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Six months later

By on Oct 29, 2015 in Life and everything | 1 comment

The past six months has been incredible. It has been the most intense few months of my life and some days I am still struggling, as I was in the last post, to process the fact that I am a mother. An actual mother of a real baby. We spend every day together and still I sit and stare at him as he is sleeping, making sure he is real and not just a dream. I am starting to put together a few stories of what life has been like for us as new parents here in China, because as usual with our lives here, nothing is ever as simple or straightforward as you expect it to be and cultural differences in child rearing abound! Until I actually get to finishing these little tales, I thought I could at least share a few photos of us with the bubba. xox

He is here!

By on May 8, 2015 in Life and everything | 13 comments

For months we have been waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting for our baby to arrive. For months we have been making sure I eat only the healthiest food, making sure my body is as strong and as prepared as possible for the day our baby will arrive. I listened to the hypnobirth messages while we camped in the forest, and practiced staying calm, breathing in peace and comfort and letting my body relax. We sat together while we breathed and my husband repeated the birth affirmations to me, telling me to trust my body to birth our baby. We spent months preparing for the moment of birth. And then it happened, out of the blue, 9 days earlier than expected. We called the midwife and the nurse, inflated the pool and lay down to wait for our baby. When the time came I got into the pool, and lay my head on my husband’s lap and listened to his voice. The midwife and the nurse went back and forth to the kitchen to add pots of boiling water to the pool to make sure the water stayed warm enough. Our baby came to us right here in our home, in our bathroom in a blue inflatable toddler pool with pictures of orange Nemo fish and yellow haired mermaids on it. Now he is here, with ten fingers and ten toes, two eyes, two ears, one nose. We can hold him, we can cuddle him, we can look into his little blue eyes and stroke his golden hair. The miracle of life and how a little being like this can come to be has floored me. I feel like I am walking in a mist of wonder and it feels almost as if I am dreaming. I pick up our baby and feed him and change him and dress him but the reality of what happened is yet to sink in. It is yet too big for me to process fully. Our baby is here.  ...

Food on the go

By on Apr 24, 2015 in Life in Yunnan | 2 comments

I love bread and butter and cheese and jam. I’ll have it for breakfast and for lunch and sometimes I’ll happily have it for dinner too. But Kunming is not a bread, butter, jam and cheese kind of place just yet. You do get bread and those kinds of things, but it is still quite scarce (mostly only in the “foreign” section of the city). Initially this was one of the most difficult transitions to make to life in Asia, the major change in diet. Rice and noodles and dumplings just really did not hit the spot quite like I wanted lunch to hit the spot. But once you get over the change, the foods that you can easily find here is not bad at all. Kunming is not a city in which you’ll easily go hungry. There are food vendors literally everywhere. They drag, drive or cycle carts full of hot potatoes, mealies, peanuts, corn and dumplings after them where-ever they go. Some carts have big steel drums – or sometimes just empty paint tins – filled with briquettes that give off a lovely heat on cold winters days while the owners sit and barbecue sweet potatoes over them. Other carts are much more complicated and consist of gas canisters and woks on which tofu get fried to a crisp. There are also thousands of little noodle shops and dumpling shops and if you’re up for it – chicken feet shops. In a way we are more spoilt for choice for lunches here than we ever were in Cape Town…  ...

Sidewalk calligraphy

By on Apr 17, 2015 in Life in Yunnan | 5 comments

I’ve written before about the great variety of activities that takes place in Chinese parks and squares. People dance, they sing, they play chess and mah johng, they do kung fu and they dance with swords. I’ve seen a “new” addition to the list of cultural activities that people like to practice in Chinese parks recently – they paint calligraphy onto the sidewalks. Not with ink but with water. You can watch them for hours in silent fascination so wrapped up are they in their quiet repetitive task of writing something that obviously means a great deal to them, only to see it disappear as it evaporates within a few minutes. I wish my Chinese reading was better so that I can more fully appreciate what it is that is behind this activity but alas, I’m lucky if I recognise two characters out of the whole lot. At least this way I can let my imagination run wild and imagine that an old man is writing a love letter to his wife, or a poem about the culture he is trying to recapture. It is quite an ingenious alternative to normal graffiti right? Here today and gone tomorrow.  ...

Music in the parks

By on Apr 11, 2015 in Life in Yunnan | 2 comments

As soon as you walk off the main streets of Kunming there is a festive atmosphere about the city. This is not just over festive times, but pretty much every day. The reason for this is the many small groups of musicians who gather around the city’s public parks and squares to practice or perform their skills. The range of people who do this vary from single elderly ladies, to groups of old men or middle aged men, and groups of punk youngsters looking to explore modern music culture. There is something magical about the freedom people grant themselves and each other here, the freedom to just sit and do what you love no matter how good or bad you are at it. No one will judge or be rude and laugh and point, they will either stop and smile at each other in admiration of good skills, just nod and keep walking by, or sit down to give the less talented individual an impromptu music lesson....

Babybump photoshoot

By on Mar 27, 2015 in Life and everything | 4 comments

I love my babybump. I’ve spent the last few months with one hand constantly attached to my belly, either rubbing, patting, cuddling or prodding it. The novelty of having a belly like this just does not wear off, I keep laughing when I see myself in the mirror and I see how big it has gotten, or I see my shadow somewhere as I am walking outside. But the belly won’t be here forever because out of it will come a baby boy to rub, pat, cuddle and perhaps occasionally prod. I wanted to remember the belly and what it looked like forever, and we’ve been trying to take many photos of me out and about with the belly but the photos we take just did not seem to do it justice. So we decided to hire a professional photographer to come to our home and capture the belly in all its glory. I am usually super awkward in front of a camera, really super awkward, but somehow this time it was different. Once the initial awkwardness wore off, it became quite fun to pose and play around with ideas of how to convey the love I feel towards the belly and its little occupant…. In fact it became so much fun that I booked Kris to come back after the birth to take photos of Pete and I and the baby boy to be all together. These moments come around only once in a lifetime, and even if it feels a tad self-involved or awkward I think it is worth it to capture these precious memories on film to treasure...