Super Milk Daddy…I envy the life of my SAHD

18 Oct

One hundred percent of the time I love being able to go out and teach. One hundred percent of the time I hate leaving my babies behind. All their new accomplishments are being witnessed by someone other than myself. I am green with envy and the giant, green monster named “Jealousy” rears its head every chance it can get. Yes!! I said it! I am jealous of my husband. Why? You ask. Well, he got to see Connor’s first roll-over moment, his first real smile and heard his unbelievably crazy giggle before I did. He took him for his first hair cut and didn’t even bother to bring me a strand to save. He took him swimming at the baby pool house and I didn’t even know about it until I came home. I am lamenting about lost opportunities, lost joys of seeing my little one develop. I am lamenting but also rejoicing.

milkjokeI am rejoicing that my babies have a “Super Milk Daddy”. This is what the few Stay-At-Home Dads here in China are called. He is who my children wake up to, the person who makes their breakfast, lunch and dinner. He takes them out to play and he kisses their boo boos. He encourages Ethan to learn even when he doesn’t want to. It’s all gooooood…..except for the fact that I feel like I am letting them down by not being there throughout the day. Sometimes, I have to literally stop  and think about all of the tasks I used to do all by myself as a single mom and know that my husband is taking them on head-on never complaining.

I have a “Super Milk Daddy-Husband” and I love him more each day…even when his accomplishments with the boys make me feel inadequate as a mother and wife. Now I know exactly what married fathers all over the world are feeling when they have to disappear every morning into an office carrying a briefcase full of non-essential documents, which they will use to do non-essential work that seems to keep the non-essential business of this world revolving. I AM IN THEIR SHOES. I am a Super Work Mommy wishing to be a Super Milk Mommy.

superdad

Chongqing or BUST!!!!!!

6 Aug

ImageSo it seems I will be leaving Hangzhou after all. This city has been my hiding place, my haven, my prison, my fish tank…my home for the last 2 and a half years. This is where I escaped to when life in America became something I couldn’t bear, the place where I learned how to explore this vast, beautiful world God created for us. It is also the place I met my heart, sitting cozily on a bus stop bench. I brought over my first born to experience this amazing adventure with us. Not long to wait, and since everything is made in China, we eventually “made” our second son in Hangzhou, China.

Now, instead of making the “GREAT MIGRATION” back to America, I have accepted a new experience in Chongqing. This experience will open up a whole new chapter of teaching in an International school, teaching English Composition and prepping young minds for college. This is a leap. It is a leap of faith, that God will help me be just as successful as I was teaching ESL to adults, that I will eventually find a school to enroll my eldest in and that I will fit in with my new co-workers and our work environment.

Moving to another city can be difficult  but moving to another province (which is the same as moving to another state) is even more problematic in China. The worst thing is that since it is summer, we cannot find an airline willing to allow us to travel with our beloved pup Coco. So now we must bribe (yes! I said bribe) the driver of the moving company to also take her with him. I jokingly told the hubby I would decline the position if Coco can’t come…never mind that I have already tendered my resignation at my current company!  Of course I would not do that. This move will mean everything for my family! We will finally have a chance to start saving for the “GREAT MIGRATION” back to the states and I will have 1 year of experience to add to my resume that will almost guarantee me a chance at a job in a private/boarding school or even as an adjunct professor in a college…I wouldn’t pass this up!

Now, I can’t say much about Chongqing just yet. All I know is that it is an extremely hot place with extremely hot and spicy food. I pray we will fare well, find a home church for the upcoming year and buckle down for the ride!

That’s all for now! Come back next time to read about my farewell/mixer party!!!!!

 

Ciao!

My Musings on ‘Made in China’, (Richard’s .02 cents’ worth) by Richard Jackson

12 Jul

photoI was surprised this morning by a student’s simple SMS question: “What does ‘Made in China’ mean to you?” It’s an intriguing question, and one that I have surprisingly not given much thought to, during my seven years in China.

So, I wrote the following, and posted on the Chinese Twitter-like service I use.

My earliest associations are in fact with the label ‘Made in Hong Kong’, during the years I spent growing up in various countries. At least to this (then) western child, I guess the label was synonymous with cheap, colorful, and ‘plasticky’ -albeit irresistible – toys. Although a Chinese toy (or any plastic toy, regardless of its origin) had not a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving even a week’s worth of ‘wear and tear’ back then, they were cool enough, and we kids simply couldn’t get enough of ’em!

Fast-forward, 40+ years. Nowadays, unquestionably, many western consumers are wary of ‘Made in China’ labels. Several years ago, I visited my sister in Greece. I brought with me a suitcase full of clothes, toys, and food treats for her two small children. The clothes were greatly appreciated, but she gave the food treats and toys the ‘hairy eyeball’. As a mother, she had zero trust in them, because of the (then) seemingly never-ending negative publicity over food and toy scandals (baby milk, lead painted toys, toothpaste, poisoned pet treats, rat meat-sold-as-beef, etc.)

Nothing could possibly have had a more damaging effect on global consumers considering buying ‘made in China’ products, than ghastly wall-to-wall coverage of dead and/or sickened babies and family pets.

The global economy trundles on. To its immense credit, China has emerged as one of the two most powerful countries in the world. In spite of its countless charms and natural beauty, China is where it is today because it is the factory to the world. In strictly financial terms, it performs this task extremely well, and new fortunes are made everyday. At times, it even seems that millionaires are almost as numerous as the products being produced, at least here in Hangzhou!

Nevertheless, the negative impact of those, and subsequent, food and other scandals reverberates still, and has had a spillover effect into other sectors of the economy, such as electronics. Although always disturbing, reports of sweatshop conditions in developing countries are nothing new. But the Foxconn/Apple scandal received *a lot* of very bad publicity, and certainly did ‘Made in China’ no favors.

Such examples, along with rampant ‘shanzai’, copyright infringement, intellectual property theft, etc. continue to paint a poor picture of ‘Made in China’ in the minds of countless people, both abroad and in China. (Of course, occurrences like these are the stuff of dreams for flag-waving western politicians, who love to criticize ‘made in China’ in order to get votes.)

Sadly, there remains a significant ‘credibility gap’. Given the choice, many global consumers would much prefer *not* to ‘buy Chinese’. The point is, in many cases,  there *is* no choice. ‘Made in China’ is here to stay. A quick search of ‘Made in China’ on Amazon reveals titles like “(Poorly) Made in China” and a book written by a woman who tried to go an entire year without purchasing anything made or produced in China. (Evidently, an impossible task).

It may seem that I am overly critical of China. I do not mean to give that impression. I love your country, and certainly ‘buy Chinese’ on a daily basis. Rather, the blame for any problems with ‘Made in China’ can be just as equally laid at the feet of greedy western companies who look the other way in order to maximize profits, as it can be at the feet of local manufacturers and producers who cut corners and exploit workers, and are solely motivated by short-term profits. Both should be much, much more concerned with their long-term reputations and integrity.

The entire world really sat up and took notice of the sheer brilliance, world-class innovation, and quality of which China is obviously capable during the Beijing Olympics. How unfortunate, that the lovely afterglow of that beautiful moment has since faded. By all indications, however, China’s pragmatic new president is boldly taking the country in a new and promising direction,  which may ultimately prove as breathtakingly constructive in scope as that of Deng Xiaoping’s. That Xi Jinping has clearly made targeting corruption a major focus is a very encouraging development indeed. If he fully and successfully delivers on this promise, the ‘Made in China’ label will surely and soon earn the respect and confidence of global consumers, like my own dear sister, a middle-aged American mother in Greece.

In this vast, increasingly impersonal global economy, sits China. It is, by far, the largest country in the world. But what, exactly, is a country? It is a combination of millions of individuals. Each with a name, a face, a personality, unique skills, abilities, ideas, and dreams. In a way, somehow, perhaps the label ‘Made in China’, (evoking as it does for many in the west a mental image of millions of faceless workers churning out products around-the-clock in crowded factories) does a disservice to the people behind those products.

In its amorphous emphasis on the collective, it may be that ‘Made in China’ overlooks and undervalues the contribution of the individual  to overall success. In his poem, ‘Epilogue’, the American poet Robert Lowell commented on the individual’s heartfelt wish to be acknowledged for having, simply, been:

We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

If I were to be given the impossible task of marketing ‘Made in China’, I would re-examine the nature of consumers’ ‘personal’ connection to the products they use. Go beyond simple blind loyalty to any given brand. Forge a direct, personal, and emotional connection to the people who work so hard, yet are neither seen nor known in the global marketplace.

Maybe, just maybe, it is time for a different kind of label.

‘Assembled by (insert your name here), in Hangzhou, China. With Pride’.

Natural Birth vs. Every other kind of birth!!!

12 Jul

Good lawd! My equilibrium is off kilter! My brain feels like mush! My limbs and joints feels like someone tied me to a tree and stretched me until I look like a limp spaghetti noodle! Does this sound familiar to some of you natural birth survivors? Hard to believe but I am not making this up.

With my first baby 10 years ago, I slept through 7 hours of induced labor then 10-13 minutes of blurry pushing. I don’t remember very much with that experience. With this one, my brain was not impaired by drugs…just pure, unadulterated pain.

My whole experience started with a slight headache and a bit of fatigue on Wednesday afternoon, May 8th. By 2:30 AM, I had been having some strong but very short contractions. Called my midwife at 4:30 when I suddenly started to bleed. She pissed me off and impressed me at her calmness. (Well to tell you the truth, I was calm too considering I was in labor.) She advised me to wait another hour and see if the contractions would get closer to one minute. An hour later, I breathlessly called her back and we planned a rendezvous at the center at 6:30.

The whole drive to the center my sisters kept singing some dumb song about pain. They kept singing louder and louder as my pain got more intense. Maybe it was their way of coping with their older sister going into labor…or they just wanted to irritate me to help take my mind off of the pain…it didn’t work.

Finally we arrive and the midwife is not there….hooo hooo, hee hee (Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth)…

Thank you Lord there was a midwife assistant sleeping in the center! Fast forward 30 minutes. I am being checked by the midwife. Lo and behold I am 8 centimeters dilated! Let’s get this show on the road….WAIT! I’m not ready for this pain!

I bypass laboring on the bed or walking the halls and is half carried half dragged into the birthing tub. I pant and pant thinking “Who cut off the oxygen in the room??” Finally, the pain subsides long enough for me to tell my sister to get my husband on Skype. Come hell or high water he was going to go through the pain with me as much as possible! But I was wrong! He was so excited, babbling some non-sense about breathing and pushing and STOP! I had to eventually tell them to mute him. That didn’t curb his enthusiasm. He proceeded to make calls to 姐姐(elder sister), 妈妈(mama) and the whole gang, smiling broadly as he describes what he is seeing.

I screamed and begged for drugs, but I had chosen a birthing center that didn’t carry any type of drugs…stupid me. I felt every internal organ move, displaced it seemed with all the pain, stretching and movement of the baby. I couldn’t imagine anything more painful or anyone else ever experiencing what I felt, but I’m sure millions of women had it worst than me. Twenty-two long minutes later, I felt and heard something pop out…it was just the head and shoulders. I was instructed to take a hold and pull my baby out…all of this in a squatting position. Thank God I spent 2 years in China perfecting my squatting over the squat toilets. Anyway, as soon as I pulled him out, I just felt this immense relief and heard my sisters and my husband, Jaison giving me encouragement and praises at a job well done (someone turned his sound back on)…I promptly passed out. My midwives were quick to bring me back. I was relieved to have delivered safely and felt tremendous guilt that I re-payed the midwife assistant through the whole labor by crushing her hands.

Connor Mingzhe Wang was born at 8:33 AM on May 9th, 2013, just in time for Mother’s Day. He weighed 6 lbs 13 Oz and was 18.5 inches long.

Little did I know, my ordeal was far from over. Such a tiny little thing but he caused me a  lot of damage. I needed repairing and it took almost an hour. My physical body was on the mend, but emotionally, I was reeling. I passed out another 3 times in the next 5 hours. I eventually had to literally crawl from the center to the car to be discharged. Had I passed out one more time, I would’ve been transported to the nearest hospital and I didn’t want that.

I made it back home safely with my baby. It has been an interesting road to recovery. I am now back in China with my husband and 2 children. Will I do the natural birth again?…I have another 2 years or so to think about it, but I’ll be sure to let you know. Meanwhile here are some pictures of my crazy ordeal and my little miracle.

photo (1) photo (4) photo (2) photo (6) photo (7) photo (8)

Waddle! Waddle!

6 May

I used to come home from work and my husband would exclaim, “Oh, my little duck is home!” It was so endearing! But that was all in the beginning of our pregnancy journey. I guess I should back track a bit and say sorry for not blogging this experience more often. A combination of things have kept me from doing so. First of all, dealing with all the yucky side effects of pregnancy can really through a girl off of her game. Like having a simple laugh and suddenly the flood gates have opened and you have to run to the ladies room. THEN, there’s the busy days at work where I could barely manage to teach one class without running out like a maniac just in time to make it to the garbage bin in an attempt, (I kid you not!) to throw up my lungs…or even the baby! I sooo looked forward to maternity leave! (I never got one during my first pregnancy).

Three months before I was to go on maternity leave, my husband suddenly announced that he was shipping me back to the States to give birth. Why? Well, let’s just say my medical experiences in the great and vast land of China was NOT a walk in the park! Everything was so different from what I was accustomed to for a pregnant woman. The language barrier kept me from expressing my concerns, the sanitary problems plaguing the hospitals and the crowds! Oh good God Almighty the crowds!! It’s enough to make me cringe now!

Anyway, back to my surprise, big, temporary migration to America. I was excited and depressed at the same time. How was I going to cope without my beloved husband? My Donald Duck to my Daisy! My Mork to my Mindy! Not feeling him hold my belly as I try to fall asleep at night. Not seeing the wonder in his eyes as he watches my tummy do the butterfly dance. Who will take me to my doctor’s appointments (None of which he ever missed). Who will put a steaming hot bucket for me to soak my feet in every night religiously, then rub my swollen legs down before putting me to bed? I lamented to myself, and to him every night. In the end, he still shipped me out!

_DSC0107Well, I have been in the great and sunny state of Florida for almost two months now. I get to spend time with my family and friends, but I have forgotten how busy life is in America. Work! Work! Work! Bills! Bills! Bills! So in essence no one really had the time to spend with slow and clumsy pregnant person. I sometimes feared I would go into labor and without a car at my disposal, I’d be like those girls in TLC’s “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” screaming and hollering alone, giving birth in my sister’s toilet. Thank God this has not happened.

So far, things are progressing well. I miss my husband like crazy. I miss when I cook him an American meal that he loves, he and my son fight over who gets a 3rd helping. I miss how he looks at me and tell me how I have changed his life and given him life opportunities he never thought he would have just by loving him. I miss how he hats my cleaning habits and the way we always tag-team the laundry. I just, plain miss my suga-booga. We do communicate on Skype every day, but it’s not the same feeling as waddle waddling my way home to him every day and hearing him say, “Oh, my little duck is home!” Soon though…soon I will be back in his arms…hopefully sexy as ever, with not much baby fat left, as I hand him our bundle of joy and begin the next journey together into parenthood. Until then, I will waddle waddle my big belly around town in a perpetual haze of wonderment and occasionally stopping to breathe through my braxton hicks! More to come soon!

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Not my words…but beautifully said and quite nourishing…ENJOY: A Different Kind of Bread

10 Jan

A Word for the Day: A DIFFERENT KIND OF BREAD
At the beginning of a new year there is much talk about losing weight and dieting.

Many diets stress the need to cut out carbs one of which is bread.

This has been shown to be beneficial in weight loss. They have also found that bread can gradually be reintroduced back in moderation after your goal has been reached.

There is a bread however that is quite beneficial to us.

Jesus used natural things to help us to understand some very important spiritual truths and laws.

Spiritual laws are often quite different from natural laws.

Bread in the Bible refers to Jesus and the living “Word of God” (John 1:1-5). It is the thing that sustains us and keeps us strong. As we eat it we grow spiritually. As we digest it and put it into practice it becomes what we live by.

Jesus addressed this very topic as he spoke of natural bread which perishes- comparing it to spiritual bread.

John 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveith you the true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world.

34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us THIS BREAD.35- And Jesus said unto them, I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

verse 48- I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.

And so while we may need to slow down on natural bread, we need to get as much spiritual bread as possible.

While eating an abundance of natural bread may cause us to grow in the natural in a negative way; eating spiritual bread helps us to grow in a positive way which produces life.

We may need to say “No thank you” to natural bread, but we truly need to say “YES”, PLEASE PASS THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN.

Affirmation: Dear Lord, please continue to give us a heart to receive You as our Lord and Saviour. Help us to have a hunger for your bread- the Word of God. And as we digest your Spirit and your Word continue to help us to gain abundant life- in this world and in the world to come.

I’m NOT Superwoman or Wonderwoman? Danm!!!

31 Dec

ImageI’m NOT superwoman nor Wonderwoman? Sheeesh!! Here I thought walking 2.25 miles in the blowing, wet snow, then coming home and preparing dinner for my family classified me as such! Nope!!! My hips and my lower back are crying out “Girl! You ain’t no superwoman! You a tired-azz 35 year-old going through a second pregnancy with a ball of spitfire in your belly! So you betta recognize!” Wait! Was that my subconscious?  Cause I sure as heck could hear the nagging voice of Madea in my head saying this! I must be going crazy!

Why am I trying so hard to do things that can jeopardize the safe delivery of my baby AND my health? Well, maybe it’s ’cause I live in China where e’rybody, their grandmama and their great-great granddaddy aunty telling me I’m suppose to be weak and fragile…so I wanna prove them wrong! 

At what cost?

That’s a question I will have to ponder as I go through another 19 weeks of belly boppin’, duck-waddlin’, and essentially rollin’ in the deep end of “pregnancy in China”, where EVERYONE wants to rub yo belly then give you their opinion!

EEK!!!! (In response to my Migration blog)

18 Dec

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on how my family and I were thinking…ok preparing to migrate back to the US. It has been a time of back and forth for us. However, this week, in light of the tragedy in Connecticut, I have come to realize that perhaps going back and teaching in the US Public School System and maybe even the private schools may not be such a great idea. My son is freaked out and saddened at what happened. My husband, who has never been to the US called me at work tears clogging his voice as he expressed the sorrow he felt for those families who lost their babies. It hit him a lot harder because he is expecting his first child.

Needless to say, we started praying and sending out applications to all the Christian-based International schools we could find in the central and southern parts of China. I found some great schools which shares the same faith as I do. Every time we submitted a new and quite lengthy application, we prayed that it will get to the right hands. Now, all we can say is, “Lord, let your will be done because your word says ‘Faith without work is dead’. So we work full of faith that you will guide us to where we need to be eventually.”

My heart goes out to the families who have lost. May God grant you a peace that surpasses all understanding. May He allow you to see Him in everything whether good or bad. May your faith never waiver or fail.

Is it time for the great migration?

26 Nov

So many people have given up their US citizenships this year in search of a better financial-based life. Although I did not give up my precious citizenship, I too migrated to another country in search of financial and professional reprieve. I moved to China a little over a year ago and although Although I signed another 3-year contract back in March, my husband and I are planning to migrate back to the States…with a significant enhancement in my life of course. My honey Jaison, my little man Ethan and a new baby!

For a time I feared the process may be a difficult one and wondered if we were up to applying and paying a bunch of fees or even going through the hassle of finding an uncorrupted lawyer. Well, I strongly believe it will be worth it all just to get home. Since the journey is just taking root in our minds, it is only a seedling we hope will blossom into reality within this year. Let the journey begin…

OK, I wrote most of the above passage before the wedding. Now, we are full-fledged into application mode. Found out I could send the application straight to Guangzhou, which may help shorten our process. So the journey continues. Now real worries though, if it takes some time, we will just put that time to use in saving and planning what exactly we want to do when we get to the states.

First comes marriage…then comes the carriage

26 Nov

I have a bun in the oven!!!!! Yay!! I know it seems so soon after the wedding to so many people, but life happens. Jaison and I wanted this part of our life to happen sooner rather than later! I am no spring chicken you know!!! Anyway, we are 4 months (16 weeks) along as of November 27th! It hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but I recently started really loving the idea of being pregnant again…this time with a willing and happy partner in tow and a big brother-to-be who pretends he is going to torture the baby if it’s a girl but share his toys and life lessons if it’s a boy!

 

MORNING SICKNESS

Well on the exact day I turned 5 weeks, I got hit with morning sickness. It came so violently, that I literally ripped the sink off! Thank God my son was standing next to me (as he and his dad are super over protective of me since I got preggers). He called out to his dad and together they held my hair back and rubbed my back until my 5 long minutes of sickness had subsided. Through the next month and a half, this would be the ritual. The fatigue hit around the same time. I could barely stand up after having 9 hours of sound sleep. This one is a strange one. Through those times, even though I had the boys there to help, I could only long for my little sister Nehemie (check out her single on Amazon and iTunes: Nehemie and the Billy Rich Project).

(SIDE NOTE): You see, when I was expecting my number 1, Ethan, she would lie next to me on my bed and during the hundred times I had to try to get up to go to the bathroom, if I couldn’t make it there, she would carry me. She was literally my strength in those times. The memories of how she took care of me will have to do. I plan, Lord willing to be there for her the best I can when she is experiencing that part of her life.

COMPLICATIONS

During my first pregnancy, I was so scared, I didn’t pay attention to the process. This time around, I am reading more and matching what I am reading with what I am experiencing. There is still a lot that I am  learning about being pregnant. A week and a half ago, I experienced 3 days of piercing sinus pressure headaches. It got so bad that my husband panicked and took me to the hospital. When we got there, many tests were run, blood was taken and so on. I had also been experiencing periodic cramping on the lower right side of my belly. When we mentioned this to the doctors, they became very alarmed. At some point they told my husband they thought I had developed appendicitis and that they would have to terminate the pregnancy to operate. Through all of this he remained calm on the surface. It wasn’t until the 5th and most senior doctor examined me that he put the fears to rest. He then prescribed me 1 week sick leave from work to rest.

WHAT I LEARNED

While on sick leave, both my husband and I read up a lot on pregnancy symptoms. I learned that the congestion will most likely last until two weeks after i give birth, periodic cramping do occur, but if they are not frequent there should be no worries. I also learned about a lot of other icky, disturbing symptoms…some of which I am experiencing now. But my mind has been at ease. Most importantly, I am learning how to love being pregnant, being pampered by a husband who loves me and a son who adores me. I am learning that I am a strong woman who is willing to endure just about anything to have a healthy baby!

Until next time!!!