Friday, August 30, 2013

My Favorite Things.

We are in our last year here in China ( least that is the plan as of now.....who really knows what will happen....HA!), and I am really starting to reflect on life in China vs. America. To be honest, I am scared to death to move back home. I know I know...its America....our home land, where I know where things are and how to read labels and I can drive myself! But alas, it will be different.

Having lived overseas for the last 2.5 years has definitely changed me in a lot of ways. There will be a lot about Wuxi life that I am going to miss and yet so much I'm looking forward to in America. 

So today I wanted to share with you my Top 10 List for things I can wait to have in America and things I am going to majorly miss about Wuxi. 

1. FRIENDS!!!! - This is so true for both countries and one of the things that make me want to go home and yet make me want to stay longer. When we first moved to China I was terrified that I wouldn't have any friends and that Aiden and I would be at home all the time. Ha! Looking back on this I laugh, because God has blessed me WAY BEYOND what I ever could have imagined with friends. Our home here is continually filled with the sound of friends from all over the world and I love it! We have pot luck parties, play dates, coffee gatherings, baby showers, goodbye parties and more. It is one of my favorite things having friends over for any reason. Being an expat almost forces you to get to know people and have time together. It creates a bond that is not easily broken. Never before in my life have I known so many people from all over the world. Though, I confess that I'm a little nervous about going back home with this. Life has gone on back in Georgia and trying to walk back into our lives before that won't be the same is a little nerve racking. 

Football Party! 

Teaching some dear friends about Sour Cream and Ranch. 


My dear Jacqueline

Friends at Donna's Good bye party

Love traveling with friends! 

Sweet friends and parties! 

I'm blessed with a FABULOUS Ladies Bible Study group here! 

Aiden and his buddy Noah! 

2. Cars & Drivers - I am so thankful to have Chen, our driver here in Wuxi, but I am super ready to have my own car that I can drive. 

Riding with Andrea on the Tuk Tuk...there definitely won't be these in America. 

3. Coffee! - There is so much I can say about coffee. I love how often friends get together and go to Starbucks (or any other coffee place) here. And even better I enjoy being able to have it delivered to me any time I want. I am sooooooooooo going to miss that when I go home. 

So many good times are had at Starbucks...even for the kiddos! 

I think I have created a monster. Aiden always wants a sip of my coffee! 

4. Washers & Dryers - This may be more of an "I'm looking forward to" rather than "I love about my Wuxi life. Ha! One of our first purchases when we move home will be a nice big washer and dryer set. Then maybe I only have to do laundry a  few times a week instead of every day like I do now. But Wuxi life has taught me to be thankful for that and not take it for granted. 

5. Dishwasher - This one is in the same boat as the washer and dryer. I cannot wait to be able to put my dishes in the dishwasher at the end of the meal instead of washing them all by hand. Yes I realize this is a first world problem. Many of my problems aren't really problems at all...just what I make them.

6. Apartment / House - We have an amazing place to live here in China. Jeffrey did a fabulous job picking it out for us and it has been perfect for all of our needs here. Now as we are looking at new homes back in Georgia, I get excited about the possibilities. Can't wait to go house hunting. 

7. Grocery Shopping / Delivery - One of the things I'm really looking forward to for going home is wandering around a grocery store where no one bothers you, the carts work, and I can read labels! Here in Wuxi though it has been a challenge but one we have pretty much figured out. We have to go to at least 4 different stores to get everything we need, but we make it work. The one thing though that I really love is being able to get so much of my stuff delivered. Even when I walk to the veggie market, one of the vendors I purchase from will deliver my produce free for me, so I don't have to stuff it all in the stroller. And then there is the fabulous taobao website that I have found most of my foreign products for much cheaper. I've gone crazy with it. Many things like this I will really miss here in Wuxi. But if you are ever looking for me in America, I may be in the grocery store just loving the wide clean aisles and the many many things there are to look at! 

I will certainly miss having my groceries delivered! 

Aiden loves to shop too! 

Our awesome veggie market close to our apartment

8. FOOD!!!!!!!!! - We have some fabulous restaurants here in Wuxi and we eat out quite a bit. Or I guess I should clarify that....Aiden and I eat out quite a bit, my poor husband doesn't get to go as much as we do. We have tons of great places from around the world...Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, German, Western, Indian....we love it all. But, I REALLY miss a good Cheeseburger. I'm so ready to go to Red Robin and devour the Royal Red Robin mouth is watering at the thought. If anyone would like to take me, I'm yours! And I cannot forget Chick-fil-a. Those fries....the chicken biscuit for yummy! And speaking of breakfast....I'll take any kind of breakfast foods. The only place here is Wuxi to really get "breakfast out" is McDonalds. 

9. Skype / Family Time - I confess I have gotten a little homesick in the last few months, but I am so thankful for Skype. I love talking to as many of my family members and friends as possible. Skype makes the world a smaller place. But on the other side, I'm extremely excited about getting to see everyone in person and getting a real hug and quality time. 

I miss dearly my sweet friend Jenn! She won't be able to kick me out of her house when we return! 

Jeffrey misses his buddy Josh as well! 

10. Language!!!!!!! - This is a major one for me. I am excited about going back to America where English is the main language and I can handle most issues on my own since I will understand what is going on. Here in Wuxi, I have been so blessed with wonderful Mandarin teachers who have become wonderful friends, and other friends who are always willing to help me in my time of need. That is one thing that humbles me more than anything here is knowing that I cannot handle everything on my own and I have to be willing to ask for help. As an extremely independent girl this is a hard one for me, but I am learning. I do my best here to learn the language, but I am far far far away from knowing what I need to. But that is on me, I must keep learning and not let the thought of moving back home keep me from working at it and trying to learn. I am in their country, so I must do my best to learn the language. 

There is so much more to China vs. America life, but these are my main things. My goal though is to not let myself forget the lessons I have learned here in China, but to take them home with me and apply them to life back in America. 

Thanks for continuing the Journey Across the Ocean with us! Just a few more months!!! Time is flying for sure. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What is wrong with this picture???

As I was walking through one of our malls here today with some friends we came across this store, and didn't know what to think. 


Yes, Camel, the cigarette company makes kids clothes over here. 

We got a good laugh and a shrug out of this today!