Okay, so I am finally up and running on the internet, lets hope this lasts. So far my VPN is working and I am able to get on facebook and we have a pretty decent internet connection in our house which is pretty awesome for Beijing as usually the websites are pretty heavily blocked. So...I'll admit that the last two weeks have been a blur, a serious and total blurr of physical movement, emotions, learning, eating weird stuff, managing a house and kids etc.
The plane ride was long, hazy and hard with a screaming two year old and a bored 5 year old after about 48 sleepless hours prior as I packed and repacked bags to get them to the required weights, finally making final decisions on what stayed and what went. At 3am we boarded a van to the airport only to have to wait at the curb as my mom called my sister to join us at 3am and bring the keys to my mom's house to let us in AGAIN while I went upstairs and retrieved the kid's SHOES...yep....I forgot to put shoes on them. Remember 48 hours no sleeping and um....stress, may cause a mom to forget to put the kids shoes on her kid's feet.
So fast forward past 3 hour layover in San Francisco and an endless....endless...no end...endless...wait okay...its over, plane ride from HELL!!!!
Enter CHINA... in a thick heavy fog of haze? fog? oh wait no... POLLUTION that's what that is...okay. The pollution was so thick and hot that you could actually taste it in your mouth. And the smell....well to get an idea of the smell, you have to go to Chinatown and walk into those basement stores, the ones that are hot and covered with flies, now take a wiff, its a mix of moth balls, cardboard, some putrid indescribable smell with fried food and um teriyaki??? is't that Japanese??? add sweaty sock smell and perfume and voila...you have the smell of Beijing.
Now...get outside and start walking down your street...only really WALK like you are in New York or something, MOVE YOUR LEGS like fast and swing your arms, if you bump someone with your arms every few steps while taking quick brisk strides...you are in Beijing.
Now cross the street....ready, GREEN LIGHT, WAIT!!!!! NO!!! DON'T WAIT...GO!!! F*ck that taxi almost hit me and so did that bike and hell, where did the grandma in a wheel chair come from???? If the above is true, you are walking on a "green man" across a cross walk in Beijing. Note to the wise, if you step your foot out...um, well really your door, but lets just say anywhere within 10 feet of a street, you may die in an automobile or cycling accident....hell the grandma may be the perp that ends it for you. So heed the advice I was given when attempting to cross the street. "Look down, and walk, then pray you make it"....okay...that sucks.
So we check into our hotel, its cozy to say the least. The Divas start climbing the walls on day two...and I do mean "Climb the walls" But we met a nice guy who is Chinese and now our friend...yeah us. My Disney English coworkers are AMAZING PEOPLE....like so so so nice...this is refreshing and the sun is finally shining and I see blue skies...all of a sudden I start to like Beijing. The Chinese people have been very nice, everything is dirt cheap and I am really enjoying the adventure and then on day six....I get an email.
"You will probably want to be sitting down for this.....Marco died!" and my air seized up in my throat....MARCO IS GONE!!!! I am half a world away....and he is gone :( ....FOREVER!!!! Marco... Here's the thing about Marco, I haven't seen him for awhile and before that, it had been years, he was best friends with one of my best friends, who I love dearly and who will miss him always...however, beyond that Marco was my family, the kind of family you never leave. I met him when I was 22 (I am now 43) he was from Quebec, strong, handsome, funny, gay (drat!) and yet he introduced me to his friends and his world, where I met my dearest friend and brother Robert!!! Marco was also a brother to me and I am so blessed that he met the kids and they him. Marco always had a smile and in his life achieved wealth and success, but he was always loving and always gracious. When I went to his clubs or his restaurants, I never paid a dime and his smile was always there always warm and he always had some wonderful witty thing to say. He gave the kids DVDs and Robert made us amazing food the last night I saw Marco. The sad thing is, I carried his card around in my car ever since our last meeting intending to call....and now I can't. Life got in the way...and now life is gone. I'm not being tragic, I know Marco knew I loved him, I know he didn't doubt that...and yet...
So since I couldn't be at the memorial, I will say this here on my little blog, Marco, I will always love you...thank you for being a tremendous influence in my life, thank you for being generous and kind, for reaching for the stars and touching them, thanks for your smile and your gracious heart, you will always live within us, but for now...we will need some time to adjust to the fact that you are no longer with us.
Rest in Peace my love...good night sweet prince :(
From the shock of Marco's death, I move on to finding a house in Beijing as you all know I have been pouring over the internet trying to find a place, well I will tell you that we have been absolutely blessed and found an INCREDIBLE place for us....simply perfect!!!! I was very lucky. There will be pics to come, but it has two stories, a sun room, three bedrooms and a top floor location in a hip part of town right next to a huge Hutong, which is some of Beijing's oldest style housing. Just as a preview I will show you a place that is "like ours" and a "hutong" none of them are the real thing, but I will be filming the real thing soon as the dust settles from our move. Which we did IN CHINESE....crazy. I don't speak Chinese, not.one.bit...but somehow it happened....how? is a mystery.
The job is pretty hard, no so much the teaching bit, but the intense lesson planning and creative structure that has you creating a new activity everyday-ish, also the children, are all cute (except for some of their teeth, which have rotten out....but they are still cute) some are amazingly smart (okay, I thought the diva's were smart....jump back, these kids are scary smart) and some are very good, some are really shy, like bury your head in the sand shy and some...most of whom are named "tiger" are absolute monsters. China doesn't mind monsters (which is good, cause my kids have been beastly at times in China) they are only allowed one child in most families and they spoil that child to no end and so when a child goes to school and is offered a "fun" curriculum sometimes (at least two per class) that means you, never sit in your chair, take a crayon to an expensive multimedia system, stick out your tongue at the teacher, hit, bite, scratch, throw shoes etc....eeek.
I am starting to write again (um...hello blog) which is giving me my peace of mind back...yeah. I have a few books to finish before I can focus on my own writing and the work I need to do for my new agent :) SO I am very very busy, but China is amazing and I promise to share more of it with you as I exit the haze, fog and pollution of my brain that has lasted almost three weeks. "Welcome to China" this will be a phrase you hear a lot as I take you through some of the craziness/awsomeness of living here.