Sunday, July 1, 2007

T Minus 24

Today is July 1st. Just 24 days left until we hop on the plane.

The only words I've managed to learn in Mandarin over the past year are "Hello," "Thank you," "I don't know" and "wife." All of which will prove extremely useful at the grocery store, I'm sure. I have, however, learned to play a mean game of Mahjong on the computer.

Bart, on the other hand, has apparently learned quite a bit of Chinese while I've been studying Mahjong. He took his language test on Friday and scored a 2+/2. For those of you not-in-the-know, the State Dept. scores its employees on a number system. You get an oral score and a reading score. You can get anywhere from 0-5. My Chinese right now is at 0/0, meaning I can't speak or read. A 5/5 typically only goes to a native speaker. After 9 months of studying Chinese ten hours a day, State Dept. employees are expected to score somewhere between a 2/0 and a 2/2, which indicates "minimal professional proficiency." So Bart's 2+/2 is actually about the highest he could get after all of his work. He has a 4/4, or a 4+/4+ in Russian. Russian, as you might imagine, is pretty damn hard. According to Bart, Chinese is impossibly, unimaginably harder. (After a comparable amount of time studying Russian, the State Dept. would expect you to get a 3/3, so apparently they believe Chinese is harder, too).

My point is this: how am I ever going to learn Chinese in the next 24 days? I'll have to squeeze in a few hundred words a day just to get to a 0+/0+.

We are in the throes of pack-out preparation. The boys have gone to visit their grandparents, so we are cleaning and organizing and buying and discarding and trying to get it all done by next weekend, when we'll join up with the boys again in New York. In the midst of all of this, Kyra has come down with a nasty rash, a cough, a sinus infection and a double ear infection that oozes out of her ear tubes in a horror-show kind of way. Don't even get me started on what the antibiotics she's on do to her diapers. Ewww.

And Casey the dog? Brian and Carolyn stopped by for dinner the other night. "Can Casey eat rawhide?" they asked, as they pulled out a T Rex-sized rawhide bone. Sure he can, we answered, why not? Umm, well, we found out why not at 4 that morning. And every 30 minutes subsequently.

So as you might imagine, it's a little crazy over here. But at least I have my husband back. After nine months of suffering and 3 hours of labor, he's pushed out a beautiful little 2+/2. And he didn't even need an epidural.


Jen said... [Reply]

I'm so're a whole month ahead of us in this hurry-up-and-wait game! Our house went up for rent last week, and we have our first official 'looker' on Saturday.

We get our housing assignment on July 12...hope we'll be neighbors, but either way, I'm going to be bugging (not nagging mind you) a lot when we arrive at post (you'll be a pro by then, right?)

Love reading your blog. Good luck with everything from here to the Far East. Hope to talk to you before you go!

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