Things I learn in the neighborhood

Spent this week’s sunny(ish) afternoon hanging out in the 小区 (xiaoqu, which means my apartment complex) with the neighbors and their babies. Here, that means a hefty helping of grandmother time (they are usually the primary caretakers for little ones) with one or two moms sprinkled in for variety. Here are just a few of the life lessons I picked up:

-I must hold Stella with my arm underneath her booty. I must never perch her on my hip or I will cause permanent damage.

-In America, the government gives you money to have children and you don’t have to pay for them yourself. I know this because one of the nainais (grandmothers) told me that her cousin’s daughter lives in America and told her this about the law. I tried to explain that this doesn’t apply to everyone, but she gave me the side eye and told me she’s sure this is how it is. (Note to self: apply for Stella’s money!)

-Also in America, you are allowed to keep having children until you get a boy. Sometimes you can even keep going after having the boy!

-Beef-flavoured candy is gross.

-Stella is always wearing too few clothes. Until I told the nainais that her purple suit is down-filled, at which point I am immediately informed that she is overheated.

-Everyone already knows where I live, all the way down to apartment building and floor.

-It is a bad idea to feed my baby yogurt at this tender age.

-My neighbors are the sweetest. They care for me and Stella well, and holding her (and comparing how she stacks up against their grandbabies) is the highlight of all of our days.

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3 Comments on “Things I learn in the neighborhood”

  1. Donna Marthews says:

    More, more! We ( I) want more of your observations, anecdotes and slices of Chinese life. With Stella ,of course, the central figure.

  2. Anna Uzzell says:

    This was great to read!! Hope y’all are doing well

  3. Rebecca Jones says:

    Loved that post Beth – so funny to hear the differences. Hope you all are doing well! Love, Rebecca


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