Attempt to become the best/worst new family sponsors in the history of the Foreign Service.
Day 1 we showed up to the airport with snacks for the kids…but no house keys (which ended up being completely not our fault, but who cares? Who picks up a jet-lagged family of 5 in the middle of a 95 degree day and no house keys?
Day 2 we missed the ride out to their house to accompany them on their first ride to work
Day 3 we bravely took 2 parents and 3 young children grocery and Ikea shopping, tracked down nearly everything on the list while keeping everyone mildly entertained.
We fielded a nose bleed, talked a lot of Harry Potter, and dragged one tired family out to their first Hot Pot meal in an attempt to introduce them to some of the other families with children at the consulate.
All in all, Chris and I felt good. We felt like it had been a long day for everyone, but a good one. And we were looking forward to getting home and going for a nice leisurely Dim Sum date with some friends tomorrow morning.
Then, as we are driving wayyy out to the boondocks of Chengdu, to the home of said 2 parents, massive bags of groceries, and by now 3 sleeping children we hear a loud thumping noise.
Then a minor explosion of sorts rocks the car.
Our tire had suffered a total and complete blow out. We are talking shreds of rubber on the road, and we are still at least a 10 minute hike from the new family’s house. The car is full of hundreds of pounds of groceries and 3 sleeping children.
How Chris managed to safely steer us over to the side of the road, so calmly and professionally, I’ll never know. He never stops amazing me
As for myself, my Chinese seemed to reach a new level under pressure. I somehow remebered that the new family’s complex has a whole fleet of golf carts. After walking up the road with father and eldest son, I managed to flag down some gate guards and asked them, in Mandarin, to please help us because our car had broken down with young children and lots of groceries in it and could they please send a golf cart to go get them?
Amazingly, they all knew what I was saying, and I didn’t have to repeat myself, not even once. They just nodded in understanding and lept into action. I was stunned.
As it turned out, Chris managed to drive the car up to the gate where the incredible quick and thoughtful and nice and just plain old fabulous guardsmen were ready and waiting. They had the groceries and the kids and the parents loaded up and to their house in 10 minutes flat, I swear.
Then they were good enough to call us a taxi and gave us a place to store our car for the night. Seriously. nicest. people. ever. I’m still touched just thinking about how those guardsmen took what could have been a total nightmare of a situation and made it something quite bearable and surmountable.
So, a 60 kuai cab ride later (and if you are reading from Chengdu, you know we were REALLY FAR OUT) we are back to our apartment. Exhausted, not looking forward to tomorrow’s tire-changing adventure, but happy to be home.
And so the photo of the day today is one from that cab ride home. Chengdu really has a love affair going on with rainbow colored lights. And when you’re speeding by without a flash on, they turn into something quite fancy for the camera.
Here’s to hoping your weekend has been less eventful than ours so far!