The sky has been blue for three days straight, something to celebrate; the black cloud I woke up under yesterday finally dissipated, flushed away with the tadpoles, my toilets finally in working order. That is the thing about new houses – the plumbing can be dicey in the beginning. My heavy duty plunger is packed in my air freight shipment sitting in a customs warehouse somewhere in China. Having to learn the Chinese word for “plunger” right off the bat is enough to put anyone in a foul mood immediately. I should have known better and stowed the sucker in my suitcase.
To clear the air yesterday, so to speak, I dragged my children off in search of comfort food and retail therapy. We devoured the takeout fried dumplings in our expat standard issue silver Buick minivan*, the greasy juice sluicing down our faces and plopping onto our pants, creating stains not even Martha Stewart could remove. This might be China’s best buy: 15 cents a dumpling, with the sideshow of their manufacture. Next it was off to the antique alley, rumored to be bulldozed soon. Chock full of tchotckes, we ambled down the shady side of the street in the 100 degree heat, passing Mao figurines, fake Chinoiserie, bird cages, snuff bottles, opium pipes, swords, and calligraphy brushes.
Amongst this veritable schmorgasbord of goodies were nestled pairs of “golden lily” slippers, antique (?) slippers for bound feet. I had missed them when out with Princess Ai Lin the first time. She is still in the Land O’ Plenty and so I could not consult her – how politically incorrect is owning a pair? I wanted to reserach the subject before purchasing, having become fascinated anew with the gothic practice after reading Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Later in the day, I posed this question to a potential NBF, a Singaporean woman with four daughters living in my neighborhood, when I spied her coffee table book, Splendid Slippers sitting out. Sweetpea, as I am going to call her, says that in her opinion, they are a good conversation piece and if you like them, buy them, if the price is good. To her they are a reminder of how far women have come in society. Which got me thinking at 5 a.m. this morning: what is it about me that likes the trappings of slavery and bondage? No wisecracks please. Sweetpea has yet to see my balanganda from Brasil, the silver belt of slave charms,** but I am guessing she’ll like it too. For now, I’m sticking to Sweetpea’s story, an appreciation of reminders from the past to be thankful for the life of a woman today. Amen, sister.
With that, I have hit every tag on my “categories” list!
Happy Birthday to Texas Belle! The Beijing Olympics start one year from today, 8/8/08 for all you date-aholics such as myself.
*Someone please send me a Nossa Senhora sticker for the van so we can distinguish it!
**Subject of future post.