Month: June 2017

Water delivery

Water delivery

You’re not supposed to drink the tab water here so we use bottled water to make tea and to drink. We were running low so I asked Thorben to order some. “Some” water was delivered today. Looks like we’ll be very well hydrated the next few months 🙂

Weekend Adventures or That Time we crashed a Chinese Wedding

Weekend Adventures or That Time we crashed a Chinese Wedding

On Saturday afternoon I met Shane, a good friend of one of my best friends back home, for the first time. She is from Shanghai and showed me around the city. (“Trust me, I’m a local.”) We had a really fun day, here are some of the highlights:
The air was really clear and the weather was great so she showed me a fantastic view. It’s a secret where it is, so I can’t tell you but you can appreciate this awesome picture I took:

We also went to People’s Park, where the marriage market is. There, a lot of people sit with signs posted on umbrellas detailing someone’s age, height, salary and other useful information trying to find them someone to marry. Shane translated some for me but none of them convinced me to leave Thorben ;). All the people there where pretty old and Shane told me that often it is the parents or relatives who want their kids to get married so they take things into their own hands.

When we wandered around we saw a cool building and went to have a closer look. You could just go into the gate and walk over to a small park and inside the park there was a wedding going on. (It looked like the ceremony was already over.) So of course we sat down somewhere in the background and observed a bit 🙂 Leaving the park we saw a sign about the wedding so Yang and Rourou: Congratulations and I wish you lots of happiness!

No day is complete without good food so we went to dinner at a restaurant that served Yunnan cuisine. Shane took my “Just order what you like, I want to try some different things.” very serious so I got to taste quite a variety. My favorite was a cold noodle dish with beef, chicken and veggies, but the pineapple salad, fish and okra where also really good. And I also liked the kiwi avocado drink I had to get because some of the food was pretty spicy. I’m still working on my spice level tolerance 🙂

Yes, there were only two of us …

Speaking of the weekend and food, of course I also ate on Friday and Sunday. Friday night after work I went to a Cantonese restaurant with Pearl. She ordered all her family’s favorite dishes so I tried pidgeon for the first time. Once you get over the fact that it is looking at you (Thank you, Pearl for quickly hiding the head) the meat is really good 🙂 We also had 2 shrimp dishes, fried turnips and sweet buns with an egg yolk sugar filling. After burning a few calories through shopping we got some mango desserts.

After I finished unpacking and organizing the kitchen on Sunday I met a friend I know through university and his girlfriend in Tiánzǐ Fāng. Tianzi Fang is an old residential area in the French Concession with many small alleyways that now house lots of shops, galleries, restaurants and bars. It is pretty touristy and crowded but still fun to walk around in. We had some pretty good Indian food at a restaurant there.

Our outing to Okinawa

Our outing to Okinawa

Our outing to Okinawa

In China, one of the biggest things for a department is their so called outing. The company offers some compensation and an additional vacation day to go on a short trip with your colleagues. This year, our trip was to Okinawa, a southern Japanese prefecture. We left Wednesday and returned Sunday.

The pictures online looked very promising: white beaches, crystal clear water, perfect weather. But not for us. It was raining the whole time. What should have been a white beach and a bright blue sky looked more like a gray and windy autumn day at the shore of the North Sea back in Germany.

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The Avocado Lady

The Avocado Lady

Last week after work I went exploring by myself a bit since Thorben was in Japan. I went to a mystical place I had read about on a couple Shanghai expat blogs  – the store of the Avocado Lady. Apparently she became famous for selling good avocados at a decent price to expats back when they were hard to find /quite expensive. Now she has a lot of fresh veggies and fruit and most importantly imported goods in her store.

When I first saw the stand from the outside it didn’t look very big or very impressive but when I walked in I was amazed at the selection and sheer quantity of products stuffed into the small space. By amazed I mean I wandered around for 20 minutes staring. There are tons of fruit and veggies, herbs, canned goods, hygiene products, cereal, whine, bread, meats, fish, baking supplies, chocolate … and 2 big fridges loaded with dairy products and cheese.

After only 3 weeks my western food cravings weren’t too big but I still got some bagles, cheese, peanut butter and fruit. I’m sure I’ll be back many more times (with Thorben so he can haul my goodies home).

To celebrate this awesome discovery I then went and got a manicure and pedicure :).

Our air freight is here!

Our air freight is here!

After living pretty minimalistic for 2 months our air freight was finally delivered yesterday. All 25 boxes of it. 5 people from the moving company came at 9:30 and after 35 minutes everything but our clothes was unpacked and placed on various surfaces for me to put away. (Thorben is in Japan until tonight, smart planning by him.) I am still amazed by the amount of stuff we have, mainly the amount of clothes I still own even after throwing away a ton before I came. I’m sure at one point I will be glad I brought 12 pairs of sweats/pj pants 🙂

The greatest thing about the air freight is having my own pillow and blanket back. I had no idea how much I would miss it. And the vacuum cleaner. Sweeping just isn’t very effective. It’s the small joys in life.

On the down side, now that we have all of our kitchen equipment back we are out of excuses for ordering in or going out for every meal. 🙂 Oh well …

Our fruity Chinese breakfast

Our fruity Chinese breakfast

How we get our fruit

Marina already told you that we mostly buy our fruit at a local store just across the street. I like to go there because the fruit is super fresh. The owners seem surprised by the quantities we buy so frequently, and always add a little something to our bags.

They do their best to teach me Chinese as well, sometimes they hide the calculator display to see whether I understood the numbers they just said. Usually it works pretty well.

Our breakfast routine

Today, Marina did what she likes to do on a weekend – sleep in, so I prepared breakfast and took a few pictures during the process. During the week, traffic gets crazy in the morning, so we like to leave our apartment early and usually bring a bag of fruit and eat it in the taxi or metro on our way to work.

On one of the first days here, I went to store and bought all the stuff that I had never seen before. Right now our regular breakfast fruit are:

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