Scotty is still in the states, but comes home in two days. Woohoo. I can't wait. I'm so out of practice of having him gone two weeks at a time.
I'm writing to tell you funny stories. The first is about baseball.
Unlike Japan and Korea, baseball is virtually unheard of here in China. So finding baseball equipment is difficult. We were lucky that we found a team for Q to play on. They're called the Shanghai Sluggers and are expat kids trying to keep their skills up until they go back home. It is more competitive than the YMCA, but is also all about building skills. So for that reason, we're excited. We had to buy some baseball stuff here though. The local sports stores don't carry anything. I asked the coach if he had suggestions and he told us that at the parent meeting, there would be someone who would be selling equipment. We needed baseball pants, belt and a bat. Of course, he didn't have any that would be the right size for my son. (we grow them big), so we were told to go to his "store" that afternoon. We took our driver Mr. Li to the address on the baseball suppliers business card. Mr. Li drove us to Puxi (the other side of the river) and stopped in front of a small apartment building in an ally. After a great game of charades, I understood that the "store" was on the third floor. Who am I kidding. Mr. Li had to practically walk us up himself. The "store" was the spare bedroom of this man's house. I'm pretty sure the baseball equipment fell off of a very lost truck, but it was cheap and we got what we needed. Well, almost. The one thing I didn't buy because I was sure that I could get it anywhere they sold any sports equipment was an athletic supporter. That's right, a jock strap. Or as the English call it a Hector Protector.
So on Tues with my friend Shanghai Gwen, I went back to Decathalon, the sports store. Think Dicks but with no golf or baseball equipment and no english speakers. After about 5 min of looking around, a very eager young man asked us if we needed help. Gwen and I looked at each other, shrugged and gave it our best shot. I said jock strap, cup, athletic supporter and was met with blank stares. We then started to do hand gestures focusing on our pelvic region using words like "hard" and "protection". He then showed us women's bike shorts and sports bras. Gwen and I then amped it up and did the same motions adding pointing to his pelvic regions and saying things like "protection from balls". He then referred us to a different employee. Surprise. After the same gestures, this man showed us slings and shoulder restraints. At this point I was trying to find a delicate way to text Mr. Li and ask him to explain what we needed. 5 min later, after I am sure, offending the last employee also, we had a group of 5 decathlon employees trying to figure out what we needed. Finally, someone went to the boxing section and found what we needed. Im just glad we didn't have to resort to pictionary.
Yesterday all the girl scout from Shanghai celebrated the 100th anniversary. My "partner in crime" Nahz was out of town so I had to coordinate our daisy troop by myself. It is sooooo obvious that she is the organized one. It also makes me realize that Kelly and Shannon back in Louisville were also the organized ones. After getting everyone registered for the day, it was a lot of fun. Lauren hung out mostly with her friend Shai who is from Israel. Shai and her mom Hadar are just fantastic people. Very fun. But at one of the booths, after playing their game, you picked a piece of paper out of a bag that said what prize you won. And low and behold, both Shai and Lauren won a mini keychain Bible. I was mortified. My nice Jewish daisy won a Bible. Thank god Hadar has a sense of humor. But really. C'mon people. You're giving Bibles out in China?
Today, Lauren had a playdate with Shai. I was to pick her up at 3:30. We were then going home, get cleaned up, walk to a decent restaurant, have dinner then go see the University of South Carolina's Wind Ensemble perform. That's right! They were in town. Now for those who don't know, my Masters in Music Ed is from University of South Carolina. I was flipping thru an expat magazine when I saw that they were coming into town to play a concert. At first, I was skeptical. But after checking USC's web sight I saw it was really them. I was looking forward to this all week. But karma really didn't want me to go. While I was at Lauren's playdate, I realized I hadn't gotten our house key out of my coat pocket. (you see where this is going don't you). No worries, I left Quint at home. I later got a text from Q asking if he could go to his friend Gabe's house. Sure, just leave the front door unlocked. He didn't. Crap. So I went to our developments club house hoping they had a master key of some sort. No. I called my real estate agent, Millie to ask if she could get the key from our landlord. Nope, landlord out of town. But Millie did call a locksmith. 1 hr later, locksmith came. 30 min later we were in the house. Now it's 5:45. So, plan B. Take showers, have PBJ's for dinner. Take taxi instead of subway because it's faster. HA. That only works if your taxi driver knows where he's going. What should have taken us 30 min took us 55 because our taxi driver had no idea where he was going. We passed the same shopping mall 3 times.
Now taxi's are incredibly cheap here. But it ended up costing 162RMB (about 25us dollars). To put it in perspective, the trip home was only 90 RMB and that was including hitting major traffic getting to one bridge so the taxi driver and I decided thru a great game of charades, to try a different bridge. (I am going to crush all of you in a game of charades when we get back to the states. I am becoming the charades master. Watch out!).
The concert for me was so worth it. They played so well. The theater was packed, which was nice to see. My kids were such good sports. It was like a mini homecoming for me. I talked to some of the students after the performance. They were so excited to see an alumni. And they seemed like such great ambassadors for the university and our country. The chinese audience members were treating them like rock stars. I talked with their conductor, who also was impressed to have an alumni present. I just can't express what a treat that was for me. And even though Karma was working against me, it was worth it. But seriously, I've got to do a whole bunch of good deeds tomorrow to change my Karma. Can't take many more of days like this.
Hope you are all well
Love to you all
The Radeker's - firstname.lastname@example.org