After a milestone weekend (first week = over), filled with moments of culture shock and triumphant adjusting (we found peanut butter, people), it was Monday morning. Start fresh right?
Wrong. Monday morning was one of those rare but incredibly frustrating, “Hey! I’m new here, please take advantage of me…” moments that are just part of the experience of moving to new place. My inability to speak Chinese has kept me a little timid over the past week, rarely venturing out without James. However, this day was going to be an easy cab ride across town to spend the day with an American friend. Wrong again.
James waited for a cab with me, confirmed the location twice with the driver and rushed off to catch his bus to class. As soon as he was gone, the cab driver does a u-turn across the oncoming 4 lanes of traffic and heads off in the wrong direction… New route, I’m thinking. He drives around the city square we live near and stops on a street off of the back side of the square and asks for his fare. At this point, I am a little panicked – no phone and no way to tell him he is way wrong. After a few minutes of awkward gesturing, I get him to use his phone to make a call knowing that James will not answer as he is on a noisy city bus and does not have caller ID. By this point, he knows he is wrong but what’s a girl to do?
I fumed and cried the entire walk home, after being ripped off for a cab fare that was not earned and convinced that the driver knew exactly what he was doing but knew that I could not correct him. Two and half hours and a rain storm later, I am sitting on a bench under a huge tree to stay clear of the rain waiting for James to get home from school. The end. That day, I hated China.
But things get better. You see a friend, remember a face, or explain to a new friend why you made the trip across the world. Things always get better.
Yesterday, I spent the day getting to know a new friend. Laughter and vulnerability that encouraged my heart like only friendship can. We spent the day watching her kids and adding another two babies to the mix. I forgot how exhausting babysitting can be…
After a long, successful day (“I made it in a cab on my own” is the current definition of success), we met up with James for shao kao. Shao kao is quite possibly our favorite food here; meats and veggies that covered in spice and cooked over extremely hot coals & only available late in the evening on streets all over the city. I didn’t stop eating long enough to take a picture of the food so…
After dinner, we brought the Robbins to our neighborhood for Baroque ice cream & gelato, a serious treat.
It’s a good day when ice cream is in the mix.