Yup, heard you before… Yes, I still understand… Uh-huh, I see, it is raining…
I’m not really sure how to go about explaining the events of this morning and last night without mentioning personal family information. But, I’ll give it a shot, because I still don’t understand and I need some opinions.
So, I had a long call with my family last night (as I mentioned) followed by another few hours of staying in my room while I readied myself for bed and blogged.
When I opened my door, I saw my grandmother cradling the baby and trying to rock her to sleep. She was desperately trying to get the baby to calm down by singing a soft tune in Chinese.
Well, everything seemed fairly under control at the house, so I fell asleep… This didn’t last long.
My little sister is the cutest and happiest baby I have ever seen. She is always smiling, and her eyes are always twinkling with amusement. She’s rather hilarious, too. After a bath, she escapes her mother’s arms to crawl around the apartment without any clothes on, only to be snatched up by her grandmother and wrapped in a blanket while she laughs wildly.
But last night was different.
She couldn’t stop crying.
I’ve never heard her cry. And this wasn’t just crying; this was wailing. The more her grandmother tried to console her, the more she sobbed. It was really heartbreaking, but I knew that my presence would only worsen her tantrum.
So, I tried to sleep through it (which didn’t work too well, but eventually I did sleep). In the morning, I stayed in my room for a while.
Soon only the grandmother, baby, Yuan Yuan and I were in the apartment. I figured this was a good time to start getting ready for the day, because who knows what adventure Yuan Yuan will sweep me off to, but this mystery was soon destroyed when I saw my mom wheeling a suitcase out of her room, and holding her baby.
“I’m brining my baby to my home town. I will be back soon. Let me know if you want to go out and I tell you what bus you take,” she told me with a big smile and left the apartment.
Okay, I thought. I can last a few hours. I can find something to do.
Basically, I just wandered the house trying to find the coolest corner (which didn’t exist when the outside temperature was over 105). I did a little summer reading, looked through old pictures, read some letters from home and got a lot of sleep. At one point I walked into the living room and noticed my grandmother was lying dead-still on the floor (but I saw her breathing so I didn’t worry too much- she’s perfectly fine, I promise). The heat was unbearable.
Anyway, Yuan Yuan started texting me asking if everything was okay and apologized for not being able to take me out, which I quickly responded to saying “no problem! Don’t worry about it!”
Well, as I explored the house in my boredom, I noticed that her tooth brush was gone… and all of her toiletries that usually fill a shelf in the bathroom. This didn’t really help my mood, considering I really started to miss her just after a few hours of her being away. The house felt so empty. The city felt empty. I had no idea where she was, and I no longer knew how long she would be away.
Also, when I asked her “do you know when you’ll be back?” over text, she didn’t respond. Every bing of my phone made me run to my device and see if she responded. About 5 hours after sending her that message, she told me she would be gone for 3 or 4 days to deal with a family matter back home.
Honestly, my heart sank. And it’s sinking even more as I’m writing this. I’ve only known her for a week, yet we’ve been texting non-stop making sure we’re both okay and happy. She hasn’t explained the situation, and I don’t really expect her to. Then again, I get concerned about everything, so this could just be a random visit to her parents’ house.
Anyway, throughout the day, my grandmother stopped by the apartment to make me lunch and sit and watch TV while I read beside her. Not knowing a single word of English, she tried to communicate with me. Normally, I would have understood every word, considering she spoke in very simple sentences when trying to talk to me, but honestly, I was feeling a little depressed.
I accidentally told her that we don’t have potatoes in America. I also said I understood the Chinese News channels we were watching, but then I didn’t understand when she asked me if I was 16. You might be wondering, ‘well, how do you know you said all of these things?’. Well, about a minute after I/she spoke in Chinese, I realized what was actually said. But, a minute is a long time in a conversation. So, I just didn’t say anything and let the mistakes go.
Eventually, she asked me if I wanted to go for a walk in the park (this took about 3 minutes to realize). Now, my grandmother is a small woman. The top of her head might reach my shoulders. But she can really scramble through crowds. She has the same thirst for adventure and dedication as her daughter-in-law (she guided me through a closed off construction area to get to her favorite park).
She told me about the statues, and the trees, and the water, and how she heard it was supposed to rain soon. “Xia yu le” she said once, and I nodded smiling. “Xia yu le! Xia yu le!” For whatever reason, she was astonished that I could understand this, so she kept repeating it.
My grandmother also wanted to know the English words for various things, but the only phrase she took the time to remember was “eat more”. She practically forced me to eat two bowls of rice for dinner, and I had to stealthily throw out a moldy egg when she wasn’t looking. After a very filling dinner, we went walking down some sketchy neighborhoods with her even shorter friend. I felt like I was escorting two gossiping 8 year olds through China.
Anyway, I am absolutely exhausted now. Apparently I’m playing ping pong tomorrow? I will most likely mention more of today’s events in a near-future post.