Thursday, August 25, 2011

No, that ring is not "hoochie"

Yesterday Grant asked me to come to his school to have lunch with him. Fortunately his school not only allows this but encourages it so I gladly said yes.

This morning I asked him if he had any ideas of what I should wear to his school. "Anything is okay, just not anything too hoochie, okay?"

Pardon me? When did he even learn the word "hoochie"? And have I been known to wear "hoochie" clothes?

I tried to go for a demure yet casual look for our lunch date but I couldn't resist wearing my green flower ring. Does this count as hoochie?

I think not.

I had forgotten how wonderful the bulletin boards are at elementary school. As I waited for Grant outside the cafeteria I taught myself the sign language words for "P.E." and "read" and "backpack".

Then Grant came around the corner and saw me, and he looked so excited. It was the sweetest thing in the world. He held my hand but didn't talk to me since talking isn't allowed in the hallway.

Maybe that explains the sign language bulletin boards.

Then he showed me how to get food in the cafeteria and I was reminded of the day 15 years ago when his father did the same thing, in a different cafeteria, one that was halfway around the world at Chiba University in Japan. That was our first encounter, and the rest is history.

Sunrise, sunset.

I had a ball talking with Grant's classmates during lunch. This one little girl was so cute. Here's a recap of our conversation:

"Did you know they sell cookies for a quarter up there? You can get four for a dollar!"
"That's very impressive math, Madeline. And you're right. Four quarters is a dollar."

Moments later.
"You know, you could go up there and buy four cookies right now."
"I guess I could, Madeline, but I could never eat that many cookies."
"You could give them to us!"
"That's a great idea Madeline!"

And me, being the pushover that I am, I bought four cookies and gave them to Grant's classmates.

After lunch Grant's teacher let me hang around for recess, which Grant calls "Reese's". He's confused as to why they don't hand out peanut butter cups at Reese's break.

Then after Reese's the class lined up and Grant asked me for a hug and a kiss goodbye. This is huge, folks. When I picked him up at his school in China he completely ignored me. He said, "If people see me hugging an English woman they'll think I'm English."

News flash #1: I'm not English.
News flash #2: Even if you don't hug me, people can tell you're half white.

But after a few weeks in the U.S. he is not only not ashamed of me, he's proud of me. I guess he sees that in a different context, I'm not a bumbling, lost fool. Instead I'm smart and capable. And I have some cool rings.

Of course we all know I've always been smart and capable rather than bumbling and lost, but you have to see it from the perspective of an 8-year-old.

All I can say is thank God for different contexts. And for 25¢ cookies. And for schools that encourage parents to come to school for lunch.

And most of all, thank God for 8-year-old boys.


Unknown said...


I am so glad you and the kids have adjusted quite well. On another note, how are his book/s? Are they torn up yet or wrinkle? Love you all.


Gayle said...

Love your lunch date with Grant and his classmates, such fun days! Sounds like he's doing great in his new home. Are you keeping a journal and writing all this down, you should be writing a book! You write like your mother. Love, Gayle

Karin nelson said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story & I'm SOOOOO glad that he has a great school !!! Woo hoo!!! PS-I heard from A that you have taken boxing classes-I've signed up so we'll see how I'm feeling a month from now when it starts up....

An said...

What a sweet post. I love the pic at the end!

Melanie Gao said...

Melinda that's so funny you remember his flower books. His books here look good so far. But he doesn't transport them to and fro from school.

Gayle I write down some stories but this blog is really my best journal.

Karin you will love kick boxing. It was hard for me at first but then I got used to it and love love loved it.

An I love that picture too!

Anonymous said...

Love the story and the picture! When I read Grant asked for a hug and kiss, I was so moved, and felt so happy for you. Grace says hi to Audrey and Grant. :-)


Melanie Gao said...

Audrey and Grant say hi to Audrey! I miss that little sweetheart too, give her a hug from Aunt Melanie.

Myra 米兰 said...

What a sweet boy you have :) I hope mine will want to have lunch dates with me when he starts school!

Ulyana said...

You are so pretty :)

I know I'm late, but welcome back to the United States. I hope your kiddos' English gets all up to speed. It should take no time. They are still little.

Melanie Gao said...

Ulyana YOU are pretty! And thanks, it's great to be back. :)

Myra I'm sure your son will want lunch dates. I can loan you my school lunch ring when the time comes. :)