…why the SIAS school bus parks in my relatively suburban neighborhood?
a very out-of-place bus… it’s even still got the US “SCHOOL BUS” lettering!
As far as I know, SIAS – a large uni an hour or so from here that has a ton of foreign teachers – runs a shuttle to town on Saturdays, dropping teachers off at one of the bigger stores downtown around noon and then picking them up again early that evening. So what’s the big American-style yellow bus (itself quite out of place in a country without school buses) doing parked around the corner from my apartment late on a Sunday afternoon? Or up the road from my gate on a weekday afternoon? Or outside my other gate on a holiday? I’ve seen it in all of those places in the past couple years – today it was around the corner; in the picture below it’s right outside the main apartment complex gate sometime during the National Day holiday. My current theory is that the driver’s elderly maiden aunt lives in my neighborhood and he comes to visit her while he waits for the wei gou ren to finish their shopping. I wonder if that’s even close to the facts?
In case you’ve wondered, the milk here has been declared safe to drink again by the government (don’t laugh so loudly, people are staring at you). Well, I’m hoping the threat of additional loss-of-face means they’re telling the truth and it’s really fixed. So, here’s what 93 RMB of dairy goods looks like (perhaps not all made in China):
1.5 pounds of New Zealand butter for baking: 30RMB. 2 cans of Nestle evaporated milk for a certain bread recipe: 12RMB. 2 cans of condensed milk for Christmas fudge: 10RMB. 1 package of 10 cheese slices: 18RMB (ouch! – the imported stuff’s actually cheaper per-slice but they were out). Large box of 18 single-cup bags of milk: 23RMB. I’ve been using a lot of milk since I started baking bread weekly, and a lot of butter for cookies. Both activities have been enabled by my purchace of:
An electric mixer. (That was the special package a couple weeks ago.) Did you ever try to cream butter and sugar for cookies by hand? I’ve made very few cookies since I’ve lived in China, and now I’m trying to make up for lost time! And the dough hook, which kneads the dough for me without getting sticky fingers, is an absolute Godsend!
A few more thoughts…
I met a bona-fide celebrity today. Apparently a boy here was abducted and taken as far as Guangzhou (near Hong Kong, thus very far from me) before he managed to escape, breaking his arm in the process, and get someone to call 911 (or the Chinese equivalent). Now he’s back. The children insisted on introducing me to him, and he was generous enough to show me the scar still healing on his arm. No photos or autographs, sorry 😉 but I’m glad he got home!
Becky’s baby shower last weekend was fun. Here are a couple photos:
The snack table, near the end of the party obviously!
The cross-stitch I was making for them, a few days before the shower. I didn’t finish it in time, though I did finish the names before the party. As Becky said, “I hope it’s really a boy now!” I’m waiting to finish it until we’re sure, so I don’t have to take it out of a frame to change it. The baby will be delivered next weekend, unless she goes into labor before that.
Someone around here got married:
I didn’t see the wedding party, but smelled the incense from the stairwell and enjoyed looking at the flowers for a couple days. Notice the extra light strung up above the door with a make-shift paper shade (not sure the significance of that). Now all that’s left are the large rocks and bricks they used to keep the flowers upright.
Rainy days bring out color in unexpected ways! This is a very small section of a parking area between a high school and a park – the school kids park literally hundreds of bikes there daily, and on this day it had been raining when they went to school, so they left their bike ponchos draped over their bikes. By the time I took the photo – almost lunch – it had mostly dried off.
Is it just the lighting, or am I getting old? Probably vain of me, but when I was trying to take a photo of myself for a new Facebook profile picture, I noticed trace lines beneath my eyes, between my eyebrows, and between nose and mouth. The last ones can be blamed on smiling (that’s fine with me), but I think I need to get more sleep and stop squinting, frowning, and/or worrying as much! It’s not lines in general I object to, it’s having anything negative from my past written permanently on my face!
I hope you’re enjoying the fall season. Celebrate the harvest, and the One who gives it!