So let’s recap, shall we? Been more than a year and it feels like a recap is in order. All at once now:
China keeps talking about its dream, telling everyone about this dream. Doesn’t give many hints about what the dream is, though. Just really wants people to know it still has a dream.
Wife and I have a baby. Let’s call him Son or First Blade here. First Blade could legitimately be an acceptable translation of his Chinese name, no joke. So, basically, he’s destined to be a badass. Being a Dad is amazing. Going on less sleep not so much. Diapers, burping, feeding, toys, naps, cries, sickness, hugs, rolling, crawling, walking, dancing.
There is a trip last Christmas when we (Xiao Ming, Son, me, and LaoLao—grandma) travel to the USA to visit family. What a crazy time! Son’s first Christmas! Don’t think we slept the whole time. Back to China just when it decides to make a new announcement: Down with the criminal element!
Sounds odd? It should. How does China tell people they mean business? Banners! Everyone gets a banner! Seriously, though: China wants people to know that they need to fight the HeiSheHui (Black Society). Kinda weird that you’re just now focusing on this, China, but whatever. Fight the good fight!
First Blade takes up an inordinate amount of time. Who knew that babies needed looking after? They should write books about this stuff. Oh, they do. I bought and read a few. More diapers, burping, feeding, toys, naps, cries, sickness, hugs, walking, and dancing. Oh, man, the double-edged sword of Chinese in-laws. So incredibly helpful! So incredibly frustrating! Culture is sometimes to blame, but not always. No more Starbucks Saturdays with Xiao Ming. Now it’s all about those kiddie play areas that seemed to have popped up over night. Living room also becomes a miniature play area! Toys everywhere. Somehow a year has passed, Son’s birthday has swung back around. Mama is his first word. Baba comes a bit later, but not before Ball.
Time has been divided in two: Work and Home. At work I get a new room – it’s not bad. Asian Lit all the way! The gym beckons and I take a rain check too often, but then, somewhere in there, I find a Climbing Gym in Dalian. Once a week turns into twice a week during the summer. Two-hour sessions become five and six hour climbing sessions. A new passion! Time is sliced into three, albeit uneven parts, now: Home, Work, Climbing.
America’s President irritates China. China irritates America. Trade War! Yay, fun times for years to come. I begin telling nosy cabbies I’m Canadian. Keeps the conversations civil, I’ve learned. In other news, China’s Social Credit Rating System is still a go. It’s strange. The highly touted One Belt One Road Initiative is still a go, too…sort of? Also not so straight-forward.
It’s Christmas again! We don’t leave Dalian this time. We get a tree; a first in seven years for me. First Blade loves the ornaments. Too much. Most of them end up at the top of the tree because he keeps taking them off from where he can reach. A new word – Star. Or, the way he says it, Dar. Presents in the morning and playing all day.
Grandma gets it in her head to make burgers for the Christmas meal. They actually turn out delicious: I eat three. First Blade wears his Santa sweater, downloaded holiday cartoons from the sixties play on loop in the background, and in the evening some cousins come over with the family and we hang out until our little guy begins yawning. A bath and bedtime. Merry Christmas!