Monday, September 18, 2006

Getting things taken care of...

The past few weeks have been busy but nothing too remarkable has happened.
We are getting our house settled. We had our pictures hung and now it looks like home. The houses in the villa compounds are made from cement, so you cannot just hang things with a hammer and a nail. You have to drill and use special cement anchors. So, I called the clubhouse to ask them to send a worker to do it. The woman at the desk said it was busy at the moment so maybe the next day if that was ok. I said no problem. Several days passed and still no worker... So, I called again and explained what had happened. A few minutes later, 2 workers showed up to hang pictures.

One guy would measure, the other guy would assist him. The Main guy did all the drilling while the other guy held the vaccum hose to suck up all the dust that was made by the drill. It was pretty efficient. However, despite the meticulous measuring that was done, many of the pictures are uneven. Oh well, can't complain, their up!

Our master bedroom closet was missing a rod on one of the three sides. So, I called the clubhouse and asked them to put one in for us. No one came. I called again and they sent a worker to measure. Weeks passed. I called and spoke with the woman on whom I depend when I need something. She checked into it and said she found no record of it so we'd have to start over. 2 days later, we had a rod in the closet.

There was no door separating the bathroom vanity area from the master bedroom. So, I asked for a door. Someone came to measure for it about a week later. Then, weeks passed. I spoke with Anna... 3 days later we had a door.

Xing Ayi suggested that I ask for a shelf above the washer and dryer because there had been one there before and for some reason it had been removed before we moved in to the house. I spoke with the clubhouse. Weeks passed, I asked again, weekd passed, someone came out to measure for it and .... well, you know... weeks passed, I asked again and 3 days later... shelves.

Do you notice a pattern? I am not making this up. So, things get done and it's great, it just takes a while. I wonder what would happen if I asked 4 times up front. Maybe then it would get done right away.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day in America. Neither Jack and Jed's school, nor Huck's school, observes the holiday. Tom, however, had the day off. So, we saw the boys off to school together and later went for a bike ride and had lunch at a bagel shop (yes, I did say bagel shop) and looked through some furniture stores.

Huck rode the bus to school for the first time today. It's quite common here for little ones to ride the bus but it felt very strange to put a two year old on a bus. He rode with an ayi from the school and was very happy. When he came home on the bus, he was the only child not sleeping. He will ride the bus only until our car arrives.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How my life has changed...

I have to say that my life has dramatically changed since I arrived in China. There are the obvious ways: Ayi, dinners at embassies, guards watching over our home, etc...

Then there are the less obvious ways that hit me as they occur in my daily life. For instance... Today my friend came by to see if I wanted to go to the nearby grocery store. I said I would go because I always enjoy her company and the grocery store is near the framing store that I wanted to go to to get some pictures of the boys framed. She said she was riding her bike so I said I'd go change out of my skirt so I could ride. She reminded me that it was unnecessary. Everyone here rides their bikes everywhere in all manners of dress. So, off we went...

Our first stop was the framing store. I had three 8x10 photos framed in black frames with white mats. Total cost: $43.

Next we went to the grocery store where we each bought the few things we needed to make dinner for our families, only to learn later that our husbands would be working late (together).

On the way out of the store I looked into the flower shop within the grocery store. It's a separate entity, but is located near the entrance of the grocery store. The flowers were beautiful and I decided it would be nice to have fresh flowers. I was drawn to a lovely bouquet that seemed a little large for my needs so I asked the flourist if she could make another one like it but smaller. She said no problem, but wouldn't I just like that one because it's so beautiful. So I asked how much it was. I walked out with the flowers I'd spotted. Total cost: $6.25. The flowers are pictured above.

Xing Ayi was cleaning this morning when I was leaving for Jack and Jed's school for a visit. I told her what I was going to do and that I'd be back around 12. She was picking up Huck from school so I could go to the older boys' school. After I went through my explanation, she said, don't worry, go play, go have coffee, go see friends, it's no problem. She said this while standing in my bathroom, wearing the rubber gloves I bought her to wear while she cleans.

It's such a strange experience...