So since it's been a hundred million years since I've last blogged, I don't even know where to start. Do I start with Chinese? Because everyone always asks about Chinese. Because they are kind and love me/us and want to know how things are going. You sweet, sweet people. I adore you.
The most frequent question I get is phrased something along the lines of: "And HOW is CHINESE?!?!?"
A couple of weeks ago I would burst into tears at this question. Because when Chinese was starting, James and I were also in the middle of moving from our short-term-rental apartment (we PCSed here and so we got a short-term rental in the relocation package) into our rental house.
This was super duper sucky because YOU try moving during language training. With two children. With State not helping you to move from your short-term-rental apartment to your rental house (not complaining, just providing information for others. We had about five months' worth of stuff that we had to move ourselves from Texas to Florida to the apartment to the rental home). Royal suckyness, especially since I hadn't been to school in several millennia.
Our Thanksgiving break from FSI consisted of nothing but moving. We stopped for a few hours to eat a lovely meal at the home of a beautiful family of gracious co-workers.
Matthew was grateful for the food, and the small break in moving (he did SO much of our moving):
Zachary was grateful for the food and for the company (this family had BOYS our boys' ages! And they played lots of card games!):
And James was grateful for the food (you see a theme here?) and for the company, and for the invitation, and for the break, etc., etc.
A darling toddler crawled up on James's lap and actually made my husband smile AND laugh, and I was so grateful. My husband. Smiling. Didn't happen much during the move:
But after the Thanksgiving meal, it was back to the grindstone.
We're still trying to settle into the rental house. The good news? It has squirrels.
And the squirrels eat spaghetti.
Who can resist a spaghetti-eating squirrel?
Initially, I don't think the squirrels were too sure about that pile of stale spaghetti noodles I tossed into our backyard:
But I hate waste, and I TOTALLY hate food waste, and so for the squirrels and I to get along, they needed to get with the program.
The light brown squirrels ate the spaghetti, and then the dark squirrels ate the spaghetti:
The dark squirrels have been nicknamed Ninja Squirrels in our household. So, behold! A spaghetti-eating Ninja Squirrel in my very own (rental) backyard.
Yes, you have now seen everything.
MEANWHILE, other holy-cow-we-really-ARE-living-up-north-and-not-in-Florida-or-Texas things have been happening, such as LEAVES.
As you can see in the pictures, above, "leaves" are these big brown things that fall in your yard and are used by Ninja Squirrels as dinner plates for their spaghetti. We FloridiaTexans have never seen these curious things before, but since they seem to make squirrels' lives easier, we figured they were okay.
But then, our landlord had all the Ninja Squirrel dinner plates removed from our yard one random morning, and James and I came back from FSI to find a big huge pile of our Ninja Squirrel dinner plates in front of our house on the street.
Then - I swear to you this is true - some gargantuan city vacuum cleaner came and sucked all the leaves up. It was the CRAZIEST thing I have EVER seen, and I'm not even in China yet! For behold:
That monstrous vehicle, for those of you living in Florida and/or Texas and/or other warm places, is the city's leaf vacuum cleaner.
It arrives at your street and some dude jumps out of it and vacuums up your leaves in this big sucky hose thing:
And then you post pictures on your blog so that people can think that you're insane to find this to be a curiosity, and then they leave you snide comments wishing you LOTS of luck in China.
You guys, Chinese will have to be its own blog post. I want to write openly and honestly to other spouses looking into language training at FSI, and so to do the topic justice I need to have not taken up way too much space already on pictures of my family, squirrels and crazy northern machines. I also need to do a little bit more thought consolidation on that incredibly important topic before tackling it.
ANYWAY, we're alive, we're well, we're learning Chinese and feeding squirrels, and thank you for still reading even though I went AWOL for a while!