Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holidays Are Coming!

Today's Alarming Statistic:
825,000: Number of mainland Chinese with personal wealth of more than RMB 10 million (just under US dollars 1.5 million)
2009 Hurun Report

I am so sorry I've been lame about my blog lately. Now the pressure is on because we're leaving very early tomorrow morning for 2 weeks over the Christmas holidays. I can't believe it's December and today is our 5 month anniversary of arriving in Beijing.

This picture just about says it all about the Christmas atmosphere that reigns in this non-religious, non-capitalist, communist country.

We spent a few hours at Tianyi Market and it was surreal. Check it out. The pictures tell it all, except they don't show the river of humanity pouring up and down every aisle.

The weather in Beijing warmed up a bit and for a short time we could go out without 3 layers of pants, shirts, and socks. Now it is back to the freezing winds of the Gobi Desert blowing through.

There is never rain or snow any more and it is so strange to live in a place without moisture of any type after living in Seattle! Our skin is dry and our lips are cracked so we bought a humidifier that shoots out cold steam. If you walk through the steam you feel freezing cold, but it keeps us from shocking one another whenever we touch.

I can't tell if it is making that much of a difference but it feels good to be proactive and at least try to take steps.

Hey, good news! Our international shipment finally arrived in November! Yes, we did arrive in the middle of August, but the National Day Holiday delayed our shipment "somewhat". Here is what arrived:

I know, not that much, right? Well we had no idea where this stuff was going to go, much less why we packed it at all! Eric had the company he works with build us a gigantic storage "box" which sits in our entry way and houses most of it. I had a custom silk runner made at the market for the top of the box (chest high). Now it looks pretty and has our Buddha sitting on top of it. Here's the Buddha, but I haven't taken a picture of the "box" yet.

Of course, the one thing we really missed was our Wii and it did come with the shipment. Only problem is we had no TV. So we bit the bullet and bought this:

That's right, we are now proud owners of a 40 inch Sony flat screen TV! It dominates our small living room. It connects to the cable provided by the building but we only get one channel in English (partially). It is not bad, has some pretty cool shows about art happenings here and travel shows. But we never get to watch it because we are either playing Mario Kart or Eric is watching random ping pong tournaments or track meets in Chinese. I'm trying to be consistent about doing Wii Fit for an hour a day, but if friends are going out for coffee that definitely is the first thing to fall by the wayside!

We think Greta might have had the swine flu on the weekend of October 31st and November 1st. That's the weekend I left for my week in Seattle. She was over it by Sunday night (because she is so strong and healthy!) Never the less, the government was offering vaccinations so we took advantage of the opportunity, especially since they administered them after school one day.

Well, it's 5:30 the next morning and I'm going to have to sign off for 2009... we are heading to the airport for our trip. We wish all the best to you and yours during this holiday season and for the new decade to come.
Miss you!