Monday, November 8, 2010

The S Series, Part 2

I'm feeling a flurry of blog posts coming on. so many days are full of things that I see - things that inspire, amaze, and confuse addition to the fact that i've finally determined to live life here to the fullest. i'm tired of comparing it to the states, tired of being frustrated with different customs, and tired of being mad at not being able to find my vegetable of choice in the grocery store. I am in one of the largest and most unique cities in the i'm going to live it up!

S series part 2: Shrimp pasta, Supermarkets, Sanlitun, and Sub-zero temperatures.

I'm finally beginning to cook around here. I like challenges, but grocery shopping and cooking here is definitely a serious challenge. I found the nearest grocery store (in a nearby basement, like so much of the retail here) and have spent the past two weeks getting to know it a bit better. It is full of the typical chinese supermarket things: piles and piles of vegetables - more green leafy things than i can count!, random chicken pieces on piles of ice, and employees hawking the wares of their particular department. Mostly I have been successful, as in the shrimp pasta dish that I created last week, compliments of my parisienne friend Isabel and Giada. (check out her blog! Adventures in a Gluten-Free Life) However, last week i bought some bacon. It looked like delicious, thick-cut an exact replica of cartoon bacon, with the perfect delicious bands of fat and meat. Yet........YET. When I started frying it: the fat went nowhere, the meat turned brown (not like bacon), and smelled of beef. I have no idea what part of the cow I was eating, but it was NOT pig. ah well...can't win 'em all.

Sanlitun is one of our favorite areas here in Beijing. It's a wonderful combination of small narrow streets full of tucked-away crowded restaurants, the Village - a new brand-name shopping extravaganza, and Ya Show - the fake brand bartering market. Very popular with expats for its fun dining options (Apothecary, spanish tapas, and Bitapitta) and international resources (bookstores, shopping, and hair salons). If you come visit we'll be sure to take you there!

While I don't believe we've quite hit the sub-zero temperatures here, I'm getting pretty nervous. The 2 and 3 degree celcius days haven't been horrible, but everyone keeps saying that this is supposed to be the worst winter in 500 years. I don't even know how to comprehend that. This Florida girl has no idea she's doing.

Top 10 (part 2 of 2):

4. This past month has been full of incredible excess....and i am so overwhelmed at everyone's generosity that I don't know what to say. From pages of facebook birthday wishes, to cards, to blog posts and emails, to cookies, brownies, candy, magazines, and even deoderant (thanks, mom!)...i can't say thank you enough. You all have made being here such a delight. Even on those awful days when I didn't want to venture out of the apartment for just wanting to stay someplace understandable, seeing the cards on the fridge and grabbing some cookies made me feel very loved and able to handle it. Thank you.
5. Things I love in China: cucumbers (have i said this already?), fresh fruit juice, peanuts, lettuce, eggplant, and elevators. The elevators here are awesome. You know in the U.S. those buttons: "Door open" and "door close"? And how the door close one doesn't actually close the door? It's a psychological ploy to make you think you're helping? Well....get this. Here, the 'door close' button actually closes the door. Immediately. It's vastly efficient and I love it.
6. One thing I still haven't gotten used to yet is the 'please' and 'thank you' culture here. It doesn't really exist. Please is only used in very few situations and thank you is only reserved for people who you aren't close to. Friends and family feel a bit alienated if you say thank you. Which is bad thing for me...thank you comes out of my mouth every 3 minutes.
7. My walk to work is pretty enjoyable. I thought it was going to be awful, but I have discovered the beauty of it in many ways. I especially enjoy all the street vendors selling breakfast. It's pretty much like over the river and through the woods. (except read 'train tracks' instead of river)

This isn't along my walk, but i'm always on the lookout for humorous moments.

8. This Florida girl bought her first pair of boots and skinny jeans. It's so weird. I caught a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror while shopping the other day...and scared myself because i thought another girl was standing right next to me. (side note: they're ankle boots....which brian really doesn't like. He says they're fine, but he hasn't told me I look good while wearing them yet. :) haha
9. We had a big poker night with some friends from the US: Dana and Tom Zemke (who took us for all we were worth), Derick Cissel, Brandon Huffman, Greg Kaeuper, and Brian and I. My first time really playing poker....I think i did okay.
10. We bought a toaster oven!!! Which is why we've started the hosting in full swing! We had 20 people over for a halloween party and then 15 over for a casual dinner last friday. I'll share some halloween photos in the next post....

zai jian!

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