Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Quiet Morning

When I woke up this morning, I strained my ears for little voices.

Shanghai weather is going through a mild patch, and we sleep quite comfortable with the windows and doors open. This provides us the added pleasure of waking to the sounds of Shanghai - jackhammers, fog horns, taxis honking and people blowing whistles. The noise level makes it hard for two little girls an entire room away to make themselves heard.

I strained my ears, and heard nothing.

I lay in bed, listening, and slowly allowing myself to wake up.

After a while, I walked to the bathroom. This is where I no longer deceive myself. Standing in the hallway, I can always hear the girls. Often I realize they had been awake all along. But not this morning - they were still quiet.

So I allowed myself an indulgence. To a mother of young children, a long shower in the morning is an indulgence. I took a long, hot shower. I expected to hear screams once I opened the door, so I left the fan on and brushed my teeth a little longer.

No screams.

I dressed relaxedly, lotioned my legs, and came out to face the family. We've had my parents as guests for over 2 weeks now. They are model houseguests, but there is inherently less space in our home with extra people around. I put on my public face and walked into the Living Room.

No one reading, no one sipping coffee.

I began to question if my clock was correct.

8:15 on a weekday morning, and I've got a quiet moment. Lately, this is quite rare!

My parents' visit has been a whirlwind of sightseeing, taking advantage of babysitters, and fitting in quick shopping trips. We gave the girls a quiet few days upon our return from Beijing, but when daytripped down to Hangzhou yesterday to view a temple, a pagoda and the famed West Lake. We found Hangzhou entirely kid and stroller friendly, and the lake was lovely. The girls napped for a good chunk of the ride home, making those 3 hours relatively pleasant as well.

This afternoon, we jump on the plane once more. This time Dave joins us, and we all head down to the south. Our flight lands in Guilin, but a driver will pick us up and escort us to Yangshuo Mountain Retreat. We are looking forward to spending some time in an entirely different part of China - a more rural community, and a much smaller city. Yanghsuo's population is around 300,000 and our hotel is out of town a bit. Apparently located right on the Li River, with donning your swimsuit and walking off the front lawn and into the river is one of the listed activities.

The forecase is rain for the entire weekend. And I don't care. Being out of the city, facing an ethereal view, and having plenty of leisure time with my whole family sounds like a lovely way to spend the next few days.

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