Archive for July, 2008

Travel Pictures

Please check out our other blog site for some of the pictures from JM’s recent trip to Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. More details about the travels are coming soon.


This blog works after all

To our astonishment we made our first meeting in Nanjing of a cyber-friend we made through this blog. A business student from California, Eric, made his way to Nanjing a few weeks ago. We had been in touch earlier this year through the blog site, and he contacted us again while he was here in town. It was great to spend a little time with a fellow American who is also interested in moving to China with his wife and new baby. Kudos to him for making the trek out to see us! Anyone else who’s in town, feel free to look us up and we’ll be happy to meet up and chat about our experience here.

“I do my little thing on the catwalk”

Since we’ve come to China, it may surprise you that I’ve had two modeling jobs. (This is Liz writing, JM has not and will never “do his little thing on the catwalk.”) I know, I know, it’s hard to believe that Ford Modeling Agency never signed a contract with me, and Tyra has never once called me to try out for Top Model, but here in China – my modeling potential is finally being realized.

Seriously though, since we’ve gotten here, we’ve realized that it’s very easy to work in two venues – English teaching and modeling. We knew we’d easily find work as English teachers, but as a model? My first job consisted of shooting a video in a wedding dress to promote a retail website. The second job consisted of shooting a video to promote a new thermal cup.

This last job came out of the blue this past Saturday. I had been planning a day at home with Leo as the weeks have been busy with JM out of town. I heard a hurried knock at the door and answered it to find my new friend (and business contact) in desperate need of a foreign model for a small job. Which, for the FIRST TIME in China, put me in a good bargaining position (It was about time!). After negotiating salary (and him offering to babysit Leo for me while I worked), we were off!

We drove to the location, and in front of a crew of about fifteen, I shot a TV commercial for a new thermal cup, sitting on an insanely bright neon-orange chair in front of a fish tank. I helped them tweak their copy into English from Chinese. After hearing my Chinese pronunciation, they wanted me to use the Chinese product name, rather than the English. The whole affair ended up being a lot of fun. They would coach me in Chinese, “A little louder, turn to the right, hold your arm up higher, next take – make sure you look at the cup.” They were all the kind of cool, graphic design, artsy-type people that I am so not – so it was a lot of fun to live in that world for a couple of hours.

Leo meanwhile, was being thoroughly cared for by EVERY WOMAN within a 100-foot radius of the shoot location. I had nothing to worry about – as his stranger anxiety has recently worn off a bit (yay!). We ended the shoot by taking a big group picture with Leo and the crew (hopefully I can put it up on the blog soon!).

What’s much more interesting than my burgeoning career as a model, is the general obsession with foreigners and all things foreign here. People tend to think white skin is better and big round eyes are better– basically, the current ideal of beauty is looking fairly Caucasian. Everyone compliments my white skin and tells me I should wear black to set it off. (In the SUMMER, I should wear black to set off my neon white skin – indeed I am truly in a foreign land.)

I’ll keep you posted on my new career path – watch out Gisele – here comes Liz!

It’s July, and it is hot, among other things!

Summer has hit, and just when I thought, “Now no one can say Leo is cold!” now he is most assuredly always “tai re!” – Too hot! Of course he is! I have finally come to the conclusion that everyone wants to be a part of everyone else’s life, so they will just find ways to chat with you – and since it’s hotter than blazes outside – most likely Leo is also hot. A vegetable seller today told me I had better go and quickly buy a stroller, because Leo was roasting in our carrier. Granted, he actually was pretty hot and sweaty, but since it is 100 degrees here – everyone is hot! We’ve taken to staying indoors during mid day, and have our outings either early in the morning or after 4pm. It’s still quite hot then as well, but it’s actually bearable.
Out of necessity I think, Leo has taken to LOVING cold water out of his sippy cup, a contraption he had no inclination to use until this week’s heat wave. Lately he has discovered page-turning – which means I have to read really fast if I want to tell the whole story, drawer opening and emptying – which means I no longer have drawers for my stuff in our bathroom – they are now filled with toys that Leo can empty out and put back in for hours at a time, and climbing everything. He has also just recently started to balance on his feet without using his hands. Leo has definitely discovered his own self determination – much to our delight and somewhat to our dismay (“What! We can’t control your every move??? Now what do we do?”)! It’s keeping us on our toes and ushering us into a new phase of parenting. He has turned into one very busy boy, and Cheng Ayi has taken to saying, “Now what am I going to do with you?” about 100 times to him when she first walks in the door.
As for JM – this month he is pretty much gone for the duration, with a ten-day English teaching camp in a nearby city, and then he is on a music tour with his old school’s orchestra. Leo and I will meet JM in Shanghai at the end of the month to reconnect with lots of good friends and see everyone in concert. We also are absolutely delighted that we will be meeting our first Chinese teacher’s family in Shanghai! Jiong and her husband Jinqiang are great friends of ours who now live in California. We’ve heard so much about Jiong’s family and their 4 year old daughter, who lives with her grandparents in Shanghai. We’ll spend a day with them in their neighborhood after the concert. Needless to say, we are really excited about this!

Between caring for Leo as a quasi-single Mom for a month and all of JM’s commitments, we’re continuing to study Chinese as much as possible. While JM is gone, I will do what every wife does when her husband is away and she misses him – shop! I can justify this by calling it “language practice.” It actually is great practice, because with Leo in tow I am guaranteed to have conversation in everywhere I go. I am also taking lots of walks around town – our latest was to a big track and field full of guys playing soccer. I brought Leo’s little soccer ball so he could “kick” the ball around – and he was squealing with delight watching all the action on the field and then chasing his own ball. Soccer looks pretty competitive here – these guys have got some skills! I just learned how to say “soccer” and “kick” – so I it was fun to practice my (very limited) sports vocabulary.

Pictures June 2008

Please check out our other blog site for recently added pictures!

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Were those hot peppers?

We cooked 地三鲜,’3 treasures of the earth,’ a stir fry of potatoes, eggplant, and green peppers, which is a delicious traditional dish here in China. It’s more economical for us to cook in, with the price of 3 eggplants running 50 cents, the potatoes and green peppers not much more expensive.

Taking turns cutting the vegetables, we also made Leo’s dinner and started feeding him. To our amazement he started bellowing out right after we started feeding him. Picking him up from his chair to see what was the matter, we noticed his lips had turned bright red. Liz had mentioned earlier that the green peppers seemed spicy, not the usual mild bell pepper taste we expected. In fact, they were hot peppers, and the oils had seeped into our fingers (making them throb!), and we concomitantly transferred them to Leo’s eating spoon! We felt stupid for not realizing what was happening, especially once his arms and legs also turned red where we picked him up with our hands!

The moral of the story: if it doesn’t look like a green bell pepper, it probably isn’t, and, don’t feed hot chilis to children under the age of 1.

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July 2008
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