Relax – we are still here…

I know that after the barrage of posts over the weekend, many of you were getting concerned that something had happened to us, but all is well. After all, we do have jobs you know (well, Terry has a job, I have a lot of time to fill.)

Anyway, it is Tuesday evening and I am sitting on our new 3 seater couch, two seats of which recline – it is remarkably like the chairs we bought for our family room, for those of you who have seen our family room chairs. We had had it with the love seat and chair which was the “furnished apartment” furniture. It was ugly, uncomfortable and (we thought) causing me an allergic reaction to the silver ‘lead’ painted arms, as each evening as I sat in it, I started to get a horrible itch on the inside of my elbows. Alas, as I sit on the new couch, I am still getting my evening itch. I suggested to Terry that perhaps it was the wine – her response was “When have you ever reacted to red wine?” Thanks God, someone with sanity lives here. Now, if I could only convince her to do something about the chandeliers….

Sunday we did some shopping and I bought a couple of cables which allow us to watch whatever we can get through the computer on the TV. Technology! We watched some new NBC show and then I downloaded Season One of Boardwalk Empire. We are thrilled that we will get our Survivor fix on a large (well, larger than a computer) screen. It is interesting how the different networks allow access to their shows. NBC and CBS are immediately after it airs in the east, for ABC you sign in (not that there is anything worthwhile on ABC) and FOX you wait 8 days.

This is the Mid-autumn Festival and yesterday the school very generously gave us each two boxes of Moon Cakes (click here for a Wikipedia explanation).  Let me explain about Moon Cakes. First, the packaging. Like everything in China, they are concerned (I assume) about the safety and presentation of things.

Moon Cake and packaging

We received two gift bags (see photo) and in each bag was a box  just slightly smaller than the bag itself (sorry, the box has already gone down to the recycling). In each box were eight smaller boxes, two of the larger one shown below and six of the smaller one. In each box is one Moon Cake in a plastic tray encased in plastic wrap. When you open the plastic wrap, you get to the Moon Cake. The Moon Cake is shaped like a moon with very flaky pastry and for taste think a cross between a Mincemeat Tart and Matrimonial Cake, but heavier.  They really are quite tasty and one can last you all afternoon! It is quite a festive occasion when you have one – Terry is thinking that perhaps they might lead her to a happy dance.

Terry here. Yes, we are pretty happy with our comfortable seating.  Feels much better.

A few more comments on school life:  earlier I mentioned the music used to change classes.  I may have missed the daily schedule:  first period; daily physical exercise; second period; third period; eye exercises; fourth period.  Music is used to indicate each of these.  Eye exercises last for 5 minutes with a most annoying piece of music blaring out of the speakers.  Mr. Zhao, bless him, is going to install volume knobs for us so that we can turn it down so as to finish last minute instructions to the students.  What seemed like a nice way of operating is starting to wear a bit thin as I long for some different tunes to come forth.  Adding to the general noise level is the random but highly frequent sound of fireworks, at any time of the day and night, signaling (choose one) a birth, a death, the opening of a new business, the closing of an old business, a holiday, etc.  Several times we have been interrupted by the sound of fighter planes launching themselves into the sky.  We don’t know if there is a base near-by but assume that some of these might be patrolling Daioyou Islands, currently in dispute with Japan.   Yesterday we were in a staff meeting with Mr. Zhao.  A plane took off while he was talking and we were desperate to hear what he was saying.  Between these noises and the honking of traffic, it’s a pretty noisy place.

Back to the new sofa for a minute.  It was delivered by one man on an electric cart.  He hoisted it onto his back in the lobby and man-handled it into the lobby then the elevator, sent the car up to our floor, took the other elevator, then somehow brought it in to our apartment.  Pretty amazing.  The only problem:  he didn’t bring our new area rug.  I am thinking of The Godfather.  Perhaps his wife is receiving a nice new rug this evening.  “I did someone a favour.”

Stop!  The carpet just arrived, via a different delivery man.  We must get over BC time and remember we are in China.

(Ed Note: Re Packaging: Terry recently bought a package of wheat crackers. It was approximately 5 inches by 12 inches. She thought she would get 24 – 30 crackers or so. No no grasshopper – she got 16 individually wrapped crackers. They are manic about wrapping here.)

One package 4″ x 2″ x .4″ – one cracker – 3″ x 1.5″ x .25″

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