Happy (Chinese) New Year

Our 2016 New Year card:

This year, we’re celebrating Chinese New Year, not only because we live in China, but mostly because it affords procrastinators like me an extra 28 days to get letters out in the mail. 

After majoring in Chinese, living in Asia 4 different times, and getting his MBA from an international business school, Chris had the unrealistic hope he’d never have to live in China again. Then he accepted a three-year position in Shanghai with Ubiquiti Networks managing their sales and distribution for China.

Kinley grows more intelligent and sophisticated every day. She’s fully conversational and despite our best efforts, her vocabulary includes “damn it” and “go away.” Threenagers are real. I can’t believe we have to do this again in 10 years. 

When she’s not making me question my abilities as a parent, Kinley is unabashedly making friends. The Chinese have an intense interest in her and call her “yang wawa,” which translates to “foreign doll.” She would have a decent start to her college fund if she charged people to take her photo. While the attention may be feeding her inner prima donna, it’s also made her quite social. Unfortunately, she’s in a country with 1.3 billion people that she can’t talk to. 

Greyson is the newest addition to the family. He was born in Shanghai on May 30th. The hospital was quite posh, so there aren’t any exciting horror stories to accompany his birth, although everyone was expecting some. Greyson’s two most distinguishing features are his easy disposition and his hair. He was recently the victim of a rather unfortunate haircut. Popular opinion is that he looks like Kim Jung-Un, Hitler, and/or Trump. Thankfully he has nothing else in common with his fashion predecessors and is a sweet, happy baby. 

Despite his bad hair, Greyson is also the recipient of much attention from the Chinese. People can’t believe we have not one, but TWO kids!!! We’re a big family by Chinese standards. I use this to my advantage when my toddler is eating fruit snacks off the subway floor (she obviously has a remarkable immune system). I reserve a special “Sorry, I have SO many kids that I can’t manage ALL of them ALL the time” look for such occasions. I use it frequently. 

I’m enjoying our time in China. It’s a bit of a juggle having two kids in a city with 23 million people, but it’s an amazing cultural experience. China has taught us all kinds of things, like how to hock a loogie, how to cut in line, and how to stomach strange food. We drive a scooter and live on the 21st floor of an apartment building, so I’d say that we’re pretty integrated. Now, just to learn the language…. On the flip side, I’m getting really good at charades considering that hand gestures are my main form of communication. 

Happy Chinese New Year!


The Gilbert Family img_8400


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