Monday, March 2, 2009 ;
3:10 PM
Y was leaving and I was racking my brains for a suitable farewell gift. The other moms gave her jewellery, so I don't want to duplicate that. Anyway, I wouldn't know where and how to choose a piece here.

Finally decided on a pretty photo frame with our photos inside. Decided to decorate everything myself to make it more meaningful.

After decorating the frame, it couldn't fit into standard boxes, so I found this thermal underwear box that was just right. But it's so ugly.

Fortunately my gift wrap I bought in USA had arrived in the boxes and there was an understated white and silver one (for weddings) and I used that to cover the lid and box.

Then I found my coloured gift papers too and used them as stuffing so the frame would be snug in the box.

The frame was decorated with potpourri petals, pine cones (baby ones), dried buds and her name. The letters that make up her name are made using violin wood. haha. To qualify, it is Dh's personal stash of wood.

I asked him to carve the letters out for me, so he has credit in this project too!

For the photo, I uploaded 3 pics (me and her, ds1 and her ds1, ds2 and her dd2) onto picnik and chose a nice scrapbook page template. After arranging and editing a bit, it was ready to be printed out.

Then I baked a batch of cookies. Cinnamon-sugar-butter cookies with a hint of pandan and vanilla flavour. I discovered that pandan is nice in cookies too, by mistake. Put pandan essence in my cookies before (prev batches) because I didn't have vanilla then. Turned out very fragrant too.

Arranged cookies in Ikea jars I had bought beforehand. Tie box up with silver ribbon.

Place gift box and cookie jar in a party paper bag. Then I gave it to her on the day before she left.
She later called me and said she wanted to bring the whole jar of cookies back to Japan but decided to try just one. Then she couldn't stop and finish them already. :-)

The other piece of exciting news is the opening of a mall very near my estate. The distance is maybe somewhat like walking from Chinese High to MGS? That's a big thing cos this area is mainly residential and there are a lot of expats but everyone laments that there is nothing around here (no shopping or restaurants) and we have to travel to the city center for everything.

Thus on opening day, we all went to take a look. "We all" meaning me and H but we met the whole of population of Meijiang there! Seriously, other neighbours and all. Y was also walking there with her ayi and youngest dd when we were leaving.

It was super crowded and it seems they are not prepared for the crowd. Neither were they prepared for opening, really.

The escalator malfunctioned, and all of us were herded to the emergency stairs, and the stairway was not lit (all the lights were not wired up yet). It was pitch dark, and there were people thronging all around me. I was worried if someone falls, it might be a domino effect and maybe there'd be a stampede. So H and I held hands tightly and moved on. haha.

Then the cashiers were not ready. They didn't work fast enough, causing a whole queue. I didn't venture to buy anything, we just went to have a look. But Y said later that she queued for 45min. 45min spent just standing there waiting.

The counters for fapiao (yup another thing unique to the CHina shopping system) and membership card applications had queues that snaked around the mall.

Babies were crying throughout the crowd, toddlers screaming, adults haggling and shouting... I don't blame the kids, it was stuffy, squeezy, noisy and not fun at all.

And oh, it was not stroller friendly. Y brought her dd in a stroller. And the mall mgt wanted to discourage people from carting the shopping trolleys home so they had cement block pillars constructed around all the stairs leading up to the mall entrances. Every single entrance had the stairs too, so it was a Herculean task carrying the stroller up the stairs and over the cement blocks.

Outside the mall, the bricks were still stacked in heaps, in a single layer, and looked like they could topple off if anyone bumped into them. Mud and dirt was still all over the driveways and immediate exterior of the mall.

The food street was not opened yet, and WORST of all, the basement carpark was not ready and thus closed to the public.

That was a little crazy cos there were millions of cars, scooters, motorised bikes and bicycles parked everywhere around the mall. And then millions more cabs waiting around there for potential passengers. It was a chaotic and dangerous situation.

I made a mental note not to bring both boys here till everything is settled.

H and I had to park very far away and walk all the way to the mall and then back again later.

On the plus side, the good news was the supermarket carried a greater variety of imported goods! I saw California raisins, Kara coconut milk, the Indo Gourmet spices series etc.

And check this out! Coconuts and durians at the veggie and fruit section! haha. With banana plants as decor. H is barely seen in the pic amongst the sardine-packed crowd.

That was last Wed. Yesterday we went again and managed to buy our stuff. It was still a little messy and chaotic and we couldn't find fresh milk! The organisation is totally different from the prev E-mart we used to go to (near the Olympic Stadium) so it was tough looking for tissue, batteries, shampoo and food. At least it wasn't as crowded as last Wed.

And this week, back by popular demand (from both ds), ayi made the potato-carrot cakes again. This time, we used new potatoes (baby ones just harvested) in contrast with the bigger older darker ones throughout winter, and used more flour, and the little cakes turned out much prettier than the last batch!

Both ds ate up everything, leaving none for Dh. At least I got to eat a few when ayi was making them. She'd keep asking me to taste and see if each round was fully cooked.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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