Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Busy, Busy, Busy
Well, to say the least we have been busy lately. I feel refreshed and I would now like to share with everyone our lives the past week and a half.
We had a fabulous time in Shanghai and did tons of Christmas shopping. It was great to get the shopping out of the way. I now have to figure out how to post things back to the U.S. and U.K. I think everyone will enjoy the goodies we got them; I am just hoping we don't have any problems with the mail.
Once again I would like to thank everyone for the well wish I received on my birthday. I had lovely star-gazer lilies delivered from my husband and gorgeous sunflowers from my friends back in Chengdu. Thank you to my parents, in-laws, and dear friend Jill who sent me cards and for Pam for her rendition of "Happy Birthday" on my voice mail.
While we were in Shanghai I was able to purchase my birthday goodies from Jonny. This year I asked him to wait until we went to Shanghai to buy me a gift, so he so graciously left the gift shopping up to me. One of my gifts was a picture of a woman in a yarn shop by a very famous Chinese photographer named Wang Gangfeng. (All my knitting friends would love this picture!) The photos are amazing and they give you a peak into the real China. One of the cool things about his photos is that he puts the name of the province on the photo. I am going to ask for the above photo of 2 little Sichaunese children for Christmas. Check out both his color and black and white portfolio, I think that anyone would see the beauty in his photos. I also picked out a gorgeous amber ring from Amy's Pearls & Jewelry. The jewelry here is also another big thing to buy while you are in China especially the pearls.
After returning to Chengdu I was busy preparing for several Thanksgiving celebrations. I was asked by Gemma's teacher to prepare Thanksgiving food for Gemma's class on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I organized the parents of the American students and had everyone bring something. I decided not to have turkey since the 20 pound bird I was preparing for our own Thanksgiving was a cool $75 U.S. dollars! I made 2 chickens, stuffed them and called it good. The celebration at the school was really nice. The kids made pilgrim and Native American head pieces and wore them while we ate. Before we ate the teacher asked the class "What do Americans eat for Thanksgiving?", a question I thought was quite answerable, a little Chinese boy shouted out "Turtle!". Now, I would have thought he made a mistake, but since they eat turtle left and right here I think he was dead serious!
Thanksgiving in China was a little different. Especially for us since we treat Thanksgiving as a bigger holiday than Christmas. We are used to having an after-Thanksgiving evening party with Jonny's turkey curry, croquet and the consumption of lots of alcohol. This year Jonny had to work the entire day, so we ended up attending Thanksgiving evening dinner at the house of 2 Americans that are working for the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu. We had a nice dinner with all the fixings and there were 3 other families in attendance.
I had decided before we went to our friend’s house for dinner that I would prepare Thanksgiving on Friday and have our traditional Thanksgiving party like at home. Saturday I was really busy cooking most of the day and had tons of help from Jonny. He did lots of peeling and chopping for me. We are so lucky to have an ayi to help clean and take care of the house, but apparently she decided she needed to bring in the 'big guns' and called her sister over (who is my friend Sadie's ayi) to help for the day. It made for a stress-free day and the food turned out really lovely. We had over 20 people for Thanksgiving dinner. I was able to find almost all of my normal Thanksgiving ingredients with the exception of pecans. I would have to say my favorite dish was the Eggless Sweet Potato Casserole that I made. I highly recommend it!!! The only actual problem with the meal was that my small oven took 10 hours to cook the turkey! It was probably the best turkey I have ever made, so I think it might have had something to do with the slow-cooking the turkey.
Unfortunately right before the party Gemma started coming down with something. She spent most of Thanksgiving up in her room sleeping. We had the doctor come to the house and he said she had an upper respiratory infection, so he started her on antibiotics. We headed to the doctor on Monday for a follow-up, but I thought she was getting better. By Tuesday Gemma appear to be sicker and Angus was now starting to get sick too. I took them to the doctor again and he gave her more drugs and by this morning they both seemed better. Personally I think it is Chengduitis, which is a disease I have made-up, but it is a disease caused by the pollution in Chengdu.