December…

I realize that I have a lot of catching up to do with my blog writing so I will start with December. The month was incredibly busy, starting with the International Woman’s Group Chongqing Charity Ball. The group raises money to support very poor local schools. This event happens every year and I currently have friends on the IWGC Board and they spent endless hours putting the event together. Everyone you talked to before December 8th was getting dresses made, shoes bought, nails done! Even Chip and several other husbands had tuxes made. The man who made the tuxes made a lot of house calls in December, and oddly he was late to most appointments and had a different excuse every time. I had gone out shopping early to get find a dress with a couple of friends. We were all lucky and found our dress on the first outing in early November. I had mine made and was told it wouldn’t be ready until two weeks before the ball. There were a lot of women who had problems with their dresses, so I was quite pleased that the only thing wrong with mine was the length. I did try to buy new shoes, but size nine shoes are hard to find in this country so I went with black heals I brought from home! The theme of the ball was “Hollywood” with a full blown red carpet and paparazzi as you were walking into the event! There were auctions, entertainment, dancing, a fashion show and more! We had a great time! It is not often that you go to a black tie affair dressed to the nines and chat all night with great people! We sat with friends from Australia, two couples from America, a friend from Hong Kong and a Chinese business man I did not know or get a chance to talk to. At events like this there is always press from the local news and newspapers. A few weeks later my girlfriend showed up with a local fashion magazine where the ball got a two page spread.

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20130126-231239.jpg I guess my two second modeling career is over! The article talks about the how “the Western women put on this big event, they said the event was very Hollywood and that everyone was very glamorous. The article continues to also tell about the charity work that the Western women do and at the end it suggests that the local women should follow the example set by the IWGC! Other friends were in newspapers, other magazines and on the news!

The International women’s groups are in all foreign cities with Expat populations. If you are contemplating an international move make sure to Google them. The Chongqing group supports several local poor schools. The main focus is to provide milk to the schools and the IWGC has a contract with a milk company that delivers milk each week. Some of the schools are so remote the milk company can only deliver the milk to a drop location and the school has to arrange to pick it up. Money is collected and raised in several ways throughout the year, but the largest sum results from the ball.

After expenses were paid the ball raised almost 50,000 dollars. That is 277,000 RMB!
This event was December 8th and in the 23 days left of December we still had Ella’s birthday party, a huge Christmas play at school that both of our kids were involved in, Christmas shopping, our first visitors arriving from the US, a Christmas Eve party at our house, Christmas Day, another trip to Chengdu, a trip to Beijing and the Great Wall!

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What I miss (or will miss) East vs. West….

I was recently asked what I missed the most. I thought that might be a good thing to blog about, so THANKS Lois!

10. I miss driving. I miss getting into the car and driving myself to and from anywhere I want to go on my own schedule.

9. I miss my house, the physical surroundings, the street, the patio and the dryer!

8. I miss the stores like Target, CVS, TJ Maxx andHallmark (or these kind of stores). I could always quickly run to one of these stores and grab something I needed for the right price and quality!

7.  I miss the Internet. I miss being able to quickly check something on my phone, laptop or iPad. I will never complain about Internet speed again!

6.  The FDA and being able to read food labels.

5.  Our schools.

4. I miss the grocery stores. I miss the bunny free, meat hanging free, pig head free, turtle free grocery stores!

3. Our pets!

2. CLEAN AIR and BLUE SKY!

1. And what I miss the most…friends and family. I miss picking up the phone and calling them in the same time zone and the ease of getting together or just dropping in.

Something from home I do not miss is TV. We have two beautiful flat screen TVs in this house, but we don’t have cable and they are never turned on. We of course download a few shows from home on our iPad and we may watch a movie on the weekend, but that is a few hours a week at most.

Interesting, as I thought about what I miss at home I started to think about what I will miss from here! The lists have interesting similarities.

10. The fresh dumpling wrappers that I can get anytime I want to make homemade dumplings. I need to find some Asian grocery stores near home!

9. I will miss meeting people from all over the world and learning about their cultures and lives.

8. Being successful using a new language.

7.  The extra travel/ vacations we have been able to take.

6. Walking everywhere. Especially to the bakery across the street to buy fresh bread!

5. The school, although there are some things about the schools at home that I miss, there will be very cool things about the kid’s school here that they won’t get exposure to anymore.

4. The food. We love the local Sichuan spicy food!

3. The Ayi. Let’s face it, I am the maid at home and having a break from laundry and the floors has been great!

2. My husband having breakfast with us every morning and his shorter commute.

1. I will miss the people. Our new friends are wonderful; we are so lucky to have a group of fantastic people in Chongqing.

So it confirms that in life it all comes down to the people, not “things.” I am always happy spending time with good friends and now we just have a longer list of them!

Some days are better than others…

I have four drafts started for new blog posts, but today I’m just grumpy so I thought I would write about some recent thoughts….

This city is unlike any in the world…

This assignment cannot end soon enough…

Where the heck is my blue sky, my sunny day…

Everywhere I go it is cold, my house, the school, stores…why does everyone here leave every window and door open?

Why would people want to eat meat they have hung outside for days in this environment?

Why would a woman ever hold her child in a squatting position and allow her to pee on the floor of a plane?

Are my kids getting everything they need educationally…and what if they are not…?

And of course, WOW are my kids getting an education!

Please stop staring…

A driver and a maid are not all they are cracked up to be.

This language barrier is giving me a headache…

I cannot wait to eat all of the seafood and vegetables I want care free…

Please everyone, STOP SPITING! Oh and blowing your nose onto the street…stop that as well!

I cannot wait to drive myself to the market…

This city is so hard at times…

Please someone stop that dog from barking!!!

There are too many hoops to jump through…

Who’s idea was this??

I would just like to go to one store and buy all of the products from the companies I know…

Living in a transient environment is hard for everyone at different times…

The internet here is miserable!

Thank goodness, tomorrow is a new day…

 I have written blogs like this before and then I never post them. I don’t like to complain,  but today this is my reality. I will be better tomorrow and remind myself how much I have to be thankful for and how fortunate we are. Of course I could write a large list of all of the positive aspects of this journey, but I am not in the mood to write that one today!