On the Fly: Finding the Mosaic | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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On the Fly: Finding the Mosaic 

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China has our senses in overdrive. The sheer number of people, the noise, the smells, the pollution, the beauty and the chaos are overwhelming. In Japan, things were orderly and intentional. In China, it's more like "anything goes."

We love to see grilled insects on sticks and the colorful, unfamiliar vegetables on display at markets. The girls are amused by the toddlers with holes cut into the crotch of their pants for toilet training, which happens in the middle of the street sometimes. 

As we make our way through this country, I realize that we are as fascinating to the Chinese as they are to us. In a country of one-child families, we don't just stand out for our Western looks but for our many children. Everywhere we go, people point, stare, get out their cameras or approach us to ask questions. In a crowded subway car, people generously clear seats for us to sit as a family, or reach out to help when they see we need it.

Kaya, with her Shirley Temple curls and chubby cheeks, seems to attract the most attention. It’s like we have a celebrity on our hands. We have had to usher her away from gathering crowds as they grab and pull her. 

To make things even more intense, the first week of October was Chinese National Holiday week, meaning everyone was off from school and work celebrating and touring around the country. With nearly 1.4 billion people, this makes a big impact. It took us 3 and a half hours to drive 50 kilometers to the Great Wall (it was worth it!). 

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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