Saturday, August 23, 2014

Making our home in China

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

Beef Stew

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.

Next post I will try to include more pictures...

- Lisa

1 comment:

  1. Love to hear your news. Sounds like you are all adjusting.