Sunday, January 20, 2013


The other night as I was putting Julian to sleep, I told him that sometimes when I feel anxious I like to imagine I'm in my favorite place, somewhere guaranteed to make me feel happy and relaxed no matter what.  Mine is -- obviously -- Riley's Beach in Cotuit.  I asked Julian where his favorite happy place is, and after a second, he said, "Fundazzle."

When I lived in Boston, my friend Whitney and I thought about opening up an indoor playground cafe, and while that project remains in the brainstorming phase, Beijing already has several of them.  The best we've found so far is called Fundazzle.  It's in what looks like a former warehouse and has a huge two-story jungle gym with slides going down into an olympic pool-sized ball pit.  There's also a sand box, climbing wall and an inflatable pool filled with goldfish you can pay a little extra to catch with a net.  So basically a four-year-old's happy place.

Julian so Fundazzled he can't stand still

Julian, Vera and I went on Saturday. We got there. I looked at my watched, looked at Julian, looked back at my watch, and two and a half hours had passed.  Julian spent most of it sprinting around while Vera got attention from some of the Chinese parents.  A lot of them had questions about her hair: what color would it be?  Would it be as blonde as Julian's or more like mine?  Is it possible it might change color?  I didn't really know how to answer but later realized they were curious probably because 99.9% of Chinese people are born with black hair, grow up with black hair and then get old and dye their hair black.
Vera and her mystery hair
The best part by far was when Julian asked for water and a snack.  I was nursing Vera so couldn't go get anything, so I gave him cash, told him how to ask for what he wanted in Mandarin and watched him go.  I'm not sure how he did it -- English, Mandarin, Russian, sign language -- but he managed to return with something to eat and drink and my change.  Never mind the snack he ended up with was a vile-looking supersized bag of prawn crackers.  Just seeing his confidence grow made me proud.  Maybe Fundazzle is becoming my favorite happy place too, in Beijing at least.

The germ pit.  I mean ball pit.

1 comment:

  1. What a cool post!! And Im so proud of Julian for successfully getting a drink and snack. He sure is amazing.