Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy to see Zaida

Tovina had last seen her Zaida in August in Beijing. She was a big fan of his but we weren't sure if she would remember him a month and a half later in Winnipeg. Then there was this episode one morning as Mari and I were about to take Tovina for a walk. Then we saw her checking out someone coming up the path.
Who does she see?

Who is that?
So happy :)

(In the honor of full disclosure, this was not the first time Tovina saw her Zaida during the trip so these pictures were not really a true test of her memory. But it was still fun to see how much bigger her reaction was to him than to almost everyone else. Myself included.)
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

i thought the problems would all go away

Another myth busted - there can be connection and internet problems in the US as well as China. I can't seem to find any way to log in and post tonight. With any luck, this email option will work, but I'm not confident. And I can't even use my favorite call to make it better - 'CHINA!!!'

Somehow, 'OHIO!!!' just doesn't have the same ring.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cousins in Canada

Tovina really enjoyed meeting her cousins in Winnipeg. Here are a few shots of all the introductions.

Here is Lisa and Tovina relaxing after a fine gourmet dinner.
This is Ethan and Annie and Tovina teaching me just how hard it is to get 3 children to smile and look at the same camera at the same time.
Here are Hannah and Tovina hamming it up for the big photo op.

Okay, maybe Tovina is not actually in this next photo, but don't Hannah, Myer, and Maddie look adorable?
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Monday, September 22, 2008

We're (all) home!

We picked up dinner on the way back from the airport and enjoyed it around the fire pit in the porch.
Our first night as a whole family at home!
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Traveling babies

Tovina and I are on our way back to Ohio tomorrow. It has been a great time in Winnipeg but it is time to get our house in order! There will be many more photos to come, but for now, here are a few of Jacob and Tovina driving their car in the local Rona's.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Just a few more miles

Having now seen our new home, Tovina and I decided it was time to leave the country again and head to Canada.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Observations State side

People drive really fast here
Adults and children still adore Tovina though they are slightly less excited about her going around and touching stuff that is clearly not for her.
Other people understand the continuous thread of random thoughts that I say to Tovina
People immediately realize Tovina is a girl based on how she is dressed
A lot of people tousle Tovina's head but not many touch her arms or legs or face
The air sure is clear - even when it is raining
Its safe to walk barefoot outside
The tap water tastes good
I can understand the discussions on the radio, read all the labels at the grocery store and all the street signs
There was dragon fruit at the grocery store!
It is pleasant to walk down the street/sidewalk and there is no construction though there is the occasional plane overhead and a lot more dogs that run around and bark
The grocery store lines are really short and fast but the bills are really high
While our sleep schedule has pretty much already adjusted, I'm still exhausted... so that is it for now :)

We're Home!

Here is is Tovina walking up to our house.
Yay! We made it!
Tovina and myself about to go inside for the first time
Tovina felt it was very important to inspect every room. Here she is checking out the kitchen.
And here she is back out front to see what the house looks like in the daylight.
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wheels up

Its been an incredible adventure here in Beijing. We have made amazing friends and done lots of exploring.

Now we are off on the next adventure. Hard to believe this is our last post (at least for now) from China.

There will likely be some down time as we move but we hope to be back to blogging soon.

Cats and crates and baby's curiosity

We are mostly packed up and have spent the last week visiting with friends and handling last minute details. One of these details has been taking getting the cat's shipping boxes. These came into the apartment just this last week. Here is Roxanne and Cyrano (inside) checking out one of the cages.

Tovina saw Cyrano go into the cage and realized she wanted to see what was inside the cage too.
"I see you!"
Can you see Cyrano curled up as far away from Tovina as possible?

Then we had 2 animals in the kitty crate. The big difference was that one of them knew how to get out and the other one got stuck

Luckily Mommy was around and helped Tovina get out. Of course, Tovina's very next move was to try to get back in.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Not going to miss

Things I won't miss

The air - though we have had some GLORIOUS days recently
Living in an apartment building and parking across the street adding an extra 10 minutes to any outing requiring driving
Appliances within our apartment running on different volts and amps and using different sockets (our apartment came with 2 different types of wall socket types and neither of them is North American)
The lack of stroller friendly walking places
The inability to find certain foods and then having them disappear once they are discovered
My inability to have silly little conversations with passing strangers
Blocked websites (though the only thing that has been made truly inaccessible to me in the last few months was the video I took of people goofing around at the Olympics that was then blocked by NBC even though when I looked up what it takes to infringe on video copyrights I seem to be within fair use.)
Unsafe tap water

Going to miss (updated)

Yesterday one of our local friends asked us what we are going to miss most about Beijing.
And we weren't allowed to pick our friends - which was going to be numbers 1-4 on the list.
Here are some of my items.

Interesting and tasty foods!
Bicyclists having as much (or as little) right of way as the cars
Cheap groceries
Tight knit communities with lots of people willing to lend a helping hand
An entire society who loves babies
Almost an absence of road rage (though it does seem to be growing)
Our Ayi!!!
People exercising, dancing, working out in local parks

I'm sure there is more, but that is what I've got for the moment

and here is more
Massages!!! (how on earth could I forget this)
Having everyone smile at you encouragingly when your daughter makes laps around the restaurant, tries to go through stranger's bags, and then offers her half-eaten dumpling to them.
Having the wait staff take our daughter during the meal to go play

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Drinking from her sippy cup

Tovina has mastered the art of drinking from her sippy cup. In fact, she does it so well that she is now looking for more exciting ways of getting water out of it

....Or she is just teething again
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Monday, September 01, 2008

The best little editor in Beijing

Tovina has started to become very interested in pens and pencils and is now also starting to associate these fine and dangerous toys with the marks they can make.

This whole writing thing got started a week ago at Friday night services when she was given a red crayon to check out. She managed to make about 2 squiggles before it was taken away (evil mommy) when I realized she was more interested in eating it than drawing with it.
Below you can see Tovina in action. If you want to see more of Tovina's growing skills, then you can check out a longer version here. You may even notice that she occasionally sticks out her tongue when she is concentrating really hard.

(Tovina is sitting with Ms Zhao.)