Sunday, February 18, 2007

11 Months

Where has the time gone? I can't believe that in one short month, Chase will be a year old.

She is still in the 90th percentile for height; her head circ. is still in the 75th percentile (exactly where it was when we measured her months ago). I'm not sure how much she weighs (we need a scale), but she is slimming down as a result of being in constant motion.

I have never been so conflicted. So happy to see her getting older and more independent - but at the same time - so sad to say goodbye to that little, helpless, dependent bundle. She has always been a little, independent being, with her own feelings and desires - the difference is that now she can express them in a way that we can understand (most of the time).

She will be walking and talking soon (it is clear there is already so much she wants to say). Potty training is also right around the corner, as she now tells me when she goes to the bathroom. Next thing I know, I'm going to be saying to her "you want to wear what to prom?"

I can just hear Hubs talking to her prom date now, "so tell me, what - exactly - are your intentions with my daughter?"

Chinese New Year: The Aftermath

AP reports:
  • At least 125 people were injured setting off faulty Chinese New Year fireworks Sunday in Beijing; three of the injuries were serious.
  • One person had to have his eyes removed.
  • There were 114 accidental fireworks-caused fires in Beijing.
  • Nationwide: Accidental fires from fireworks killed 63 people in China over the holiday last year.
  • Fireworks sales (by government-approved vendors) hit 380,000 boxes this year ( compare to the 240,000 sold last year).
  • About 560 million illegal firecrackers were seized (more than four times the amount confiscated last year).

Chinese Food

I’m what some might call a jag eater. That is to say, when I get a craving for something I have to eat it until the craving is gone. Not in a bulimic, eat all the cookies in a package until I’m sick kind of way, but in a eat a couple cookies every day kind of way. Eventually, I lose the craving and move on to something else. It doesn’t happen all the time, every day, but when it does happen, I just have to eat whatever it is until I get it out of my system.

For example: When I was pregnant with Chase, I needed to have the same sandwich every day. It wasn’t a pregnant lady craving thing, this is just the way I am. It didn’t matter if it was for breakfast or lunch. It was egg white, with a slice of cheese on whole wheat bread with spinach or greens on top. I think I ate it every day for a month. (Hmmm, it’s starting to sound good again)

At any rate, when I arrived in Asia, I started craving dumplings and won tons. Now, two months later, I have eaten so many dumplings that I’m finding it hard to think about eating another – ever – in my life.

Over our dumpling lunch (must be dumplings, it is New Year’s Day, after all), hubs and I started discussing Chinese food. While the food here is better than I could have possibly imagined, it is actually getting hard to think about eating Chinese food every day. (I think it is going to take us a long time before we order Chinese food after we move back to the US.)

So why not mix it up? Why not cook some Indian food, or some Italian food?

Well, one of the hardest things, I’m finding, is that it is near impossible for me to find Western ingredients here. There are some shops that sell some odds and ends, but for the most part, when I look through my cookbooks, I can not find all the ingredients needed. Also difficult, I’ve found, is that packaging is different (and in Chinese) – so I never really know what I’m getting.

Then there’s Pungy (the lifesaver), who I often send to the grocery store so I can avoid the crowds, but she often comes back with something totally different than what I asked for. Generally speaking, however, she is excellent at picking out produce, etc.

Anyway, I sent her to Walmart on Friday, with a list of about 14 items. Granted, it was right before the Chinese New Year, so it’s bound to be crazy, but the trip took her an hour and a half and when she got back, she had only found half of the items on the list. And for some things, she did a little improvising. For example, I asked her to buy cream (I was having a friend over for tea and really wanted to make scones), but then she came back with cream cheese. Hmmm, right.

So now I find myself in a hard spot, because while Chinese food is good, inexpensive and plentiful, I am craving thai curry, indian food, French, Italian ... Anything but Chinese ...

Chinese New Year

Last night was Chinese New Year's Eve. The house was sparkling clean (for good luck), the knives and scissors were put away (to keep from cutting the good luck), there were three unopened lilies amid a bouquet of many more (one bloomed today signifying we are bound to have a prosperous year – hurray!), I had frozen dumplings ready to go for New Years day (good luck), and a bowl of oranges (for good luck and wealth).

The fireworks started around 6 p.m. There were massive explosions everywhere. The fireworks lit up the sky, leaving ash and paper on the streets, and the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air. The celebrations continued all night long; the largest display took place at midnight.

I’m finding it difficult to describe what it’s like to have massive fireworks going on outside your window for 6 hours. After about the first hour, it all turned into white noise. But it’s not over, yet.

I believe there will be more fireworks tonight and the “big” fireworks display, which will take place quite close to our apartment, is scheduled for Monday night.

Given the sheer quantity of huge fireworks (being set off in the streets and parking lots nearby), I’m pretty sure that the average Joe can purchase the same fireworks that are used in most professional displays in the US.

And so today was pretty mellow. Most shops and restaurants were closed. There were very few taxis out and about. We spent the day on the couch. Trying to figure out what we are going to do for the rest of the week.

Traditionally, the Chinese spend the entire week with their families. This means that very few places are open. And so, while we have this whole week to ourselves, we are coming up short on what we should do with this time. We were thinking about going to Beijing, but we’re not sure what is open. We were thinking of traveling outside of China, but getting the plane tickets is proving difficult.

Stay tuned...