Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parking in China: The Joke I Do Not Get

When you were little did you ever have those times when everyone else was laughing at a joke and you didn't get it but you pretended like you did?

It happened to me all the time. And that's how parking is for me in China. I think we're all just parking wherever we can find a space but apparently there is some rhyme and reason to the whole thing that I DO NOT GET.

For example today I drove to the subway station and parked on a side road. There was another car parked right in front of me so I thought it was okay to park there.

But alas, 2 hours later, Buddy sent me this picture.

It's a parking citation.

But seriously folks, I don't get it. I think we're all just parking wherever we can find a space. Aren't we? (I took these pictures of parked cars on the way home today. These are very typical parking jobs.)

So why did I get a citation for parking like this?

China, I just don't get it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Overheard in the Gao household last week

1. Pepsi is a cheap knock-off that must be punished
Audrey hates Pepsi. HATES it. She told me this yesterday in the car. I never knew.

She doesn't hate the taste of it. She hates it because Pepsi copied Coke's idea. Coke had a great product and Pepsi "came along and copied it and is just trying to make money".

And we all know how altruistic Coca-Cola is.

2. Ashes to ashes
The other night at dinner Grant told us his friend's grandpa died in a house fire. It wasn't smoke inhalation, he burned to death. The rest of the meal was eerily quiet - unusual for the Gao family - as we all thought about the poor grandpa's painful demise.

Audrey was dubious and decided to investigate Grant's story a little further. She interviewed the friend yesterday after school.

Turns out his grandpa died in his sleep of cancer and the cremation was last week.

You can see where the confusion comes from. If you were an eight-year-old boy who was fascinated with fire and uninterested in details.

And Audrey's Big-Sister-Know-It-All crown rests firmly atop her head.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mother-Daughter Spinning Class - The Non-Freaky Kind

Audrey takes this class called GAB (Girls Achieving Balance) that is offered by Stella Chan Marinaro and if you live in Beijing and have a tween daughter you really should contact Stella because she has a great way of talking to the girls about fitness and nutrition. They listen to her. She says the same stuff we moms think we're saying but Audrey listens to her in a way she won't listen to me. Maybe it's because Stella's not her mom, maybe it's because she's sweet and cool, maybe it's because she's totally fit herself. I'm not sure what it is but I'm so glad we found GAB.

Stella gives the girls a chance to try all kinds of different sports. They've done kick boxing, cheer-leading, yoga, Nia, and spinning.

Audrey loved the spinning. She wanted to do it again and asked me to find her a regular class, which I dutifully did. I registered her for a trial session, to which she said, "I hope you registered for two because you know I'm not going to do this by myself."

In fact I hadn't known that but luckily I was able to get another spot in the class for myself.

Turns out the class I found wasn't quite what she was looking for. The music, the lights and the spinning were all too "freaky".

I have no idea what "freaky" means in this context, except that Audrey will not be attending that spinning class again.

And if you're the parent of a tween, you know that if I asked her what she meant by "freaky", the word "freaky" would have come up several times in her explanation. Which would have left me feeling not only confused but decidedly uncool. I guess this is pretty much how the next few years are going to be.

I lamented to Stella the next day at kick-boxing and guess what she put together? A special mother-daughter spinning class just for tween girls and their moms. The music was Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, the lights were normal and the spinning was as hard or easy as you wanted it to be. It was perfect, nothing "freaky" about it.

If you can translate the word "freaky" into English please help me out, in the comments section.