It’s that time of year again already, time to recap the 12 months in a short blog post. Many life altering things happened in 2018, most notably the birth of our second child “PY” in November. But let’s go back to the beginning first. In January of this year I was in Guangdong. I was excited because soon my family would be coming to live with me soon. I was busy making preparations with the help of local friends (and attending a local friend’s wedding!). Finally K and KL arrived, and we set about making a new tropical life together.
We stayed in Guangdong for Chinese New Year, and went to a local flower market. Flowers and fruits are a big part of New Year celebrations in Guangdong so it was special to be able to experience this unique regional culture. People decorate with tall orange bushes surrounded by potted flowers. These could be seen all around. Too bad the oranges are inedible!
Winter was colder than I imagined, and there were days we struggled to stay warm enough. There is no indoor heating there and all buildings are designed to keep in the cold. Thankfully the cold days were few and it soon started to warm up again.
We enrolled KL in a kindergarten that was a bit of a walk from the place we lived. Every day we had to cross a main expressway to take her to school. Overall it was good to get some exercise every day, and KL enjoyed her kindergarten and continued to learn standard Mandarin despite being in the heart of Canton.
Though our main purpose for being there was to save money, we did get out and travel a bit, not wanting to miss our limited opportunities to explore this tropical Asian place. Sometimes we went into the city for milk tea and exploring on Saturdays. Other times we visited the famous Buddhist monastery or the beautiful local parks filled with traditional Chinese architecture. We even traveled a little further and visited some reconstructed “old towns” and spent a holiday with a local family in Panyu. We learned a lot and enjoyed exploring and family time.
When it was time to leave Guangdong, I looked back on my time there, and though my bimonthly visa runs were tiring and strenuous, had I not needed to do them, I never would have met two of my very best friends. I now can’t imagine my life without C and C, and I miss them so much now that I’m far away. Thank goodness for technology and WeChat. At least we have that!
In early spring, K and I found out that I was expecting. This news was quite the surprise and forced us to change our plans. We decided that it would be better for us to move back to Qinghai so that we could be close to K’s family, and to be back in familiar territory when it came to hospital checks and available help. That required me to change my visa type, and that required me to return to America. So that’s what I did. So in the summer of 2018, I went back to America, alone, and waddled around the Midwest, securing my family visa, visiting and staying with friends, enjoying family, and meeting an online friend for the first time who I’d grown very close to over the last two years previous.
This visit to the US was different from previous visits. I wasn’t able to bring KL this time so I was there flying solo. It made the trips to secure my visa much easier not having her there and I experienced some new things on this visit such as taking trains. I had the chance to do some wonderful things this time like see The Lion King musical with my sister and visiting lighthouses and blueberry farms.
All too soon it was time to leave my American family and reunite with my Asian one. After a long and tiring journey I made it back to Xining and promptly began my recovery from jet-lag.
Upon my return, I found out that there is a raspberry farm right here in Qinghai! We went there after I recovered and found that not only were there rows of raspberry bushes for picking, but also many beautiful flowers, paths, tents, and a restaurant making special foods! After picking our two boxes, we shared a giant bowl of noodle soup for lunch. We also enjoyed the local specialty of 8 treasures tea. I plan to go to this farm every year!
And of course, the most momentous occasion of 2018 is the birth of our second daughter “PY.” It was an extended hospital and labor experience, one that I don’t wish to repeat (I think we’re done now haha) but all the waiting and pain were worth it. She weighed in at 6.6 pounds. I was induced at 38 weeks because it seemed that she wasn’t growing properly. We’re so glad everything turned out alright. Now our life has changed again in a big way.
I spent the rest of the year at home, trying to get enough sleep. I had another “modified sitting month” (as I like to call it), staying inside and at times being cared for by family members.
So another crazy year has come and gone. Here’s to hoping 2019 is smooth, peaceful, and cooperative!