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  • Writer's pictureHannah

'I'll thqueam and thqueam until I'm thick... I can."

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Balcony blogging this evening while Mike is down the track sweating off his skinny behind. Feeling a little less drained than this time yesterday, mainly thanks to the kids' positivity and cooperation. Yesterday was quite the opposite; on the days that Gideon has extended learning, Emily is practically the only child on the bus and usually snoozes her way home. I am usually therefore met by a drowsy girl who refuses to walk. I've made my mind up, I will not give in to carrying her, (she's 5 1/4 for crying out loud), so we're then in for a few minutes faffing/negotiating/whining/pleading and she always pulls her ambush trick, which she mastered as a toddler whereby she'll wrap her arms around my legs, pressing her head against my stomach, making it nigh-on impossible for any forward movement on my behalf. I often react by simply standing there like a frozen statue while Emily whines and then gets bored and begins the pleading cycle. So this fun and games plays out our usual routine until I eventually take her hand and walk her across the busy pelican-crossing ignoring- traffic ridden street. Yesterday was particularly hard as she went into a full blown- throat-sore tantrum, utterly distraught for the entire walk, I could vaguely make out that she was cross that I wasn't carrying her, her eyes went into this strange, lost frenzy while she yelled and all the Chinese security guards looked on in wonder. Once home, I left her alone for a few minutes as she sobbed and screamed and when she finally calmed down and went into the whimpering puppy phase, we hugged and tried to talk about the tantrum and why I'm supposedly the cruelest being on the planet for making her walk and if possible can she try a bit harder next time without making the whole of Suzhou Industrial Park think there's been an alien invasion. Oh, by the way the title to this blog is a quote from the lisping Violet Elizabeth, a character from the 'Just William' stories. Antiquated I know, but also timeless as an expression from a strong willed, wee girl.

In other news, it's been a real joy to have begun our summer language exchange program, we had our second session last Sunday afternoon. Its kindly hosted by our friend Jeff who runs a company called 'Suzhou Arts Collective,' (with his wife who also teaches ballet). We have a different pair of leaders each week, one Mandarin speaker, one English speaker and they introduce the topic. So far we have discussed running terminology and rubbish sorting terminology, (new bins this week across the district). Our hope is that it may continue and develop with new people joining every ten weeks, with possible expansion to a muli-site model. At present we have a few more Chinese than we do native English speakers but our desire is that it is quite evenly balanced. It's such a blessing to have the opportunity to meet in a neutral environment, make friends with local Chinese and share our language and customs. And really, thanks is due to Mike for birthing the 'Suzhou Striders' running community, where we already have quite a network of friends, out of which other community- building initiatives, such as this language exchange can then evolve.

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