Wednesday, August 13, 2008 ;
8:27 PM
Promised some pics of the apt and surroundings.

This one below was taken on the evening we arrived. Reached the apt from airport in 2 cabs. Landlady and housing agent met us there. Landlady bought this huge bouquet of lilies to welcome us. The fragrance lasted at least 5 days. :-)


This was taken on Sat, the first time we brought both of them out together. The first couple of days after we arrived happened to be very hazy and warm summer days. So the air quality was very poor.

The kids enjoyed running outside though, and ran and skipped all the way from our apt block to the main entrance where we were going to take a cab.

The trees that line the small streets have noisy residents. Thousands of cicadas inhabit those trees. The first morning, I was wondering why I kept hearing the sounds of water falling from somewhere. After we opened the windows, we realised they were sounds of the cicadas. They can be really really loud, and Dh even caught one for the kids to observe and then let it go again.

There were also hundreds of cicada moults on the tree trunk, so we can see the different stages of the cicada life cycle. What pattern of growth is this, my bio students? Allometric or isometric growth? :-)

Our first meal at home: after I finally bought plates, bowls, cutlery, a knife, a chopping board, one pot, one pan, 2 spoons, 2 forks.

We even had to take turns eating cos we had only 2 spoons. Reason being: we only exchanged this fixed sum of money into renminbi, and dh has not received his first paycheck over here yet. So our funds had to be spread out over all the essentials, and there was not a single thing in the apt, besides the bigger furniture.

So this meal was really hard to come by. Had never worked with so few things before. Like, I fried an egg for the kids in the frying pan, then I had to wash the pan, wash the bowl used to beat the eggs, then use bowl to collect chopped garlic and another plate for the washed and cut veggies. Then use same pan to fry xiaobaicai. Wash plate up to put cooked xiaobaicai. Man, we did so much washing cos we only had those few plates/ bowls.

Used to have 4 frying pans, 2 woks. haha, all diff sized. And many different knives for different purposes too. But now, after chopping garlic, even though I washed the knife clean, and after dinner cut the pear and peach (courtesy of H) up for dessert, Dh complained that the pear slices tasted of garlic. No choice lor. Still have to swallow the weird-tasting garlic-pear.

Oh yes, our dear friend H supplied us with the chilli padi too. We chopped a little up for the soy sauce, so nice.

Soy sauce also. I didn't have too much money for condiments and sauces. So I thought hard, what are the most essential. Got normal cooking oil, salt, light soy sauce, sesame oil only. Later on, for the rest of the week, I so missed my black pepper, mushroom oyster sauce, olive oil, cooking wine... And when I cooked soy sauce chicken, I realised I am missing dark soy sauce! Argh!

So I bought those items (minus the wine) this week. Hehe. Happier now. The kids too, cried for their Cheerios and got it. Those were our rare splurges -- to reduce homesickness and misery. Cheerios cost S$16 per normal box, can faint. My normal sized bottle of Olive oil cost S$20. Can't find my usual sea salt, so no choice, bought normal salt.

Dh asked his bosses if they can bring some Cheerios and Goldfish (baked cheese snacks the kids love, cost S$12 a packet here) over when they come for business trip. They said no problem, so we'll wait eagerly. If any of you are visiting us, I'll pass you a list to bring too! I also know better what to stuff my luggage with, when I return to Spore for a visit.

Of course, we are also trying to shift away from cereal/ milk and bread/ jam breakfasts. Cos it will be too hard to continue that lifestyle. A decent loaf of bread costs a lot here, and it is so difficult to find bread that feels and tastes like Gardenia. Jam is terribly expensive, so we didn't buy any. Fortunately I brought some Ya Kun Kaya over, so we're good for now. Cereal is what I didn't expect to be so rare over here, so I didn't pack any.

Dh and I decided, more la mian and mantou for breakfast from now on. Those are everywhere.

Pics below: the backyard of our block. Kids playing badminton with Dh. We brought our own rackets. Shuttlecock borrowed from H. H is not our direct neighbor, but close enough. In this complex, there are different clusters called XX Yuan (Garden). So we are in YY Yuan while H is in ZZ Yuan. Within each cluster or Yuan, there are various blocks, and the blocks are numbered. So our address is pretty long.

It goes TJ city, Hexi district, XYZ Road, Condo name, YY Yuan, Block X, Unit XXX. Republic of China.

In Utah, it was just the coordinates 123 W, 456N, City name, Utah, USA.

In Spore, it was 1, Jln XYZ, Singapore.



A church friend in TJ said there are only some occurences of blue skies during spring. Can you see the grey skies in the pics above? A little depressing in the morning sometimes. But as usual, after the teething problems, we'll find out more and more good things about the place. And I am confident that we will like it and treat TJ as our home soon.



rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow
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