Dear Family and Friends,
The Chinese New Year is upon us. If you’re curious about Chinese New Year, I found a great article that sums it all quite nicely (better than I could), so be sure to check out how Chinese New Year works.
I’ve had a three-week break from work for the holiday. The first week I went to Hong Kong for getting a new work visa, which was productive and relatively painless. The second week has been very chill, sleeping in, watching Prison Break and Freaks and Geeks, getting to hang out with a visiting friend; however it’s ending on a very sad note.
Our baby, our rabbit, Bunners, passed away last night. He had been sick for about a day. Eric and I are ignorant on proper rabbit care, but we tried our best to nurse him back to health. We made plans to get to our veterinarian, but it just wasn’t soon enough. We were very blessed to have his presence for the past month. He was so sweet and playful. Eric said the most sincere prayer for Bunners last night. We loved him very much, and I hope he knew it.
This morning, I didn’t want to do ANYTHING today. Eric brought home breakfast, and then insisted that I would feel better if I showered up and went out for lunch. The only thing I wanted was donuts and coffee (so healthy, I know). Let me share my subsequent Facebook post so that you may know what happened next:
After 8 months of his protesting that we’d get lost, Eric finally conceded to my request to take our elevator to the basement of which I had postulated (for 8 months!) that it would be much easier to get to the mall (of which we live above). NEWS FLASH: I WAS RIGHT! We are directly above (ok, 24 floors above) Papa John’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dairy Queen, AND Subway, in addition to grocery shopping and other various money-spending opportunities in one of the poshest malls in the city. Now, whenever we want to go to the mall, we don’t even have to leave the building. Again, I must repeat that it took us 8 months to get to this point.
I definitely had to get in my 15 minutes of ribbing and teasing him. I’m thankful for the silliness because we needed the laughing. Eric is an amazing tower of strength for our little family, comforting me, but I know he is saddened as well.
A few weeks ago, I wanted to share about one of our experiences here in China on Facebook — the eastern toilet. My western laowai colleagues taught me the term “squatty potty” for one has to squat low to the ground to use the potty. I must have had a misfiring between my brain and my typing fingers because I typed “squatty bottoms” instead, and of course Eric won’t let me forget it (He thought it was stinkin’ cute). Anyways, until you’ve had to use one, you really have no idea. I found this article, How to Use a Squat Toilet in China, to be helpful in summarizing the experience. The Squat Toilet can also be informative.
Once I referred to “squatty potty” in a conversation with my students, and they roared in laughter. The Chinese opinion of western toilets is that they are unsanitary. A friend once told me that the Chinese word translates to something akin to horse bucket (if I am remembering correctly). There have been times that I have gone into a W.C. with a western toilet only to find footprints on the seat. The majority consensus here is that the seated toilets are unsanitary because you sit on them, so they will do anything to avoid actually having to sit on them, which of course leaves the toilet filthy and disgusting for anyone who would prefer to actually sit on it.
That being said, I felt I had truly mastered the squatty potty when I was able to use one with a 30-lbs backpack on my back while in a stall at a train station. Success!
Lots of love,
Maggie (and Eric… he’s napping)