered: Tovina relaxes through yoga

After a stressful day, Tovina likes to unwind with a little yoga routine.
Starting with Downward Facing Dog

Then into Plank (I know her form needs work, but at least its a start)

From which she is pushing up into Cobra

And finishes with Locust

What I found particularly funny about this, is that I did not manage to capture her in the 'Happy Baby' pose.
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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

cool link... almost

i had a really cool post all ready to go about Wikimapia and how amazingly!!! useful it is here in Beijing where a searchable, up-to-date, legible map is so hard to come by. And postings are in Chinese and English. But since writing the post Wikimapia has been blocked so all the nice things I was trying to say are now worth.. well, at the moment they are not worth posting.


sometimes the censorship here is almost unnoticeable, and some days are like this

Apple mush

We've been trying to get Tovina to eat solids for a few weeks now with pretty minimal success. (Videos will be coming eventually.) Yesterday Zhao ayi cut up some apples and put the little bits in a cloth mesh bag for Tovina to chew/gum/suck on. It was a big hit!
As a side note: I had made applesauce out of the apples that Michael and I like for Tovina to try (our apples are something like a Gala apple, firm and tart) and Tovina had pretty much disdained it entirely. Zhao ayi said that maybe Tovina would like a sweeter and softer apple and that Chinese babies would start with something like red delicious.

Another side note: If you have not yet realized it, you can see all of the videos that we post at

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dance Dance Tovination

Tovina really likes moving and she especially likes other people helping her move. No matter how bored Tovina might be before hand, with the words, 'dance, dance, Tovina' she immediately breaks into a huge smile and then gets ready for some booty shak'n!

Monday, March 03, 2008

One of those parents

I was going to edit some video for the blog today but it turns out that my entire C drive, all 100 GB, is full. I do still have some room on our backup drive of 289GB which is only 3/4 full, so not all is lost.

I suppose this is my computer's way of telling me that perhaps I may be a little camera happy when it comes to the little one.

ps. have you ever noticed how time consuming it is to edit video? or delete unnecessary photos? sheesh