Thursday, May 27, 2010

“I have a chicken eye on my foot”

Grant is wearing a band-aid on the bottom of his foot that has to be replaced twice a day. It's the weirdest-looking band-aid I've ever seen.

He said his tutor found something on his foot and thought it was probably a [something in Chinese that I don't understand].

Then Buddy took Grant to the doctor, who said it probably was [something I don't understand] and gave him the band-aids and said it would probably go away in a few days.

I asked Buddy for some details but he gave me the same story Grant had given me.

Normally I'm okay with not understanding all the Chinese words that my kids and husband throw into a conversation. But since this was a medical issue and I was so out of the loop, I did what any mom would do.

I broke down.

Today when I was changing Grant's band-aid for the fourth time because he keeps picking at it I said, I don't understand why your tutor was looking at the bottom of your foot! And I don't understand what he thinks he's found. And I don't understand why the doctor couldn't confirm it, or why he would give you medication for something that doesn't have a confirmed diagnosis!”

Ever calm, Grant said, “Look, I'll tell you. I have a chicken eye on my foot.”

Oh thank you, that clears EVERYTHING up for me! My son has a chicken eye on his foot. Beautiful.

{Let's insert a pause here for me to regain my composure.}

{And to try to that image out of my head. I mean seriously, a chicken eye? That is so gross! Yet I wonder if Chinese people are grossed out when they hear our vocabulary like "shingles" and "Adam's apple" and kidney stone".}

After a few minutes of reverse engineering on, I figured out what Grant has on his foot is a corn and the band-aids are salicylic acid. And salicylic acid is a common, benign treatment and the corn probably will go away in a couple of days.

I still don't know why his tutor was looking at his foot though.

Monday, May 24, 2010

This guy broke my heart this morning

He had way too many boxes piled on his scooter and they had fallen off. He was sitting on the sidewalk next to his useless scooter and all the boxes with his head in his hands.

It almost made me cry just looking at him.

You guys know I have delusions of saving the world from the driver's seat of my Honda Odyssey so I decided to go check on him.

Learning from my recent misadventures in roadside assistance, I took a minute to prepare what I was going to say to him in Mandarin. I was quite proud of what I came up with.

I sat down next to him on the curb and said, "Hi there. I saw you from the road. You poor thing, you have so many boxes. Is someone coming to help you?"

"Yes," he said, pointing to his cell phone. And just at that moment his friend pulled up. "He's here now."

I realized that what I thought was a moment of total despair was actually just him, sitting on the sidewalk waiting for his friend to come and help him.

Someone had his back.

(And I can be a little dramatic sometimes. I admit that.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Caution - Drive Safely

That's what this sign says.

I'm glad we were stopped at a redlight when Audrey and I spotted it because we both laughed until we cried.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thank you, Tea Kettles

We're grateful to you, little tea kettles.

Grateful for all the piping hot tea that you supplied to us on frosty winter nights.

Grateful to you for warming our babies' baths night after night, and letting them splash with delight while all the day's soil and germs were gently washed away.

Grateful to you for the relaxing foot baths that we gave to our parents and grandparents, soothing them after a day of hard walking and working.

Grateful that you never needed repairs or new batteries or re-charging or polishing. Grateful that you were simple and reliable.

And now here you are with so many of your brothers and sisters and you're going on to your next life.

I'm not sure if the person who loaded you onto this truck was going for an artistic effect but I think you all look spectacular. So random and yet so uniform, so massive and yet so intricate.

Maybe in your next life you'll come back as a flagpole and you'll get to preside over something grand and important for decades to come.

Maybe you'll come back as a hubcap and you're going to see the whole country.

Maybe you'll be a Coke can and that might not be that interesting. Sorry if it does turn out that way.

But whatever it is, I wish you well. And thank you again for all you did for us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If you can't amaze them with your brilliance ...

Then stun them with your craziness. I decided this will be my new motto in life.

The other day I was waiting to turn left at a red light when I noticed some commotion on the sidewalk to my right. Apparently two high school boys, about 15 or 16 years old, were walking on the sidewalk and one of them somehow caused a guy to fall off his scooter. I don't know if it was intentional or not but my guess is that it was not.

The scooter guy was in his mid-40s, short and stocky. And he was mad. He had fallen on his face and his upper lip was bleeding a bit.

He started pushing the high school kid around and the kid pushed back.

This kind of road rage is very typical after an accident in Beijing. Usually the two parties lunge at each other and their friends or family restrain them, harsh words are exchanged, and then they calm down and go about the business of negotiating responsibility for the accident.

But this squabble was to be different.

Scooter Guy reeled back and punched High School Kid hard in the nose. His glasses went flying and his nose started bleeding profusely.

I realized this fight might be getting out of hand.

Scooter Guy shoved High School Kid, who fell backwards. Then he straddled High School Kid and started choking him.

I decided it was definitely out of hand and I should do something.

I quickly checked the three lanes to my right and thank goodness, no cars were approaching. So I pulled my car out of the turning lane and navigated my Honda Odyssey so I was perpendicular across the three lanes. If this sounds awkward, well ... it was, but fortunately it put me just about 10 feet away from the dueling couple on the sidewalk. I rolled down my window and it was at this moment I realized -

I had no idea what I was going to say. I needed to mediate a heated fight ... in Mandarin ...

Here's what I came up with after .75 seconds of contemplation -

"Do you need me to call ... 102?"

They both gave me this stunned look. I glared back at them, cell phone in hand, trying to look like I was crazy enough to call the police if needed.

And I probably did look plenty crazy right then, considering that the number for the police is 120, not 102.

Misguided as it might have been, my threat had the desired effect. They stopped fighting. I'm not sure if it was because:
a) they didn't want me to call the police.
b) they had no idea what I was saying but they figured a crazy foreign woman was more of a threat to them than they were to each other.
c) it gave them a chance to pause and realize they were over-reacting.
d) something else.

Anyway they stood up and Scooter Guy gave a tissue to High School Kid. Then they found his glasses hanging in the branches of a nearby bush.

Scooter Guy got on his bike and drove away. High School Kid started walking again. I pulled myself into the right direction in traffic.

And we will all live to fight another day.