Monday, May 30, 2011

No Chinese Name?

There is so much to say yet, so little time! I'm watching Winter Wipeout (Thanks to Jenn Chini I am ADDICTED!!!!) as I write this post wishing that Jeffrey was home. He has had to travel a lot lately and will be gone again next week. It's tougher being in another country and having him travel, but doable. Granted…I really wish he was able to be around all the time, but I know with his job that is not likely. So we make the best of it. That does make me EXTREMELY grateful for the friends we have made here. Always something to do or a place to go or even…floors to clean!

Aiden checking out the goodness of Dunkin Donuts!
This week has been interesting, as most of them are. I have found the Dunkin Donuts!!!!!!!!!!!! And the coffee was AMAZING!!!!! I can survive here now! HA! Its pretty sad that it takes good coffee to make me feel more at home, but man it does! I had brought a bag of my DD coffee with me, but it was starting to run out! They had some of their coffee there at the store so I was saved!!!!! At first the thought of making coffee at home was a little daunting since, if you know me well, I use a TON of flavored creamer in my coffee and that does not exist here. But I have found a few things that work to make an amazing cup of coffee. Starbucks here had the other day Vanilla Syrup that they use in their stores so I had to invest and it is so good! Along with that you add some regular creamer, some sugar and a little bit of cinnamon and you have a great cup of coffee! YUM!!!!!!! 
A Pork and Seaweed Donut...any takers on trying it?
Yummy donuts...and most are not too strange!

That same day I went with a friend to check out the Toys R Us and Babies R Us here. It wasn't much, but good to know where to buy toys as Aiden gets older. My goal over the next few months is to find something that will work as a kiddie pool to put in our garden (backyard). Aiden loves playing in the bathtub so I know he will absolutely enjoy the pool. The Babies R Us there consisted of two aisles so not much there. I've been SO GRATEFUL to my amazing mother who has been willing to ship things for us that Aiden will need. Baby food is definitely an interesting thing here and not much variety. THANK YOU MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the Chinese version of a Snuggie! Made me laugh!

Jeffrey and I went to the local electronics store this weekend to buy a home phone and a second water cooler for the basement. It totally made me laugh at how many people it took to figure out my name. One girl had asked me to sign a paper (through "sign language") and then looked at me very funny and started laughing. I started to feel a little odd…then she took it over to a few other people and they started busting out laughing. Now I was feeling very uncomfortable…but what do you do? Finally another girl came up and asked "Chinese name?" Quite a few sarcastic responses came to my mind…but alas I was able to hold off and just say "Bu" (meaning no). At this they all gathered around again and you could tell that they had no idea what to do. I'm guessing that they had to enter my name into the computer or something like that. Finally I took out my driver's license and gave that to her. It still took them a long time, but they finally got it figured out! HA!

All the employees that it took to figure out my name! Hilarious!

Aiden has been growing and changing like crazy! This past weekend he was playing with Jeffrey and while holding his hands, he took two steps! Now granted, he hasn't done it since but it made my heart stop! He has just started rolling all over the place and looks like he is about to start crawling so I know my world is getting ready to get a little crazier! He is doing fabulous with his cereal and would rather have that than a bottle so I have to limit him on the cereal. In another week we will be starting veggies so we are excited to see how that goes and all the funny faces I know will come with that! Hopefully he is not like his mom and will enjoy vegetables. 

So I confess. I am really missing my dishwasher! Maybe that just makes me lazy, but whew…it seems like my sink is always full of dishes and there are only 3 of us in the house. I've already made Jeffrey promise that when we move back home that we will get a nice big dishwasher in our new house! He has already agreed to that! I don't think he likes constantly washing dishes any more than I do. One thing we are on the hunt for that I know is here but we just haven't found yet is aluminum foil! That will make things much easier. The hunt is on….! 

Our apartment is fully livable now and the only thing we have left to do is hang pictures and all the d├ęcor that we brought with us. We have found a furniture factory in Changzhou that makes amazing furniture for great prices. The daughter of the owner works with Jeffrey. We bought two leather chairs and ottomans to put in the basement for a reading area. They are amazing and so nice, but alas again, they wouldn't fit down the stairs! O goodness! So Aiden now has a new chair in his room and we are going to put one in our room, at least until we figure out if there is anything else we can do with them. But this did make us think that if there is any other furniture we want to bring back with us, we will wait and purchase it all right before the movers come to back us back up. Who knows what all we will come back with! 

Stay tuned as the journey continues.Its a daily adventure!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

China Moments

Well so much has occurred in our world over here since my last post.  First and most important in my mind is….wait for it…WE ARE IN OUR APARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one excited girl here! I’m finally getting to sit on my own couch after a long 2.5 months! GLORIOUS!!!! Jeffrey did an amazing job picking out our apartment and it is so very cozy. We moved in on Friday, May 13th 2011 and even though it has only been a week or so, we are very settled and have 99% of the boxes unpacked and furniture arranged. Pictures will be posted as soon as it is fully finished! We have one main floor and a basement in our apartment. The one very odd  thing is that the laundry room is out on the back porch so I have to walk outside to do my laundry. O least I have both a washer and a dryer!!! 

Shopping for food has been interesting as our fridge is so much smaller than ours in America. I have to be very careful of what I buy so that I always have room. We bought some meat the other day and had it in the fridge for two days and when I went to cook it, it was already bad. The lesson here is to ALWAYS put it in the freezer until I am SURE that I am ready to thaw it and cook it. My first “real” meal cooking here in China was spaghetti, but we had some friends over this past weekend and grilled out hamburgers. A little taste of home in a land so far away! My next step is to learn how to cook Chinese food as well as how to substitute ingredients for things that they do not have here. Stay tuned as I’m sure that will be a very interesting adventure!
I finally took a Taxi this week and totally feared for my life. One thing that I struggle with here but know that I am going to have to get used to is the fact that it is ok to NOT put your child in a car seat.  Most taxis do not have seatbelts or room for a stroller so that makes taking one a little tricky. This makes me very grateful to AGCO for is having a driver. That way I can always put Aiden in his car seat for car trips and then decide if I want to put him in the stroller or his carrier. But for short trips, we love to walk. Its great exercise and Aiden loves being outside. He sleeps and I have my iPod going and we just go. Its actually very relaxing as long as it isn’t raining!
We celebrated Aiden turning 5 months old on May 18th. I can’t believe that my son is already 5 months! He has changed so much, even since we’ve been here. This week he has figured out how to roll over constantly and just keeps rolling back and forth. That is definitely making nap time and night time sleeping interesting since he keeps waking himself up my ending up on his tummy. Quite amusing though! I have had to pack away the last of the 3 month clothes and he is fully fitting into his 6 mo clothes now. Getting to be a big boy! In our air shipment we had his exersaucer and now that he has it, he loves to play with it. Just the fact that he can stand up in it on his own and play keeps him occupied. We have started feeding him cereal twice a day. Some times he does great with it and eats the entire bowl...other days it is like pulling teeth to get him to even take a bite. Our child though apparently LOVES the camera and likes to make fun faces as evident in the pictures below. He has a new friend named Joy who is not quite two months old. They are adorable today and Aiden loves to try and calm her when she cries...way to sweet!

This week holds many things for us. Lots of new things to explore. For those who know me well, you know my love of Dunkin Donuts…they have one here in Wuxi!!!! Thursday morning will be an adventure to test their coffee here and then off to find the ToysRUs and BabiesRUs! I must find a vacuum cleaner as well that day so I can keep my rugs clean and fuzz free. So much to do and explore, yet so little time!
We hope to find a good weekend soon to go tour some sights around Wuxi and then plan some big trips in and around China as well. Suggestions are VERY WELCOME!
Well, that is all for the moment my friends. As time marches on I’ll keep you with us on our journey and continue to share all of our very interesting CHINA MOMENTS!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chinese Wedding

We experienced our first Chinese wedding yesterday. It was definitely an experience but a whole lot of fun! Judy, the bride, works with Jeffrey and there was a whole crowd of AGCO employees from all over the world. She had told me when I met her a few weeks ago that this was going to be a small affair and that they weren't doing anything fancy. Needless to say, if that is considered a "small affair" I would love to see what a big wedding is like here. It was a huge hotel ball room that was filled to the brim with decorations!!! Much bigger than our wedding.

We walked in and the room was decorating entirely in red and gold. On the tables were large clear lazy susans with lots of different kinds of "drinks" on them. Thank goodness they had juice!!! J There were also 6 red packs of cigarettes on each table which we knew meant the room was going to get smoky and fast! YIKES! That is something that I always took for granted in Georgia but am so thankful for…no smoking!!!!!

Once the ceremony got started (if it was a ceremony…have no idea what was being said!) the MC started talking very fast and with lots of emotion as spotlights starting going all over the place. They played a mixture of Chinese and American music all the way through the entire day. There was even one "praise" song in English that I wonder if they really understood what the song meant. Finally the bride, Judy, walked in with who I'm assuming was her Father. They stood under a trellis at the back of the room and the groom walked up in front of them and bowed. Judy moved to stand with him and then they turned around and walked together up to the stage. There I guess they said their vows and then moved over to what looked like an ice sculpture that said "LOVE" in English and they each had a bottle of something that they poured into the letters together. The liquid mixed together and turned blue and it filled up the entire wording. Once everything was completed in the "ceremony" part, the couple left the room.

When they came back in a short time later, Judy had changed into a red Chinese style dress (I really want one of those…so beautiful!!!) and had her head covered with a large red scarf like thing. Her hands were bound with ribbon and her husband had the other end of the ribbon rope and was leading her blind up to the stage. Now I have NO IDEA what this was for, but it was extremely interesting to watch. Once they were on stage the MC had the groom dancing and he kept making him do it bigger and better so he could "uncover" Judy's head. There was lots of this going on.

During the entire ceremony and events the waitresses kept bringing more and more food for our round table. I thought I was stuffed at one point and that we were finished, but they brought at least 2 more rounds. If you just try a bite or two of everything it fills you up. I was sitting next to one of Jeffrey's German co-workers who has been in China for a good while and seemed to know quite a bit of what was going on. He asked if I wanted to know what I was eating before or after I tried it. I definitely said after…made it at least a touch easier to try! There was a lot that he still didn't know but I know I ate Jellyfish…and it was GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very chewy and just icky! LOL!!! There was also fish soup, steamed buns, some sort of green veggie that actually wasn't bad (if you know me well you know I HATE veggies!!!!!!) so I found that very surprising. The list of food went on and on, but the pork was fabulous and so was the rice. They brought out a whole fish and though it was hard to get to the meat it was pretty good. My favorite out of the new food I tried was Peeking Duck. The sauce that you dip it in was Incredible!!!!!!

The bride and groom went table by table toasting with the guests and thanking them for coming. I don't know how they could stand up at the end of the evening!!!!!! Craziness!!!

As always, Aiden was a hit! As soon as he woke up and we took him out of his car seat people swarmed him. He did very well, but Mama's heart still skips a beat when they walk off with him. They really do love kids here and love to give them gifts. One teenager who was sitting at the table next to us gave Aiden a little stuffed bear keychain…it was too cute. They all wanted to take pictures of him and with him. Our little movie star! J

All in all it was quite an interesting event!

We are still waiting on our sea shipment to arrive and the hotel tired has moved to hotel exhausted! It can't arrive fast enough in our minds. But it will be here soon…at least that is what I keep telling myself. We are just taking it one day at a time. Hopefully by the next post we will have good news that we are finally there! J