Doing it in reverse…

I decided to help the packers by moving everything into the living room. We have three stories straight up and not only did it save them from endless stairs, it helped me see that everything was out of the rooms that was headed back to America in the shipment. We are stopping in Paris for five days so not only am I trying to get everything sent home, I’m trying to pack for vacation and the delay until we get the shipment stateside.
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The packers were here bright and early this morning. It was very strange sitting watching them pack up the life we have known for the last year and a half.

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They were much pickier about what was allowed to go in the shipment. Sadly some local spices in oil were kicked out as well as all of my spices from home. No liquids, no alcohol, no powders, no batteries, no computers and no local DVDs.

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This is the lovely truck that will be taking our things to the first stopping point. Umm, it is a little like a UHaul…I guess. I’m hoping the door doesn’t fall off with all of our stuff inside!
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Everyone loves bubble wrap!
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And it's off. First stop Chongqing, then Tianjin and then USA!

And it’s off. First stop Chongqing, then Tianjin and then USA!

We had 45 boxes today and 38 when we arrived. We only had an air shipment where most families have an air and sea. We did not move furniture, so we declined the sea shipment. So we struggled over making sure we kept our shipment within the allotted weight limit. We did however buy the piece of furniture that got loaded last. I love it and really hope it is in one piece when it arrives!
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Back to how it was when we moved in…cheers, I’m having a glass of wine tonight and calmly sitting and reflecting! What a long, wonderful, strange trip this has been.

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Xi’an our last China city…

Of course we have not been able to do everything we wanted to do in 18 months, but we certainly tried! We knew we wanted to take one last trip in China so we needed to deicde where that would be. We considered Guilin, which we were told was absolutely beautiful and totally worth the trip. Guilin is known for the scenery and outdoor activities. Everyone books a tour where they paddle boats down a river and ride bikes through the countryside. After doing a little research it seemed to me you would want more than three days in Guilin and everyone we talked to spent four or five days there. So we decided we would go to another historical city called Xi’an. My tutor knows how much I enjoy the history of the country and he said it was a must before we left Cina.
The city of Xi’an is almost three thousand years old and home to the Terra Cotta Warriors. It served as the capital for 1000 years during 13 dynasties and a total of 73 emporors ruled here. The most famous dynasties were the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties.
We arranged to travel with two other families for two of the days we were there. We prearranged a tour and bus traveling in a group is always more fun! We actually were with a family that we took our first vacation with and now our last! The major difference I noticed right away about Xi’an is that it is a tourist city. There were a lot of Waiguo ren (foreigners)and the city seemed to cater to all of their out of town guests.
We flew from Chongqing to Xi’an first thing on Saturday morning and after the hour and five minute flight we headed straight to the Terra Cotta Warrior museum.
“Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun the work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life. A group of peasants uncovered some pottery while digging for a well nearby the royal tomb in 1974. It caught the attention of archeologists immediately. They came to Xi’an in droves to study and to extend the digs. They had established beyond doubt that these artifacts were associated with the Qin Dynasty (211-206 BC).” chinatravelguide.com
So that is the brief history of how this now historical (now considered 8th wonder of the world) site was discovered. A farmer who was digging a well brought up a significant piece of a Tera cotta warrior in his bucket! They later realized that many farmers had brought up pieces of terra cotta before, but they threw them aside like trash as they were broken pieces that didn’t resemble anything. When you walk into the first pit, you are in awe. Each solider stands actual size, with individual hair styles and finger prints. To think of a leader today creating an under ground city for his after life with his own army to protect him would be absurd!image

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This is the Kneeling Archer. The only warrior to be unearthed completely intact of the over 8000 warriors.

This is the Kneeling Archer. The only warrior to be unearthed completely intact of the over 8000 warriors.


The tour included three of the unearthed pits and a museum of other pieces that were recovered. Archeologists know of over 100 pits that are part of the underground city. There are many reasons why other pits have not be excavated, but work still continues on the ones that have been.
Our evening plans were to attend a famous dumpling restaurant and dinner theater. We would sample 15 different dumpling types prior to watching a Tan Dynasty style performance. image

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We awoke to pouring rain on Sunday morning. What does one do in China in the pouring rain? You pull the loaded tour bus into the parking lot of your first attraction, wait two minutes for a local to show up selling umbrellas and barter until you have the best price for 14 umbrellas. We got them for 10 yuan each, $1.60.

Our first stop the White Goose Pagoda.

Our first stop the White Goose Pagoda.


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After the pagoda and temple we had lunch at a restaurant in the Muslim Quarter. Xi’an is the start of the Silk Road in China. Not only did the silk trade open up China it also brought people here. Thousands of people traveled the Silk Road from China to Europe in search of riches. The Silk Road became a major trade route thousands of years ago. The Muslim quarter in Xi’an was established because people came into China, liked living here and married local women. Today this quarter is very rich in traditional Muslim culture. I guess not much different than the North End in Boston, just a little older ;). After lunch we spent several hours in the Muslim markets. I think they were the best of all of the markets I’ve been to in China! We had so much fun! image

This was street food, I love the cat coming out below!

This was street food, I love the cat coming out below!

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On Monday we were on our own and we decided we would rent bikes and ride along the top of the old city wall! Xi’an is the only city that still has a full wall around it. It is a 22km perimeter trip around this ancient city and it became a highlight of the weekend!

We stopped a few times to take in the fact that we were riding bikes on the only completely intact ancient city wall in China!

We stopped a few times to take in the fact that we were riding bikes on the only completely intact ancient city wall in China!


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Mei you….

Mei you is pronounced “may yo” and in Chinese it means “do not have any.” This was one of the first terms we learned because at every meal the waitress tells you “Mei you” for at least one item you have ordered. I love a vegetable that I ate when I first got here at a restaurant I have frequented the most. After a couple of months whenever I order the vegetable they would tell me “Mei you.” Well, this past February the vegetable was back so of course I realize now it is a seasonal vegetable. Great, I love to eat veggies in season, but then take it off your menu or put a little sticker over it! I have eaten at this restaurant at least every six weeks if not more and just for fun I order it everytime! Of course yesterday the waitress said “Mei you!”

I was thinking of this word “Mei you” and thought of all of the things that New Hampshire…”does not have.” I could never do justice to this topic because the list is too long, so here are just a few things that New Hampshire doesn’t have!

In New Hampshire we do not have split pants. I may have mentioned these pants before. They are worn on almost all babies and toddlers who are not yet potty trained. They are pants with a slit from the front to the back so when the child needs “to go” they just sit down where they are standing and “go.” If they are still just a baby then they are held every so often in the squatting position. This can be done in a mall, on a plane, on the sidewalk, in a restaurant, you name it we have seen it everywhere!
In New Hampshire we use diapers, spilt pants “Mei you.”

In New Hampshire it is illegal to have three or four people on a motorcycle. In China not so much! On a daily basis I am counting the people on motorcycles. I am always blown away when a man is driving with a helmet on and the woman is in the back with helpmet on and a child is squished in between, no helmet!
Multiple people on motorcycle in NH “Mei you.” The other thing that I may at this point consider an art is “side saddle.” I am not a fan of motorcycles because they do not provide enough protection between me and the pavement they ride on, but hundreds of women are clearly quite ok with them. They ride side saddle everyday on the way to and from work. They are dressed in their office girl clothes, nylons and heals sitting side saddle on the cell phone not even hanging onto the driver. I’m not sure if this is an amazing talent or a form of live art, but they certainly have it down to a science 😉

Grocery stores underground. We have been in grocery stores all over this country and I would say 90% of them are underground. You take a slanted moving flat escalator like the moving walkways in airports, but they are slanted so you go underground. I still haven’t heard the exact reason, but I am thinking cheaper rent and less cost for AC. The temps are in the high nineties for the next week so my guess is it can’t hurt to have these stores underground.

Cbest one of our grocery store.

Cbest one of our grocery store.

Hawking, spitting and blowing your nose onto the ground in all public areas…”Mei you in NH.”

Constructions cranes numbering into the hundreds from any given turn of your head…Mei you.

New Hampsire doesnt have brain, frog, gizzard, blood, tripe, dog, kangaroo, turtle, chicken feet, pig noses, chicken comb and the list goes on and on the menu, all of these items “Mei you.”

Street food…now take the above mentioned foods and put them into a make shift moving kitchen and park them anywhere on a street. Put the above mentioned on a stick and you have street food! Unless it is a country fair or a lobster festival, street food in NH “Mei you.”

Stray dogs, or family dogs just running around stray. Something that has become part of the scenery here is the amount of stray dogs. They are everywhere, everyday, crossing catwalks, riding escalators, crossing streets, mating in the streets, relaxing in the parks, dogs are almost as numerous as the the people.
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Pollution….Nuff said…we miss the NH blue sky!

Markets…I like TJ Maxx as much as the next person, but that doesn’t come close to the fun of the markets here. Depending on the city some are better than others, but bartering your way through a unique tunnel of one “business” after another with the most unique treasures is a lot of fun. My new favorite markets are in Xi’an. You start in one alley of unique and strange street food only to turn a corner into a skinny hallway with one shop after another numbering into the hundreds. Each one packed with more product than the last. The colors, sounds and smells fill you with sensory overload, but with each stall it is ever more the challenge to get what you want for the price you want. In Xi’an you could start as low as a third and hope you end up at at least 50% below the asking price. You decide on your bottom line and then stick to it! In your best Chinese you tell them you are Chongqing Ren (Chongqing people) and let them know you get their game, you are not a rich foreigner only here for two weeks. I love when I am totally fine to walk away and they chase me down the street not daring to let the business slip away or even better when they seem totally ticked off, but give in. Bartering is a part of life here. Both Will and Ella have gotten confident and really good at it.

One of the shops in the Muslim Markets in Xi'an.

One of the shops in the Muslim Markets in Xi’an.

Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Maserati, Ferrari, and every other high end car you can imagine. New Hampshire has them, but they are not parked one after the other in my neighborhood. Luckily NH doesn’t have the attitudes of the people driving these cars either!
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The driving behaviors of this country are insane and luckily NH doesn’t have any of these behaviors either. If we approach a stop sign and one car is already at the stop, my driver will drive right around them and keep going. If we are entering the school gate and there is a car in front of us turning into the school as well, my driver will go around them. If we are on a four lane road my driver will make a 5th. If someone from this country came to NH and drove as they drive here they wouldn’t last three miles without getting pulled over. Someone told me once that they are following road rules, but the only one that is consistent is that they stop at a red light. There isn’t any maneuver that is off limits! Police do not pull cars over to issue any traffic violations so maybe that is why they have created their own way to drive. Luckily I guess they use their horns defensively, so they are always honking and warning hello that they are cutting each other off! It is truly hard to describe what it is like in traffic here because in all of the places we have travelled, this country is unique all unto itself!

Right now, the Houghton Family is “Mei You” in NH, but as of June 28 we will be “Mei You” in China! Thanks for all of the experiences CQ, you really are no like city in the world!

Perspective….

On a daily basis we see the poorest of poor and the richest of rich. Last week I saw a news show talking about the “Bling Dynasty” in China. China now has 1.5 million millionaires and is about to surpass all other countries for their total of billionaires. This country is experiencing people with new money and lots of it, but on any given turn in this city you are in an extremely poor neighborhood, or walking down the sidewalk with the people who live in those neighborhoods. Millions of migrant workers are in the city trying desperately to make money for their families in the countryside. CQ isn’t like most American towns and cities where the poor neighborhoods may tend to be in the same area, (I can hear friends talking about what side of the tracks they lived on growing up) the poor live up against the Gucci store and live in tents in the grassy area behind the Hilton. Beyond the cities filled with the high end stores lives thousands of village people trying to figure out how to make money. Over 60% of the people in this country live on one dollar a day or less. There isn’t a person in America who only has $365 dollars a year. So when we first moved here and I joined the CQ International Woman’s Group I was happy to learn that they sponsored milk programs in poor village schools. This year the CQIWG had a new president take the reins and there has been a shift to actually sponsor students. The program launched this year as a pilot, but the (expat) community came forward and sponsored over 80 students from two schools. There were two previous trips to village schools earlier this year, but both times I was working so I was happy to be able to go on the last school visit this year. I decided it was important to take Will and Ella out of school so they could see first hand who we were sponsoring and why. It took about two hours to arrive at the school. Starting from when we exited off the highway the kids’ understanding of where we were headed was growing. We were in the middle of nowhere. We have traveled all over this country and we have certainly been in different areas identical to this one, but we were always passing through, not looking for our final destination. We had obtained information in advance about our student, number 28, Au Jian Chen. He was a 7 year old boy who lived very far from the school. His parents were both uneducated, and they were in CQ city trying to make a living (who knows how often this little boy sees his mom and dad). Au Jian and his six year old sister were being raised by their sickly grandparents. Au Jian is one of the millions of kids in this country with the same story. As we drove though the countryside we pass landslides where half of the road has been washed away,

My friend Rachel drove to the school with the kids and myself and during this stretch of road and we were both thankful to have our driver, Xie Bo. We were both repeating Kuai dian, quickly quickly!

My friend Rachel drove to the school with the kids and myself and during this stretch of road we were both thankful to my driver Xie Bo. We were both repeating Kuai dian, quickly quickly!


we passed though decrepit areas where homes looked uninhabitable and local towns that were filled with mostly scooters or large truck traffic. The only high end cars were the seven cars we were all in (embarrassing) that became quite a spectacle. We were sponsoring two schools so at a fork in the road we stopped to make sure we had the right amount of gift bags going to the two schools and to confirm everyone was in the right cars headed to the school their sponsored student was in. Here are a few pics from our stopping point and traffic jam we caused!
This guy never woke up with the seven out of place cars parked in front of him!

This guy never woke up with the seven out of place cars parked in front of him!

The older people here have stories to tell.  I would love to talk to them all! This guy cut his way around the cars and kept on going.

The older people here have stories to tell. I would love to talk to them all! This guy cut his way around the cars and kept on going.


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We arrived at the school to be greeted by the most beautiful and at first scared little faces. This school had over 200 students. The principal identified 30 of the poorest. I can’t imagine what the criteria was for this decision. The first group that was brought out were the 30 kids who were being sponsored. After the red envelopes were handed out and the gift bags given, the rest of the kids were allowed to come and hang out with us.image They were just gorgeous. Kids are kids no matter what culture, background or wealth. They were goofy and silly. This was the first time ever they had ever seen a “wai gou ren” or Westerner. Once the ice was broken they crowded around us. A couple little girls kept getting close to Ella to accidentally bump into her or push a friend into her. They wanted to touch her. They wanted to ask us questions or listen to us try to talk Chinese. They wanted attention! What 6 to 12 year old doesn’t!! When Ella got overwhelmed at one point she got into the car and an entire line of kids stepped up on a ledge and stared into the car until she got out again.image
Our principal’s wife got a group to sing and play and the smiles were contagious! The teachers were so excited to talk to us, but we were in awe of them. Some of them commute long distances to teach these kids. Their hearts are in the right place! These kids have a tough life and these teachers were wonderful. The visit could have been two different groups meeting for the first time at any Londonderry school, except it was a world away, but the interactions were the same, curiosity, excitement, interest, and fun. I’m sure the major difference would be how the two groups felt once they separated again. We imagine the dinner conversation that night with these kids and their families. It was an exciting day for all of them even if they were not on the sponsored list.

Bringing lunch.

Bringing lunch.

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We of course had a very long talk over dinner that night. Our kids (from their own mouths) said how they have nothing to complain about. They talked about observations such as the kids being dirty or the conditions of the school. They also saw how happy the kids seemed and how they seemed like normal kids. We had a long talk about what really makes a person happy and friends and family do not cost any money! Sadly, the child we sponsored wasn’t in school that day. We learned that it takes him four hours to go one way to school. One of the things we brought to give Au Jian was the bike Will had outgrown. We can only hope that he gets it and it somehow helps him get to school. My heart was broken, but I’m so happy that the CQIWG have had great success with the the start of this program and I hope next year they are able to sponsor even more students. I will leave money to sponsor number 28 next year and hope the little boy we were unable to meet is as happy as his classmates.
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Our weekend plans…

We are excited about our last trip in China. Living here would not be complete without a trip to Xi’an.

“The capital of Shaanxi province, XI’AN is one of the more pleasant Chinese cities. It’s a primer in Chinese history, as between 1000 BC and 1000 AD it served as the imperial capital for eleven dynasties and was the start of the Silk Road. Among the wealth of important sites in and around the city, the magnificent Terracotta Army of the Qin emperor, Qin Shi Huang, is the most famous and Xi’an’s biggest draw.
Xi’an successfully integrates its architectural heritage with the modern city, its imposing walls and ancient geometric street plan, centring on the Bell Tower, giving it a distinct identity. Downtown Xi’an, inside the walls, is just about compact enough to get around on foot, with enough sights to fill a busy day. The Beilin Museum holds a massive collection of steles, while the Muslim Quarter preserves a different side of old China in its labyrinth of alleys centring on the Great Mosque. The area south of the Ming-dynasty city walls is scattered with architecture from the Han and Tang dynasties. The excellent Shaanxi History Museum and the small Daxingshan Si sit between the two Goose pagodas and their temples, which are some of Xi’an’s oldest – and certainly the most distinctive – buildings.” http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-482570-xi_an_vacations-i

Here is our itinerary:THE LIZ’S WEEKEND TOUR XI’AN
(3 Adults & 1 Child) Itinerary
Final version

Day 1
08th/Jun/2013
(Saturday)
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· Arriving in Xi’an Xian-yang Air-Port by Flight No.: CA4363 at 09:20 (09:20 AM). Your tour guide – Ms. Yang will be waiting at the exit.
· A board with “LIZ’s 3 + 1” written on is held.
(if you don’t see a female guide who is holding a sign on first sight, don’t worry, she must be around, or give her a call to :186 2900 4462
· Heading for “the hotel – Xi’an North City Sheraton”
· (one hour driving by bus)
· Join with the other two families in the hotel
· Go to “the Army of Terracotta Horses & Warriors” *1 all together in one bus.
· Lunch – in a cafeteria (if you wish)
· Coming back to the downtown (one hour driving by bus)
· Refresh in the hotel
· Dinner show – Dumpling Banquet & Traditional Dance Performance. *5 *
In Xi’an
Day 2

09th/Jun/2013
(Sunday)
Breakfast
· A Visit to the Historical museum
· Passing through the “Bell Tower & Drum Tower” Square*2
· Visiting “the Xi’an Grand Mosque” and walking around the “Muslim Quarter*3 Food Valley and Souvenir Vendors” *4
· A Tour on the top of City Wall *7
· Lunch
· (after lunch, Katherine’s family part and go to the air-port)
· A Visit to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda *8
· Local cuisine
*1 Army of Terracotta Warriors One of the most famous archaeological finds in the world. This subterranean life-size army of thousands has silently stood guard over the soul of China’s first unifier for over two millennia. As most archaeologists believe, he expected his rule to continue in death as it had in life – whatever the case, the guardians of his tomb today offer some of the greatest insights we have into the world of ancient China. The discovery of the army of warriors was entirely fortuitous. In 1974, peasants drilling a well uncovered an underground vault that eventually yielded thousands of terracotta soldiers and horses in battle formation.
Start with the smallest pit, Pit 3, containing 72 warriors and horses, which is believed to be the army headquarters due to the number of high-ranking officers unearthed here. It’s interesting to note that the northern room would have been used to make sacrificial offerings before battle. In the next pit, Pit 2, containing around 1300 warriors and horses, which is still being excavated, you get to examine five of the soldiers up close: a kneeling archer, a standing archer, a cavalryman and his horse, a mid-ranking officer and a general. The level of detail is extraordinary: the expressions, hairstyles, armour and even the tread on the footwear are all unique.
The largest pit, Pit 1, is the most imposing. Housed in a building the size of an aircraft hangar, it is believed to contain 6000 warriors (only 2000 are on display) and horses, all facing east and ready for battle. The vanguard of three rows of archers (both crossbow and longbow) is followed by the main force of soldiers, who originally held spears, swords, dagger-axes and other long-shaft weapons. The infantry were accompanied by 35 chariots, though these, made of wood, have long since disintegrated.
Almost as extraordinary as the soldiers is a pair of bronze chariots and horses unearthed just 20m west of the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang. These are now on display, together with some of the original weaponry, in a small museum to the right of the main entrance

*2 walking through the Bell & Drum Tower Square to the “Muslim Quarter

*3 Xi’an’s Grand Mosque & Muslim Quarter the large number of Muslim immigration to China was during the Mongolian invasion (900 years ago). Today, they have their own ethnic community and living together in an area. The mosque is very unique in Chinese style of architecture and decoration.

*4 Food Valley, local food sold in Muslin Quarter may have the taste of that in Steppes of central Asia but they swallowed up the ingredients of the locals, creating deliciously diverse culinary options.

*5 Dumpling Banquet – Dumpling fillings include various meats, vegetables, vegetables and seasonings. Cooking methods include steaming, boiling, pan-frying, deep frying, and roasting.
*6 Traditional Dancing & Music after dumpling feast
*7 City Wall – In the past, every Chinese city had its own city wall and moat to have it protected. But unfortunately most of them are vanished. Today, Xi’an is the only city to have a complete one. Riding a bicycle on top of it, nobody can resist feeling as if she or he is being embraced and brought back to Chinese medieval scenes.
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A scary two days…

On Thursday morning we were all getting ready for work and school when I heard Will yell my name. I came down the stairs to find him swaying in the hallway, as he was about to hit the floor I grabbed him screaming for Chip. When we got Will on his bed we found him drained of color except a tinge of blue. As one would imagine all hell was now breaking loose. Chip was in his face saying his name, I screamed for Ella to get a cell phone because my gut reaction was to call 911. Major difference between home and here…in Londonderry if you dial 911 someone will be at your house within minutes. When you dial an emergency number here…no one is coming. We have friends that called the emergency number for a lady who had fallen down the stairs at a market and the person that answered said the two (2 what, in a city of over ten million!?) ambulances were busy and it would be over an hour before someone could get there, it ended up being over two hours. So, if you have a life threatening medical emergency here, chances are you die. Ford had many expat families here and CQ is considered a “hardship” placement, this being one of the reasons!
When Will came around he had no idea what had just happen, his first sentence was bizarre and unrelated and Chip and I could barely calm our hearts down enough to function! Poor Ella had delivered the phone and disappeared downstairs until we all came down. I texted a friend she came and got Ella to take her to school and then what did we do? We waited. We don’t have a car in the driveway, we don’t have car keys hanging on a hook that says “keys” as you walk through the front door, we had to wait for our driver to come. Then of course after he comes, we don’t pile in and go to the closest hospital, less than a minute down the road, we have to travel 45 minutes into the city to the Global Doctor. If you have ever had a scary event involving your child you know what is happening. I’m shaking unable to take my eyes off Will, Chip and I are not taking because we don’t want to say anything in front of the kids that expresses how concerned we are and every minute feels like an eternity. I call Dr. Dennis enroute and he was of course waiting for us with the door open when we arrived at his office on the 7th floor of the office building.
He immediately starts his questioning, exam and battery of tests to check for brain function, heart issues and more. Will has an EKG which is normal and the only issue at this point is his pulse which was very high the whole time. We come home to rest and wait for the blood results. Will was exhausted and without an appetite so we spent the day on the couch together watching movies as I text with many concerned and thoughtful moms. When something happens to any child here the expat community rallies together with prayers, help with your children, and of course, concern for their own. You can’t help but think “what if this happened to my child?” By 5pm we found out that most of the blood tests were in and all were normal. We first thought dehydration, but that was ruled out when the results came in, as well as everything else the doctor tested for. We also wondered if his shower was too hot, but a US doctor said three hours later his heart would not still be racing and he would have felt better quicker.
On Friday morning the doctor was in touch and he had scheduled Will for an MRI and an EEG. We would meet at the doctor’s office and take nurses with us to help us through the process as well as to translate. We were doing one test at Hospital #4 and one at Hospital #1. I have had friends tell me about their adventures inside CQ hospitals, but this would would be our first time. Luckily we were not going to the CQ children’s hospital with the thousands of sick kids. A friend was in line for an exray there and there were many children in line in front of her getting hip X-rays. They put one bare bum after another on the exray table without a single thought for clean and hygienic conditions! The hospitals provided special treatment as far as I could tell for foreigners because we were wisked in and out in both hospitals. In China when you want to see a doctor or get a procedure done you go wait in a line when the hospital opens. The better the doctor the earlier you get up to go wait in line. The only way to describe this is when people camp out to get tickets to a major concert or to get the next apple devise! I will never complain again about being called ten minutes late for a doctors appointment I was lucky to have scheduled.
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My guess on this one is watch your wait and don't drink too much!

My guess on this one is watch your weight and don’t drink too much!


The floor of the elevator.

The floor of the elevator.

The wall behind the man doing the MRI. And the bucket catching the air conditioner drips.

The wall behind the man doing the MRI. And the bucket catching the air conditioner drips.

Will's MRI. They kicked me out after I took this pic, oops!

Will’s MRI. They kicked me out after I took this pic, oops!


The hole in the sock of the man taking the MRI, oh and I guess the MRI cables!!!

The hole in the sock of the man taking the MRI, oh and I guess the MRI wires!!!


Archaic EEG, oh and storage!

Archaic EEG, oh and the office storage!


I had never seen this machine/test before, hoping to never see it again.

I had never seen this machine/test before, hoping to never see it again.

So shortly before all of the tests Will seemed to be back to his normal self, he was hungry for lunch and he seemed to have more energy. Sadly Friday was Chip’s birthday and none of us were too up for celebrating. I was so happy we had the big party the weekend before! Will was invited to a birthday party Friday night and it was his last chance to see one of his closest friends before he left on Saturday. We decided to let him go and we went out to dinner for Chip’s birthday right outside the community where the party was being held. We were hoping to hear from the doctor around 5:30 and a little after six I was getting frustrated. Soon after I expressed my frustration seven emails came from the doctor sharing the test results, scans and the good news that everything was normal. There isn’t any medical reason for why Will fainted. Although it is frustrating that we don’t have an exact answer, we couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present for Chip that everything was fine. I knew in my heart that everything was ok, but the news opened up my flood gates and the relief was overwhelming. Of course we will keep a close eye on him and of course we will follow up with his US doctor, but it was a relief to know there weren’t any major issues. So many families have sick kids and I always wonder how they handle it. In the less than 48 hours while we awaited results I was a complete mess, and that would be the same whether I was here or in the US! Will says fainting is definitely not on his top list of things to do and we are all hoping that this was the one and only time we have to deal with it! I think Will will get over this before I do, he is already sick of me asking if he is ok and checking on him. Hug your kids a little tighter, life can get crazy at times, I’m just so glad our last few days of crazy are over.