Tuesday, March 13, 2007


It’s daybreak, and I’m sitting here listening to the Buddhist monks at Nanputou Temple raise a ruckus. They make noise to chase away the evil spirits – I can hear shouting, drums beating, bells ringing. I hope it doesn’t work the same way as when your apartment neighbors spray for bugs – they just move next door into your apartment! Well, the girls will be up soon making their own noise, so I guess they’ll manage to chase away any spirits that sneak in here.

Zoe woke me up at 4 this morning, complaining that her leg hurt “on the inside.” I think it’s her first experience with growing pains. I explained it to her, and she asked, “Did the same thing happen to you when you were a little girl?” I assured her it did, and she asked, “Did you get to sleep in Mimi’s bed when you had growing pains?” I had to tell her I didn’t remember, but that she could sleep in my bed if she wanted. So, that’s why I’m up at the crack of dawn.

We’ve passed the two-week mark for being in China. I’ve now been here longer than any of my previous 3 trips. I’m happy that things have been going so well. I knew the girls were really flexible, and handled new things well, but they have surpassed my expectations.

Of course, there are difficulties. I don’t mind all the walking, but I wish the walk to the law school wasn’t all uphill! Oh, well, I guess I’ll develop really good calf muscles. And I wish the law school wasn’t honoring me with an office on the 5th floor – the higher the office, the better is the rule in China. But 5 flights of stairs AFTER the uphill climb is tough.

The hardest thing is just how LONG it takes to do everything. It’s not just the language barrier – that’s significant enough. But even if I spoke Chinese I think it would drive me crazy to wait in line EVERYWHERE and FOREVER! And then waiting for the laundry to dry. And waiting for the water heater to heat before taking a shower. And waiting for the internet (hardly faster than dial-up) to download. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Ah, well, patience is good for the soul. Or so I hear.

And, I have to say it is all worth it. It isn’t every day that you wake up to the sound of Buddhist monks cleansing the temple!

Hey, can someone tell me how to use an electric rice cooker? There’s one in my apartment, but no instructions. And the buttons are in Chinese! Just a few tips would be helpful – proportion of rice to water? Do they usually shut themselves off by themselves? If not, how long do I cook? Any help would be appreciated!


Anonymous said...

Malinda -
It's so great to know you and the girls are doing so well.

Gotta love the Chinese rice cooker...I wish I had one in my house! Although I usually "eyeball" the rice/water proportions, I would say it's about 1 cup of rice to 1 1/2 cups of water. You may have to adjust that a few times to get the consistency you want just right. Usually you just throw it in there, push the button, and when the light goes off, or the button pops up, it's done. The rice cooker will most likely shut off at that point. Macigally Delicious, and virtually foolproof! Hopefully, this is your biggest challenge today!

Take Care -

malinda said...

Thanks, Nora! I'll give it a try.