Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Creative Decorating

They have some creative decorating ideas here in the East.  After spring, summer, and fall flowers fade away they decorate with different colors of cabbage.  While I've always found this strange and kind of funny, I also appreciate the added color on dreary winter days!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


We have a really great market in Qingdao.  The great thing about this market was that it had several grain sellers, who would fresh grind the grains for you.  So if you wanted to be fairly positive you were getting 100% whole wheat, this was the place to go.  They also have lots of other grains they are willing to grind, such as soy, rice, millet, ect.  Unfortunately, while it was fairly convenient to get to from our old apartment, our new apartment is a two bus, 45 minute one direction trip away.  Once you are laden down by 20-30 lbs of produce and flours, you don't really want to bus the return trip.

Just the other day, however, I accidentally found one just 2 miles from our home.  Two different buses can get me to it in about 10 minutes (15 including walking).  Super exciting.

While the grain section is not as exciting, I did find one stall with lots of options.  He seemed to have many of the same grains available, if not displayed as prettily as the other one.  It is also a fun place to walk around with lots to see!

Friday, November 20, 2015


I finally was able to get pictures from my phone to my computer.  Hurray!

A few weeks ago we had a family date night, and it was Matthew's first time Ice Skating.

 Ready to go!
A lot of the night was of course spent like this:

But he had fun too.
 Lizzy had recently learned to roller blade, so going from that to ice skating was a piece of cake.
 And of course we had to end with ice cream!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sorry You Missed It

It was a great show.  The kids really stepped up at the last minute and everything came together.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Hard Facts of Life

A few days ago Matthew had a rough day where he found out a few very important truths.

1. If you suck on a whistle lolly pop, after awhile it will no longer be a whistle.  (He cried about this one on and off for about an hour)

2. Eating cold ice cream fast gives you a brain freeze.

3. There is no way to have warm hard ice cream.  If you ask mommy to warm it up, it will turn to sweet milk.

No amount of talking could convince him there was just nothing mommy could do to change any of these facts.

**As I write this, I realize I gave him a lolly and ice cream in the same day--what kind of parent am I? :-) **

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A little story to make you laugh

So, still no pictures.  Need to figure that out.

The past few days have had their humor.  Sometimes not always funny when it happened.  For instance, last night after ordering a pizza, we waited an 1 1/2 hours (though we called a few times) before they told us they accidentally gave our pizza to someone else...if we wanted to wait another half hour, they would make us a new one and give us a whole 20% discount!  (This was already 8:00PM, an hour past our kids bed time)  Needless to say, we declined.

But today I had an experience that truly showed my lack of Chinese.  I was at the hospital for some general check-ups (the international clinic is in the hospital).  I thought, hey, the play next weekend needs some patient clothes for one of the costumes.  From a past experience where a friend had to have an emergency appendectomy in the middle of the night, I knew you could purchase them at the hospital, at least during daytime hours (the middle of the night crisis get to wear their skivvies).  So I started wandering around, trying to figure out where to buy them.  Found the little convenience store, not in there, so asked the teller.  She motioned me out the store and to the left.  No sign of another store, so I asked someone else.  After several people, I finally end up at a window, where they teller says, "Yes, here! 42 kuai!"  (in Chinese of course)  So I hand over my money and he hands me my change and a clothes.  Turns out you have to be a PATIENT to obtain clothes.  But I've already given him my money, and I don't exactly know how to explain that I needed them as a costume and don't have a department to obtain them I eventually go back up to the International Clinic to beg mercy.

Well, they laugh their heads off with me, but don't really know what to do about it.  A friend walks up and we laugh about the story, and we ask if we can buy the clothes for him (as a patient) which he will then give to me.  They're not sure if this will work.  In fact, since they are simply an out patient clinic, I don't think they even know where to find them.  So they call around to some nurses they know and find someone willing to trade my receipt for some clothes.  They scribble down her department and name (in the equivalent to chinese cursive, nearly unreadable to a foreigner) and give me some broken instructions, half in chinese and half in English about where to go.  So off I head across the hospital again, back down to the 2nd floor.  Can't find this department.  Start showing the slip of paper and asking around.  Finally get instructed to use the other elevator (the one I had just used only goes to floor 4) to get to floor 5.  Apparently you have to use one elevator to go down to level two, walk across the hospital, and use another to get to level 5.  Of course they have half the elevators turned off, so in this elevator lobby there are about 40 people waiting to get on elevators.  I talk Matthew into taking the stairs.  Finally get to the 5th floor.  We're apparently in the cardiatric unit, but there's two sections.  Ask around the first, they don't know what I'm talking about, send me over to the second.  These doors look scary, and the sign above says Intensive Cardiac, am I allowed to just walk in here?  So I wander in, Matthew in tow, wander down the hall, past the surgery rooms, ICU, ect.  Finally find the nurse who was expecting me. 

"What size?"  She says.  I tell her about my size.  She hunts around forever...and comes up with an XXL.  what?  I know Chinese sizes run small and all...I try to get her to go smaller, but she is insistent that I need this large.  I ask her if it's a women's XXL, nope, just a general one.  They don't differentiate between sexes for these oh so attractive patient clothes.  I ask her for a M size, she shakes her head and gives me a XL.  "Pang!" she says, which means "fat!"  Okay, this is the first time I've been called that in China...

After I left (XL in hand, I had given up by now) I finally realize I had been wearing my heavy winter coat, carrying two bags, two umbrellas, and a bunch of other stuff.  I probably really did look "pang" to them.

Well, our poor Korean student will be wearing an XL set on stage next week.  We'll have to make it work because I am NOT going through that again :-)