Every year, our school members gather at May 4th Square early one morning in Spring, and about 400 students and teachers walk all the way to Shi Loa Ren (a beach on our side of town). The event is approximately 10km long, which is apparently way too long for some students. Shortly after we started, they were already dropping like flies. Justin and I were assigned to walk with one of the grade 11 classes and they were at the back of the walking line. A van kept pulling up beside us and then a student, looking like they were about to faint, would jump in. Evidently these kids need to do a little more exercise. We didn’t join this event last year because I was 8.5 months pregnant, and I’m pretty sure the school would have had a heart attack if they saw me walking that distance. Pregnant women are not supposed to do much, and walking that far would be insanity to Chinese folk. If you missed our post about this, check it out here: Rules for Pregnancy in China. We asked our friends, Trent and Angie, to join us. Actually, Angie is pregnant, but luckily none of the teachers or student knew that beforehand. Later on, some of them came to ask Justin if Angie was expecting, so I guess that little bump of hers is starting to show. How exciting… It’s always fun when people start noticing your “bump”. When summer arrives, these special friends of ours will be moving back to Texas, so we were thrilled to have them join us for this school event. We were with Trent and Angie when they found out that they were pregnant – Yup, I’m going to be bragging about that until their baby is in school!
Our walk started bright and early at May 4th Square (“wusi guangchang” in Mandarin). Above is the “May Wind” sculpture, the landmark that makes this spot famous. This square is a popular tourist destination, and on pleasant days the air is filed with kites! We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. Nothing like blue skies and clean air on a coastal walk day. This felt like a day off for Justin!
We walked at the back of all the high school groups. It was only when we tried to use the toilets at Marina City, that we realised just how early it was. The mall was still closed – Oh goodness!
The souvenir stalls were, however, open and ready for business…
We stopped at various points to rest, use the restrooms, and take in some refreshments.
The atmosphere among the group was relaxed and laid-back. Elijah got a lot of attention each time we stopped.
… even from the teachers. The old man in the picture above is so sweet! He used to smile and wave at me everyday when I worked at the high school. I was walking around there, from classroom to classroom, until the day I went into labor. He speaks no English, but he would always smile and say hello. He has such a warm, friendly face. I’m sure he just loves seeing Elijah – his face lights up whenever Eli is around. He kept stopping to have a look in the stroller and then give a thumbs up.
Trent and Angie walked with us for a few kilometres and then they caught a cab to go and run some errands downtown. We are thankful that they were able to join us for a couple of hours. Aw, look at that little baby bump! *Angie is just entering her second trimester*
I have to say, I’m quite impressed with my skill at this stage. Elijah is a little guy, but he is by no means light. At almost 20 pounds, it is hard to carry him across your arms. He started to get hungry and wanted to nap, so I walked while feeding him so that we didn’t fall too far behind the group. If we had sat down for 10 minutes, we never would have caught up. Justin was amazed that I could do this, and I’m not going to lie, so was I.
When we got to the end of our walk, the students were allowed to do what they wanted. The high school foreign teachers decided to keep walking. We walked all the way to the end of the beach, a total of 12 kilometres. We had planned on eating at DejaVu, which is a popular expats spot, but we didn’t get further than the convenience located two stores away from the restaurant! The weather was too good to waste it sitting indoors.
We sat in the sun enjoying some cold Asahi (Japanese beers) and then ordered take-out from Deja-Vu and enjoyed our food outside until a crazy mist rolled in. It was good spending this time with co-workers and friends. Justin and I have decided to do this coastal walk at least once a month!