Monday, May 9, 2011

Farewell to Lan Lan. And my sanity.

Yesterday I came home from work and was met at the door by a clearly distraught Audrey. She wiped a tear from her cheek and drew in a deep breath before telling me, "Lan Lan ... is ... gone!"

My mind raced. Lan Lan. Lan Lan. Who the hell is Lan Lan?

A classmate of hers? No.

A relative? No.

One of the turtles? No, we haven't named them yet.

I decided sympathy was in order regardless of who Lan Lan was so I gave her a warm hug and said, "Oh sweetheart, I'm so sorry for your loss."

And then, gently, "Now remind me, who was Lan Lan again?"

"My dolphin!" she yelled indignantly, as if I had blanked on the name of my own grandchild. "Grant poked a hole in her and she deflated!" She ran to her room and slammed the door.

I knocked on the door and tried to comfort her with the fact that Lan Lan had gone to be with her Maker. Probably somewhere in Guangzhou.

She yelled at me to go away.

I went to find Grant, who was stretched out on the guest bed watching a Chinese drama about fighting the Japanese in the 40s. On an interesting side note, you can turn on the T.V. at any time of the day or night in China and see a dramatization of the fighting with the Japanese.

Well, I think that side note is interesting.

Anyway, Grant showed no remorse for his crime.

"She poured 酸梅汤 (sour plum juice) in my water gun so I killed her dolphin!" he cried.

He said it with such conviction, as if the dolphinticide were his God-given right. As if he had killed in self-defense. As if the dolphin had been armed and Grant had no choice but to take him out.

I felt compelled to say something but I didn't know where to start.

"Grant, you can't just..."

"Do you really think killing a dolphin is..."

I gave up because I couldn't think of way to complete those sentences that wasn't completely ridiculous.

Alright, Downtown Diner customers tell me what you would have said to Grant if you were the lucky woman God picked to be his mother. You can also leave condolences for Audrey, in the Comments section.


Feng said...

Actually, your image attached is a TV about fighting with Japanese, but it's KMT(Kuomintang) 's army not communists...

Melanie Gao said...

Oh thank you Zhu Feng! I'll update the post.

Kar said...

Hey! I'm so glad I just found your blog!! My husband and I just found out that we're moving to Baoding for 8 months for work! We leave at the end of June. If you want to write me an e-mail and give me annnny kind of advice on preparing, I would appreciate it so much. We are really excited (and anxious).

Chantal said...

Dolphinticide. Brilliant. Look forward to seeing it incorporated into future editions of the oxford dictionary! Great post as always!!!

Melanie Gao said...

I was surprised it wasn't already there after all we've heard about the Danes and the Japanese taking the dolphins down. :)

Hubert said...

What about the 'eye for an eye' parable? 酸梅汤for 酸梅汤, but she didn't kill your dolphin (or any equivalent animal)

Dakai said...

Cool blog. Saw the link from a China Daily article [].

It caught my eye that you're from Tuscaloosa. I grew up there, after emigrating from China. Hope your family was not affected from the recent tornado~

Jenny said...

Love your blog, very entertaining. I am also trying to raise kids local-style in Beijing with their Chinese father. I love that you are still able to find so much humor. I am so accustomed to things I sometimes don't notice the odd.

You can follow some of our adventures at

Dalton said...

Hilarious, I love that he was so sure that he needed to retaliate. Perhaps the war dramas contribute to his strategy.

Did you ask Audrey why she put plum juice in his water gun? Just curious...

I'm sure they're best friends again already. :-)

Melanie Gao said...

Good question Dalton. I just asked her. She said she wanted to squirt the plum juice in her mouth and drink it. A complicated juice cup, if you will. She said she washed it out later but Grant still said it wasn't clean.