In December of 2011, my Father suffered a debilitating stroke which left him with acute aphasia and paralysis on his right side. As part of his road to recovery, my Mother has brought him to The First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University where he, at the time of this writing, is undergoing extensive stroke recovery treatments. This is her journal...

July 30

Well, alas, nothing much came of Trevor and his new little friend. Seems they met and just sort of stared at each other cause neither could communicate. Just as well. He's leaving soon anyway so he might have broken her little pseudo German heart.

Adrianna and Christian are leaving on Sunday, and Pam and Trevor a week later. I will miss them, we had a lot of fun. Sue and Ken will be here till after we leave so at least I'll have them to hang out with. Ken is very funny.

Then, there's still the Dutch/Chinese couple. Hensley and Ying. (English name Annie but I like Ying better). I got word yesterday that the baby was born. A healthy boy. Can't wait to see it. I'll wait a week or two and then go.

Got another diversion too. We were on our way to dinner tonight waiting for an elevator in the high rise across the street when another western woman walked up. Turns out she's from Grand Rapids, Michigan and has lived in Tianjin for four years. She's learned the language and is teaching English at a language center in that building. By the way, anyone interested in a new life can come here and make a pretty good living doing that. The cost of living is cheap.

July 31

Rain, rain, rain. Will it ever go away? Thank god no flooding though, just rain, rain, rain. The Chinese steal everything. Wouldn't surprise me if they screwed with the weather somehow.

Besides rain, they steal logos. When we went to the department store for Wongs shoes, we saw a big display of Clacke shoes. That's right, Clacke, only the C was written in such a way that it looked like an R and the logo was exactly like the Clarke brand. There is a sports brand of clothing whose logo strangely resembles the Michael Jordan brand only the arm is a little lower. In some places, they play current American hit songs sung in Chinese with all the same music. Think they they pay royalties? A woman on the street was carrying a bag with Gecci written on it. Guess what the e looked like?

Peter is getting so much better and I now have full confidence that he will walk out of here. His language is improving too. I believe some of that is due to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. It builds red blood cells and I understand Michael Phelps sleeps in one. Peter doesn't like it though. However, I'm putting one over on him. DON'T TELL!!!!!! The chamber costs extra and you buy 10 sessions at a time. He has one to go in his current session but I told him he had 11. He bought it (tee hee). This is the one therapy I was really excited about and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. He'll forgive me eventually. (I hope)

Found out later though that you have to wait a month between sessions. He's off the hook for now. On the way to dinner, I told him that he wouldn't start again for a month and he said "maybe yes, maybe no". Oh, well.

August 1

Walked to Carrefour, the big shopping store, in the pouring rain. They have everything there. Chicken necks, anyone? How about some seaweed? Maybe a big pile of black mushrooms? All we bought, though, was a poncho for Peter like the ones the bicyclers wear in the rain. It's designed to cover the rider and the handlebars of the bike but fits over his chair perfectly. It makes him look like a moving tent but at least it keeps him and his chair dry.

On my way home, the small street was crowded and I hit a woman on the back of the head with my umbrella. Oops. The Chinese have no boundaries when it comes to physical space as evidenced in the elevators and anywhere there's a crowd, frankly, but I guess bopping someone on the back of the head with an umbrella crosses a line. She squealed LOUD. I don't know the Chinese word for sorry, so just scurried away.

August 2

A sunny day again, finally, but woke up with a headache. I made the mistake of telling them and ended up with twice as many needles in me this morning. I have to say, though, my headache went away. I hope their magic works on Peter too.

The women here don't like the sun. I understand light skin is desirable and the stores are filled with lightening potions. They will do anything to cover up. Most use parasols when walking. Some of the bikers wear scarves or full face visors over their faces and loose detachable sleeves on their arms. Some even have things that look like oven mitts for their hands when they're riding their bikes. They look pretty silly. Boy, they must think I'm a hot toddy here as I'm the only blonde around. I'm using my parasol too but not to stay light, god knows, but to stay cool. I'm gonna keep using it when I get home too. Maybe I'll even get one of those visors. No scarf though, too weird. Adrianna wanted to blend.

August 3

Pretty ordinary day. For Peter, physical therapy, followed by acupuncture, followed by cupping, followed by radiant heat on the legs, followed by tuina massage, followed by herb soaking of the legs and arm, followed by blood pressure monitoring, followed by the hyperbaric chamber, followed by moxibustion, followed by electrical stimulation of the arm and leg, followed by cerebral reflexion. Then lunch. The afternoon is a little lighter but there's more. They pay attention to their patients here.

August 4

Another ordinary day.

There are American movies on the TV in Peter's room in the afternoon. One day "Gone With the Wind" was on and we watched the whole thing. They have Mandarin subtitles so Wong was watching it too. Of course, he had never seen it before. Michelle and I were watching it and joking about it being at least the millionth time. We were laughing at the melodrama of it all and during the scene where Bonnie dies we were still laughing. Wong looked at us as if we were the most callous people on earth as his eyes were a little misty. We had to quickly explain.

Adrianna and Christian are going home on Sunday and we are having a goodbye dinner for them tonight at the now infamous YY Beer House. I hope Dudley DoRight isn't there tonight. That would be Aaawkward!

August 5

The party last night was a lot of fun and, of course, we overdid the wine. No matter, no one's driving. Qinningbo joined us again with his ever improving English. Luckily, Dudley DoRight didn't show up. I know Adrianna was relieved. They left at noon today and we will all miss them. She was so full of life and fun. And Christian could crack us up even without words. They are going to Phuket, Thailand for a week and then return to Beijing for their flight home. We're planning to meet them there then so I'll probably see her one last time. They live in LA so once we're home, a visit probably won't happen so fast. But, who knows?

What an informative afternoon. Had lunch with Lindy, the woman from Grand Rapids. Sue and Pam joined us. She has lived in China a total of ten years and gave us a lot of information about the culture. For example, they have a collective point of view, not an individual one. Therefore, if you give the staff a thank you present when you leave you never give any one person anything. You buy one large thing that can be shared and the head person takes care of that. That gives that person face, which is still all-important here. Adrianna didn't know that and gave just a few of her favorites small gifts individually. She couldn't understand why the elevator operator handed the flower she bought for her back, but now we know. Also, any money given to anyone as a gift should be put into a red envelope. Odd, but good to know.

I intend to find out a lot more.