Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sunday outing

Yes, we're still dealing with a few sadnesses here in our failure to create some happy memories of our Hong Kong beginnings. Like today. The family take their pink toes to the beach to dip them in brown sand and stare across the lapping water to the horizon. But Tiger locks herself away, refusing to venture out.

You're missing life here, Tiger.

I know it doesn't sound much fun at the government sponsored fun beach. What with the courteous recorded message, warning us not to play with frisbees on account of their ability to have your eyes out. Or the lifeguards, who entertain us with their cabaret of life saving skills, including striding around on concrete watchtowers and floating about on rafts stabbing swimmers with bamboo poles to check if they're alive. Then the view of the powerstation over the bay. The coal fired one with 3,755MW output.

But we find pleasure here, really. I sit and collect dead crabs and Shark dams one of the drainage holes that is part of the civil engineering slope maintenance. We hope it's a drainage hole anyway. And not a sluice for washing sewage down from the pigeon restaurant. Squirrel amuses herself by throwing sand at mosquitoes and chatting, mostly while nobody listens.

Yet as we follow our individual delights, we know that here, we are a family. We come together to squabble over who sprayed the insect repellent last, who has it now, who has a right to carry the bottle, and how mama knows best about dengue fever because of that New Year she spent in Malaysia over a bus station, so stop arguing and stick out your leg. I'll rub sandy sunscreen onto your shoulders too while you scowl, and I'll smooth the bump on your head. The one you sustained when Shark hit you with the log.

Then we are bonded in other strange and silent ways. We stare together in puzzlement at the Chinese inscrutables, like how some of the elderly stand in slow arrangements of arms and legs, swaying slightly, maybe lost from the hospital set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. We look in bafflement at some of the holiday tee-shirts displayed before us with their fantastic oddity of English, Sofa great, Glomor, Eat sweet puppy dog. By our shared observations and wonders at these things, we know we are foreigners. This is our temporary home. Worry when I think it's a good idea to bring home a tee-shirt that reads Am I who?

More too. Not simply foreigner family, sitting on the beach. We become British, and we can laugh together about that particular affliction. We hug the shade, raw faced, red kneed, itchy under our cotton sunhats. We contemplate paddling by hitching skirt folds into our knickers. I would do that, only the elastic's perished and my thighs wobble with too much tea-time sponge cake.

Tiger, I miss you here, at the beach. I wish you would come down. Better still, I wish you would come down, then ignore me, and run away to the water to play. Rationally, I know it will take time, and you will do it, or you won't, at your own pace. I must deal with my sorrow that I miss sharing yet another experience with you. Yes, one that involves concrete, sand heaps, sea, and sky. But also these strange assortment of people, your foreigner family, and me, waiting here for you to come and join us.


kellyi said...

This makes me sad, and I'm still in England.

But, what can you do? I think you've probably tried every trick in the book, so may be just loving her is all you can do.

Hope you turn a corner soon, but if not you can always send her to stay with us, we have horse poop, rain and plenty of arguing siblings to keep her occupied!

Grit said...

ah, thanks kelly. she is getting better, bit by bit. i might be dismayed how difficult it seems for her (and us), when her sisters have embraced hk life with enthusiasm, but i shouldn't overlook her great strides. today (weds) she did go to a beach and actually played with other home ed kids! how amazing is that? only 10 minutes, but worth it in gold.

sharon said...

She'll get there is her own sweet time, and I'm sure that the less fuss made over it the quicker that time will come. I'm still betting that Tiger will be the one to kick up the biggest stink when you finally return to the UK!

Retiredandcrazy said...

Come on over grit I have a little something for you to collect.