Sunday, August 24, 2008

Home Sweet Home...almost...

We finally confirmed all our housing details and we have an official address. We don't officially take occupancy till Sept 1, but we are friends with the family that are moving out, and they left last week, so we plan to start moving some of the things we have at the Marriott over during the next week. We will check out of the Marriott next sunday and spend our first night at the house then. Luckily, the family that is moving out left a lot of things for us, as we don't have our sea shipment! We should be able to make due - all appliances, cooking things, linens etc they left should more than get us through till ours arrive.

We are looking forward to the week...friends arriving from the OC for a few days, and also the prospect of getting to our house! School orientation is Thursday, will meet our teachers and do final school prep. On the home stretch of this long moving process...and we should get confirmation of our shipment docking this week, too. Stay tuned as we get settled in! Posting a couple pictures of the front of the house, and one of the new clubhouse being built across the street from us. Will post more once we get our things inside!



Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kauai, August 2008

2008 August, Kauai Vacation

Legal stuff....

Part of the process of living here and working is a need for a resident's visa, and work permits. Luckily we don't have to figure it out ourselves - there is an outsource company that manages this for us - its pretty complicated and labor intensive. Before going to Hawaii we had to get all this completed so we could leave China and be able to return as our original visas were one entry only. My health check was part of this, needing the results to process the permits. The good news is I passed my health exam - summary : " appears to be mostly normal female" ha! My abnormalities were my eyes and nose - apparently the fact I need corrective lenses and that I have a deviated septum mean I am not normal. I couldn't really read anything else - all in Chinese, but it appears I am OK. I also had to go the police station - they called it an interview but luckily that wasn't the case, just turned in paperwork and $$.. So, we got all our docs back, along with our passports just in time for our flight out, and we are good to go till next year when they will process a renewal. The kids did not have to go thru any of this, if you are under 18, you just submit your paperwork and the parents paperwork and you are good to go.

I am so glad to know I am almost normal!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back on track...Kauai...

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy, with vacation mixed in. We spent a week on Kauai last week, amidst everything else we have been doing.

We almost didnt go, as the flights were not going to be good. we had bought this trip at an auction last year before we knew we were moving to China. The original flight plan had us going back to san fran? then to Kauai? um, no? I dont think that will work for us at all! So we ended up getting a flight throught Seoul...and it was great! still far - 2 hours to Korea, about 9hrs to Honolulu then another 30 min for Kauai, but it was doable and we all thought korean airlines was really quite good - very nice attendants and the kids had great childrens meals along the way. All in all, everyone did great on the plane. We did decide for our next trip we'd like one to be a little shorter??? something about flying for an entire day gets old!!!

Kauai was really nice, hadn't been to that island before and we thought it was beautiful. We spent our days at the beach, with an after beach dip at the pool. The kids learned to snorkle, and thought that was fun. C really enjoyed it, - D tried it but didnt love it, she was happy to just swim around. We took a sail up the Na Pali coast one of the days - very beautiful cliffs that you can't get to other than hiking and boat....and stopped to snorkle a few times. We saw TONS of dolphins, and sea turtles - they swam along with our boat and the turtles were right where we snorkled. (not to mention tons of fish) We didnt see any sharks, which C was happy about as that was a concern to him while in the ocean!

I had to laugh, only we would go to Hawaii with some empty bags to fill up! I found out they have a costco on the island - so that sealed the deal! we ended up returning with 3 duffles of "stuff" - cereal, granola bars, diet coke, wine, canned soup, salad dressing...you get the idea! One of my trip highlights was stopping in Safeway and just looking at the dairy case - heaven! Posting some pics of our week of Sun and Fun! Stay tuned for more adventures in China!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hooray!



Wrigley is doing MUCH better...should make a full recovery, thank goodness! He really went through the wringer this last week. The vet (velvet is her name! and she looks like a velvet!) said he is healing way faster than she expected. I won't post the graphic pictures of his wounds - it could almost make you throw up - but suffice it to say, my poor man was brutally injured. The dogs that attacked him were never claimed and they were put to sleep this week. The picture I have posted is him looking much better, but his hind end is not nearly looking as good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bad Day...


We had some really bad news the last day of vacation - our dog, Wrigley (who is the best dog in the world, I might add) who is still in AZ was attacked by 2 pit bulls last Thursday night. He was on a walk and on his leash and they came out of nowhere, no tags/collars, not a sound and attacked my poor man. He didnt know what hit him. My brother was the one walking him, and he basically beat them off and almost beat one of them to death. They both came out looking quite rough - Wrigs spent the next day at the vet, had to have surgery to do all the stitches - his hind end and his ear/head. It appears he will be ok, he is home and walking slowly but I have to wonder if he'll be able to get past such a trauma. I dont know if we will - I end up in tears whenever I think about the whole thing. We contemplated having me fly home from vacation instead of coming back to China, but it seemed to be under control and he is doing much better, so I didnt. We have talked to him on the phone and he sits up and licks the receiver. I have to say we are just sick over this. The 2 dogs(?) that attacked him were picked up by the police -they came right away and were able to get them and taken to the pound. They are locked up and so far no one has called for them. I will find out tomorrow what the deal is as far as how long do they keep them before putting them down, etc. I honestly hope no one tries to claim them - I will gladly pay the vet bills - I just want to ensure those dogs are never out again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Who knew?


that you could get Silver Oak Cab in Kaiuai for a relatively good price? It happens to be in my top 5 of favorite wines, and we have now had it 4 times this week! At home you might see it on the menus for $150+...and at the local stores maybe around 60-80 depending on what year, which vineyard, etc. Well, they must be using it like a loss leader at the grocery because the mark up has been pretty small, considering. I also dont know that we can get this in China, so have to stock up now! the funny thing - and I wish we had a video of this - We were told earlier in the week that in Hawaii, the liquor law is you can cork it, taste a bit, recork it and take it with you. Tonight at dinner the waitress asked if we wanted to save the cork in case we didnt drink it all. We said - no, thats fine, we will drink it. Well, DCR was having some issues tonight - too tired and was not up for sitting while we drank Silver Oak - so...I paid and said we are going to take it with us. She came back and said - oh, I am so sorry, but I was just told if you want to cork it and take it you cant get it till tomorrow? hello? I am not leaving the silver oak, lady! So I said, oh, ok - weird as we were told the opposite elsewhere. She walked away - I grabbed the bottle and my purse, along with C - said lets go C - and we hid it under my purse and took off. No way I was leaving the silver oak behind! I am sure we looked a hoot, hot footing it out of there! C is still laughing about it! No doubt setting a great example for the kids. Now, back to vacation..till next week -

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

CDR...living the dream....




C had one of his best days ever last week. Now, let me state that he has had more best days ever in his 8 years than I have had in 38 years - so don't feel sorry for him at all! Although we likely are going to pass on Beijing and the Olympics (hotel rooms are just nuts - 2 wks minimum and seriously inflated prices) C and E went to see the USA NBA team play against Russia last week in Shanghai. Front row seats. Every basketball star he could imagine. He apparentley fit right in as when the game was over and USA won, they made their way to where the players leave the court -and the guards there were waving all the asian away, but didnt say a thing to C - so there he was, in his Phx suns jersey - and D'antoni comes through and give him a high five - so all the other players proceeded to do the same! I think he was most starstruck over seeing Kobe Bryant, but honestly, he couldnt stop talking about it. So, was a good day. USA bball stars for C, and $9 mani/pedi's for A and D. What more could one ask for on a Sunday?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The princess and her court....




D and I walked down the street (in the rain, no less) for a manicure/pedicure....it was $9 today (instead of $6 last time) as D had her toenails and fingernails done. She was quite popular, check it out...

Shamelessly advertising C's TV debut....

Earlier this summer we had the opportunity to appear in some commercials advertising the ASU sundevils. The whole event was super fun - despite it being 110 degrees that day. It was done at a local park and they had the kids playing football, bball, and cheering on the devils. They haven't completed all the commercials yet, but here is one that C is in, playing football - which is his most favorite sport. The commercials are playing Fox sports and some local AZ channels, and will be played at the sundevil games, too!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ok, the honeymoon is over now....


Sigh. We faced the chinese toilet today. It wasn't good. This is not an actual picture of the one we went to, as this one looks much cleaner! oy. I just don't know what they are thinking here! We actually faced it two times - once earlier in the day at the flower and bird market (at which I saw no birds???) D and I had to go - she decided she didnt have to quite so badly after witnessing the facilities! Then later after dinner at a very upscale mall area, thats also what they had? I do carry kleenex, wetwipes and hand sanitizer in my purse now - but I think we may need to buy some Depends when we are home as a back up! Thank goodness for all the squats I have done in my aerobics classes! Ack!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Another week!

I can't believe we have been here for 2 wks already! This past week was a little less touristy and a little more getting into a routine of sorts. Let's see what I know for this week:

*Last weekend was fun - we went to Yu Yuan gardens to see the old temples and gardens, then took a boat down the Huangpu River - one of the most famous skylines in the world. We then hit the fake market - D got a $3 barbie, and C got a disk with 20 PSP games for about $10. We then went to dinner at a great restaurant - 1221, down the end of a little alley - probably the best chinese meal I have had yet. Everything was really good and most things I had never had before. Kids also loved it. We met quite a few new people at dinner and all had a good time.
Sunday we went to brunch at one of the really nice hotels here - the kids had their fill of sushi - they were very happy! It was really good and more choices than I ever seen in my life. We went with some friends and their daughters, then afterwords we went to their apartment to swim.

*Monday was the start of the Multisport camp for the kids. D was a bit somber about being left but ended up doing great, and C walked in, saw the boys playing basketball and he was good to go! They have played all different sports, done a lot of crafts and even made dumplings and pizzas. They have Subway sandwiches and fruit every day for lunch, which seems odd to have in china? I think it was a good choice - gives them something to do, wears them out and they are meeting a lot of other kids. C has met 4 boys going into 3rd grade at his school. C also spent the night with our friends Monday night, so he had 5 star day, at least according to him. They have been to camp all this week from 930-330 and will go next week mon-thurs, as we leave on vacation next Friday.

* I have spent the week trying to get into a work routine - was up at 3:45 two days this week? eek! A bit early. The other mornings it was about 5am so not as bad. I have also tried a few massage places and walked through a lot of the grocery stores to check out what they have (I pretty much buy the same things every place - bottled water, box chocolate milk and apple juice!!). It's odd being in the hotel apartment, nothing I really need to do here so a bit at ends. I have also walked through some dept stores, gone to the gym here and I have even cooked a couple of nights( tacos were the requested meal and they were really good! – Ian wanted to know if they were going to eb $30 tacos, as food is so $$ here at stores). I think once we get in the house it will be more normal. We went to our favorite dumpling house last night – Dai Tin Feng..its world renowned for their dumplings and has been written up by the NY Times. Very yummy and we will be glad to take anyone who comes to visit!

* The latest on the house is we are moving into a different house than planned, this is about the 4th different one but it seems to be the way it is! Some friends we met here will be moving home earlier than planned so we will move into their house. It’s about 1 block from the house we had planned to go into. Green Villas is a great neighborhood and walking distance to school and shops. They had done a fair amount of decorating and had bought many extras so we will take some of that over - extra fridge in garage, some of their decorations, appliances, etc. The best part is we will also be hiring their Filipino Ayi! She will live in, as there is an ayi room, and will be so much help for me. She normally is gone on Sundays but the rest of the days she will shop, cook, clean, etc. She is very pleasant, speaks english and our friends said she was wonderful. I am quite happy about the plans. I will post some pics once I take some of the new house.

* This weekend Ian plans to play golf Sat, and then we will meet friends out later in the day. Sunday Ian and Connor are going to the usa nba bball game to watch them play Russia. C is so excited, and they have front row seats, so they should have lots to tell us when they get back. D and I will be getting our nails done, I am sure – we went to a place by the hotel last week and paid $6 for both of us!!


All for now, off to catch up on email and do a quick workout before getting the children. We are stopping to buy some movies before getting Ian at work - we just bought Wall-e earlier in the week - $2.50! One of the perks, I guess???