First of all - I got some new photos and a video! I posted on the Rumor Queen website about my blog here and people just started comming out of the wood work by contacting me and hooking me up with people who are or have taken care of my daughter. Goose bump time - I lovely woman named Yonna contacted me and she has been sponsoring Audrey for a year! She and her family have been sending Audrey clothes and have been praying for her. Audrey is so blessed. I found out that she is getting stronger each day and that she is wearing 2T clothes - they are a little long for her but fit everywhere else. These photos are supplied by Starfish volunteers, the director, and sponsors:
Now onto the topic at hand. Over the last for years I have learned alot about the Chinese culture. I also have learned that as much as I know, things are going to be different that I expect. Everything from table manners to toilets, clothing to food - its all different. The way the Chinese raise their children is different as well. It is typical to give a child a fake name to "confuse" evil spirits when talking about an unborn child - so the spirits will not be able to find the child when it is born, ensuring good luck. The family will then give the child it's real name one month from the time the child is born. The Chinese are very supersticious and believe that the minute, hour, day, month, and year the child is born will be telling of what that child is and what their character will be. Belief about that child is found in their Chinese Zodia Sign. I am a Dog on the Chinese Zodiac. Dogs are loyal, creative, and dreamy....kinda like me! To find out more about your Chinese Zodiac Sign check out this website at http://www.12chinesezodiac.com/. This is for entertainment value only and not my true belief.
Did you know you can train a baby to be potty trained at 4 months? The Chinese believe you can! The Chinese diaper a child until around the age of 4 months and then babies traditionally wear split pants. The split pants are like buttless chaps and their little bottoms are free to the air. The babies are fed and after waiting about 30 minutes the children are either held over a pot or strapped to a potty chair and wait for the inevitable to happen. Sometimes the adult makes a hissing sound to alert the baby to let go. Here are some images of babies in split pants.
Can you feel the breeze - I think I would get kind of chilly! Parents also make their formula thick and cut a large hole in the nipple of the bottle so the mixture sort of falls out of the bottle - the babies rarely have to suck.
It is also common for children to publicly unrinate and other things in public. The chinese believe that childrens waste is pure and not harmful. There are horror stories of people going to upscale shopping areas and seeing a child being held by the parents over or near a trashcan or bush and letting it fly! But, I guess when you have to use a squatty potty a bush doesn't seem so bad. Here is a typical squattly potty that is found in most of Asia. I am so looking forward to using one of these (insert sarcastic tone here).
Sometimes the potties are nice like the one on the left, and sometimes they are a hole in the ground. Basically you just go in and assume the position, use it, and leave...notice no TP.
Take all of the people that live in Bethalto and put them all in the Schucks store. Can you imagine the chaos, the shoving and pushing, the yelling and impatience? That is what it is like to live in China. The Chinese have their own idea of personal space because there is none. Spitting is pretty common and alot of caucasians have been told to watch out or you might get spat upon. This is not out of rudeness on the part of the Chinese. We use a kleenex, they spit on the floor. I have been warned by many people to not be surprised, scared, or insulted if a Chinese person just picks my kid up, feeds her, or scolds me because of how I dress my daughter. The Chinese consider a child a treasure and people are free to play with them at will. They also believe children should be bundled or dressed in layers until an older toddler and feel the right to scold those that don't. Since I have lighter hair and lighter eyes I have been warned that lots of people will want to have a photo taken with me. In a land of darker skin and hair, a caucasian is a rare sight.
As lax as their personal space is, there is a formality to sharing dinner and showing respect. Do not accept a dinner invitation from someone if you do not plan to or cannot reciprocate with an equal value meal sometime later. The same with gift giving. It is rude to drink before your host does at the dinner table but it is ok to burp outloud. You also do NOT want to clean your plate because the host will continue to thing you are not full. You must sample everything but not take the last bite.
Here are some images of Dim Sum dinners. Don't be insulted if your hosts askes you why you are so fat or how much money you make. The questions are not meant to be rude, but a show of concern to the guest from the host!
I am so ready to experience this culture and ALL it has to offer. These mentioned are only a few of the cultural differences I will experience and do not encapsulate all that is China. I just have to remember not to drink the water, ask for no ice in my drinks, and only brush my teeth with bottled water in the blue label...not green.