Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gotta love the longguo

The fruit in Zhudi town is pretty good.  The dragon fruit has become a favorite.  It is Red and about the size of a grapefruit but it has these leaves that come off of it and I guess that is where the name dragon comes from becasue it looks like it has scales.  However, when you cut it open it is white with black polka dots and tastes like a mellon.  Fresh, it is very tasty.  I prefer it for breakfast, but like all fruit, it is fine all times of the day.
  The gua, or guo, pronounced gwa, is the suffix for many fruit. For example, nangua is pumpkin.  Nan is south so I take it that Nan gua, or pumpkin, is the southern fruit, or maybe the southern mellon.  Those of you mandarin experts out there can correct me.  The pumpkin here is plenty good and tasty...for eatin, not for carvin.  During halloween we tried to find a good "nangua" to make a jack-o-lantern outa but none to be had.  They are smaller, very firm, and like I said, plenty tasty.  We have had our fair share of pumpin soup.
  This year being the year of the dragon, I leanred to say long - dragon quite a bit.  I had been recently turned on to dragon fruit and upon a visit to the fruit dude, pieced together dragon + mellon  = long guo, and low and behold, he produced the fruit I sought.

Catching up on sleep

The days are long and hard here in China, we sometimes find that the most relaxing thing is to ride the wonderful Shanghai subway around and around and catch a few z's.

The Giving Tree

Bridget visited a local school with the Giving Tree group from SAS.  Parents and teachers put in a hell of a lot of hours gathering donated gifts to package for local youth.  Families at SAS were given info about local families in need - # of kids, sizes, what not and asked to purchase or donate items that fit the need.  For us it was an amusing little outing into the Zhudi town market to buy clothes for the family we were assigned.  The chinese clothes in the market here are affordable and we were able to stuff our bag full.

   Bridget worked with other parents and teachers organizing the literally hundreds of bags - no small task - and joined in on distribution day to one of the schools.  The kids were in matching parkas which they wore in the classroom because the windows had no glass, just holes in the brick.  Of course there is no heat and no air conditioning.  So in the warmer months the temperature hits the high 90's and in the winter it dips into the teens, but the learning still goes on.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life in the fast lane

It is not the time but the speed that is impressive in this photo.  Do the math!

We did actually make it to the non-violent part of the philippines

This is taken from Oriental Mindoro - where we stayed - of Occidental Mindoro - accessible by a short boat ride, or a 10 hour car ride.  Christmas Eve.

China Habitat for Humanity Build Yunnan 2012

Bridget and I will be leaders for a Habitat for Humanity build from March 30 - April 6th just outside of Pu'er in Yunnan Province.  One cool thing about this is that we will fly into Kunming on the 30th and take a 6 hour bus ride to Pu'er.  The 6 hour bus ride isn't cool, but the fact that we get to go to Kunming is!!  Those of you (especially the Boucks and any S. Grant St. Fold) in the know, know that the absolutley wonderful park down the street from us and accross the street from the Boucks is called City of Kunming Park.  It even has a series of these huge boulders that were supposedly flown in from Kunming. Now we get to go there!!

The H4H program at SAS is thriving.  Each Break (fall, spring, christmas, summer, chinese New Year) a few crews travel to various locations around the globe and offer the physical labor to assist in building a house.  The leader of all this is a math teacher (of course) named Rob Burke - a very energetic guy who has built this massive program here.

So we have about 18 students - including Josephine and Quinn, and three chaperones - Bridget, Me, and Jane Zu (who happens to be Josephine's Chinese instructor) and we are in the initial planning stages of our trip.  We are stoked for what seems to be a heck of an adventure for spring Break.!!!!

A loss to the French School

It is currently 3rd sport season at SAS.  That means soccer, track and field, softball, and badminton.  Quinn secured herself a position on the JV soccer team and was a leader on the field during the 3-0 loss to the French school.  It was a big day of losses because she also lost her cell phone - actually left it on the bus.  After a few days of investigation it was discovered that the bus driver found it and gave it to some kid named Samantha who has had it at home for a few days now.  Hopefully Quinn will get it back tomorrow.

Soccer isn't as popular for the girls as one would believe.  They didn't cut anyone and have 16 girls on varsity and 16 on JV.  Quinn was asked to play with the varsity girls on Saturday and anticipates that may happen more often.  As for now, she is comfortable where she is.

The badminton team here is pretty good - especially the boys.  About 50 of them showed up for try outs and 8 of those made varsity and 8 JV.  They all have experience and are fairly talented at this quick game.  It is very entertaining to watch as footwork and quickness is the name of the game.  We played Pudong last week and although we beat them solidly (42-6) their top player, an Asian fellow named Roland, was the athlete to watch.

Quinn has a double header this Saturday and we are looking forward to watching both games.  One of the massive perks about living where we do is the proximity to school makes participating in the various activities very easy.  Quinn and her buddies are raising money for the Relay for Life.  I'll have to have her fill in on that....

Bridget has been sick for two full weeks.  Just before Aunt Joan left, Bridget led the Crosser girls on her own version of the Butaan Death March.  They covered nearly 8 miles through the guts of the Zhudi Town market, chickens, eggs, viggies, stinky tofu, closthes, the jam-packed bartering, and out through the antique market toward the Xujing Dong train station then along the highway to Hokers - the totally AWESOME food and kitchen supply store to buy a bread knife.  The funny thing (although not that funny to Aunt Joan) was that Hokers is actually only about 1 mile from where we live, but they took the 8 mile circuitous route - no hyperbole - 8 miles, I measured it on Google Earth.  Any how it was cold and raining throughout the duration of this march and when they finally got home, Bridget seemed to have caught a cold.
  We got her to bed early only to see her wake up wednesday morning with a raging fever and belly aches.  Aunt Joan sadly left on Thurday but Bridget was still knocked out.  By Friday we took Mirjam up on her offer and used their driver to get Bridget to the doc.  Gastroentinitus - or massive stomach flu was the call.  Lots of rest and fluids.  Monday, same old same old.  Tuesday, Oma left (with some tears) but same old same old for bridget.  She was slamming the gatorades but still feeling dehydrated and just down and out.  Couldn't eat a thing.  By Friday it was a bit concerning.  Folks around here told us (and I believe it) that what hits in china will last twice as long...just because.  I guess that offered some relief to me, but not to bridget.
  Since she wasn't eating, she wasn't taking much insulin.  But when she would it was like she was no longer a diabetic - bam hypoglycema kicks in - we had a record night with 11 smarties, two large glasses of chocolate milk, 2 cups of juice, and a four hour ordeal just to get back to normal. Saturday, Sunday, and she was able to get out of the house for Quinn's soccer games and an unsuccessful search for the Shanghai Farmers Market.
  Monday she had to work a full day at school ending with a private lesson with Mia Kidd.  She managed well but crashed right after dinner.  Today, same deal, but she is looking even a bit better.  Still, not all that sweet to be dealing with here in China.