Friday, July 31, 2009

Best 3 Year Old Ever

From Lucas Carman

So after my 23 hours home in Qingdao, my very pregnant friend Jacquelyn, her daughter, and I headed up to Beijing to wait for their current baby to decide to enter this world. The "fast" train is still over six hours (plus taxis on both ends to actually connect you from house to house), so her Beijing doctor wanted her here in plenty of time in case little Carman baby decided to make an early appearance. Jacquelyn was due on August 13th, so we figured two and a half weeks was plenty of time! How surprised were we, after arriving at 11:00 PM, that her water would break a mere 2 1/2 hours later!

Lucas Raymond Morton Carman still took another 31 hours to be born, which gave his daddy plenty of time to high tail it up from Qingdao to assist the birth. If you are friends of Jacquelyn you can read about the birth story on her facebook account. But my story was a little different.

The whole point of me coming up was to keep Jacquelyn company and to help care for their daughter, Anna Mae, until Jeremy was able to join her later. We were fully not expecting little Lucas to come until I had returned to Qingdao and her sister had come from the States. I was planning on getting in plenty of Beijing shopping over the ten days I was able to be here, and a lot of good eats too! Well, though my plans have been vastly different, having the baby while I was here turned out to be great. I've had 24 hour a day Anna duty, giving Jeremy the ability to stay with Jacquelyn at the hospital the entire time, and Anna and I go up to visit every day.

While I am ecstatic to finally meet little Lucas, I just have to say, I love this little girl! She is amazing, and has the best parents who have raised her to be an awesome little girl.

I am so thankful that Anna and I have become such great friends over the last year, because this week has been great. While at times noticeably missing her parents a little, Anna has been wonderful about having me as nanny for the week. We've shopped together, played at the park together nearly every day, cooked lunch and breakfast together, even washed dishes together! Each afternoon we take a taxi and a subway to go see mommy and daddy and didi (chinese for little brother) at the hospital, and every evening we come home, get ready for bed together, read some stories, and say bedtime prayers for mommy and daddy and didi.

Yesterday we were talking about her new little brother, and I said, "Now you have two boys and two girls in your family! Two of each!" She scrunched up her face, thought for a second, and said, "no, three girls and two boys." I asked, "Who are the three girls?" She said, "um, Mommy, and Anna, and Mrs. Greene." Later I asked, "Do you have four people in your family or five?" and she replied four, so I'm not sure exactly where she thinks I fit in, but the sentiment was sweet non-the-less. So many hugs and kisses and snuggly book time makes parenting seem like a breeze! Though I have been amazingly surprised at how little "other" things I get done (like work, ha ha).

Well, as I love new babies, and this one in particular, I've put up a few pictures of the trip :-) Hope you enjoy them. Congrats Carmans! We are so excited for you!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back from the Dead

So...has it really been nearly two months since I last posted? Whenever I go for so long without doing something I know I should do, I always wonder if it would just be easier to let a good thing die (hoping nobody notices my defeat), or resurrect it and publicly admit my inability to do everything (I know, I know, what a shocker).

Here are somethings we have done in the past two months. As it's late and I'm headed out of town yet again tomorrow, these are just quick summaries. I'll try to plan a blog post with pictures for each one in the near future.

June 5-July 3 we had intensive Chinese classes. I completed nine out of ten chapters of book two, and added a few more characters to my memory, so my chinese is progressing! It's fun to actually be able to talk with people, but I'm getting to the point where I want to talk about more than what country I'm from and what I do in China.

My parents and younger sister arrived on June 27th, I think. We showed them around Qingdao in the afternoons after our Chinese classes for the first week, then we headed off on our big adventure, led by tour guide Ruth Greene! There's a reason why you hire professionals to organize these things. But I didn't lose anyone in russia or anything, so I think it went okay. We spent two days in Qufu (Confucius's hometown), a day and a half in Xi'an (home of the terracotta solders-awesome!), and three days in Beijing. We traveled by train, plane, taxi, tour bus, and our feet, so it was quite complex! The family arrived back safely in the US on July 13th.

We were back in Qingdao for about five days. During this time, we found out nothing had been done to the apartment we were supposed to move into, but that we would be moving regardless (in 1 1/2 days), so we hurriedly packed up, movers came at 7 AM friday, and we were moved in (at least the boxes were) by 12:00. Nathan ran off to pick up his friend who was visiting us from Austin from the train station, meanwhile talking to his cousin via skype in Oregon about her impending trip over here (she will be living with us this fall semester to attend our school as an exchange student-more on that later), and my Ayi graciously stayed way past her usual hours to help me get the kitchen unpacked.

We spent the weekend showing John around Qingdao, visited the Tsingtao Beer Museum (fascinating history of Qingdao!), the Olympic sailing center, and even went sailing for an afternoon! Then Monday John headed off to Shanghai to watch the eclipse, and we headed off to Henan to teach English for the week.

We spent the week in Henan teaching English, a great experience! We made two new amazing Chinese friends and really got to feel more of the Chinese culture than we do in Qingdao or in tourist cities :-) We visited the Shao Lin Temple (birthplace of Kung fu), saw some amazing countryside, and had lots of great massages (for cheap!) We definitely hope to head back there again someday. So much we didn't get to do.

We arrived home today by sleeper train at around 2:00 PM. I head off tomorrow with my friend Jacquelyn to Beijing. She is having a baby in just a few weeks (hurray!) and I am going to keep her company and help her watch her amazing daughter Anna. Jeremy will be joining us when the due date is a little closer or Baby Carman decides to make their entrance! (hopefully before August 5th as I have to be back to work that day). What an amazing summer it has been. Pictures and more details to follow. :-)