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  • Writer's pictureHannah

Old rugs, a new decade and another paws for thought

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Acquiring a rescued puppy the weekend before I started back in full time employment for the first time since early 2013 may not have been one of our better decisions, not that there was much deciding involved, we went to visit a few abandoned animals at the vets and one hour later walked out with 3kg of dog food and a puppy in a bag. We named her ‘Yemei’ because ‘ye’ is mandarin for ‘leaf,’ (she was shaking like one) and ‘mei’ is the word for little sister, also like a term of endearment. Not sure on the breed, some common, local mix, a bit fox- like actually. She had been found under a bush a few weeks old, then taken into a home with about 50 other animals in cages. So she was quite timid and we’re still in the process of gauging her trust as she has run off twice, eaten and/or wriggled out of her collar, the latter time spending the whole night outside. Anyway, despite having to throw away 2 of my favourite rugs due to urine infestation, her night barking, her fascination with digging up my houseplants and the early morning, greeting after work poo deposits, it’s been fun to have an addition to our family. The kids love having someone to simultaneously boss around and look after, Mike is expectant that she will be speedy and accompany him on runs in due course and I’ve realised an additional joy to having a pet is that at random expat gatherings there is always a topic of conversation other than the weather.

We are approaching the golden week holiday next week, which is one of the four moon festivals. I forget the Chinese name for it but there’s a rabbit and moon cakes involved. Usually everyone travels but we have been advised from employers not to leave the province, even to go to Shanghai because of virus risk, even though apparently there’s only been a handful of cases in the past month in Nanjing, a city a couple of hours away. We keep finding swab packets on our door step without any instructions. We’re still traced daily, through the electronic health code system and so there’s no record of us leaving the province, none of us have had any symptoms and so I duly gather the swab packets and place them both in the physical and mental bin of eternal question marks.

There doesn’t seem to be many restrictions on gatherings, only that parents aren’t allowed on school campuses, (cuts me to the core as Gideon has been doing particularly well in football this term but I’m not allowed to watch any of his matches) and at the church. They’re running services but you have to prebook tickets and seats and drop your kids off 3 miles down the road. There’s something I don’t really agree with about the formality of these new procedures, and really the church isn’t about a building, its a reflection of the kingdom of heaven, so we’ve decided not to go. For: ‘The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all’ Psalm 103: 19. ‘ He is the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- he remains faithful forever’. Psalm 146: 6. ‘ I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand- I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people’. We’ve instead fairly regularly gone to a tiny meeting at the Arts Collective and some kind of kids focus will start up soon. We’ll try to have our first compound family- friendly gathering on 10 October for food, worship and word. The only other restrictions seem to be temperature checks at a lot of places, always at school gates and children and staff being required to wear a mask while riding school buses and upon school entry and exit, after which they are then swiftly removed. I don’t fully understand the logic in forcing 2-3 year olds to wear a mask that they’ve partially chewed through just to enter and exit a school building. But that has been one of the less pleasant procedures in my kindergarten job of the past few weeks.

Mike and I celebrated our first decade of blissful unadulterated marital paradise ;) two weeks ago. Despite my pavlova failing miserably (I even added the sugar one painstaking teaspoon at a time) and the preordered desserts nosediving off the table onto the floor the day before, we had a lovely evening with expat and Chinese friends mainly from Suzhou Striders running club and Mike prepared a quiz. We even palmed the kids off to friends the next day so we could stay in a nearby hotel, had dinner in an Italian restaurant, ran a Jinji lake loop together (13 k) in the morning and met up with other friends from Fiji and America for a roast lunch. Can't wait for our 20th.

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