That China Girl

{May 14, 2011}   Welcome to the CIA

I still don’t really feel like writing about my school, but since some of you have asked – Lesia!!! — here goes.

Like I said, it’s China International Academy or CIA (too weird) for short.   I take a bus there, which picks me up right at the front of Imperial Gardens, by the gate, with tons of other kids from sixth grade up to 12th.  Yeah, I’m with middle school kids if you can believe it.  They look like such babies.  Fortunately, they’re smart enough to know to sit upfront for their own safety.   Most of them, anyway.  Some dopey kid with a Scandinavian/German whatever accent and big ears was stupid enough to try to sneak back there.  Popped his lunch box open on the seat and was sitting their munching some  funny looking meat that smelled like baked dog shit, even.  All these senior guys are gathered around  him, staring him down and he’s just merrily eating.  Until one of them finally said, “Hey Hans, lunch time’s over and literally picked him and the box up and carried him all the way off the bus.  They were sort of half mocking the kid, but he seemed to think  he was getting the royal treatment.  I noticed, though that  he didn’t sit back there again, so maybe one of his countrymen clued him in.

The buses themselves aren’t bad.  They’re kind of like those buses we used to take on big field trips and overnight, only we get them everyday.    Kinda nice, I thought.

Anyway, by day three, that  got old.  I’d had it with the bus and its hulking along the main road off our compound, in bumper to bumper traffic most days to make the 10 minute drive.  I actually think I could probably ride my bike and get there quicker if I cut through the Chinese village that’s behind our house.  I’ve got to figure out the way first, but it would be better being crammed into that bus twice a day.  Yesterday it took us over an hour to get home.  What the hell?  I couldn’t figure out what the hold-up was.  Turned out later that there had been a traffic accident and a person had been thrown from the car and was lying there on the road.  Problem was they couldn’t touch him until the police got there.  Meanwhile, the police couldn’t get through because of the backed up traffic.   So we all had to sit there in the bus watching all these Chinese –dads, moms, kids, grandpas,  etc.  stream by on bikes and carts and skooters and with shirts and without.  Meanwhile, we’re trapped in the “luxury bus” baking and listening to all this baby chatter and older kids bragging on themselves and not knowing what the hell is going on and meanwhile, just a few blocks ahead, there’s his poor dead Chinese guy baking on the road because they can’t move him.   After a while,  I just zoned out and did my homework.

When they finally cleared the guts or whatever off the road, suddenly our Bus Driver, Lao Wu is like Joe Race Car Driver trying to make up for lost time.  We’re shrieking over this bridge and going around a curve on two wheels… I’m getting images of this school bus I’ve just heard of at some Chinese school that skidded off a bridge and went into the river.

Fortunately, we stayed on the road.  (We also don’t have ugly pink and white checked curtains or seat covers or whatever those are on our bus) .

When I got home, Mom was there, all smiling telling me Li Ayi’s come up with some other unpronounceable dinner that smells like garlic charred in oil and how was my day and did I make any friends.  Who did I sit on the bus with, she asks.  Like I’m in first grade.   I didn’t want to tell her that I was sitting on the edge of the seat next to some fat Asian kid from Singapore or something because the girls are already paired up and CC has her own driver or gets a ride from Geoff’s driver every day.

I just kind of gave her a look and had a bowl of rice and said I had to do homework.  Now I’m up here writing this and wishing I could go get another snack — except I know there’s nothing down there I want to eat.   So I think now I’m going to sign off for the night and just go to bed.

If you still care, I’ll write more about school tomorrow.


Katy M says:

Taya – Get to Jenny Lou’s and grab some real snacks! All the expats shop there, and on the rare occasions when Jenny Lou’s got Diet Dr Pepper, we’d almost run over people to get it! It’s expensive to get US snack foods (and Swiss chocolate and Brazilian coffee), but sometimes it’s really worth it!

And did you know that the police at accident scenes in China determine who’s to blame and get the fine payment right then and there?! That’s why I never, ever drove in China.

Hang in there, kiddo – eventually, you won’t even smell the garlic…

Taya says:

Thanks for the reminder. A friend just introduced me to Jenny Lou’s, and I was able to stock up on my favorite–TWIZZLERS!! Not to mention some Cocoa Krispies (another fave). She said sometimes you have to look at the expiration date on things though. They don’t always pay attention to that here.

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