Friday, February 16, 2007

That's All She Wrote

It's almost Chinese New Year and the weeks are zipping along. We had Valentine's Day, or as it was known in Guangzhou, "Varlentine's Day," and we got to celebrate exactly one year since our official U.S. Consulate appointment. This year, we ate turkey meatloaf at our own kitchen table and everyone got at least eight hours of sleep. Jarrah and I made glitter-glue-covered Valentines for David/Daddy, and in turn he spoiled us with gifts (microwaveable slippers for me, a new book for her.)

Also, Jarrah and I got together with Olivia and Jessica to decorate heart-shaped cookies, and this was a lot of fun though it began with tragedy. Seems the concept of cookies as "art" was difficult for Jarrah to grasp. There was a cookie in front of her, delectably frosted. There were several canisters of colored gew-gaws available for shaking. But the suggestion to initiate some sort of cookie renovation project was coming across like a lot of white noise, apparently, since Jarrah kept lifting the cookie hopefully towards her mouth, only to have the rest of us shout, "No, no, no! First you decorate! Here, like this!" For a while she attempted to be a sport, and then I noticed that her eyes had become limpid pools. "Are you sad?" I asked incredulously, just as two perfect tears welled over onto her cheeks. I promptly burst into tears, too.

It occurred to me then that she viewed us as sadists, arranging a hunk of gooey heart-shaped goodness at her chin level and then screeching at her not to eat it. I was embarrassed by my own outburst, which I believe stemmed from the fact that the Jarrah I know is a fist-pounding yeller, not a silent, stoic weeper--indeed, I had never seen this behavior before. I realized that she must have been demonstrating a truly irrepressible grief--over the withholding of baked goods. A girl after my own heart, really.

In other news, we received word that our final post-placement report went to China last week, which means our paperwork requirements are almost complete. And because we had the momentum going (and because we can't file taxes without it!) I applied for Jarrah's Social Security number yesterday, with the support of Melissa and one-year-old Linda, who patiently waited with me for nearly an hour. Now all we need is a passport and we're totally done!

Jarrah is still loving school, and on Thursday for the first time she told me what she'd done that day: "I paint." Since I was currently holding the fruits of her creation, a lovely skyscape of fluffy clouds, this was clearly an accurate statement. I guess I'm not being totally honest when I say this is the first time: every time I pick her up and say "What did you do in school today?" she says "Eat." And that, my friends, is the end of the discussion. Could she be preparing me for her teenage years?

In news unrelated to Jarrah, I had a crazy Saturday last week, first attending a Nia jam in Chula Vista with my friend Grace, then racing back to Mission Valley for a Feldenkreis workshop (it was focusing on hands, and my hands have been thrashed since Jarrah--my fingers make all kinds of disturbing crunching sounds when I use them) and then, after wolfing some Mexican food in the car, dashing to Hillcrest with Grace and Jessica to begin our evening as vagina hostesses.

Wait, that sounds pretty bad. Let me explain: we were volunteers at a performance of The Vagina Monologues (a few of our friends appeared in it) and the job we chose was manning (womanning?) "The V-Day Cafe," which featured coffee, water, soda and chocolate vaginas. And that, Dear Readers, was all. It was a lively job, as the show started at 7:00 and many people had arrived hungry and thirsty, so we were on our toes until after 10:00, occasionally slipping into our back-row seats to enjoy the show, but never shirking our responsibilities. The show was a benefit for a few estro-centric organizations, so we were determined to sell every last scrap of our wan provisions. There may have been a couple sodas left, but you better believe those hand-made (!) chocolate vaginas on a stick (!!) sold out by intermission. "Welcome!" we shouted to the audience of 300 as they passed us coming in: "Care for a chocolate vagina to enjoy during the show?" We made a lot of friends. It was just that kind of night.

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