Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back to work on Dominion Day.

July 1 is Dominion Day in Canada -- the day in which Canadians celebrate the formation of their country.
AKIC will mark the day by returning to work and telling everyone about it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Parents have Jet Lag. What about Tony?

After 26 hours of being in cars, in buses, in airplanes, in airports, in security lines, waiting to claim baggage, and and going through customs, The K family arrived at Chinese Casa K about 700 pm, Monday. 
Later, at about 200 am, Andis was awoken by Tony jumping on him. 
The hardest part of trying to get the adult bodies of the K family on Wuxi time was Tony's seeming unawareness of the need to do so.
Tuesday 300 am, Tony was watching television.
Wednesday 530 am, the whole K family is up and at 'em!

Monday, June 28, 2010

They are back!

The K family is back in Wuxi.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Going to Winnipeg. End of Entries from Canada?

The K Family, Chinese Edition, is going back to Winnipeg Friday afternoon so as to attend a BBQ on Saturday afternoon and catch an early Sunday morning flight to Vancouver where they will link up with a flight to Shanghai.

Andis may not be able to access the Internet in Winnipeg so this could be the last made-in-Canada blog entry.  He will leave you with these few observations till he gets back to China or can access a computer in Winnipeg:

  • The sun goes down awfully late in Brandon because they do the switching of hours back and forth an hour through the year.  It really stuns Jenny that it is nine p.m. here and the sun is still up.  It is a little disorientating for someone who has spent six years or all their life in China
  • Tony woke up Friday in a chipper mood.
  • Stuff I collected in my youth is over 30 years old, I discovered when I rummaged through the attic.
  • Andis has about 990,000 views on his Youtube channel.  It doesn't look like he will hit the million mark till he gets back to China.
  • Wendy's had a very depressing atmosphere when I went in to have a double cheeseburger with no onions.
  • Harmony everywhere.  In Canada, they talk of the Harmonized Sales Tax.  Hu Jiantao has his Harmonious Countryside.
  • Beer in Polish is Piya; beer in Chinese is pijiu.
  • Packing Decisions!  Arrgh!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Mrs. Kaulinses

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #34

More AKIC 2010 Canadian Odyssey Notes

Back to Winnipeg on Friday
The K Family, Chinese version, will go back to Winnipeg on Friday.  Andis will drive the seemingly interminable trip between Winnipeg and Brandon.

The Mosquitoes don't bother Tony
Tony has been spending his time watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Youku,com, and running around outside, sometimes chasing the cat.  Andis is having a hard time dealing with the mosquitoes, which apparently are worse than usual because there has been an abnormal amount of rain.  Tony, though, is nonplussed, except when he is left by himself.  If Andis retreats inside to get away from the squiters, Tony gets mad.  And so Andis has to stay outside.

Mom uses the word "creep".
I use the word a lot.  But to hear my mother use the word in reference to someone was eye-opening. 

I can't say who, suffice to say it isn't anyone we have seen on the Odyssey.

Jenny puts me to shame
When it comes to family, Jenny puts me to shame.  She has been wonderful in dealing with all the relatives.  I, on the other hand, have been distracted and thoughtless.

Tony hums a Latvian tune
In China, we did teach Tony a few words from a Latvian lullaby that I recalled from childhood. Tony has been singing that song all the time here in Brandon.  I wonder if it is because he is doing a tribute of sorts to his grandparents.

The World Cup
I have been able to watch the games at civilized times in the morning and early afternoons.  

The American goal against Algeria caused me to yell aloud.  I am pleased to see that America and England have made it through the first round.  

France's troubles have been a source of amusement.  I read somewhere about the French minister of sport trying to intervene in the team's disarray -- that is seen as incumbent on the government to try to get its' team to do better at a mere game is both hilarious and sad for a country that prides itself on being so rational.

I read a column by an Englishman wanting England to lose to Slovenia because he saw it as a way to indict the rule of Margaret Thatcher.  That English Football was crappy in the 70s before Thatcher even came to power was a fact that the columnist choose to ignore.  Of course if England somehow manages to win this World Cup, the columnist will find a way to credit the Labour Party for it.

CIBC, a national bank in Canada, has been sponsoring the coverage of the World Cup on a Canadian national t.v. network.  It says that it has found supporters for all 32 countries among its' employees.  Who is supporting North Korea? I ask.

Coca Cola is running a contest where the winner gets to take a trip to the country that wins the World Cup.  What would happen in North Korea won?  I ask.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some things I saw that I ain't seen in a while! (because I've been in China).

I saw
  • A garter snake.
  • A man wearing suspenders.
  • A dirt road with a speed limit of 90 km/h.
  • Obesity 2.0.
  • Walmart greeters.
  • Aboriginals.
  • Hutterites (or were they Mennonites?).
  • A rainbow.
  • Yellow School Buses (though I don't remember them having flashing lights on the roof before).
  • A deer.
  • A skunk.
  • A government liquor store (Boo!).
  • Cars with Manitoba rust patterns.
  • Lots of white trash.
  • RCMP.
  • Canadian Soldiers.
  • Senior Citizens driving cars.
  • Push Lawn Mowers.
  • Purolator Delivery Trucks.
  • Big pickup trucks.
  • Lack of security.
  • Four way stops.
  • Three way stops.
  • Parking meters.
  • Used book stores.
  • Newspaper dispensing machines.

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #33

Two more images from Tuesday

Cloud rising over the prairie.

Tony does some work.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #32

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #29

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #28

Lots of Sky and Lots of Flat

Can't get enough of the 2010 AKIC Canadian Odyssey?

Visit here and here for more video, photos, and reflections.

The Eating and Shopping in Canada

For me, the AKIC 2010 Canadian Odyssey has been about eating; for Jenny, AKIC 2010 C.O. has been about shopping.

I have reacquainted myself with some old favorites like Tim Horton's donuts, cottage cheese,  A&W Mozza Burgers,  Canadian Chinese food, toasted bagels with cream cheese (which Jenny has taken a liking to), Smarties (which Tony has taken such a liking to that it has become a pacifier for his parents), Spitz brand sunflower seeds, and the Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait.  All are as good as I remembered except for the DQ treat which I found too rich to enjoy (Jenny bought a medium sized chocolate ice cream sundae from DQ and found it so large, rich, and sweet she couldn't a quarter of it).

Jenny finds the shopping in Canada to be so interesting that it is hard for us to pull her from the stores.  She has been to London Drugs, Zellers, Walmart, Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore, Dollarama, and Canadian Tire.  She finds the prices to be expensive for those on a Chinese salary, but the selection to be amazing.

Personally, I found going into a Walmart in Chilliwack for the first time in over five years to be wonderful.  Locals would say the store was nothing special which shows how Canadians take their affluence for granted.  One such Walmart  in Wuxi would be a godsend for this Wuxi expat.

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #26

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #25

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #24

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family Photo

Big Storm A'Comin!

Manitoba Sky

It is so big!

Brandon, Manitoba 18th Street

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #22

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #21

Stories from the 2010 Canadian Odyssey

Circuit City, Polo Park
Mentioning I was living in China, I was asked by the clerk what it was like there.  I told him how, in some ways, there is more freedom in China.  The clerk nodding at this, talked about the proclivities of Canadian government to increase their control of the population, citing a new law being passed to ban the use of cell phones in cars.  He then talked about the increased use of photo radar in Winnipeg, telling me cameras were being placed in areas where people do inadvertently speed, like just after leaving construction zones -- victim less crimes.  I told him of a cab driver I read about in the lower mainland of Vancouver getting a 1150 dollar fine because he picked up a cop pretending to be a frantically waving customer.  The driver was fined for picking up someone out of his zone or whatever nonsense regulation.  In China, I told the clerk, you can much more easily find a driver -- there being a transport network not controlled by the government.

The True North Strong and Fee!

In Brandon, I saw a man dressed with a black cowboy hat, black t-shirt, black pants, and black cowboy boots.

Other people were wearing shorts and sandals.

Jenny's view of the drive from Brandon to Winnipeg
I have frequently described the drive from Brandon to Winnipeg to my students in China.  I have told them how flat and unpopulated is the land between the two biggest cities in Manitoba.  Now, one of them: Jenny, can say she has seen it. 

My immediate personal sensation was how quickly boredom set in on the two hour drive.  At first, seeing the big sky and flatness of the terrain for the first time in years was great, but after 45 minutes the drive began to wear on me.  Jenny's opinions of it kept the drive interesting.

To her the land seemed like the wild.  Where can people go shopping? she asked.  She also observed that it must be easy to kill someone and get rid of the body in the area.

Wuxi Tony Canadian Odyssey #20

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Some Video from the AKIC 2010 Canadian Odyssey

You can see more video from the Odyssey here.

Manitoba Flat

Brandon, Manitoba

Now, the Kaulins Family:  Tony, Jenny, and Andis are in Brandon, a city of 40,000 or so in in Western Manitoba.  Tony's grandparents have now seen their grandson in person.
Andis has access to a computer so he will be able to post lots of video and photos.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Kaulins Family is in Winnipeg

All that can be said is that it is wet, hot, and mosquito season has just begun.  I timed my arrival in the peg right.... not!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Going to Manitoba

Our plane leaves Vancouver at 630 pm Wednesday and will arrive in Winnipeg at 2310 -- the flight will be about three hours.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Kaulins Family in Vancouver

Canada Trip Update

So much to say but I will have to wait till I get to Manitoba where I am sure to have some quiet time to blog.
I went to Vancouver Monday to get Tony's Chinese visa and the visa office was a zoo -- it was so busy!  That experience, and there was some lady at a photo place who damn near screwed up my paperwork by telling me that Tony had to do some other thing -- the end result was Jenny didn't care so much for Vancouver.
I hadn't planned to go to Van but the travel agencies here in Chilliwack wouldn't do Tony's visa.  There was a change in the process, they said.
A cord I need to upload my photos and videos has been misplaces.  Till I find it, no video and photos.  Arrghhh!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jenny Kaulins in Canada

Trees aren't this big where Jenny is from.

Familiar and yet different

I did my first cash exchange in Canada in over five years.  It seemed familiar and yet so eerily different.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Kaulins Family, China Edition, is in Canada!

We are in Chilliwack, British Columbia at my sister's place.
I reacquainted myself with Canada by going to Tim Horton's and ordering an extra large triple triple.
More to follow!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Off to Canada!

Leaving June 10
We take a bus, early Thursday morning, that will takes us from the Wuxi Bus station to the Shanghai Pudong Airport to catch a China Eastern flight to Vancouver. 
The Good
T.P. was 10.5 rmb.  I only had a tenner.  The storekeepers told me they knew (renshi) my wife, and not to worry about it.
The Bad
The wife wants to get a car because she never gets a seat on the bus, even when she carries Tony.  I, being the foreigner, always have a seat yielded to me when I carry Tony.
The Wonderful
Walking with Tony on Tuesday night, the neighbour seeing us, gave me a cigarette.
I must remember to reciprocate.
Sort of.  
Are there any adult Wuxi Expats?
I ask this after reading an article, expressing an observation, I have had, that actors and actresses in Old Hollywood movies look like adults, while adult-aged actors, these days, look like teenagers.
Thinking of James Dean, I recall how I thought it strange that he played a teenager in his films, because he looked like an adult.  These days, if he was his death age, he would most certainly be cast as a thirty or forty year old.
World Cup
Going to Canada, I can watch World Cup matches at a decent hour.  I think.
He strongly expresses the opinions of the other side.  But most of what he says is easily put aside -- Keynesian nonsense.  
I now know someone who has seen an Ipad.
What I want to get while in Canada
  • Books:  Flannery O'Connor, Evelyn Waugh, JR Tolkien, Heinlein, and Dune.
  • Poetry
  • Shoes
  • Smarties
  • Some Crown Royal and Coke.
Is Tony excited about going to Canada? 
Tony has no idea he is going on a trip.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The last video of Tony

This is the last video of Tony you'll see before he goes to Canada on Thursday, June 10.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tony's New Haircut

In preparation for Thursday's departure for Canada, Jenny had Tony get a haircut.

Do you think it makes him look like a girl?
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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time for some journalizing!

Sit in
There are lots of government buildings near our apartment.  Every once in a while, I have seen a citizen staging a sit-down protest or demonstration by security gates in front of these buildings. 
On Wednesday, I saw a man, his crutches lying on the ground  beside him, staging such a demonstration.  The guards looked at him with annoyance -- they had to do some work.  And a crowd was gathering.
I don't know how the stand-off was resolved.  
Themes for the 2010 AKIC Canadian Odyssey
In the spirit of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, with its theme of "Better City, Better Life", I have made a list of possible themes for our June 2010 Odyssey to Canada:

  • I didn't get a cheap sex-change operation!
  • I don't know how much a sex-change operation is!
  • Mmm!  Beer!
  • My lungs are fine.
  • Sorry!  I have been away in China for nearly six years!
  • Look at all the Laowai!
  • Wow!  Solid construction!
  • Wow!  What attention to detail!
  • A Wuxiren surveys the Great White North. 
  • Mmmm!  Bread and bacon and smarties and crunchie bars and cottage cheese and Crown Royal and....
  • Returning to the Big Quiet
  • Blue Skies!
  • My!  How you have grown!
  • Nothing changes!
  • Ignorant Buffoon!  That is why I moved to China!
  • Meeting Old Latvians.
  • Who is our P.M.?
  • Better Food. Better Life.

Our plane for Vancouver leaves Thursday, June 10th.
Why Lady Gaga is like a duck
The students think of the current pop fashion queen as being something of a duck.  For in China, ducks go "ga ga!".  In the west, ducks go "quack quack!".
Lady Quackquack!?!
They know not what the words on their shirts say
I saw an old women board the bus.  She was wearing a shirt with sentences, emblazoned thereon, about the latest punk street fashion.

A Chinese Road to Damascus?
No such stories in Chinese legend and history, if what the students said when I asked about it in a recent English Corner is true.
I was told that converts from the KMT to the C's in the civil war would have been shot, by the C's.

New Mosquito-killing Racket
The one that my wife just bought is really deluxe.  It comes with a light.  Soon, it will be an application for the Ipad.

East of Eden
I bought the DVD for this movie for two rmb at Nanchang Market.  The trouble with this movie is that it stars James Dean, which is paradoxically why I watched it.  Dean certainly was good-looking although his face does reflect the hardness of growing up in the thirties and forties.  But I don't know what to make of his acting.  In a way he was performing, not acting -- if you understand my distinction (he was showing off; not depicting).  At its time, I am sure his performance was different; now, it seems dated, like Freud.

Hating Stop-and-Chats
Walking with Tony, I find I am not interested in chatting with passers-by who want to ask all sorts of questions about Tony.  The questions are all the same. 
And the beautiful girls that take an interest in Tony -- I don't know what to say to them.

 A look of contempt
Man turning his van near us gives Tony and me a look that seemed to be other than curiosity. 
The world is full of yahoos.

I was listening to a recent podcast from Econtalk about psychiatry.  Psychiatry like Economics is in the midst of an existential crisis.  People wonder what practical things these two fields have to offer the world.  Both seem to be verging on pseudo-scientific by pretending to make empirical and measurable observations about what is ultimately subjective and non-isolatable. 
Psych and Econ have both influenced and concerned me.  I studied, if you could call whatever it was I was doing, Economics at University of Winnipeg.  I also wasted years thinking I was suffering from depression when really I was reacting, naturally but pathetically, to some mediocre circumstances.  I took anti-depressants because it was a fashion.  It was only Rush Limbaugh and a hard-headed Irish cousin who saved me from a life of imagined neuroses and being an armchair Keynesian hoping for more help from the government.

I just finished reading the Journey to the West on pdf:  1400 pages, a chapter a day.  The book ends with these lines:

Let anyone who sees or hears
Cherish the enlightened mind.
May all be reborn in the Land of Bliss,
To end this present life of retribution.

Rubbing T's stomach

Nothing can be finer than lying beside Tony, rubbing his stomach for him, as he falls asleep.

Jenny at Ling Shan

She stands besides the toe of something.
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Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wuxi Tony Update #594

Watch Tony watch some dredging.  It is not often that you can watch this from directly above the boat.

Happy Birthday Ritma!

Happy Birthday to my aunt Ritma, who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I look forward to seeing her in a couple weeks.  I look forward as well to her being able to meet my wife and son for the first time.

Clint Eastwood recently celebrated his 80th birthday.  Now, I am not exactly sure how old Ritma is, but like Clint she is getting on in years.  And like the Clint we see on screen , she is unflappable.  Although, she doesn't have his mean streak.  

Photos taken in downtown Wuxi, China

I took all these photos in the area near my son's preschool. Having arrived early, I couldn't think of anything else I could do.

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