CHINA JOURNAL---THURSDAY, MARCH 7
Well, Iıve passed inspection, Iıve survived my probation.I just received a key to the building and to the apartment! I was wondering if that time would come eventually. This way I donıt have to coordinate with Zhang Jie as to when she will be home to let me in.
The morning fast walk from 7:00 to 7:30, followed by the Tai Chi warm ups and then Tai Chi with the park group from 7:30 to 8:00, followed by a private Tai Chi lesson for Zhang Jie and me with Sun Zhi Hong from 8:00 to 8:30 has now expanded. Shen Yuan has joined us in the walk. Then this morning a young girl, Wang Yu Zhei, approached us and asked in English if she could join. She is a graduate student in business management at Nankai University and speaks passable English. In the day she works for Motorola. I paired her off with Zhang Jie, who gets to hear me in the evening and who needs to hear someone elseıs voice who can reassure her in Chinese while Shen Yuan studies hard and is ready and eager to try to maintain a dialogue.
Breakfast this morning was fairly typicalsliced tomatoes, plain lettuce (a Romaine style), ³milk² which is really a yogurt drink, sweet potato, smooth mashed potatoes that are cold and have carrots and pickles in them, and a new additiona bread that is in the English muffin/crumpet department but made of an extremely fine ground grain, possible corn. It isnıt heated or toasted.
Last night Fu Ling gave me a watermelon lozenge for my throat and then proceeded to give me two capsules. They were beautifulpink on one end, and what looked like colorful confetti on the other. I have no idea what was in them but those two capsules knocked out the nose part of the cold which had been developing and slowed down the cough. Clever, those Chinese.
Since we were out late at dinner last night and I left the school in a taxi, my bike was still at school, so I walked to school. The corner where I turn down to Bohan School is across a large intersection from Nankai University. It is obviously the free parking lot for the University. The whole corner pedestrian area was covered with bicycles. If you were the first in, you had better plan on being the last out. From that corner to the school, bicycle transports are stationed with their fronts facing in on the sidewalk and their business stands (the platform on the back of the three wheeled bikes) facing the street. Most of them are food stands. One was selling candied popcorn that smelled every bit as good as the kettle corn at the fair. Most are typical Chinese vegetable, meat and noodle dishes that you might eat for breakfast.
During noon hour I walked down to the supermarket and passed more regulars. One man sits with his tall scale where people apparently can pay to weigh themselves. Iıve never seen anyone there yet. Another man has his little cobblerıs bench with a stool in front of it where a customer can sit while he repairs their shoe on the spot. He is always busy. A lady is sewing at her portable sewing machine. And in a grassless barren lot between two tall buildings about five peach trees have just started to flower pink. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn came to mind.
At the supermarket a grandmother was standing by while her grandson rode on the typical supermarket ride for little children that just sort of tilts back and forth. At Safeway the animal would be a horse, but in Tianjin it was a fanciful, colorful fish, reminiscent of a Chinese fish kite. The music coming from it, in full chorus and orchestra was ³Auld Lang Syne!²
A Post Script for March 6: Mr. Yu Chun He mentioned that he had met both of the Presidents Bush. When George, Sr. was in charge of one of the American agencies in China, George W. was in college and came to visit. They came to Tianjin to tour and Mr. Yu Chun He was the one who translated for them.