Friday, November 28, 2008

One hundred days!

We have been in China 100 days now. It is a little strange that I know that, but I counted it! Does it seem that long?
Not long after we arrived, I was chatting with the kids and somehow 100 days came up. Some schools have a special day when they have been in school 100 days, so I thought it might be fun to plan something special for our 100th day in China. I counted on my calendar and today Friday, November 28, 2008 is the 100th day since our arrival. I had plans to do a bunch of things today, but with my teaching schedule the only thing we did was count 100 chocolate chips and put them in cookies. We also stirred the batter 100 times. The kids wish that they could eat 100 cookies. Maybe we should count another 100 and have another celebration again in the spring.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am pretty scared of rats. In the past I have had nightmares after hearing people just talk about rats. Why anyone would want one for a pet was beyond me. When I lived in China 10 years ago, I would occasionally see one, alive or dead. I did not like it, but I did start to get over my fear and was just thankful that they were outside and not in our building. Since being in Hangzhou, I have not seen a rat. I am sure they are here, but I have not seen one. We live next to one of the school cafeterias, but there are often cats and even sometimes some dogs that hang out after dark. I am thankful that I have not seen one. I might scare the kids if I screamed.

We have been preparing for winter around here. Jon has been plugging holes and drafts and things like that. He said that he needed to find steel wool. We were looking for something like that in the store and I mentioned not seeing any rats or mice. Then Jon admitted that the other day he heard a noise in the kitchen. When he went in the kitchen, he caught sight of a tail! The tail was disappearing through the hole that the washing machine drains. (the machine that we rarely use, since we use the one in the other “kitchen”) The hole is larger than the drain pipe, and we know that mice and rats can fit into very small areas. Jon plugged the hole with some aluminum foil, but that didn’t do any good.

Well, I am sure you can guess what is coming…

A couple of nights ago, I heard a noise and thought that one of the kids was up. I got up to check on them, but everyone was sound asleep. I kept hearing the noise, and could not go back to sleep. The door to the kitchen was closed (thankfully). I knew that I was hearing a mouse or rat. Now, often people will call mice “rats”, but do you know the difference? Mice are tiny, and rats are NOT tiny.

There was no way I was going to go into the kitchen! Finally I thought that the critter was on the counter (it wasn’t, but I thought it was). That was when I woke Jon up. He made some noises at the door and then went into the kitchen. He wanted it to run away so he could plug the hole and have it trapped in our kitchen. It worked. We figured out that it was indeed a rat!

How do we know? Well, because it got into my Pop Tarts! Yes, I know that mice probably like Pop Tarts too, but could they get a package off a shelf and then drag it all the way across the floor? The rat ate about half of a package of chocolate Pop Tarts, one bite from a brown sugar Pop Tart and part of an apple. I really hope that it had a bellyache!

Jon plugged the hole at about 4 am, and so far we have not seen or heard anything.

When we were at a large store the other day, Jon thought that he would ask about traps or rat poison. We have an electronic translator feature to our cell phones, so he typed in “rat” and then made some gestures like a trap and then dead (drawing his finger across his throat and then sticking his tongue out) to a store worker. Without much hesitation she pointed to the large cleavers and knives! We all laughed at that, and then she told us she did not think that they had anything like that. I am sure we can find some thing else, but in the meantime, my Pop Tarts are in a locked container!