Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just a wee lil tacker

I turn 29 today. Have you ever met a girl so desperate to turn 30? This time next year our file can be sent to China. I think the rest of the process for our local requirements will take about 6 months, so that will take up half the time. I also think we will have to wait a few more months to progress any further, as the Dept is focusing on getting those who will be ineligible after May sped through. It looks like the timing will all work out nicely in the end.

I just scraped into the Year of the Snake. Here's a pic of me in China in 2003 - we found a set of the twelve Chinese zodiac statues, so had a photo with our respective animals.

I learned something when talking with a Chinese friend recently about birthdays in Chinese culture. She said that when a baby is born in China, they are considered to be one year old on the day they are born. Then, at Chinese New Year they become another year older (well, everyone does! New Year is seen as a rebirthing for all, so it's everybody's birthday). Essentially this could mean that if a child is born very close to Chinese New Year, within a few weeks they could be considered two years old already!

If anyone knows more about this I'm interested to hear it. There's only a tiny snippet about it at Wikipedia. I can't find much about it online, though I did come across this informative article about birth rites and customs in China.

Shāng rì kàui lè!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Our new friend Frank Xin

Aaron here. Entry number 2.

Emma registered on xLingo. It's a language exchange website that helps connect people in different countries who are trying to learn the language and want to talk to native speakers. It uses Skype (free internet phone calls using your computer). It is a brilliant idea and I will definitely be doing more of it.

We met Frank Xin today. He lives in Shanghai China and wants to speak English. He has been studying for a couple of years and he puts me to shame. His English is great. My Chinese is not so great. Emma and I will be having another conversation with Frank tomorrow, so now I have to study harder. It is so much better to have a learning goal that is direct. I want to be able to speak to him and understand in Chinese. I have a long way to go.

In the words of our Chinese teacher, 'Chinese is not easy, but not so hard.' I better get studying.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Oh, wow. I've been experiencing sweet serendipity a bit recently. I was at Central Station today getting a train home from work in the city. It was only 11.30am and I wasn't feeling so well, so decided to head home and keep working from there. I usually take a short-cut through the side of the train station, but unthinkingly found myself walking a less direct route for no particular reason, when I heard someone say my name. I turned around and there was Tracy.

Tracy is 17 year old from China. She came over on a two-week study tour four years ago and we were her homestay family. I hadn't been in contact with her since.

Tracy looked at me and said, "I miss you so much. I'm so happy to see you. I try to email but didn't work."

Wow. It's so great. I gave her my business card and told her to call or email me and we'll get together. She thinks she'll be in Australia for about 7 years now (two years finishing high school and then university). At the moment she's living with a family about ten minutes drive from us. This is AWESOME!

Oh, and her English name isn't Tracy anymore. She chose a new one - Evangeline. Isn't that just beautiful?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Kāi Dāng Kù

Picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Poagao.
I was reading through my old journal from when we were in China and I found a post about an interesting cultural aspect - splitty pants!

Chinese babies do not generally wear nappies (diapers). Instead they wear kāi dāng kù, which translates as 'open crotch pants'. Oooh all those cute little bottoms!

To traditionally toilet train a baby in China you 'ba' him or her. This means holding the baby gently by the hips and whistling softly in his/her ear. This conditions the baby (hello Pavlov) that whenever s/he hears a whistle they go to the toilet. We found this so fascinating! It was not unusal for us to walk down a street and see a baby being held over the footpath being ba-ed.

I'm just not sure about the implication later in life and how whistling might affect them as adults. Heh. Maybe when we go back I'll start whistling a tune while on a bus and just see what happens. Niao niao (wee wee)!

Anyway, I was just reading about splitty pants on a few websites to see if I actually had my facts right when I wrote about this in the first place, and it seems that it's becoming more fashionable to go for disposable nappies. A China Daily article from 2004 (you can read it here) suggests that modern parents, particularly in the cities, seem to think that splitty pants are old-fashioned and inconvenient, and only really used in rural areas. Disposables are on the rise!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Population stuff

This article (and a similar one here) states that based on the current gender imbalance in China's birth rates, by 2020 there will be 30 million more men in China than women.

Heck, the entire population of Australia is only 20 million.

It also looks as though the forthcoming Year of the Pig could spark a baby boom in China.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tagged - Alphabet Soup!

It's the meme currently doing the bloggy rounds, and I got tagged by Leisa.
Here goes:
A - available or taken: taken
B- best friend: I'll be soppy and say Aaron, cos it's true
C- cake or pie: cake. mmm -Finnish wet sponge!
D- drink of choice: pineapple juice or herbal tea
E-essential item you use everyday: tabasco sauce
F-favourite color: at the moment, probably green
G-gummy bears or worms: bears
H-hometown: Mount Isa- If you believe the marketers, "you're not a real Aussie, til you've been to the Isa!"
I-indulgence: eating Guylian Sea Shells in the spa. Too bad we're in a drought.
J-January or February: January fo'sho! The month of my birth.
K-kid's names: umm.. Cabbage Patch Kids are the only 'kids' I've ever had. They were Priscilla Louise and Cory Brent.
L-life incomplete without: watching the weather every morning
M-marriage date: 14 Dec 1996
N-number of siblings: two
O-oranges or apples: apples. what a boring question.
P-phobias or fears: blood tests... oh the stories I could tell!
Q-favourite quote: "Dinner's ready when the smoke alarm goes off"
R-reason to smile: I have an awesome life
S-favourite season: Spring
T-tag 4 people: you! you! you! and YOU!
U-unknown fact about me: I can say the alphabet backwards faster than I can forwards
V-veggie I don't like: cauliflower. ugh.
W-worst habit: leaving bobby pins on the soap dish in the shower
X-x-rays: I fell down some stairs in '05 (oops), oh yeah, and x-rays for our adoption medical in '06
Y-your favorite food: Vegetarian Jiaozi or Baozi
Z-zodiac: Aquarius

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life Book intro

Aaron and I started work on a life book for our future daughter a few months back. Some of my friends have already heard the story about how Aaron joined the frequent shopper program at a local scrapbook shop, and how when I asked for the card one day he said, "don't go without me!". Aaron claims that he only joined because I wasn't feeling well and he thought it would be easier to just sign up with his details, but I think I might have a closet creative hubby here.

We've had a lot of fun already choosing all the backgrounds and playing around with ideas. Actually it's ULTRA fun when one of us is a perfectionist who wants everything symmetrical and neat (Aaron), while the other is just happy to be randomly creative and slap it all together (me).

The start of the life book actually triggered some action by us to get some of Aaron's own baby pictures off slides and printed as photographs. He was a real cutie baby with his bow legs and outtie belly button.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I recently joined an online group (chinalifebooks) that facilitates participants through the process of writing the text for a life book. I'm so amazed by the sharing and support offered.

Here's a draft of the text I wrote for the intro page. And when I say 'I wrote' I really mean I blatantly plagiarised from everyone else's good ideas.

Dear ---

This is a book created just for you!

It tells you how you began your life in China.

From this book, you can begin to understand your story. It is everything we know about your beginnings.

What is written in these pages is your history, and celebrates who you are, where you’ve come from and how we became a family.

Dad and Mum

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

'Not to deter foreign adopters'

The CCAA has spoken out about the new regulations and how they have been misinterpreted by foreign media in an article today. The article appears in Xinhua, the official press agency of the Chinese govt, reporting directly to the Party's Propaganda Dept.

I like this line - 'The new rules will help shorten waiting times for qualified foreigners and speed up the process for children...' Yee-haw! Now we just gotta hold tight and see how loooong we have to wait for the wait time to shorten!

(not that the wait times affect us personally yet because we're a fair while off being DTC/LID, but we're following along with a whole bunch of cool people in the big long queue for referrals)

I thought the last line of the article was a bit interesting too.

Monday, January 01, 2007

One profile done, one to go!

What's 19 pages long, has 7870 words and discusses a whole lot of interesting questions?

Yup, my family profile - it's FINISHED!

I feel so elated, this was something I really wanted to get finished before I head back to work on Wednesday.

Aaron still needs to work on his profile, but he has spent most of this afternoon completing exercises from his workbook. Now I need to get wiggling on my workbook.

Yay, what a great start to 2007. We are hoping to have our profiles, workbooks and readings all done by the end of January. At this rate that seems very achievable.