Hello again, blogosphere! It’s been a long crazy while, but I’m baaaack…
Today is Oct 2, which is kind of a big anniversary day for my little family:
A year ago today we began this whole crazy adventure. After a failed first attempt, which had us in Toronto, back to Ottawa, and then to Toronto again, we finally left for Moscow. It’s so crazy to think that a whole year has gone by since we left Canada, and at the same time that it’s only been a year since we left. Time does weird things when you’re out of your element I think.
A month ago today, we left Moscow for Beijing. We stopped in Ottawa on the way for a whirlwind shop and family visit. Besides being so busy that we literally had to have every waking moment scheduled in order to fit everything in, we had this crazy notion that we’d try to stay on Moscow time to avoid a nasty jet-lag situation when we arrived in Beijing (Moscow is 8 hours ahead of Ottawa, Beijing is 12). Which meant that Charlotte was asleep by noon, J. and I shortly after, and we were all up by 1am. Our nights were spent roaming around downtown Ottawa, getting weird looks from everyone for having our baby out and about in the middle of the night, being jostled by drunken university students poring out of the Byward Market bars (never felt so old in my life!), and generally enjoying the unique side of Ottawa that we got to experience.
We arrived in Beijing just over three weeks ago, and we’ve settled in pretty quickly. We have the sweetest living situation: we’re in a townhouse right on the compound where I work. There’s tons of young kids around for Charlotte to play with, a little playground that puts anything we ever saw in Moscow to shame, and best of all my commute is all of 2 minutes, which means I can come home whenever I’m needed.
J. has been home with Charlotte full-time these past 3 weeks, and the two of them are best buds. She even calls out for him sometimes when she wakes up at night!
We’ve been trying to get a lot of sightseeing done too, so that J. can see the city before he leaves. But the biggest attraction everyone we go is our little blonde baby. Everyone smiles at her, comments how cute she is, and takes pictures of her. We went to the Lama Temple, and a gaggle of Tibetan monks crowded around her, all snapping photos of our little charmer.
Today is also the day that J. left. And no, it did not go well. We were late getting to the airport, with just enough time for a bathroom break and a dozen goodbye kisses, and then J. was off. As for Charlotte and I, once we lost sight of him at security, we zipped back into the city to meet some friends for brunch.
I should mention here that yesterday was Chinese National Day, and this weekend millions of freakishly patriotic Chinese people have descended on Beijing, with the sole purpose (in my expert opinion) of taking dorky photos of themselves waving flags in Tiananmen Square. Oh, and I should also mention that my brilliant friend scheduled our brunch date for a restaurant right off the Square.
So, we were on the subway, and I remember thinking how proud I was for staying to cool and collected when my husband/best friend/baby daddy had just left me alone in China, when suddenly it was announced that my stop was closed and I’d have to get off at the next one. Ok, I thought, no big deal, we’ll probably just be 10 minutes late.
So I got off at the next stop and started walking. And as soon as Tiananmen Square came into view, so did a crowd of, oh about 70 thousand people. It was serious insanity. All I wanted to do was keep heading east on the street that I was on so that I could get to the subway stop I was supposed to get off at. But the only way to cross the street was through an underground passage (i.e. lugging the stroller down the stairs, and then back up on the other side) that took me in the wrong direction, which resulted in a crammed, hot, underground-passage-filled detour. After an hour and a half of pushing my way through the crowd, dripping in sweat, telling myself over and over to wait until I got home to burst into tears, and cursing at anyone who stood in my way, I reached my breaking point when an old man I was walking by let rip a loud, bubbly fart. Enough was enough. We headed back to the subway, and back home.
And I spent the rest of the afternoon playing with my little girl in the compound park, and eating leftover bacon from a charity breakfast event at work on Friday which just happens to be the best bacon I’ve ever had, and which dried up any tears that thought they might worm their way out.
And now, I’m exhausted beyond words, the house is a disaster, all the food I planned on cooking for the week is still sitting raw in the fridge. But I survived the day, my first as a part-time single mom. And tomorrow will be a better day. Mostly because I still have some of that bacon left.