She was a little german-chinese girl. Anastasia. Maybe about 5, 6? Fluent in german and chinese and becoming fluent in english. We were nudged in to help out with her cause her mum had to work, and she wanted someone to speak english to her kid. Who better than us? Loafing miscreants who aren’t contributing to society in any way and who have a relatively good command of the language. proclivity for non-PC words aside.

when we got there she was bored. she had waited for us all day but we agreed to arrive at 4pm, which was too late. she pretended not to notice us (playing at power politics already?) until i whipped out my pop out books in chinese/english on animals in the zoo and in the jungle and on a farm. thankfully i have a pop-up book fetish so i am not completely lost when handling children. we entertained her by drawing animals and reading the books to her, and then she brought us to her room and showed us all her toys.

Man that kid has a lot of toys! and apparently Play Mobile is edging out Lego in producing safer, more intricately designed models of everything. of people, of animals, of accessories… she also had a huge black spider that was bigger than her. her bed was one of those duplexes, the top bunk was a tent (!!) and the bottom bunk was where she actually sleeps. she gets stickers for being independent, like taking a bath, or being nice to the maid, etc. and there’s a door in her room (locked from above so only an adult can let her out) leading to a balcony (they stay in the penthouse) where she has her own private swing!! hung from some beams in the ceiling. she also has her own bougainvillea bush. she plucked quite a few flowers off the bush and gave them to us. obviously she has never read hao gong ming.

then we were going to go for a swim and i helped her choose a swimsuit (she has at least five different swim suits, most of them bikinis that she will soon grow out of) and put her in the bathroom to change and left. then she looked at me and i asked her if she wanted me to help and she nodded rather forlornly. who knew that 5 yr olds can’t wear their own swimsuits. perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult if she wore more conservative one-piece costumes. seeing as i have never even owned a bikini myself i had no idea how to work the clasp on the back of hers. that was one thing i never thought i would be stumped by. helping a child put on a swimsuit was definitely not one of the activities i had slated for this holiday. it was massively complicated. more so than this:

to her credit she had the patience of a saint (probably cause she can’t do it herself so she can’t really blame me for not knowing) and didn’t complain while i fumbled with the clasp like an inept teenage boy (i almost hauled the maid in to help. yep, i am the product of an ivy league education. even less qualified than most maids). i spose in many respects i am pretty similar to an inept teenage boy. woefully ignorant. today hq told me that some people in the dregs of the army can’t write their own name and also that only 20% of people over the age of 21 haven’t had sex. i didn’t believe him on either count (surely 99% of my friends over the age of 21 haven’t had sex i only know one who has) and he said it’s as if i live in a greenhouse within a greenhouse within a greenhouse and am completely sheltered.

it’s nice in my greenhouse.



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