I experienced several “firsts” today (several as a result of a trip to Metro), and I wanted to share some of them with the world, so here’s a short blog post to tell about them!
I had my first fire on the stove top. I’ve caught oven mitts on fire in the oven before, but this one was oil burning because I heated it too hot before putting in the veggies. It was a tiny bit exciting but not very – I had the exhaust fan on already, so I just clamped the lid on the pan, waited until smoke had been coming out for a few seconds, then lifted the lid… and cleaned the pan, of course, before starting again and more carefully.
The oil, in my thin-bottomed large cooking pot rather than the usual skillet or wok, was the start of my first ever pot of minestrone soup (a soup I still don’t know how to spell or pronounce). I tried Pioneer Woman’s recipe – without the roasted squash she put in hers, simply because the internet was down this morning and I didn’t remember those ingredients when I was at the store.
Another first was that the internet came back on sooner than promised – this afternoon instead of “maybe try it tomorrow” – so I was able to adapt PW’s recipe instead of the one in my cookbook that I’d settled on as an alternative. It was horribly annoying to have the internet off this morning so that I couldn’t download and work on my lesson plans for next week, but the fact that it came back on early was really appreciated!
I tried Weet-Bix for the first time. I like ’em! I’ll add that to the list under Tim Tams as something to be grateful to the Commonwealth nations for 🙂 (Someone tell me, are Weet-Bix a cheap generic version of Wheatabix? There were several flavors of each, but the ones I bought were the cheapest.)
I bought and used my first crock pot. I add “used” because I did buy one once in the States at a Black Friday sale, but then I didn’t move back out of my parent’s house until I moved to China, so I sold it at my moving yard sale, still in the box. Today I bought, washed, and used it all in less than six hours, to keep my soup warm at the annual soup dinner. I tried all NINE soups there, only in order to vote, really!! as I found out when I got there that we were supposed to pick the best one. A lovely potato soup by Becky won. Personally, I wanted to vote for the heavenly homemade bread someone had brought, but only soups qualified 😉 and there were plenty of good ones to choose from.
I found the Christmas presents I’d been hoping to find for Jordan and Dad, and my family’s gifts will actually arrive early for the first time since I moved to China! Finding them also involved wading through the Halloween festival/fundraiser at a collection of high-end/artistic shops called Creative 100, so that might qualify as my first Halloween party in Qingdao, though actually the guy at the shop was the one who dug around in the haunted house they’d made of the shop to find the items I was looking for, much to my relief. I like Creative 100, even though I wish they’d choose a different holiday to raise money for charity around; they have an English bookstore, a Chinese bookstore, both with coffee, tea, and such; a quilting shop with imported fabric at ridiculous prices; shops and galleries of various other artistic-y things such as wedding photos and pottery sculptures; and room for more to grow. I hope it flourishes, hidden as it is down a random alley. It’s pretty near a large Chinese market but not very visible.
I am thanking the Father for a wonderful taxi day. One drove up as I walked out the gate, during taxi-hour and on a beautiful Saturday to boot, getting me to the soup dinner less late than I could have otherwise been. Outside Metro, despite the construction, I waited only a couple of minutes for a taxi (it’s hard to find one there even with normal traffic). And that driver asked me if I was French, which was a first, because apparently Metro is a French store, and thus he figured they must only sell French things, and was surprised to learn that an American would shop there. (If he ever moved to the States and shopped at an Asian food store, perhaps he’d be less surprised.) Usually taxi drivers either guess I’m from the US or Russia.
Finally, I bought my first down duvet. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a duvet until I moved to China; do we have them in the States and I was just ignorant? It is 200 x 230 cm, which is 30 cm too long for the square duvet cover I bought at Ikea, because apparently China/France and Sweden don’t agree on the proper shape for a bed – every duvet at Metro was rectangular. I’m with China on this one – only king size beds are square, after all – and will probably add some fabric to the end of the duvet cover, but for now I just folded the duvet inside it and it looks wonderfully warm as it sits atop my freshly-laundered sheets (I love the dry season, when things dry in a day and not three!). I can’t wait for bedtime!