Wrecking Lives, Skipping Town

October 12th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT—I’m now 20-something hours into a journey from Brooklyn to Chengdu, China, and I’m sleep-deprived, thirsty, and a good five hours from my final destination. Yes, once again, I’m abandoning my family to go “work” abroad, stuffing my face with spicy Sichuan food and, I think, taking notes.

Still, I did what I could to put in as much family time as possible before I left. Saturday was a playdate with another couple and their child on the other side of Prospect Park, followed by a schmancy wedding. Sunday was a drive upstate to go apple-picking. (Incidentally, was there anyone who didn’t go apple-picking last weekend? At least three of my Facebook friends went, and doubtless many more went but didn’t post. What did people do in October before U Pick It was invented? How else did they get 50 apples for just $12.50?) Oh, and I delivered Theodore a car seat he couldn’t install.

The thing is, it took me a while to figure out how weekends are supposed to function. Not all that long ago, I used to try to write on weekends, to set aside a couple of hours to pound the keyboard. But it was always a hassle, and I always felt guilty for half-neglecting my family and half-neglecting my work. Finally, I had to choose—and, you know, I chose my family. Cuz that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

Anyway, watch this space over the next two weeks for my incisive observations on parenthood in China. How will I say “househusband” in Mandarin? What kind of strollers will I spot? What percentage of Chinese milk is made of melamine these days?

As Jean told me before I left, “Don’t eat anything made of feces.”

Words to live by, folks. Words to live by.


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