Yesterday we met up with the Gerbers again and a couple other families, one also with a 13-year old boy who has quite a history. I find it interesting that the Chinese kids will not speak to each other from different families. Don't know if that's just their way not to talk to people they don't know, or what.
We rode back to the China hotel with them on their bus, and went to MacDonald's for supper, then hopped a taxi back to our hotel. I'm sure there was one closer to us, but it gave me an opportunity to talk with other families. I crave that adult interaction, as my two boys would prefer we sit in the room all day and do nothing but watch TV. I thought NingNing would be interested in being in a different city that he's never been in, and I thought James would be more interested in China in general. But where we are is so modern, and crowded, and urban, it's been "underwhelming". If I could just get the boys out to the countryside, where people scrabble for a meager living, then it might make an impression, but then again, maybe not. I think it is very hard to impress today's teenagers at all, no matter where you are, and have them appreciate what they have.
Last night, we had a conversation on Google Translate. NingNing typed that James was bullying him, YET when they settled down from their daily evening wrestling fest, NINGNING started things up again by whacking James with a pillow! So he is NOT a total innocent in the byplay! Not only that, but he still sticks to him like glue whenever we're out.
Our conversation went on and I explained about school, that it would be schooltime when we got home (not sure what he expected; I think later because they don't start back here until Sept. 1). He was slightly taken aback by that. I went on to describe the school day and that the school was hiring someone to help him out. He considers himself very stupid and told the guide this; how very sad. His teachers here must have really done a number on him, because he doesn't consider himself smart at all and doesn't think he can learn English. He can repeat things just fine, but will not spontaneously use English still, even to express a need. I have to ask him if he's hungry or thirsty or tired, etc., or just doing ok. I never thought I'd say that having a completely compliant, non-needy child was a little frustrating, but it is, simply because you don't know what they want or need, and have to guess all the time.
I feel like there's something I should be doing different so that he will feel better about trying English, but don't know what.
This morning we had our Consulate appointment, so that's the final step. All that is left is for our guide to pick up NingNing's visa tomorrow, so he can leave the country. Not only do you need a visa to enter China, you have to have one to leave as well. We were in and out pretty quick; they asked NingNing one question, if he still wanted to go to America, and he said yes, so that's good :).
Then we went to the Electronics market. This is a huge area where, you guessed it, they sell every kind of electronic item imaginable, Ipads, Ipods, Iphones, video games, DVDs, etc. I went looking for a little movie shop we went to last time where we bought 92 DVDs. Found it, and this time I was conservative, and bought only 29. They were 8RMB apiece, or about $1.75. Some of the movies are not even out of US theatres yet. Then James found some XBOX 360 games for 5RMB, or .90 apiece. The really weird thing is, though, that the Ipads and Ipods are MORE expensive than in America or on Ebay!
By this time, NingNing was making it somewhat apparent that he doesn't like to shop AT ALL! Nothing major, just facial expressions, yawning, and sighing. James is more vocal about it unless of course he's finding something he's interested in. On our way out, we lucked into a counter that was selling translators. The one I've been looking at on Amazon was $130. This one was $50, so we had NingNing try it out (he did so reluctantly). The guide explained it was for school and he typed in "do not go for a stroll". Ok, point taken.
Back to the hotel room for another rousing afternoon of electronic stimulation. Later, however, I'm dragging them out and walking to the pedestrian street for dinner at the Guangzhou Restaurant; want to eat there at least once.
Probably won't blog until Friday night when we're in Beijing. I don't anticipate any major outings tomorrow and we have to be in bed very early for the flight on Friday. Will be very glad to get there, do our whirlwind sightseeing and then start home.