Thursday, May 13, 2010

Final Days in Shanghai

Our final week here in

Talk about busy! The kids are not in school, so I have been letting them choose which activities they are interested in doing each day...whether that is a planned activity, running errands with me, coming with me to meet some friends or staying home and and playing. It turns out that many of the people I know here couldn't all get together on one day, at one particular time. So, I have been saying "goodbye" for several days now, to different friends. I can't EVEN describe to you how hard that has been on my psyche. Saying goodbye once is hard...saying it several times in a row is extremely painful.

I often think about why it feels so much harder this time around to say those goodbyes. Because I know friends I have left in the past have also been difficult...and they weren't any less important to me. So, why is it different this time?? I think it's because of the finality of the situation. These are women I have met from all over the world. The chances and likelihood that I will see any of them in the near or even possibly the distant future is MUCH slimmer than if they were moving to a different state in the U.S.

Yes, yes...of course we have technology on our side. But, we had those things for the use of our family and friends while living here and you all know it just isn't the same. It's a lot more FINAL now...and that seems to be wearing on all of us. And of course, we talk about meeting up someplace in the world every few years...but the probability of that is also slim...and we all know it. It COULD happen, if we all make it happen...but, there are also many obstacles life throws at you.

Also, saying goodbye to people like our teachers, and our doctors or anyone else who has made our lives easier while living here, has proven to be extremely difficult. Even saying goodbye to my ayi and our driver is difficult. Without these people, our lives here could have been even worse and that, in itself, is a very taxing thought. The doctors I have found here, I trust and respect WAY more than some of the ones I have found in the U.S. You don't really think leaving that kind of thing would be hard, since it's their JOB, right? Wrong. It's doubly hard when you have below average comparisons...and those are the ones you are going back to. I have learned not to underestimate how valuable GOOD health care can be. It's worth it's weight in gold...

So, saying goodbye has been tremendously taxing on me. To add to that, the news of my Grandmother's death kind of topped everything off this last week for me. She was the matriarch of our family and she will be missed. Somehow, there also seems to be a painful finality in the death of our family's matriarch. So many of my childhood memories were wrapped up in visiting HER...the fun, the laughter, the food, the festive spirit, the group gatherings...were all possible because she took the time to prepare for them, even if it had been someone else's idea. She did all the work, as most of us women can relate. She made those gatherings possible. So many memories...

She passed away JUST before the boys and I were to see her. My boys were excited about giving her a bracelet, because she had made so many for us. They still talk about visiting Nana when we get there...and I haven't had the heart to tell them the situation since they are going through GOBS of transitional and emotional stuff right now. *sigh*

I'm truly feeling worn down...

One of the days this week, some friends and I did a "non kid" Expo day. The primary purpose of this was to scope out the Expo for the day we intended to bring the kids, which was the very next day. At the end of the day, *apparently* Ryan got his foot run over by a car while I was away. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about it until I got home. I entered the house after a very long, HOT and tiring day and walked into mayhem as all the kids began to try and relate to me what had happened. I looked at Ryan's toes and the skin was peeled off of a few of them. When I went to touch his bones, he said it hurt. So, I had to take him to see the doctor. However, by this time, his "usual" doctor had already transitioned from the INexpensive hospital to the EXpensive hospital. And after all that, it turns out that he LUCKILY doesn't have any broken bones or fractures. Just his skin was peeled off. "Whew"...I guess?

How did he get his foot run over??? Well, as I could gather from the ayis (we had two here that day) and the kids, Ryan was running after the bigger boys who went somewhere in the compound we had told them NOT to go...places with cars! The ayi was chasing after them, but further back because the boys had been running. This is where it gets a bit fuzzy...but apparently Ryan was told to get out of the road as a car was seen coming, but he just stepped back to the curb, instead of stepping up onto the sidewalk. And the shitty driver of the car didn't slow down even with Ryan in the curb area...and ran over his foot. LUCKY for Ryan and me and everyone!!!

This incident epitomizes why I'm so nervy about living in China with the kids. Crap like that. China is actually one of the safest places to far as intentional harm. It just doesn't happen here. And expat kids aren't kidnapped or at least, not very often, because they look so different and couldn't be disguised that well. But, GOD FORBID, a kid runs into the street for any random reason. When/if that happens, it could be over for the kid. No joke. My parenting style has changed from one of somewhat relaxed to nervousness, constantly barking orders to my kids so they don't do stuff like that. Kids just don't have the ability to think about stuff like that. No matter how many times you tell them rationally...they get an impulse and could jump on it.

Anyway...Ryan turned out to be ok - this time. And I'm thankful for that. Knowing that he truly was ok, the side benefit to that little episode was that Ryan had a legitimate excuse not to walk around the Expo the next day...and we could bypass several super long queues into the pavilions. ;-)

Trust me when I say...ALL of us were happy about that and most of all, the kids.

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