Monday, April 9, 2007

Our Easter in China

Guess what? There IS an Easter Bunny in China! And he found us, and left the girls baskets full of goodies. It’s a good thing he delivers early, since the girls woke up at 5:45 a.m. to check to see if the Easter Bunny had come. Zoe was most excited about getting an umbrella – she begs to hold mine and has been asking me to buy one for her. The Easter Bunny beat me to the punch! Maya liked the candy the most, especially the candy that came in the Hello Kitty canister. They both liked the Easter activity books and princess sticker books.
The Easter Bunny hid eggs in our apartment, and the girls were really tickled that he even hid eggs in their shoes! They found all the eggs in no time flat – the benefits of a small apartment.
And they had the plastic eggs opened in no time flat, eager to see what the Chinese Easter Bunny puts in eggs – CANDY, just like the American Easter Bunny!
Then Zoe and Maya begged to eat their goodies – not the candy, but the boiled eggs we’d colored! They ate 4 each for breakfast. (Yuck! I can eat scrambled, I can even eat soft-boiled, but I cannot stomach hard-boiled eggs at the crack of dawn!).

It was all I could do to keep the girls inside until a more decent hour. We finally got all gussied up in our Easter duds – the girls’ dresses were Wal-Mart specials, and not the quality I would have liked, but you have to have a new dress for Easter! (And they photograph much better than they look in person. I’m not sure they’ll actually survive a spin in the washing machine.)
We then headed to the near-by park to have our own Easter Egg hunt.
I hid the eggs while the girls were SUPPOSED to be covering their eyes, but the rapidity with which they found the eggs suggests there was much peeking going on. I got lots of strange looks as I hid the eggs. I wondered if any of the observers had a clue what was going on, then I heard one student explain to another in a flurry of Chinese, and I could pick out the English words, “Easter” and “Egg Hunt.” So at least a few knew what we were up to.

The girls flew around happily finding eggs over and over again as I hid them over and over again. Then they took turns hiding the eggs and then finding them again. Maya ran around chasing butterflies as eagerly as she chased eggs – but she had more luck catching the eggs!

There were two little boys with their grandmothers watching us, and Zoe decided they needed to join the hunt. The girls gave them their buckets, and led them to the eggs. The grandmothers were delighted, and had as much fun as the kids pointing out the eggs. I was really proud of the girls for sharing, and I was really happy that the boys were unfamiliar with Easter egg hunts, since all the eggs were empty!

After awhile, Zoe asked if we were going to the “Bionic Garden” to take pictures – last year we took Easter pictures at the Botanic Garden in Fort Worth! Since the Botanic Garden in Xiamen requires climbing a mountain, I suggested we find some pretty flowers in the park. Thank goodness the girls were OK with that!
The “peace sign” in the photo is a very Chinese thing. All the young people in China will flash the peace sign in group photos. Zoe and Maya are obviously keen observers, and the peace signs were their own idea! And peace is not a bad wish for Easter, is it? So, peace be with you!

We went out for lunch after our exertions in the park. We had our first unsuccessful ordering experience. I’ve had really good luck just pointing at items in my “Essential Guide to Mandarin” book, but not today. I pointed to “Crispy-Skin Duck,” expecting to get crisply roasted duck, Maya’s favorite. Instead, we got . . . well, I’m not exactly sure what it was! The waitress came to the table bearing a plate with a golden-brown rectangle sliced into 4-5 pieces. Inside were little pieces of duck wrapped in a paste that I think was taro (it was light purple and really gummy and slightly sweet), and then wrapped in what I think was probably dried tofu skin, and then breaded and fried. I don’t think I’ll risk ordering Crispy-Skin Duck again!

In the afternoon we rested and played with all the Easter goodies, and then took our ball to an open field near our home. (Playing in the cement courtyard was not an overwhelmingly successful experience – Maya fell and skinned her NOSE, which you might notice in a few of the close-up pictures.) There were several other children, and Zoe found a girl about her age with whom to kick the ball around. Maya had a hard time keeping up with the big girls, so I suggested that the big girls try cartwheels while Maya and I played a gentle game of catch.

Having a toy in the park apparently makes it community property. I was amazed by the MAMAS who would snatch the ball so their babies could play with it! The girls were pretty patient about it, since they love babies. But soon they’d manage to get the ball away from the baby and go running off the kick it some more. One mom, whose 15-month-old was just learning to walk, would follow the girls around and swing the baby’s feet at the ball or push him into the scrum in the hopes he’d kick the ball. Each time I’d cringe, expecting one of the girls to end up kicking the baby while trying to kick the ball. (They never did.) I don’t know, I think I’d keep my toddler away from a couple of six-year-olds playing soccer! But the play here seems much more rough-and-tumble, and no one seems to worry overmuch about whether the kids will get hurt. Maybe that’s the result of all that bundling – even if the girls had kicked the baby, he probably wouldn’t have felt a thing through all that padding!

We stopped at the store on the way home to buy popsicles, and ate them in our courtyard while the girls sang every song they could remember about Jesus – a fitting end to a joyous Easter!
Zoe and Maya are saying “Happy Easter!” I hope everyone had a Happy Easter – we certainly did!


mimifrancoise said...

It looks like the managed to give the girls a great Easter. They look cute in their new dresses, even if the quality is not great. It does not show on the photos.
I bet they had more fun playing outside with the kids. Do they speak Chinese to the other children?

RK said...

They girls look absolutely adorable. I'm assuming the weather is warm there, ne? It's freezing down here in Texas. The pictures are very enjoyable.

Btw, I'm a friend of Fran's from TCC. We have Drawing together on Tuesday's and Thursdays. She's the one that gave me your site.

Glad to hear that everything has been going great with you and the girls. I hear so much of you guys from your mum. She's so awesome ^^

Ja ne, (That means 'later' in Japanese ☺)

~Reem ♥♥♥