Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daily Life in China - January 2013

In addition to my regular posts, once a month I will post random photos that will capture our daily life in China.

Casey and Mr. Xiang (our driver) at the local grocery store. Many, if not all of the grocery stores are in the basements of large buildings. To get up and down with your shopping cart they have convenient escalator ramps. Jake and Casey really enjoy this part of shopping.

Mr. Xiang is helping Chris order Jaozi (dumplings with a meat filling) our the local market. We brought them home and learned the hard way about the proper way to store jaozi. If you do not eat them the same day you purchase them, you should lay them out individually (so they are not touching each other) on a plate or cookie sheet and either keep them in the fridge or freeze them. Otherwise, if you keep them in the bag (like we did) in the fridge overnight they will all stick to each other. The next day it was difficult to break them apart as they were all stuck in one big clump. I did salvage a few of them and we boiled them in water for 5-6 minutes and enjoyed them at dinner. Today I learned how to make my own jaozi. I'll save more details about that for a future post. 

Jake was shocked at the over sized hanger. Is this for a Chinese giant?

While grocery shopping we came across the live seafood section. I explained to Casey that this is not a pet store, instead this is dinner. We saw fig fish, little fish, eel, octopus, turtle, crab, you name it, they had it. All of it was fresh and you could select what you wanted and have it butchered right there.

I bought a watermelon the first week here and was surprised when I sliced it open to see a yellow center.  After a close examination and taste test we were happily surprised that it was exactly the same as the red watermelons we love.

Casey and Jake playing near a water fountain on our walk home from school. 

Last week Mr. Xiang took me to YCIS and I picked up the kids and surprised them to dinner out at a new Tex Mex restaurant with our friends the Hayley's and Woytowichs's.  

Last week my friend Nikki and I went out shopping at the New Century Department Store. On our list was a vacuum, hair dryer and cooling fan. We didn't get everything on our list but had a good time testing out all the products and roaming the different levels of the store. All the shopping made us very hungry. We were both feeling adventurous and decided to eat local. Across the street from the department store was a 'fast food' looking restaurant called Movoc. But instead of burgers and fries (like in the US) this restaurant had all fresh ingredients that is then cooked up to make a soup-like substance and was served with white rice. We were given two baskets and through hand gestures and watching others we figured out that one basket is for veggies and the other for meats. We scanned the options and picked out some familiar things and also some "unknown items". We gave out baskets to the counter and they cooked it into a very tasty (and a little spicy) soup type dish. Nikki and I shared the large bowl, shared a soda and each bought a bottled water. Total cost was 26rmb (little over $4). It was delicious and a place I will return to again someday soon. 

Here is the squatty potty. Casey and I are getting lots of practice. It's challenging at first but once we you figure it out, it's not so bad. I still prefer a western toilet. When you enter the bathroom you have to look on the wall outside of the stalls to get your toilet paper. If we're lucky there will be some available. If not, I cross my fingers hoping I have some packed in either my purse or backpack.

On a sunny afternoon after the kids completed their first soccer practice, Chris stepped outside to our courtyard and started some cleanup. This will be his "happy place" after a long week at work. 

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