Our fourth month coincided with one of the hottest summers in Shanghai in a long time. What great timing we have eh?? My mother always told me that being pregnant in the summer was the worst. Fortunately, I never had to worry about that, but now my wife does so I guess now I kind of have to worry about this. We’re trying to keep cool. These days are so hot that after about 2-3 minutes outside, your shirt already is showing signs of sweat and your hat is already soaked. Now according to the many books that we have, Michelle is on a daily marathon. The heat doesn’t help. I’m not even pregnant and my strength is gone in this heat. My father in law continues to tell us that the weather is comfortable but I think he is a little crazy. The only relief that we have are some of the evenings after dinner when we take a walk outside over to a small river than runs near our mom and dad’s house. We climb up the short number of stairs and stand on the bridge amid the other people trying to live to 99 years old and feel the breeze. It’s nice. Some evenings there is no wind and our clothes are glued to our bodies.
In the evening, we don’t get many stares since it is in the evening. It gets dark here in Shanghai too, for those of you who know nothing about China. But during the day if Michelle and I walk together we get stares. Now, I’m used to this. I lived in the Henan Province for a year where we had very white people on my team and very African American people on our team, which caused a lot of stares. It’s kind of fun sometimes. It can get really annoying afterward though. Being married to a Chinese looking person doesn’t really help in the staring department. The migrant workers can’t believe their eyes and the older people just look in contempt. The people at the local market look at Michelle now as a person who can pay top YUAN on all products and food. (that is why most of the time I have to hide around the corner and wait till she bargains on items to get the Shanghai price then I come swooping in to help with the item bought, making the seller annoyed that Michelle could’ve given him a lot more money. Ha ha.) But, nowadays, instead of the people staring just at me, Michelle’s belly is the thing to stare at now. They look at me, alarmed that a foreigner would be in this area, then they look at the Chinese girl with me, annoyed because here is an outsider taking an eligible female away from them, then their eyes growing bigger as they move down to her belly. Most people are accustomed to seeing foreign men with Chinese girls, but not foreign men with PREGNANT Chinese girls. That is really something to stare at!! And they do.
With the belly getting bigger and the baby developing, this month and also with the last month, Michelle has found that the clothes that she loves to wear and the clothes that I love seeing her wear just don’t fit well anymore. There are a couple things that are a bit maddening about this. First of all, Michelle is small. Sometimes when, as a good husband slaving away at home, I am doing the laundry, I marvel at just how small her shirts and trousers are compared to my own. So, now that these clothes are not fitting her it is really annoying for her. These dresses don’t fit, these pants don’t fit, this and that. It does open up a whole new wardrobe of clothes, but that wardrobe isn’t as fashionable as you might think here in Shanghai. Secondly, we continue to find bargain clothes and fashionable clothes at store after store for relatively cheap prices. Michelle tries it on and we both look at it and say, “mmm, if only.” We could buy the clothes now and keep them until after the baby is born but then the clothes would be out of fashion. I sit back and tell Michelle, “You’re pregnant, of course these clothes aren’t going to fit you.” Yes, I am truly so sensitive.
More? Head over to Month 5.
Another Detour. Learn about our experiences with the Shanghai hospitals.