Wednesday, August 29, 2012
"They eat dogs!!!" The hyper vigilant foreigner said, protecting other foreigners from the fido filleting, mutt munching nation...of CHINA. Okay. I will say it right off the bat, Beijingers don't eat dogs. Not, that I am aware of...I don't think. Maybe, probably, mostly not...ish...I think, sort of, mostly not. Actually they spoil them, dress them up in clothes, carry them around like children, talk to them like they understand what you are saying. This I know to be true, dogs do understand what you say. But for the most part, Beijingers who have dogs, and most are of the yappy variety, treat them like little royalty. So the idea that anyone would eat a dog is far far far from the truth....or is it? (cue creepy music) So. There is no real myth to living in China, its not the straw hat wearing, rice paddy wading, snow sculpted mountain towering place I have seen depicted in the scroll paintings on like every Chinese restaurant wall in America. I think people take long train rides to visit those places. There are some more traditional looking tableaux in the local tapestry, such as the rickshaw drivers and the Hutong dwellers, but for the most part Beijing is a thriving metropolis chuck full of swanky Chinese and spattered with foreigners speaking every language on the globe. Its a fun place. :) really. This is what China is NOT!!!!! This is more of what China really is.... HOWEVER...there's a little old school in there. I pretty much see this everyday....vomit my insides, really. The thing missing from this pic are the flies buzzing on and about the meat....yummers. All was relatively well in our veggie world, we knew where the bastions of dead meat evil lay and we avoided them, apathy in play, ignorance/innocence maintained. Then me and the divas visited the rooftop outdoor balcony during spring and again in summer and we watched the baby ducks and chicks grow and disappear, we try not to think anything of it...but um...well...yeah, lets not think anything of it shall we. There is also the live food market downstairs that sells fresh fish that swim around for now, as large indoor aquariums are definitely not their destiny. My little family of vegetarians has learned to plug our noses and dash, while the fish vendor yells, in English Hello, Fish, Hello, Hi, FISH!!! He loves the girls and is always saying how cute they are...but sorry sir, we want none of your fish...or frogs, or turtles or SNAKES. :( I have come to deal with the live fish vendor guy, I have taken off my militant animal rights hat and stepped aside only to let a culture continue to be a culture without my influence. I can't change them, but I can abstain from it and blog about it and reflect the cruelty of it in my writing work, outside of that...I must choose my battles. I will leave the championing of live fish markets to Diva Dad and possibly Aria..when she gets older. So...these are known horrors, to us. To some they are yummy dinner, fresh duck, chicken and fish. To me it is a life destroyed by an animistic lust for flesh. Sorry...the title is Momma Dramma for a reason...shall we continue. The live market looks like this.... And it smells like the ocean polluted with dirt, decay and death. Yum...who brought rice. Well today a man comes up to Indya while we are trying to load ourselves onto the SUV bike. We still don't have a photo of us, but we get some. He has a bag full of dark black objects. He quickly approaches her and my brain scrambles...nothing more, it just scrambles. I am at the alert though ready to grab my baby back. However, his smile, while rather toothless, is also harmless as he takes a robust looking puppy out of the plastic shopping bag (of the grocery variety). At first my heart melts, then the "I want one" gene sets in and yet is tamed by the thought that I have one in America who I miss and can't see...cue heart breaking. So I back off from, the "we'll take two" mentality and focus on my daughter having a good moment/memory with a puppy. He drops the bag with the rest of the puppies on the ground, to let the puppy in his hand sprawl. My first kick to the heart happens. WHY DROP THE BAG OF PUPPIES...and then I watch the fat, blind little puppy wriggle and my heart dies a little. Questions fly across my mind...why the plastic grocery bag, where's the puppy's mom? Why are they being so roughly handled, they are too young for adoption. Words are flying around in Chinese and I catch like ONE....and then its over, he gathers up the puppy, plops it back into the bag and I load Indya onto the bike, thinking NO THOUGHTS (because I am in shock) and drive off as a word stream slowly seeps into my brain. Those puppies are too young to leave their mother..... They were in a plastic bag.... He dropped them... My friend told me a story about her Grandma's mom cooking her pet puppy.... The ducks and the chickens on the roof dissappear.... OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY EAT PUPPIES!!!!!! So here's the thing about living in a foreign land, it is FOREIGN, you don't understand the language or the culture fully, you live outside of it in a haze, like a partially materialized ghost. People can see you but can't talk to you and you can't talk to them. If I have been able to talk to them, I would have asked about the puppies and had I found out that they were gonna be dinner I would have rendered this man infertile, with one swift kick to the groin, then all those puppies would be mine. But rather, I lilted and dazed in a fog of mysterious unknowing making horrendous assumptions. And there they stand....horrendous and sh!tty as I am probably wrong. I try to remain culturally accepting and aware. I am not one toss out a blanket of stereotypes, we have been so well cared for by the Chinese people and I have found this to be a sophisticated city full of thoughtful, educated people...and yet some are still old school and thus the question remains....do they really eat dogs? I am not sure still. Probably not, this man was probably bringing the pups to their mother, maybe they were given to him to nurse to more mature puppy hood....maybe right? So I will not think the unthinkable...and then again are we (in America) any better really? We eat fish and chicken and duck. We don't eat puppies but we do kill them, hundreds a day in shelters. We kill puppies every time we drop them off at shelters, yes the odd one may survive and find a family, but really most are killed. We "drop them off" we buy things prepackaged we don't see the HORROR. I commend China for at least being real enough to live it all. And for the most part, like anyone who lives on a farm, they care relatively well for these animals before their slaughter. At least the rooftop chickens and ducks are doing pretty well, I can't say the same for the poor fish. :( But again...we are really no better. So we may not eat puppies (and this man probably didn't either, I just have an over active imagination) but we do kill them, by the thousands, we just do it discretely by purchasing pedigree animals with winning bloodlines verses adopting the little whatahoosiz at the shelter, we let our amazing pedigree pets get it on with the neighborhood and turn our eyes away from the little minions that they create...so we don't eat puppies, but their fates are absolutely no more sacred in America that they are in China.
Almost a year since my last post....okay whatever! Lets Gab about my Kids...(and capitalize whenever the hell we want to...)
I really don't have the time to go into why I haven't blogged FOR A YEAR, but lets just say, it has something to do with not having time. :( So lets just move along shall we? Recap for those who don't follow my every infrequent Facebook post with baited breath. I live in Beijing China, the kids are now 3 and 6, I work for the Mouse, I still write and um Prince Charming must have fallen off of his horse somewhere....in the desert...in a galaxy...far...far...away. Okay, that should get everyone up to speed. Both of my kids start new Chinese schools on Monday. Aria has been at Disney summer camp and she's loved it. I have enjoyed having her at work, hearing her giggle in the halls and having fun with her new friends is really heart warming. And as blessings go she was there on a day when I really really needed a friend and I was so very happy that the friend I needed was her. I discovered that day that Aria, my dear daughter, was one of the truest friends I will ever have and my pride and joy grew, if that's possible. Thanks baby, you have NO idea what you did for mommy...but thank you. So Aria starts Primary School in China this is the equivalent of Kindergarten except for it is actually 1st grade, however all of the kids are going to be the youngest in school. She's already had a trial run and she did great. I don't worry about her, my only real concern is that no one there speaks much English. If there were ever a problem, I would need an a translator. Scholastically, I will also need someone to help me...so I'm a bit freaked, but the trade off is, she's in a full immersion environment with accelerated educational goals, so I think she's getting an incredible education. YEAH me for pulling this off. And Indya.... Okay and Indya starts a new school on Monday. Here's the deal with my youngest. She's a "take the world by the balls" kinda girl, actually she's a take the world by the balls and squeeze HARD kinda girl. Both of my kids are beautiful and both are charming and yet both are really good at being the boss. Aria is a bit more subtle in her approach, you don't know that you are being swaggered, you don't see the manipulation and plotting until you have already capitulated. With Indya....she'll just nail her request to um...your face most likely. If she doesn't get her demand, something will.be.hurled. Don't get me wrong, she'll crack a smile that will break your heart and she's a real beauty, but she's got a bit of brawn as well. So in the shadow of her more deft sister, Indya has always seemed to be a bit of a bulldozer. So while Indya has always been good at making friends, (like Li Hao the little love interest at her school who trips over himself to be near her)she has never quite been the social butterfly her sister has. Granted she is 3. But she is making inroads into social graces by solidifying her friendship with Macy, being closer friends with Zhao Si Han and being a little more adroit when approaching a new potential friendship where her usual strategy was to growl or roll her eyes at them. Even with her grace and charm...she still has a streak of bull in a China...well China. :) So when I told Indya's preschool teacher that she would be leaving for a new school (one Macy's mom want us to go to) she burst into tears. Big sobbing tears. Through her cries she confessed that she thought that she would have three years with Indya (um...I didn't know I was staying in Beijing for 3 years...but I digress) and that Indya was the MOST special child she had ever met. I wasn't shocked...exactly, but stunned. Stunned that somehow my baby had grown up before I even realized it, that she on her own accord, without the large shadow of her sister, made an indelible mark on a human life. Today, I realized that both of my children have set their paths for greatness, it is evident in the way that time and time again people have gravitated toward them. This is not a boast and not a reflection of my mothering, but a simple statement of wonder about the two souls I am shepherding on this planet. See, back in the day, I was also a bit of a star...ish, in my own way. However, that star shines differently now. It's not brighter nor is it more grand now, in fact the opposite, but it is still a star. I see my kids and their outward ability to influence others time and time again and I see their destiny unfolding. In every setting they are memorable, they don't blend in and this is not just in China. I see greatness in them and I marvel as it reveals itself daily. These days, now, I tend to blend...a bit and yet I know where my influence, my greatness and my twinkle lies. It is in the quiet expressions of my mind, my voice and my creativity that I shine. I am the silent invisible force behind it and yet it is a force and it is mighty. :) I am excited about the months and years to come as I unleash this force up on the world. Yes, world domination...is my plan. A fat mommy can do it!!! What? okay...I find some other way to phrase that...later. But I feel safe and happy, having a plan. So today, while frought with "Must do" things that I tend to loath doing...like sitting in an hour orientation all in Chinese about boring bureaucratic things I will probably end up being in trouble for not doing. I found a little ah ha...a little moment that I almost missed, the moment when my baby, the loud one...became a star.