My Chinese Baby

I have a baby. His name is Baozi (bah-oh-zuh).

Well, to be more accurate, I had a baby. This is probably confusing. Let’s start from the beginning.

I have a tendency to meet wonderful women just before I head off for one of my international adventures. The first time I went to Oxford, I left behind my girlfriend. The second time I was in England it was a beautiful half-Egyptian girl who I still have a crush on (psst, come visit!). When I left Ottawa a couple weeks ago it was a super passionate girl I would have gone on amazing adventures with, and her complete opposite who was just as heart-wrenching to leave.

Whether I’m with them or not, these girls are gems.

So, today I woke up from a nap after studying Mandarin for three hours and started off to a friend’s English Corner. I don’t really enjoy this one in particular since they actually make me teach people things, but it’s a favour and I have nothing else to do, so I’m jamming to more Chinese lessons as I wander over.

Amazingly enough I meet one of the girls from my roller disco adventure a couple days earlier, and she promises to protect me from the ultimate danger of English Corner–the serial question-asker. Unfortunately she also asked if she could take a picture with me, which resulted in dozens of other pictures and at least thirty minutes spent trying to flee the scene. The friend who organized the event forced a stuffed animal on me in return for my severe emotional trauma, which I grudgingly accepted as I was heading downtown to meet another friend for drinks.

My roller disco friend and I spent the walk to the bus stop trying to classify the stuffed animal into its proper food group. I thought it was rice, but then bread, egg, bean and tomato (apparently the Chinese expression goes, “potato tomato”) were suggested.

My son was only finally named on the rooftop of a building in downtown Changsha, raised above my head in both hands so as to see him better.

“Look, Baozi, everything the light touches is our kingdom.”

Baozi is apparently some type of stuffed bread, and my Baozi is a bun with a heart of gold. As you can see from the picture, he’s a bit of an alcoholic, but we’re working on that.

The girl with whom I spent a romantic evening schmoozing at a rooftop restaurant and chilling at a local bar until the wee hours of the morning plays a bit of a role in this story. Despite being beautiful and fashionable, her English is the best I’ve come across so far in China. Last time I saw her she gave me a 1 RMB coin and told me it was 100, and I kept it because it was cute and she was fun. This time, in the midst of fighting over Baozi, we got lost in conversation for five hours without noticing it. Getting to know her makes me believe that comparing other Changsha girls to her is like holding a candle up to the sun.

My friends asked me, “What are you going to do in China?” My answer was, “I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll figure it out.” The problem with my lifestyle is that it’s dotted with missed chances. I didn’t expect any of my friends to respond, “that sounds fun, can I join you?” It’s so far out of anyone’s reality that the shitty, go nowhere job they work in their hometown won’t get them as far in life as the shitty, go nowhere job they work in China, Australia, Germany or England. Who knows, maybe that lifestyle would inspire them to greater things.

But I’m not holding my breath for one of these gems to look at me, smile, and say, “that sounds fun, can I join you?”

So I relented to threats of kidnapping and left Baozi in the cab with my Changsha girl, all the while thinking that a stuffed animal was a good trade for a nice adventure and a good night.

Because you haven’t seen The Lion King in too long:

Pumbaa: It’s our motto.

Simba: What’s a motto?

Timon: Nothing. What’s a motto with you?

Luau. If you’re hungry for a hunk of fat and juicy meat

Eat my buddy Pumbaa here, ’cause he’s a tasty treat

Come on down and dine, On this tasty swine

All you gotta do is get in line, Are you achin’…

Yup yup yup.

For some bacon?

Yup yup yup.

He’s a big pig.

Yup yup yup

You can be a big pig, too.


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