I was surprised to receive the invitation the week before. Why? First of all, I don't know who the birthday boy is. And then I didn't know his parents either.
Maybe because ds2 is in Nursery for a few hours each day only, and the class has fewer events than ds1's, I seldom get to meet the other kids or parents.
But when I showed the invite to ds2, he was very keen and so I RSVPed that we would be there.
On that day, even at 3.30pm, ds2 was still deep in slumberland (his nap), so I carried him into the taxi and set off to Marc's house. His house was at the estate where most of the higher level Airbus execs are, so I guessed his dad must be working for Airbus.
It was difficult finding his house because the taxi driver didn't know where it is, and I had never been in the that area either. It comprises mainly huge European style mansions. But this taxi driver was very friendly, and he kept asking different security guards along the way to try and find it for me. Gave him a generous tip, especially since I had a sleeping ds2 to care for. (ds1 was still in school and I had already arranged for Dh to meet him at the bus stop at 5pm since it was his after school activity day and he'd be late.)
When we found the house, I wasn't even sure which was the birthday boy and the host. ds2 had been rudely awakened by me as I quickly urged him to tell me who the bday boy is. It was so embarrassing because as I was entering the house, 3 European ladies smiled and said hi to me, and I had no idea who to greet! I knew none of them.
ds2 was still in a daze, so I had no choice but to ask (in a hopefully non-clueless way), "Where is Marc?" (i.e. It could mean I know who he is of course, but just where is he in the house?"
Oh no, he was the one facing us, right in front, playing with some cars. Oops, ok. Major embarrassment. At once asked ds2 to hand Marc the present. Then to the lady who seemed the busiest getting things together, I had to ask, "Are you Marc's mom?" Ok she was, so I gushed, "Oh hi! I'm A! ds2 is always talking about Marc at home!"
They started with the birthday cake almost at once. It was a simple party, because the kids were all very young. No need structured games... No birthday song.
But I noticed the mom did do the German traditional lighting of candles, including a larger taller one that was more beautifully decorated, with many other smaller tea lights all lighted as well.
(This ds2 told me they were French. argh. He got it wrong!)
Wished I learnt some German phrases from Dh before coming over, cos the other moms could speak some English (so we still understood each other) but their much preferred way to express themselves was still German, so they spoke in German all the time. I was the only non-Caucasian. Maybe the only non-German?
I thought ds2 was invited because the whole N class was. But then, there are 25++ in the Nursery class, and only 3 N kids (incl Marc) in this gathering. This group included some older girls as well (the neighbours). So obviously ds2 was someone special to Marc, and he was given the seat beside Marc too. Yet I didn't know much about Marc till now! What kind of mom am I!
Or maybe it's because ds1 is the chatty one and ds2 doesn't tell me so much about specific friends... He does mention Marc's name once in a while, but it didn't occur to me to find out more about his friends. I think I must pay more attention to ds2 and what he says about school in future.
You can see Marc's older sister in the pic also. Another thing that surprised me was when I arrived and greeted the host, Marc's sister appeared and kept asking ds2, "Where's T? Where's your brother?"
Later I found out that Marc's sister is ds1's classmate and she likes him very much! Cos Marc's mom laughed so hard and reacted with a big surprise when she heard, and she said, "What? T is your son?!! T is J's brother!? hahahaha..."
She said Mari often returned from school to say, "I like T" in a very sweet way. So she remembers this name. Wow, I was flattered. My son is short and thin... Nowhere like a hunk, but he managed to charm quite a number of girls... Ok, his future is hopeful. haha.
It's also funny for me to observe ds2 and his friend. ds2 doesn't speak German. Marc's 1st lang is German. Yet they can play well together and somehow communicate in their own way. See pic below.
After the kids finished eating the cake, Marc's mom asked each kids to hold onto a ribbon of the Caillou pinata. 1-2-3 and pull~! (ribbon pinatas are definitely safer and better for kids of a younger age!)
Watch the kids squeal and grab the goodies! ds2 got a watermelon fan, a lot of candies and lollies. Actually Mari got the fan, but her mom pulled it out of her hands and gave it to ds2! haha. I observed Mari's face intently, fortunately she didn't mind.
After that Marc and ds2 played with cars, while the moms sat and chatted. I had some cake (bought from Paris Baguette). For my sake, they'd switch to English but when anything exciting came up, like when we talked about Ikea and H&M in Beijing, they may launch into bursts of German. They'd speak excitedly, about 5-10 sentences, then turn to me and translated that into English for me, only 1 sentence. :-) It's ok though, I enjoyed myself and we did manage to have a good long conversation.
I also admired the many art pieces around the house, painted by Marc's mom herself. She is a painter! Beautiful. And I noticed that her paintings and creations were very influenced by coming to China. Those dated recently had a lot more Chinese elements. I think maybe this stint is good inspiration for her as a painter too.
For another mom, she didn't like it here at all. She wanted to find some work also, but can't and said she is very very bored. We understand what she meant. It is not that we have nothing to do (she has 4 kids btw), we are bored meaning we can't do the things we used to like to do.
Marc received lots of gifts, all vehicle-related. Fortunately I bought him a transformer car because he is crazy about cars. He got a huge Hot Wheels set of cars complete with a complicated track system. His dad was in the living room trying to fix it up.
After quite a while, he said, "I'm good at fixing planes, but this is too tough. It's more difficult than building an Airbus." That got quite a few laughs.
This motorised gigantic bike is a present from Marc's dad. It became really popular and the kids all took turns riding it in the garden. ds2 is seen on a pedal car in the background.
The older girls decided to walk on the walls. They could walk from this house to several others. Looks like a lot of fun, I was tempted to join in!
I like this neighbourhood and the big open space/ lawn for kids to run around and ride their bikes. But I heard the monthly rental is 40000rmb (S$8000+) and upwards for each 3.5 storey mansion. That is about 10x our monthly rental. Of course, it is still considered cheap compared to similar Singapore properties.
ds2 loves the bike. It's so cool.
Ok, he's confident enough to pillion Marc now!
One of the games they played when they were back in the house.. Marc's mom gave out pins and gathered all the balloons in the house. 1-2-3 and the popping began! Some kids didn't like it of course, but the clip shows ds2 popping balloons with such relish.
When we were about to leave, each kid was given a party bag with more candy, and a plastic bubble gun. It is battery-operated and when the trigger is pulled, there'd be lights and music and the bubbles will come shooting out.
The kids had soooo much fun. I think Marc is even dancing with the bubbles in this pic! haha.
There wasn't any taxi in sight though, in this very exclusive enclave. So Marc's dad called a cab for us. The rest of the guests didn't need one. They all walked home! All neighbours!
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow ____________________________________________________________
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