Saturday, 21 March 2009

Auro in Japan

Auro and I have been back from Japan for 3 days, so I think it's time for a short update...

Last week Monday, Remo accompanied Auro and me to Changchun airport. From there Auro and I flew through Seoul to Osaka, where a taxi was waiting for us to take us to Kyoto. Auro was great during the whole trip, but by the time we reached Kyoto he was completely exhausted. Luckily there were 2 beds (one normal bed for me and a baby one for Auro) prepared for us in the guesthouse and we could go right to sleep. Being very tired from traveling and having to sleep (again) in a strange bed, Auro woke up 2 times during the night, but all in all we got a fairly good night's rest and by the next morning we were ready to visit my old work place and meet many of my old friends and colleagues. It felt really good to be back!!

On Thursday and Friday, the Institute was hosting the general meeting of the project (of which I am still a member) which was the main reason of my traveling to Japan. I was worried I wouldn't be able to listen to many of the presentations, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by Auro's exemplary behaviour. On the first day he was taken care of by our project leader's mother and except for the times he was hungry or sleepy, he didn't cry too much. The fact that he had a little friend also helped a lot, I think. Kati, my Estonian friend and colleague had brought her baby son, Jurgen to the meeting as well. Jurgen was born 1 day before Auro, so the boys seemed to have quite some interests in common (grabbing things and putting them in their mouths). So most of the time I was in the meeting room while Auro was in another room which the project had reserved especially for our 2 youngest project members. There were even 2 baby cots in case one of the two princes should get tired and want to sleep. Auro, unfortunately, wouldn't sleep in the bed and slept only on my lap. On the second day of the meeting Auro sat/slept on my lap the whole time. It almost seemed as if he was listening to (and understanding of course!) the presentations. There was one presentation about GIS databases that particularly seemed to have caught his attention! He sat quietly through the whole 50 minutes of it! In short, we only left the room when I needed to nurse him or when he needed his 5 minutes of crying before falling asleep.
On Saturday there was a fieldtrip to a museum and a temple, but I only visited the museum, because Auro was too tired (read: he was crying all the time). While everyone was inside the temple, Auro and I stayed on the bus and relaxed. And that wasn't so bad either! We did join for the dinner and there Auro had a great time grabbing everything on the table. Luckily for him Japanese meals are usually served on many small dishes which are easy to grab even with small baby hands!

On Sunday we went shopping! I took the stroller, but it was far from easy to get on the train with it. Luckily, Ilona, my Dutch friend, came along and she helped me carry the stroller up and down the stairs at the station. She also bought some nice clothes for Auro and a toy! Thank you again, Ilona;))) While shopping I also had the experience of breastfeeding together with 4 other women. In Japan, most department stores have special nursing rooms, usually equipped with a sofa or armchair, where you can breastfeed your baby in private (some of them even have individual cubicles where you can sit). Until that day I had never breastfed together with other breastfeeding women in the room and it felt great! I know it sounds ridiculous, but I absolutely loved it! Why don't they have nursing rooms like that in Belgium? Or here in China? It would make going out so much easier!

On Monday, Auro and I went all the way by bus and train to Osaka! It took us about 2 hours, but Auro was an an
gel, smiling to everyone who looked at him! In Osaka we were meeting mama-san, the owner of the bar where I used to work part-time, and Masha, a good friend of mine. As soon as we sat down for lunch, however, Auro decided he had enough and he started crying and screaming. We all tried for half an hour to calm him down, but he wouldn't stop. I finally gave up and went to nurse him. After that he was ok for about 30 minutes and then he started again, so I went to feed him once more. By that time, mama-san had left and my Belgian friend An and her 2 children had joined us. Together we then went to eat some cake and there Auro finally fell asleep on my arm. When he woke up, he still didn't seem rested, but at least we managed to take a picture together! So, from the cake-place we went back to the nursing room again and then Auro and I left for Kyoto. Strangely enough Auro was quiet during the 2 hours we were on the train.

Because our trip to Osaka had not been a big success, I decided to stay in the guesthouse the next day. Auro slept and slept and slept.... In the afternoon we went to the office one last time and weighed Auro. This might sound strange, but in China we went through 3 scales already and none of them seem to work properly or give an accuracy smaller than 500 grams. So, we borrowed a scale from the Institute and, on the 17th of March (Auro was exactly 6 months old), with diaper and clothes on, Auro weighed 6,95kg!!! We took some last pictures with everyone, said our goodbyes and headed back to our room to pack. The next morning the taxi was picking us up at 4:45h!!!

The trip home went well, but both Auro and I were very happy to be back in Changchun. Remo, who was waiting f
or us at the airport, was greeted with all the smiles Auro could muster up after such a long and tiring travel!

1 comment: