zondag 28 april 2013

Treasure hunt - hospital style

Last Friday I went to HK yet again, yes, again!!!!
I needed to take a blood test a few days before my check up so I was very glad I could catch a ride with Anastasia into town. No such luck on Friday so back to the train it was.
I'm sad to report that I pulled a total preggy brain move :( I had a ticket for Wednesday but I forgot to change it to Friday...... I did not realize this until I was told I could not get onto the train since my ticket had expired. F*^&%#$%~~! There I was in the middle of the Canton fair with no valid ticket and an appointment in HK at 11.15. I hurried over to the Shenzhen train and was in luck to get a ticket for 8.24. Had I not be so pregnant and stupid, I could have caught an earlier train. Well, that was not to be and now I was seriously pressed for time.

Lexie is prepared for Queens/Kings Day!
The good news is that you don't live in South East Asia for almost 6 years without learning a thing or two about being quick in crowds. I walked trough the train and I waited at a door that opened right next to the stairs on the platform. That is bottle neck number one, passed without a hitch.
Down the stairs, down the hall and onto the check out machines, aka bottle neck number 2. I was one of the first ones there so no waiting to go through. So far so good.
I walked to the passport check as fast as belly would let me. I scouted out the special lane and the foreigner lane. The special lane seemed shorter and only older asian looking guys were in it. Guaranteed to pass the check up quickly and so it was indeed. Bottle neck 3 passed and going strong.

Her highness :)
Bottle neck 4 wasn't much of a challenge since I can pass through the automated check up with my HK card. More walking..... belly cramping up a bit on one side..... Onto the platform to wait for the metro.
Woohooo, Luohu passed in 25 minutes!! A whole lot better than 45 last time!
I arrived at HongHum station around 11.00. I'm seven months pregnant now so given that my last toilet visit was on the Shenzhen train a toilet break was granted, first thing first, right? I caught a cab straight away and drove off at 11.07. We pulled up at the main building at 11.15 sharp. The check ups are in the ambulatory day care centre, a short walk away. I was on the 4th floor by 11.17. Phew, not too bad.

Group pic
The check up went well. No anti bodies were found in my blood (I'm Rh- and Lexie is Rh+) and both doctor and nurse were very nice. I told the doc that my skin was driving me crazy with itchiness and she prescribed a cream. She also ordered a blood test to check out that my liver is still functioning well. I'm pretty sure it is because the itching is definitely humidity and pollution related. Doc agreed but let me take the test just to be sure. I also asked her about hospital policy after giving birth and she told me I can have the baby with me, hurrah :) That should make feeding a whole lot easier than last time when Lexie was 'locked up' in the nursery until our release from the hospital.

She then went on to tell me that the policy on the Rhogum shots has changed. Rhogum is a medicine to stop antibodies from forming. The old rule was one shot at 30 weeks and another one at 36 weeks. New policy is at 28 and 34 weeks. I'm exactly 28 this weeks so finally some good timing!! She called the doc to ask if I could have the shot the same day as I was already there. Luckily it was OK because I was dreading another hospital run just for one shot....... The treasure hunt was about to begin!!!

-Go to 2nd floor pharmacy to hand in recipe for cream
-Stay on 2nd floor for blood test
-Wait for cream
-Go to main building E1 to pay for Rhogum
-Stay in main building, go to B3 for injection

Hehehe, if only ;) some steps got added:

-Leave 2nd floor since there are still 40 numbers ahead of you
-At B3 get told you need to go pick up the Rhogum yourself
-Stay in main building, go to pharmacy on F1 to hand in recipe
-Wait for Rhogum and be thankful you got a "urgent" to go with your order
-Pick up Rhogum without further queueing (hurrah for "urgent" sticker)
-Go back to B3
-Tell the nurse to be quick please since you haven't eaten yet
-Get crackers and milk from nurse :)
-Get injection from doctor
-Say thanks and go back to ambulatory day care centre to pick up cream
-Pick up cream after queueing(where was that handy "urgent" sticker??)
-Go back to main building to take a cab back to the station

I didn't actually pay for the shot, it is just administration I guess. I did get a nice slip that stated 0 dollars on it. The cream was free too.

What a morning!! I was completely done by the time I sat down in my seat on the train. Yes, I managed to buy that ticket in advance at the right time and more importantly, day...... I also bought all train tickets needed for my next check up in two weeks.

Yesterday we had a small Queens/Kings day celebration for all the Dutch kids in GZ.

First translating job

Last Monday I had my first ever paid translation job. I've been translating for friends on occasion for a long time already so I decided to give it a go. I translated for Anastasia who works for Cami music. I met her at the Asian Games Music Festival three years ago. 

First stop was (drumroll please.....) the GSO office! Yup, my old boss..... How fun!! It went fine as Cherry (his assistant) did most of the translating. We had discussed this beforehand and decided this was cool. Old boss man was very flattered with Anastasia's visit and he was in the best mood I've ever seen him in. He even smiled once. A very terrifying experience as I only know him shouting at us in a foul mood. He did manage to call me fat but apologized when Cherry told him that I'm pregnant.
Ugh, so glad to be rid of him :)

Next stop was the concert hall on the other side of the road. We met up with the lady that runs the hall. She could understand English pretty well, but speaking was a problem. I did my thing and we had a good meeting. They took us to lunch where she and Anastasia had fun reminiscing traditional Russian folk songs. We were in a bit of a rush because we had another meeting in Shenzhen at 16.30.
We made it on time and had a candid discussion with the no.2 of the hall there. No. 1 did show up at some point but that's about it........

Yay, my first day working as translator was over! Anastasia still had one more meeting but it got postponed to later that evening. Time to get dinner and a massage :) We found a good restaurant and enjoyed great food. Weird thing is that I was totally into mushrooms...... I usually hate them but not whilst pregnant!! They were extraordinarily well prepared so that helped as well. We had prepared our hanging out on Monday night well by hanging out on Sunday as well. That was Anastasia's first day off after traveling in China for almost 2 weeks straight. First she came over to meet Lexie and to see the airing of 'my' TV show. Then it was onto shopping, spa-ing and dining. Very nice to catch up in real life after such a long time!

On Tuesday morning we had a car to take us to HK. Anastasia still had some meetings (with fluent English speakers, so no help needed) and I needed to go to the hospital to draw some blood. We made good time so I had the luxury of being dropped off at the hospital. Ayaaa, time to say goodbye again!
Until we meet next time..........

woensdag 24 april 2013

TV show

Last Sunday at noon the program 珠江记事 (ZhuJiangJiShi=Pearl River Story) was about me and my life in Guangzhou.

I found the program online today so I took some screenshots and short video's. I will try to upload the video's but forgive me if it doesn't work due to our very sad internet 'speed'.

I'm sorry, the video's are not uploading at all..... Hope you enjoy the pics.
The show is posted at: Show!
I'm not sure if the video will play outside of China. Oh, the trouble people go through to keep each other disconnected!!!

zaterdag 20 april 2013


Hot, hot, hot!! Guangzhou did the typical *poof!!* and the season changed overnight. From a cold 15C and rain last week to a current 28C with high humidity giving a real feel of 35C.
I'm not completely adjusted just yet ;)

Aw, our big, stinky city can be pretty too!
It was a good week for teaching and I had classes on four different days. This weeks classes included clarinet, saxophone and Dutch. Lexie is doing great at school, so that's a big relieve. Not a single wet pants incident there. Just once here one evening when she got too busy playing. Not bad for a still not quite 1,5 year 'old' girl!!

Fly, fly, fly!!!
Last night we took Lexie to a big square. Lots of space to run around and a helicopter, of course!! Grandpa did most of the chasing, haha. I'm not allowed to chase and grandma had a sore back. All the more fun for grandpa. Haiwen was on his way back from HongKong so he got home late.

Animal game, always a big hit!!
Lexie and I had a nice morning while daddy was out playing tennis. I think I've heard 'mamma' about 183 times today already! She's at grandpa's now but will come back here soon. At noon I went out with Haiwen for lunch. We went to a japanese burger place where the food was quite nice. You can tell that it is a non-chinese establishment from everything. Nice decoration, good service, nice quality and so on. It's just more 'finished' somehow. After lunch we headed over to Hommy's and hung out for a bit. Haiwen is gone again now but is presumably making an appearance in about an hour.... We'll see. In the meantime I did the laundry (fascinating, I know!!).

dinsdag 16 april 2013


Last Friday I got a call from Mister Wang, Lily's dad. He asked if I could come to Shenzhen to teach her and some other students. Weekend or Monday. Monday of course because I wasn't going to desert Lexie after her first week of school! Haiwen was very nice and drove me there. As usual I wasn't sure what the plan was once I got there. I only knew it was 4 hours teaching minimum.

A restroom for...... resting!
It turned out to be 2 hours for Lily and 2 hours for Jack, who is also at boarding school in England. They were back for their Easter holidays. So it was Jack, Lily, lunch, Lily Jack, haha. All at mister Wang's house. Jack's dad drove me all the way to the train station after class. It was pretty far away. I didn't want to take the bus because it doesn't have a toilet. Not a situation I'm willing to put myself in at almost 27 weeks pregnant!

Public transport app 
I arrived back at the East Railway station a bit before 19.00. I met up with Haiwen who was at Hommy's before. We went to one of my favourite places: Roku sushi. We had to wait a little bit for a table but that was OK. Haiwen brought me a drink ;) No real sushi for me of course, but they have other nice things there (tempura, miso soup). After dinner it was time to head home. Qiang joined us and we picked up Lexie from grandma's. Lexie must have been knackered. Everything made her cry/scream.... First it was leaving grandpa behind, then it was daddy being too far behind in the parking lot as I was carrying her to the lift..... then the fact that I didn't open the crayon box..... pajama's.... sleeping.....
I've never heard her scream so high and loud!!! Poor thing, it was almost funny. She was standing up in her bed, completely mad and screaming 'gaogaojuuuuu' (cute Cantonese for sleeping). I tried to point out to her that she was already in bed but somehow that did not impress her much. She probably wanted to go to our bed. I wished her a very good night and after one minute she was fast asleep. 

I'm feeling pretty 'ingeburgerd' now I have a public transport app! It works well and has lots of cool functions. You know, just in case I can't get a cab ;)

zondag 14 april 2013

Lovely Sunday

Yesterday evening we had a bachelorette party for Nicole. She's not getting married for 3 more months but Lieke is in town now ;). We had a great time at a Japanese restaurant and later at karaoke. I lasted until a bit after 23.00. Lieke walked me out of the karaoke and got me a cab straight away. There were two (drunk) guys before us but she asked them to let me go first, haha, cool! She said: "excuse me my friend has a baby *grand gesture at my belly* can she have this cab?". The guys immediately agreed and were very happy I said "xiexie". Ah, so easy to please!
Car seat: approved!
An uneasy night followed as I was super tired but awake at the same time. Little one no.2 was not very impressed with me dancing and singing at the karaoke so she only woke up during the cab ride home. Then she had her own little party for a while. Lexie woke up very early so we put her in our bed to sleep a bit more. She was very restless so I didn't get much sleep.

Cool swing seat
This morning we headed to Shamian island to enjoy the nice weather. It was the first dry and sunny day in a while. All of a sudden it was 28C this afternoon. Big change after 13C on Thursday! We went to a place called Rose garden and chilled out for a while. It was great to be outside.

Lexie was happy to be outside too as you can see. We had an early lunch and headed back home. I dropped Lexie off at grandma's place where she refused to sleep. You see, grandma is on a 'no more pacifier' saga........ *sigh* If you give it to her she'll be out in 5 minutes or less. BUT it is not 'Chinese' to use one so it has to go right now!!!! They won't give it to her at kindergarten either so nap time has been a struggle. I think they are just being silly and stupid. Come on, she's 1,5 years old and her life just changed a lot. Why change everything at once? Obviously nobody listens to me, since I'm just her mom........ 
After the allotted nap time, in which no napping got done, we headed to Hommy's. Lexie was happy and played with everybody. She got super tired though (how strange, huh?) and she fell fast asleep in the car on the way home. I think that the nap schedule has been really messed up now but grandma feels it's progress that she slept without the pacifier..... *sigh* Like she is going to fall asleep at school around noon from sheer exhaustion (me thinks not).

It is very frustrating and it is so annoying that such a major fuss is being made about a tiny little detail. The way I see it is very simple: give her the pacifier, she sleeps, she's happy. When she notices the other kids don't use one she'll want to try sleeping without it soon enough. But hey, who am I??

Car seat: also great for naps
Haiwen and Lexie are at grandma's for dinner now. I still have some leftovers here. I decided that my 'in law meter' is more than full for this week, haha. Now I also have some time to write a blog and share todays pictures with you ;)

Tomorrow I'm teaching in Shenzhen. I hope I have enough energy for that. Haiwen is dropping me off and I'm coming back by train. The guy who arranges the classes is a bit chaotic to put it mildly. I told him I don't want hour long gaps in between students so I hope he arranged the times well.

donderdag 11 april 2013

Interesting day!

16.11 and had a full day already!! Lexie got car sick this morning, the poor thing. Traffic was bad due to rain so it was stop and go for most of the way. She made a gurgling noise and then 3 huge gulps of curdled milk came out. You can imagine the mess that made. 

When we got to the Kindergarten I carried her to the toilets to get her cleaned up. Good thing that there are always fresh clothes in her back pack! Three teachers and grandma came to help and it was like watching a pit stop at the formula 1. I held Lexie while they took off her clothes, washed her and put clean clothes back on. It was super quick. While grandma and I gathered the dirty clothes the teacher took her to class. I sneaked a peak and she was already happily munching on a bun. She didn't see me and we quickly left.

Picture by teacher Li
Haiwen dropped grandma and the headmistress off at the hospital close to school. The headmistress knows a doctor there that can help grandma's brother. He's got a clogged kidney artery that needs to be opened up again. In China you need you guanxi (connections) if you want to get something fast!

Then Haiwen's taxi duty continued as he dropped me off at the Canton Club for the GWIC morning coffee. It was nice to catch up with the ladies and I also met a newly arrived Dutch girl. Her boyfriend works for the competitor of Rokatec (where HW works).

Canton club is very posh so you can ask them to get you a cab. They also make sure that nobody cuts in line so to speak, very handy! Nice to wait inside on a big plushy sofa instead of outside in the rain. I got one quite quickly and went to Ersha.

Wagner rehearsal 
David Stern is conducting this week and Michael arranged for us to meet at Starbucks. Some more nice catching up followed and we decided to go to dinner tonight with a few orchestra people and the singers. I stayed and listened to the rehearsal for a while. I noticed I left my scarf at Starbucks so I went back to get it. Little one no. 2 seems to like Wagner, haha. During the break I talked to some ex colleagues and then it was time to head back home and rest for a bit.

Last Friday I went to listen to the Stuttgart Symphony with Stephan Deneve at the opera house. His wife Asa arranged tickets for us, very cool! I didn't get to see him after the concert but we had a quick drink on Saturday whilst skyping his wife and daughter. They were just waking up in Scotland ;)

Yeah, mommy still has a life too :P

woensdag 10 april 2013

Day 3 at Kindergarten

It's Wednesday today and it marks day 3 of Lexie at Kindergarten.
She is doing great and mommy is doing much better too. It is amazing how much 'wiser' she seems in only 2 days of school. She's got this very bright look in her eyes and her posture is tall and proud! She is talking a lot, even compared to Sunday when she was happily mumbling away and saying 'mamma baobao' a lot.

The afternoon nap is is a bit difficult because they don't allow her to have a pacifier. I don't mind letting her have one for now since so much has changed in her life recently. She's only been getting it for sleeping for a long time already. If they want to deal with a frequently waking up Lexie, that is their problem. Come on, she's 1,5!! I do give it to her in the evening because she keeps crying and that's just too sad as she is completely pooped and in need of sleep. I'm guessing she is smart enough to get the difference soon: at school no pacifier, at home yes. And who knows, maybe she'll think sleeping without one is cooler soon.

Some pictures Lexie's teacher sent me

I've been let down by technology in our house because the DVD-player that will play the original(!) Dutch DVD's has died on us. Our stupid Philips DVD-player keeps claiming that our area codes are wrong. Do you have any idea how annoying that is?? You buy original stuff and then it gets blocked! Yes, some people do move around the globe and do not stay put on one continent. Almost enough reason to buy fakes only! So now Lexie only wants to see 喜洋洋 (xiyangyang). In Chinglish that is Pleasant goat and Big big wolf.

Nothing wrong with smart sheep never to be eaten by the stupid wolf but it is in Chinese...... She needs more Dutch input and I feel very responsible for that. I've put hubby on the case and I'll also ask grandpa for help. We can see episodes on digital TV so that is quite convenient. It is good for my Chinese but that is not the point here ;)

Lexie understands me perfectly fine but her only response in Dutch is 'nee!!' She will speak Chinese to me on all other accounts. 'Mamma zuozuo' which comes down to 'mommy come sit with me'. I repeat back 'mamma zitten' waiting for her to say it. Not very successful yet but I guess I'll have to keep it up. 'Mamma baobao' which means 'mommy I want a hug'. 'Gao gao ju' (Cantonese) is used when she wants to sleep. The list goes on with a mixture of Cantonese and Mandarin......

OK, my student is here, gotta go!

maandag 8 april 2013

First day at Kindergarten!

Little bit sleepy at 7.30
So Lexie just left for her first day at school. I almost managed to be happy for her when she was still here. A few sneaky tears escaped, but nothing major.

Mommy putting on a brave face
We woke up at 7.00 and Lexie had her morning milk. Then it was time to put on the school uniform. That is required on Monday's and Thursday's. I believe they raise the flag on those days. So much going on that I don't really know about yet!

Monday's and Thursday's are 'uniform' days!
Lexie has been in a completely mommy focussed mood for the last week. She said 'mamma baobao' at least 20 times a day. That means 'mommy I want a hug'. Of course!! Lexie is an excellent hugger so I happily obliged. Too bad my pelvis hurts like hell at times so I needed to divert some baobao's to daddy. Lexie did not always agree with this. If we were walking outside I couldn't do much for her but as soon as we are inside I can sit down and hug her. Lexie happy, mommy happy and pelvis happy!

Showing off her new backpack
Grandma spent a lot of time last week sowing Lexie's name tag into all of her clothes. Her name needs to be on every item she wears at school.

Looking very cute (her speciality)
The backpack and the uniform are standard school issue. She also has a school issued blanket for her afternoon nap, together with her class. They sleep in the classroom on a plank system with some cushioning. They eat breakfast at 8.30 and lunch is provided as well. She will be picked up at 16.30 today. I hope that she really likes it there. I think she will as she is very open to new things and she loves to explore and learn new stuff.
Bye bye!!
It's been a bit difficult for me because I'm the only Westerner here with a completely different background. What do you mean by going to school at 1,5 years young? What?!? Go until 16.30, are you nuts?? Where are the half days of getting used to school?
My plan is to see how Lexie responds. If I notice that she's too tired or unhappy I will take action and make her go less. If she's happy and looking for her backpack in the morning I'll play along in the Chinese game. Multi-culti really sucks at times!!

zondag 7 april 2013

Pic overview!

25,5 weeks
Lunch with auntie Nicole on Qing Ming festival
'Helping out' auntie Qiang at Hommy's
Rain and mist......
First clear day in weeks!!! Only 16C but gorgeous :)
Gimme those rackets daddy!

On the run!

Playing at Aeon (Jusco) near Hommy's

'Abdminal' belt for support in the operational phase!

maandag 1 april 2013


Qiang with the coffee machine
The new coffee shop is open! The Chinese name is 小熊家 that means 'home of the little bear'.

It is located in the mall opposite the East railway station, on the side with the waterfall.
Near Ikea, so to say. There's a Fine Foods and a KFC on that side. Go downstairs behind the KFC and you'll see it right there!

The coffee is good, no Chinese water crap, so to say. The coffee machine is the same one as used in IN cafe before. They also sell some small snacks and refreshing cold drinks. There are some seats outside and a few inside as well.

I went there today as well. Grandpa was home in time to watch Lexie so I didn't have her here for her nap. Since it's a bit boring to be home alone on Easter I asked Haiwen if he had time for lunch. Since the office in Holland is closed today, he had some time to spare. We had lovely dim sum at the Hilton and then went to Hommy's.

Fly away!!!
I took the bus home and it took a bit too long.... That meant I really had to pee when I arrived at ZhongHai. I went up to grandma's because walking home wasn't going to work ;)
Lexie was awake and came with me. We played with the swings for a bit and then went to get coffee. Well, water for Lexie and coffee for me. She did  great. I gave her some leaves to tear apart and walked around with her a little bit in between.

Terrace training went very well :)
She wanted to sit in one of those baby play cars on the way home. I gave her a 1 RMB bill and told her to go change it for a coin. She walked right into the shop and came back with a coin. Smart girl!