It is enormous fun to watch the princess in her element, and she really is a princess here. If she was not in her previous life, she certainly is now that she is visiting royalty. The other children flock around her. The adults adore her. And officials come and chat with her.
Today, she chatted with some officials from the orphanage, I think, about her life in America. Somehow, I missed the whole thing, though I would have liked to speak with them. I asked her if she told them it was horrible here or all right. With a sheepish smile, she admitted she had said it was all right.
A few days ago, we were having lunch with the chairman and some teacher...fifteen or twenty people in all...and they asked her what was different about America. What she chose to speak about was church. She felt this was one of the biggest differences. I do not know what she said, but she spoke confidently and with cheerful energy for several minutes and had the whole table laughing twice.
Right now, she is sitting here with her meimei and her didi...her little sister and her little brother--the two children she claims a family connection with. Her little sister shares a foster grandmother. I am not sure how her little brother came to be her little brother, but they are enormouly fond of each other.
Having talked about and prayed for these two for two years now, I really enjoy watching her play with them. The girl is aways looks as if she is about to cry in a sweet puppy-like way and the boy is full of mischief and cheer. He is surprisingly polite, though for a young man of somewhere in the vicinity of thirteen.
For my part, my job is to strike a proper balance between being available and being out of the way. Sometime I am needed. Sometime, it is better if I am off somewhere and the children get their own time together. Thi is new to me. My boys are different from this. They interact with adults more like other adults. These kids are, welll, like kids. So far, I think I have been doing a pretty good job of following Ping-Ping's cues and being present or not as needed. I also try to be welcoming and friendly to everyone she brings by.
Being here has given me a much better understanding of her life to date...particularly when it comes to food. I thought when she came that we would be providing her with better food than she had before...but now that I have eaten at the school...I think she used to eat better than my sons! The meals are all rice, really nicely steamed vegetables, and a tiny bit of meat. She could use more meat than they gave...but otherwise, it is a very nice meal!
Tomorrow, if all goes well, we will go to the bookstore, a four or five story place. Ping-Ping has gift money to buy books. I want to get a map. In the meantime, she is participating in her favorite of all activities...she and her meimei and didi are watching Chinese TV.
I have decided that it might be nice to do a few short posts.
So, I brought a romance novel with me to read. In it, someone explains that foolish people are hen-witted because hens are so foolish that they will look up when it is raining, get water in their beak, and drown. Whole flocks can die that way.
I don't know if this is true or an old wives tale, but either way, I had sympathy for those hens today when I tried to rinse my hair under a facet that was too low for me and, in the act of leaning backwards to get the top of my head, ended up with the shower angled directly down my nostrils.
It was a thoroughly uncomfortable experience made worse, I am sure, by the fact that I immediately thought of the novel I had just read and burst into laughter.
Every year about this time, Ping-Ping cuts her hair. It gets pretty long in a year. It was well down her back and looked lovely. But she announced on the way from Hong Kong that she wanted it cut while she was here. She had it down yesterday. It falls around her shoulders now and forms the cutest pompom in the back when she put it up. she looks like an imp or like Tinkerbell.
I was glad that she did not make it any shorter than that.
(My hair, which falls past my waist, gets regular comment. Everyone thinks it is rather neat.)
My daughter is very careful of our money. She doesn't want me to have to change more bills because she is hoping to come home with enough left over to get a proper Ipod that she can use for QQ (Chinese social network). However, when Auntie let her know that some money had been taken...around $60...and thought it was--if I understand correctly, because she had left the gate open for Ping-Ping's little brother who did not come home (he stayed for us), Ping-Ping immediately restored the money from her own supply.
I was proud of her.
Gmail tries to offer you ads based on the content of your emails. For a long time, it offered me Harry Potter ads--which was fitting In the last day, it has updated itself to ads for learning Chinese.
In between, for the last several months, all the ads were for how to tell if your man was cheating and what to do about a cheating wife. Clearly, Gmail cares more about the life of Rachel Griffin than about the rest of my correspondance.
We are at the middle of our visit. A quiet time. The initial excitement of arrival and seeing people is over. The coming excitement of Chinese New Year has not yet begun. Ping-Ping even chose to come home and watch TV by herself tonight without anyone staying over with us. A momentary lull in the storm of visits and friends.