My thoughtful, kind husband gave me a break last Sunday
morning and let me meet a co-worker of his for the morning. On my way back to
our apartment I walked through the adjoining lobby of our building to find a
car show going on…the past two Sunday mornings they have models and sports cars
as everyone takes pictures. This is how many Shanghainese may spend their
Sunday mornings…Sometimes the materialism can really get to us, I am especially
sensitive to it. Sometimes it is frustrating when we want to make more in-depth
friendships or talk about more than shopping.
This weekend we will have been in Shanghai for one month. My
husband is giving me yet another one-hour break to go to a nearby coffee shop
called Pacific Coffee to write in our blog. Even back home this rarely happened.
Me, hanging out in a coffee shop! We have at least 4 or 5 Starbucks on our
block already, but Jeremy recommended this coffee shop.
I started homeschooling Annalise some more since we are
getting settled into our apartment. She is going through hooked on phonics for
reading, but it can be kind of boring when we get past the activities to
reading materials. So, next week we will begin some readers with stories that
are a little more interesting. She is also learning her numbers, colors, fruits
and vegetables in Chinese. Hudson is slowly joining in too :)
We have a tutor who visits our home two evenings a week, and
we are all learning a lot from her. She is very talented and very good with the
kids and has experience teaching them. We have a different style and lesson
book this time around. The kind of teaching we had in Beijing is just not
practical for everyday language and conversations around here, she said. I
noticed I am picking up a lot more on what people are saying. Still working on
being understood when I speak to people in Chinese. The accents and words might
be a little different in Shanghai.
Sayde had a doctor visit at the Children’s Hospital in
Shanghai for the blocked tear duct in her eye she has had since birth. It is
very minor and we are not comfortable getting a surgery done now since it has
gotten much better. At home in the U.S. surgery is not recommended until after
one years of age, so it was never an option before we came here. She has never
had pink eye or infections in it so that is good. It was quite an experience
going to the hospital and clinic though, everything was in Chinese so an
employee from the company Jeremy works for came with me and Sayde on the
subway. It took a little over 30 minutes to get there and was very fast. We
were greeted at the service desk with people wearing face masks and talking
into microphones even though they were right in front of us with no glass
separations, just to be heard above the noisy din! People were just pushing
everywhere to get their kids in to see a doctor. The lady who came with Sayde
and I was really helpful and I enjoyed talking to her. Even Chinese people have
people like her to come with them on doctor or hospital visits. This is one of
the services the healthcare company does who Jeremy is working with. There are
many people who need to see a doctor or hospital but are not getting in. There
are also many people getting treatments or staying hospitals who do not need to
be there. Our company is sorting out all of this for the Chinese people. In
China, it is normal to call the company you work for “y’all’s company” or “our
company” and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the owner of the company.
We live in the western part of Shanghai which is called Puxi,
while the newer, eastern part is called Pudong. We love living on this older
side. I think there might be more trees over here. The Pudong side is supposed
to be even more expensive to live on, though we think this side is pretty
expensive too. We have met a couple of our neighbors. We are happy that we do
not live in a complex with all foreigners, and we are looking forward to being
able to communicate with our Chinese neighbors more and more.
Last weekend we all
got onto the subway to go to Pudong. We got out at the historical Bund and then
went under the river on another subway with fancy lighting and music. We had
planned on going to an international fellowship service on that side of town,
but missed it and couldn’t figure out the directions. We don’t really use taxis
with our family size and lack of seatbelts, so we ended up eating out at a
Korean BBQ restaurant and then coming back home on the subway. We are pretty
happy with the international fellowship on our side of the river though and
we’ll continue going to that one on Sunday evenings. Our Sunday mornings are
then free for other places.
We are noticing that we cannot plan too much in one day with
our kiddos. They are happy just going to the park and going out to get
dumplings or ice cream :)
Here are just a few things that I have been making at home
and foods that the kids like to eat here, maybe some day I will have a recipe
blog or food channel –
Wok-fried ginger chicken wings with carrots and rice (a one
pot meal, very easy)
Fried potatoes and green beans, or sweet potato fries
Eggplant, ground beef and other veggies in the Wok with soy
sauce, fish sauce, or a black bean sauce
Eggs and tomatoes
Sticky rice, avocado and cucumber “sushi” rolls – wrapped up
in seaweed wrappers
Pork, Chicken pieces, or beef steak sliced thin with veggies, cabbage or Chinese broccoli in the Wok
Lots of noodles, rice, and fruit…
We finally found out where the bags of rolled oats are at
the grocery store so we have been having that for breakfast. We stay away from the tiny boxes of cereal, for many reasons.
We have one stove burner that works until we get a new
stove, so everything we make has been fairly simple using a wok or frying pan.
We just got a little rice cooker last week and that has helped a lot. We may be
getting a blender and a toaster oven soon to make more things with. Next week
we are planning on having at least one friend over for dinner, yay! This is one
of the things that makes me so excited, having people over to our home.
I am taking a few minutes to write this while Sayde is having an afternoon nap and the older two are at the table making log cabins on paper out of popsicle sticks and painting them… I thought the best way to share what our life has been like is to describe one day…we woke up this morning for quiet time before the kids woke up. After breakfast, Jeremy went down to the eight floor to start his workday at the office. Hudson finally got dressed after keeping the bed dry for the first time all week (yay, no washing and hanging sheets to dry today, I’m thankful we have a nice little washing machine that works well :) He had taken some pink ribbons off of a lion gift bag someone had given the kids that had crafts in it. I was going to use the ribbons to fix Annalise’s hair and he stole them away and flushed them down the toilet. The toilet was fine but we had to have a talk about not flushing objects down it. Next, I had to find some cloth to cut up into new ribbons for Annalise. I saw my yellow t-shirt hanging out on the sun porch and decided to cut it up into ribbons since it had gotten stains on it already. Then I fixed Annalise’s hair.
Jeremy came home for lunch today and that was nice. Yesterday, he was here for lunch also and I was able to go out with a female co-worker from his office. Her English name is Taylor and we went to a Korean food restaurant. It was so nice to have a break from talking to the kids all day long. One of the things we have in common is that we have no female friends during the day to talk to since their office has all males and I am with my kids all day. We also both like to run and stay healthy. Sayde just woke up crying so I have to go for now...
Today, a friend we met from the international fellowship stopped by. She has a baby a few months younger than Sayde. We are still hoping for new friends for Annalise and Hudson. They are still shy about speaking to other chinese children and afraid they won’t know what to say when they speak chinese. I am hoping they don’t feel too pressured and can relax enough to start conversations if even just to say hello or ni hao. We did begin some family language tutoring in our home with a teacher and Jeremy and I are picking up a lot and remembering all the words we used to know.
Another typical day happened this way…we went to the large park across the street that is very pretty and busy. There are grandmas dancing and doing tai chi exercises in groups with boom box music, parents or grandparents strolling their babies, and little boys waving sticks under martial arts instructors. It was a very hot day and I was reprimanded many times by the Chinese ladies for bringing my baby out in the hot sun, too hot for her! The park has a little amusement park and a playground for kids.
Another event that happened was Sayde’s actual birthdate on August 1st when she turned 1 year old. Jeremy’s work took our family out for pizza and spoiled the kids :) Chinese people love and appreciate children. Sayde has been eating and running around like crazy! She is climbing on top of the couch and on beds. Hudson is also acting up. A plumber has already been to our apartment to check the sink drain after he dropped his toothbrush down it. Here is some pictures of where we live and the kids..