Nana and Donny Go to School

Visiting my grandbabies in Japan allowed me to spend a morning at nursery school with my grandson, Donny.  Mama Emma arranged it so I could see what his day was like.

Here in Texas, we have tornado drills but in Japan, they do earthquake drills.  It was impressive to watch these teachers grab a go-to bag with little helmets and packs.  After putting the helmets on everyone each teacher then strapped a carrier to her back and placed a child in it.  Then they held another child in front as they huddled on the floor.  All of this took just a few moments to complete – it was a marvel to witness.

Outdoor time was a walk through town to a park nearby.  Again, it was remarkable to watch the teachers maneuver the children and keep them safe.  Each child had an orange cap placed on their head for easy identification and for the ‘walk’ they rode in what looked like a big laundry basket on wheels.

Playtime at the park was pure joy and filled with laughter, squeals, sand, bugs, and a snack. Although, not necessarily in that order.

When it was time for lunch I was invited to sit with Donny and share a taste of each dish the children were also having. Everything from the salmon to the soup and the green tea was delicious.

A delightful day getting to share ‘school’ with my grandson.  It was a great bonding experience and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the local Japanese did things their way.

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Visiting the Tokyo Tots

Anyone who has been fortunate enough to join the grandparents club knows the amazing joy of loving (and spoiling) the offspring of our offspring.

I’m so lucky that 7 of my 9 grandchildren live 2 miles away. I get to see them regularly and I’m very thankful for that.

My other 2 grandchildren live 6,469 miles away in Tokyo, Japan.   I don’t get to see them as often. However, I’m very thankful for the technology that allows me to video chat with them regularly.

I’m also thankful I’ve gotten to see them twice in the last 6 months.

In December, our son, Joshua, brought his expectant wife, Emma, his son, Donny and Emma’s parents, Takei and Kazue, to Texas for a visit.

We enjoyed their visit so much and had tons of fun spending Christmas with them and showing off some of the wonders of the Lone Star State.

When Joshua and Emma’s new son arrived in April we knew we wanted to meet Baby Alan sooner rather than later so my husband, Ronald, and I made the trek across the Pacific to spend time with them.

Alan is so adorable and that furrowed brow?  I’m totally owning it as he definitely gets that from me, his Nana.

Big brother, Donny, is just as handsome and at an ideal age for discovering new things every day.

For this trip my main objective was to give – and get – as many cuddles and kisses as two little boys would allow.  Luckily, they are still very young and weren’t opposed to Nana constantly loving on them.

It.Was.Wonderful

Snuggles, hugs, first baby coos, new baby giggles, toddler babbling and a lot of laughter from everyone made for a great vacation and visit.  It’s not easy being far away – I love them and miss them so much – but the life they have created is sweet and I cannot deny they are where they should be.

Matthew 19:5 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’

 

 

Tea in Jiading, China

A repost from July 2016:

Last year we spent two weeks in and around Jiading, China – a ‘suburb’ of Shanghai.  Our oldest son, Joshua, was living there with his wife, Emma, and we were fortunate enough to visit.  A rainy day had given us a break from sightseeing and when it stopped we ventured out.  What we stumbled onto ended up being one of my most satisfying and favorite memories.

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When the rain tapered off we ventured out for lunch and ended up exploring the streets and shops in the surrounding area.  Our group split up which left my son, Patrick, and I hanging out together.  JIading shoppingWe were wandering around, ambling in and out of the little shops when I spied a sign with a teapot.  Loving all things tea, and especially drinking tea in Asia, we went into the shop to see what was what. The shopkeeper seemed excited to see us and began talking.  Unfortunately, we had no idea what he was saying.  We wanted to ask him questions but were not able to communicate effectively with him.

Between using hand gestures – and speaking super slow (as if that would help) – we found no success asking if his teapots were for sale or just display.  We left the shop to find Joshua – who speaks fluent Mandarin-and, upon our return, discovered this gentleman was completely delightful and wanted nothing more than to share his tea while working on his painting and flute-playing.

One of the things I love about staying in less touristy areas is stumbling upon these amazing experiences that you can’t buy with money.  It had been a lazy, rainy day calling for a ponytail and no make-up.  No matter that I was ultra-casual, our host could have cared less.  Discovering this hidden gem and being treated to an absolutely wonderful encounter completely made my day and ended up being a highlight of the trip.

Jiading Tea

If you would like to see other posts from our China adventures check out these pieces:

Eyes of Asia

What’s In A Shanghai Name

Mass in Mandarin

Confucius Temple and Huilongtan Park

Looking Up

Life Around Jiading

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes of Asia

Linking up with a travel blogger who chose the theme ‘eyes‘ for this week I am sharing pictures from China.

I love to watch people.  I love to take pictures of people.  Our stay in Jiading – a ‘suburb’ of Shanghai – offered me ample opportunities to sit and soak up the local atmosphere.

The plaza just on the other side of the canal from our hotel was a perfect spot to sit.  During the day the children ran and jumped and played and roller skated.  They loved that I was taking pictures and would come right up to me and pose.  Their eyes shone with curiosity about the blonde-haired, fair-skinned lady with the camera.

jiading dancing

When the work day ended the adults would gather, the music would start and an impromptu dance would begin.  They danced and they laughed and they left the stress of the day behind.  It was absolutely delightful and the happiness in their eyes was contagious.

jiading baby

Several times I was approached by those who wondered who I was, where I came from and why I looked so different.  They were not shy about asking gesturing for me to take pictures with or of them. Like this mom – you can see the excitement in her eyes.  She was so eager to have her baby ‘meet’ me that she took out her Iphone and asked gestured for me to pose with her little girl.  I reciprocated and asked gestured for her to pose, too.  I think the baby was just confused – that’s what I see in her eyes.

Jiading eyes1

This man was taking a break from his street sweeping as I made my way back to the hotel.  His eyes look a little tired – maybe because his day had been long and he wasn’t quite finished yet.

p b j j p b

These guys.  My three boys.  Walking across the plaza they did not see me.  I had to yell out a couple of times before they figured out who was making a racket.  Their eyes were covered but, I promise you, they are the most beautiful shades of brown, green and hazel.

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And, finally, these beautiful eyes.  They belong to my new grandson.   Babies are wonderful.  Just wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

WPC – What’s In A Shanghai Name?

A trip to Shanghai provided many opportunities to see names in English and the character equivalents in Mandarin.

Shanghai hotelOur hotel in the Shanghai ‘suburb’ of Jiading

Ikea and Amway

Grocery items at the local Auchan (equivalent to Wal-Mart)

A wealth of western shopping opportunities in downtown Shanghai

Shanghai street sign

A street sign on a side street

McDonald’s quarterpounder and KFC/Pizza Hut

A wonderful trip!