Saturday, May 25, 2013

China Day Twelve - Blue Skies and Baby's Screams

We left the hotel this morning at 9:30 to catch a flight to Nanning City.  We made it to the airport in good time.   Tipped the bellboy, tipped the interpreter, tipped the driver etc. etc.  Got our tickets and got through customs, all without incident. 

We had about two hours to wait so we settled in and prepared for the stares. 

Bill took the kids to get candy while I stayed back with Paul and QingBei.  When he returned, I figured it was my turn to explore by myself.  Lo and Behold, I saw a coffee house.  I love coffee.  It has been about two weeks since my last cup and I have been doing fine with tea, but oh, I miss coffee.  I went in and saw "American Coffee" on the menu.  It was 68 yuan--about $11.00.  For that price, it had to be good.  Right?  After all, I was in an international airport.  I took the plunge and ordered a cup to go.  I knew I was in trouble when the lady at the counter handed me a packet of sugar and some Creamora.  I hate Creamora.  It was horrible.  I wasted $11.00 on coffee paste and Creamora. this foreshadowing for the day. 

Our plane boarded at 12:30.  Once we were all buckled in, there was an announcement in Chinese and  suddenly all the passengers started moaning --Not a good sign.  The English translation came a few minutes later.  We couldn't take off for another two hours-- at 2:30.   By the time we landed at 4:30, we were good and ready to be done with that plane.  Just before the plane landed, I noticed that they were saying a whole lot in Chinese and unfortunately, I could only understand about 2% of the “English” interpretation—just enough to know that they were speaking in English and if I could make it out, we might hear something important.

….Yeah.  What we would have heard was that the plane was not in Nanning City, as we thought.  This was just a layover.  As we walked down the chute, we saw two signs, one for #%$&%@# and the other for Nanning City.  We took the proper chute, and a nice Chinese lady in uniform gave us seven blue tickets, which I took.  We asked what they were for.  She didn’t speak English.  At the end of the chute, instead of the baggage claim signs that we were hoping for, we found a crowded gate.  We asked the nice Chinese lady in uniform at the desk if she could tell us where we were.   She didn’t speak English.  She just kept pointing to the floor and saying, “Nanning City” (smile) ”Nanning City.”  Hmmm….. does that mean we are IN Nanning City?  Or this is how to GET TO Nanning City?  I never did find out what city we were in, but we did clue in that this was a layover and we had just lugged ourselves, our carry-ons and our five kids off the plane for nothing. 

We finally landed in Nanning City about 6:30, got our luggage, found our interpreter and drove to the hotel.  Thank you God, we looked up and saw BLUE SKIES!  Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize how oppressive that smog in Beijing and Datong City was until I had my first glimpse of BLUE.  It’s so nice to see BLUE skies and breathe clean (…er) air!!  I just couldn’t get over how BLUE the sky is. 

We are in South China.  Nanning City is about a 90 minute drive to the coast.  I drilled our interpreter with questions and he was (thankfully) very informed.  There is a huge river running through the city, so they use hydroelectric power rather than coal-generated power.  It’s still dirty, don’t get me wrong, but it is nice to see blue skies.  There were four million people in Taiyuan City (that we just left), there are three million here and another three million in the surrounding countryside.  The thing that you notice about this city is all the new construction.  We got on Google Earth to find some running routes and the picture of where we are is from 2002.  It’s all barren land.  I just looked out my hotel window and counted fourteen high rises (30 to 40 stories tall) and they have all been built since 2002.  –No wonder China is financing so much US Debt. 

It doesn’t seem as opulent, at first glance, but on second glance, you realize….it’s here.  We are staying at the nicest hotel I have ever set foot into.  It’s the Nanning City Marriott.  The bathroom is like a whole separate hotel room.  It is all ceramic tile.  There is a glassed in walk in shower and a separate soaking tub.  There is a remote control unit for the blinds.  The furniture in here probably cost more than all the furniture in my entire house, and, oh the BED.  It’s so nice to sleep on a good mattress!!

So, we are here for a week and I’d say things were perfect except for one teeny tiny little detail.  QingBei really can’t stand me.  She has bonded great with all the kids, but she doesn’t like Bill very much and she won’t come near me.  She has been doing so great with the kids,  but for the past few days, she has been avoiding me as much as she can.  I didn’t really realize it was such a problem until we got to the hotel room here.  Bill took the older kids exploring and left me with QingBei in the hotel room.  As soon as she realized they had gone, she hid in a corner and screamed at the top of her lungs again for thirty minutes.  ….Nice.  

I’m not really sure what to do about this.  I promise I have NOT beat the child.  I think the two contributing factors are that first off, my kids are just really fun and have great instincts with her.  They love her and play with her constantly and she loves to be with them.  The second problem is that the not-as-fun-mom-tasks fell to me, and she has been really, really spoiled.  She is flat out used to having her way and the bottom line is that she is not going to get it anymore.  So, for example, she has to be carried when we cross the street, she can’t live on sugar water and cookies, she can’t hit people when she doesn’t get her way and she has to be buckled into her seat on a bus or plane. Etc. etc.  I have taken out all the negotiables I can think of to give her some sense of control, but she resents every lost battle.  

I have been coached by countless sources not to let her bond with the kids instead of me, but I’m not sure what to do about this.  It’s just never been a problem before.  I tried making the kids do some of the nasty tasks, but it didn’t make much difference.  We also asked them to back off a little and they readily complied, but that just traumatized her and I can’t see adding trauma to her life just now.   We tried getting her to play with me and Bill so we could be associated with some of the more fun things, but she is still basically horrified or indifferent to us.   It’s frustrating because I don’t know what to do and God is often annoyingly slow when it comes to answering prayer.   So, in the absence of any better ideas, I suspect we will schlepp along, living out the immortal definition of insanity: doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different result.  …but at least I’ll be doing this while looking at blue skies and sleeping on a comfy mattress. 


  1. Marnie, I've been so very anxious to hear how things are going and I started reading your blog. While thoroughly entertaining, as you always are, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your growing family. When I babysit, I will make sure to hold off on sugar water and cookies. :-). Miss you guys!

    1. Thanks Bree! We miss you too (and the babysitting:)!

  2. Hey Marnie! Can you ask the other kids to be more affectionate to you and Bill? Since she likes the other kids maybe she will start to want what they want and enjoy. Just a thought.
    Jen Smith from TT

    1. Jen, great idea and I never would have thought of it on my own, my kids however, have been doing this instinctively. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that it is helping but it is a worthy consolation to have my teenage boys asking for hugs every time I get the three-year-old-rejection-glare.