Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday morning - Tour de China

Today was the 2nd time that I went out biking with some guys that live near me. These guys are pretty serious with their high end bikes, colorful biking jerseys, clipped pedals, and love for riding. What a great experience it has been each time! Of course, I bring up the rear on the final sprint each time but I'm working on getting better.

Biking around Shanghai is easily the best way to get off the "beaten path" and see stuff that you just don't get when sitting in the back of a mini van. We've now ridden through farm land, concrete villages complete with hanging laundry, by wooden shacks with dirt floors, wooded areas, and city spaces. Challenges have included lifting our bikes over guardrails, balancing our way across a small, rickety pedestrian bridge and even crossing the river by ferry....twice. We've mixed in with mopeds, bicycles, pedestrans, buses, taxis, and construction dump trucks. Really, the experience can not be put into words. I need to get a handlebar-mounted video camera to try and capture some of the experience for you.

Last week, we rode 30 miles. We had 2 flat tires amongst the 10 riders. This week, we did about 28 miles and also had 2 flat tires among 7 riders. In China, a lot of junk gets chucked on the ground. Glass, metal staples, and rocks have caused the majority of all damage.

We always get a lot of looks when buzzing through the villages or out in the farm land. I think it's a nice break in the monotony for those that are working the field or eating a bowl of noodles outside their front door. It surprised me how close we came to the daily living that rural Chinese people do. We were able to get up close and personal because there is no private land in China. The government owns the land. Needless to say, we did not run across some hillbilly with a shotgun, shouting, "Get of my property".

Some of the guys speak enough chinese to carry a conversation. That is always fun too.....to catch up with the locals. They are always so friendly and often ready to share some fresh fruit. I usually bring it home and give it to the kids. Some say the fruit causes severe constipation. Hmmmmm. JK.

I did not take pictures in week 1. Hopefully, each of these helps to convey a thousand words.
And my amazing wife had fresh bread, still warm, available for a post-ride fill up. Whoa.



































Saturday morning

Our family had gigantic plans for Saturday morning. With some input from Nathan and Florence, we decided we would go to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.

Unfortunately, Elijah had some issues. He had not had a BM in 2 days and it was beginning to "affect" him every 7 or 8 minutes. A suppository later, the school bus had still not transformed into a streamlined otter and the saga continued.

So, Anna and I headed to the museum. It's geared to slightly older kids. On top of that, a lot of the stuff is in chinese. For instance, they have a cool ride where you "go through" the body but the talking is all chinese. We did get to see some cool diagrams and could have understood Elijah's issue a little better. They had some cool exhibits: Rainforest, spiders, african safari, robots, and, of course, the human body. The highlight was a "4D" film....you know, the ones where you put on the goofy glasses. The seats vibrated, rain dropped on our heads, wind blew and snowflakes flew.....It was great. We got some lunch at new, popular restaurant nearby called EastWest, because it serves both the chinese and american style foods. A great combo for our family. Here are some pictures from the adventure. Oh, and Elijah still had not deposited when we returned home at 1:00pm. Then, I remembered that sometimes Elijah gets a little scared sitting on the big potty. That did the trick. The brick made a splash that just about ejected Elijah out of his seat! And life was good again….







Friday night.

Hola,

Have you ever tried getting together with friends and find it takes months to get schedules to work? We had that with our friends, the Bowmaker's. Whether it was Nathan's travel schedule or sick kids, something always came up.

Well, Aimee and Florence had planned for dinner at our place on Friday night. And even though Nathan was out of town and 3 of the 5 kids had diarrahea and were puking their guts out, we decided we were going to make it work. I had broke my arm earlier in the day too and just decided to wait until Saturday to go to the ER. We wanted to do dinner that badly. We video conferenced Nathan in too.

Of course I'm joking, everyone was able to join without issue. Here are some pictures.

The Bowmaker's go 4 deep: Nathan, Florence, Alexander (8?) and Elise (6)










Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Anna's wedding performance






So, we got to see our first authentic Chinese wedding on Saturday. The whole family attended. Our best laid plans were chucked to the curb when Elijah decided not to take a nap. I had been outside working on a bicycle for 60 minutes thinking he was zonked only to return and find him playing with cars in his bed.


Needless to say, he was a little bit off his game. It was really loud from the music and the Chinese wedding "facilitator". He was not a minister, more of a game show host. They played American music including my all time favorite from the mid-80's, "We are the World". No joke. We heard it at least 9 times.


Overall, it was another neat experience to file away in our "China" folder. Here are some captions for the pictures.


1. This is a good friend from work. His Chinese name is much too difficult for me to pronounce so he insists that I use his english name, Cloud. Yeah, initially I thought that he meant "Claud" but he confirmed that he named himself after a body of moisture in the earth's atmosphere. And he's not even a tree hugger. On a side note, you see that fairly regularly here where the Chinese people will select an English name. My favorite is one of the main maintenance guys in our compound. His name tag reads, "Wilbur". Nice. Oh, and that canister is holding, when triggered, made a loud "POP" and fired confetti everywhere. The kids loved that.


2. Our angel. She walked the aisle and delivered the rings without missing a beat. The angel wings were not a perfect fit and when Anna learned that we did not keep them, she pronounced, "Good, cause they were not that comfortable anyways".


3. Chen Wei and his family. I work with Chen Wei more than any other colleague. He's the same guy that spent 4 weeks with me in Michigan this summer.


4. I got asked by the groom to participate in a common chinese game. I had to speak about a given category and attempt to blow out a candle while speaking. So, I just decided to start with the word "PPPPPlease" and extinguished the flame. The crowd was quite impressed with the funny looking red-haired giant.


5. Cao Ying is another colleague of mine. Anna got picture requests all night but was not in the picture giving mood. I think she was a little overwhelmed by the attention. She did end up granting Cao Ying a picture.

See y'all.


Michigan Football Improvements

I think Michigan should just cancel the quarterback and play 5 running backs. The second "runner" in this video would be a nice addition. Maybe he could play safety as well.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Beware of the Ducks

IF they had only known what the mascot was capable, perhaps they would have taken the Oregon football team a little more seriously. There will be a wedding-flavored post in the next day or two. I had to get this posted before it became stale news.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Look closely......Ryan's thoughts revealed.

So, I've never had "Dreyer's" ice cream in the USA. So, the proclamation of being America's number 1 premium ice cream seemed far fetched.

I think it's a knock off on Breyer's name recognition. Taking a mainstream brand in USA and changing a few letters is a common deal in China.

I just happened to catch this one when I was armed with a camera. Although, one commenter here pointed out that "Dreyer's" actually has a connection with Edy's. So, perhaps it's a USA company trying to take advantage of these Chinese consumer. Who knows.

Anyways, enjoy the weekend. We attend an authentic Chinese wedding tomorrow of a friend/colleague of mine. Check back soon for the scoop and pictures!

RB

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Joke of the day

What kind of battery does it take to shock the Michigan Football team?

Double AA of course!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Appalachian State University is HOT HOT HOT

In commemoration of the big win on Saturday, I present the world-class Appalachian State University Theme song and video. I think they may inject video of field goal blocks in the next release.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The fab five is back to full strength

Yep, Anna was discharged today at 4:30pm. Praise God for that and thanks to many of for your prayers. There's nothing like an experience like this to snap oneself back to the most important things in life. It's reminded me of a couple things....

1. Realizing that I wait too long to talk with my heavenly father. Only when the emergencies come, am I quick to put them back into the palm of His hand. Otherwise, I'm gripping them with all my might. Gotta let go.
2. Hug the kids. Kiss the kids. Thank God for them again and again and again.

So, the final diagnosis was Pyelonephritis. For those of you are not a part of the Mouser clan, that's a kidney infection. Aimee thought that they had ruled that out previously but I think that was yet another example of something getting lost in translation. Here are some pictures from the last few days.

1. Kids are amazing. Anna watched videos for about 11 hours on Sunday. She's got special skills. Here, she's training her siblings on the "tube stare".

2. Smiles were prevalent after she was temporarily freed from her IV supply. She even climbed up to the window sill to take pictures of the outside.

3. Dad tells the funniest jokes ever.

4. In the final moments of recovery.

5. Since the hospital is downtown, Elijah and Dad did some adventurous sightseeing. It took us across the river from Puxi (West side) to Pudong (East side). Here's a pic of Elijah peeking out the window of the ferry. This ferry ride cost us a whopping 13 cents. It's the main method of transportation for the Chinese to get across the river. So, there were 2 HUGE highlights. A boat ride and a taxi ride. The taxi ride was the highlight of Elijah's China experience thus far. Simple minds = simple pleasures, right?
6. Enjoying the "yaxi" ride.







Over and outta here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Thank you!

Thank you all so much for your prayers, phone calls, notes! We love you all! Anna is still running a fever, although lower than yesterday so I am hoping that the new antibiotic is attacking whatever is going on in her body. Right now, she and Ryan are at the hospital while Elijah, Rachel, and I are resting up at home.

Some examples of how we have seen God's all-knowing hand in the past couple of days--
When Anna was still sick after 8 days, having more symptoms, not less, the clinic where I would normally take her was not able to see her for 2 more days, leading me to take her to a different clinic which as Ryan has posted, unknown to us at the time, is the best place for pediatric care for expats in Shanghai (as explained by the Dr Anna would have seen at our normal clinic), and then following an apt cancellation by the first Dr we saw, her case has been changed to a different Dr. (also described by Ryan as the really great Dr our neighbor loves.) We have been very happy with her care of Anna. She welcomes all of my questions and is able, to the best of her ability, to explain the answers. (her English is quite good.) that is all very long and probably hard to understand, but to put it in a couple of words, God is so good, and we see his hands holding and taking care of Anna and the rest of us.

The reason for her fever is still unknown to the drs. They have checked her stool, her urine (which the levels continue to get better, but the fever remains), her kidneys (and whatever else they would check in an ultrasound while looking at the kidneys) and everything is looking good. The Dr. said Anna could have had an immunity to the first antibiotic that was given to her, and that is why her fever continued to rise. The Dr. said the antibiotic that she is now receiving by IV has a broad range of things that it should hit, so the hope is that her temp will go back to normal. If it has not by tomorrow, Mon, than she said she would call in specialists to get their opinions on what is going on. Pray we do not have to go that far.

Anna is really doing well. She seems to be less fearful of the Drs and nurses in general, although still is constantly fearful that she is going to be poked again or that they are going to take out the IV. She greatly missed Elijah last night, she wanted to sleep with him (still a novelty as Elijah just moved into the now shared room early this week.), and they were both very excited to see each other this morning. It was cute to see them snuggling in bed watching a movie together.

I am doing much better today than yesterday. It was a fearful time to know that Anna was going to be staying in a Chinese hospital, but the care of the nurses has really been wonderful. They have gone out of their way to make sure Anna is as comfortable as possible and well taken care of. This hospital experience is far from the stories that the Travel Dr warned me of when I had my apt with him talking about life in China (before we left in Nov). The room and hospital itself is very similar to one in the States. I have a peace for the Dr that is caring for Anna, that she is going to do what is in Anna's best interest, and an overall peace knowing that Anna's heavenly Father loves her more than I, and that he has a perfect plan for Anna and this is part of it. He is in control and He is good all that time, no matter what.

Thank you again for your prayers and love for us. We will keep you posted!
Aimee

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Update

Aimee, Anna and Rachel spent the night in Shanghai United Hospital. Our pediatrician friend confirmed that this was absolutely the best place to be.

Last evening, as Elijah and I sat in the taxi waiting for the driver to figure out where the hospital was, our neighbor stopped by and agreed with the pediatrician friend. Her son was admitted there for 4 days last year. Her nephew was admitted for 1 day. Additionally, her son, Hugo, was born there 7 mos ago. Anna's doctor is the same as her son's was. She had high praise for Dr. Houng.

Aimee said that the night was uneventful with the penisillan (if I had time, I'd spell check) helping with the fever. We'll see a different doctor this morning since Dr. Houng does not return until Monday.

Elijah and I are headed back there now. More to follow.

If you want to call internationally, here are instructions for calling the room....

1. Dial internationally, 86 21 5133 1900 (I think China requires an 011 prior to these numbers)
2. Ask for room 302.

Ryan

Keep praying.

Ryan here. Anna is being admitted because the antibiotic injections have not done enough to help her. Aimee and I have a confirmed with a pediatrician from our church that Anna is being admitted to the best pediatric unit around.

Elijah and I are waiting on a taxi to take us the 40 min drive to the hospital.

God is in control.

Ryan for the Bowman's