Sunday, March 11, 2007

Internet Connection Returns After Major Windstorm

5 March: Windstorm

Last night there was the most incredible wind storm. I have no idea how fast the wind was blowing, but it literally ripped through Dalian. It tore down billboards, took trees down, bent metal sign posts in half and broke the front revolving door of our building.

Many people lost their power and water. We were lucky. Everything remained on - perhaps our building was powered by generators.

This morning, I was one of only two parents who braved the wind and cold to take their child to Gymboree. The staff told me other parents had already called in order to cancel the classes scheduled for later this afternoon.

Bless Punky. She was an hour late, but walked most of the way because the buses were not working.

Chase’s language teacher told me the winds were a 12, on the Chinese scale of wind measurement. I asked her what the highest number was. She said 12. She thinks the winds were considered hurricane level.

6 March: Settling In

Hubs and I had a crazy weekend. We had five social events.

I mention this only because meeting people has been so hard.

It all started off with a trip to Metro, only grocery store in Dalian that sells Western goods and real cheese (although all too often it is moldy, moldy, moldy). Then we were off to shop with one of Brian’s colleagues, who volunteered to take us to a couple shops that sell Western clothes (and more importantly - Western sizes). At first blush, the shops looked like a dream come true. Lots of Polo, Armani and other Western brands were available for very reasonable prices (and no, they were not knock offs). After trying on countless jeans and tops, it became clear I need to go on a diet designed to shorten legs and arms.

After visiting a number of small, boutique shops, we braved the underground shopping maze. It was huge, with no natural air or light and smells of Chinese food. (I would not venture there without a seasoned, Chinese speaking guide. No amount of breadcrumbs could help you find your way out of that place.)

On the way to the underground shopping maze, we passed a couple people trying to sell puppies. It was freezing cold and the puppies were shivering in cages and cardboard boxes. I wanted to scoop them all up and yell at the people who were trying to sell them. Feeling sad and helpless, I started daydreaming about starting an animal shelter, buying acres and acres of land and just letting animals run free. Walking past those dogs was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a long time.

It just breaks my heart to think about them.

Then we joined up with a couple I met at Starbucks (with an 8-month-old) for an Indian dinner (Chase loved the dancers). On Sunday, we met Nicolas (Chase’s German boyfriend) and his parents for coffee and then headed to the Shangri-La for dim sum with another couple. From there, we hurried home to pick up and start cooking dinner before one of our neighbors arrived.

The good things from this weekend: I now have good cheese in the house, I know where to find good Western clothes, a Chinese doctor, and I think we’ve found another possible babysitter for Chase.

8 March

This no Internet thing is driving me crazy.

It has been days and days and days.

I might as well be in Siberia (but I bet they have a connection there!).

I feel so disconnected.

I think I am addicted to the Internet.

I think we all are.

I blame it on the fact that I am a “communicator.”

But I’m quite positive that even the most introverted have a deep connection to the thing.

I have tried to will it to work. No dice.

And so I must wait…

Patience is a virtue, right?

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