Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Living like the locals

Ok...Ok....I hear you. I know that 2 months is way too long to go between blog posts and I could go into all the excuses I have..... like the month long trip to United States which was wonderful, returning to China to receive, unpack and put away our shipment of personal belongings-also wonderful, and then updating our homestudy for adoption #2- LOTS of paperwork that I wasn't expecting but will be wonderful when the goal is reached and our next little one is in my arms. (I won't get all mushy on you already but just know that the very thought of holding her is what got me through the small mountain of paperwork required to let the US govt know that we are now living in China and still wish to adopt and that we still have a suitable home and that we still have a stable enough relationship to bring another child into our family.........can you detect just a hint of sarcasm.. :) But I won't go into all those excuses, that would be tacky- I'll just get started.

My mind is bubbling with ideas for blog posts and I thought I'd just jump back into sharing our daily life here in the Middle Kingdom.

We've done several things this week that certainly wouldn't have been activities we would have done before living here. There are so many day to day things that seem so different at first but then you get accustomed to them and actually begin to realize what a good idea some of them are. You begin to realize that the locals really do know a thing or two about living here. For example, the Chinese people do not want to have dark all....I mean they are serious about this. The skin creams they buy even have "bleaching" or "whitening" elements in them to help keep their skin pale. We've been told that the reason for this is if you have dark skin then you are looked upon as "poor" because you've probably been working outside as a farmer or laborer.....neither of which gains you much clout in society. You will see women with umbrellas all the time...some more decorative than others {read tacky}....but lots and lots of umbrellas everywhere and the sun is shining as bright as can be. Well, like I said, this seemed odd to us at first but we too adopted this practice this past week. We found that protecting ourselves from the beaming sun actually helped to keep us a bit cooler (novel idea huh?) and we want all the help we can get in that department. It is very hot and humid here in Suzhou. (in fact Stan just told me that it is 94 degrees and feels like 101 and it is 8pm) Here is Xan modeling her sun covering fashion for us.
We were on our way this particular afternoon to find a tailor that Stan had been made aware of by his Chinese tutor/teacher. We were armed with an address, some money, and our umbrellas and off we went for an Everitt family adventure. After a couple of phone calls to Stan's secretary to talk to the cab driver and give more instructions (apparently the address we had didn't make sense to him) we were dropped off right in front of this little shop. I stress little here because the place was seriously no larger than most of our living rooms. The walls were lined with all kinds of fabrics and a few mannequins modeling some of their craftsmanship scattered near the window and a salesclerk who spoke a bit of English and was extremely willing to help us with our selections. We went with the thought that we would just look around and get some ideas but we quickly got caught up in the "coolness" of the whole experience and before we knew it Stan had ordered 2 suits and a dress shirt all to be tailored for him. We chose the fabrics and the shop attendant made a quick phone call and about 2 minutes later 2 more people walked in. The woman who appeared sat down and wrote down every number the man blurted out while wrapping his tape measure every which way around Stan. They asked if we were in a hurry for these garments and Stan replied, "No, not at all." Ok they said....these will be ready next Tuesday then (8 days later). WOW...I wonder what they could do if we were in a hurry. :) The prices were incredibly awesome too and I'll let you know about the quality of the finished product next week after we pick them up.
Here are a few pics I snapped with our phones during his first date with the tailor.

Another wonderful little activity that we've adapted to quite nicely here in China is the availability and affordability of massages. Stan has even gotten a membership at the massage parlor that is located at a little shopping center here in our apartment complex. That sounds so sleezy...massage parlor....but I don't know what else to call it. It really isn't sleezy at all. Anyway, my point is that Stan frequents the establishment and actually has an employee that he prefers. They don't go by their names, only numbers- seriously, their name tags just have a number. Stan is fond of #16 and she apparently likes him too. He goes in for a massage about once or twice a week and this last time that he went in she was telling him that his "internal body temperature" was off. Yeah...your guess is as good as ours as to how she knew that from rubbing his back but she did and he didn't argue with her. She then removed this small stone from a rope necklace she was wearing and began rubbing his back with it. He said it felt like she was lightly scraping him but it wasn't painful or anything. She finished her scraping and then finished up with his massage. He came home and was telling me about this and then took his shirt off. Let's just say my mouth flew open and I didn't know what to think. Here is what I saw.

Now mind you, this was only about 20 minutes afterwards. He said it wasn't sore or tender to the touch at all but it sure looked awful. Apparently this is called gua sha (pronounced gwa shaw) and the Chinese believe that is removes toxins from your body ???? Ummm.....OK.

Today (3 days later) it still very much looks like he has been attacked the hickey fairy who thought it would be funny to mark him with some secret writings about his internal body temperature.....which by the way he says feels much more "normal" now. I'm sure #16 will be pleased.

Well I did it, jumped right back into the blogging world and I gotta say it's good to be back. I've got lots more to share so I'll be back soon.
Chat with ya later-


we are the spencers said...

holy crap. that woman left her mark on him!!! that is crazy!!! so glad you are back to blogging. can't wait to see and hear more. the pictures at the tailor remind me of a friends episode.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear recent news of your many adventures. Happy Belated Birthday Megan! You know in the Victorian Era lilly white skin was also considered a sign of beauty and wealth.
Hugs, Louise

Lori said...

Yea! You just made my day...."hearing" from you again! LOVE LOVE LOVE all the stories!!! (and of course in my opinion...every good book needs some great illustrations to go along with it. Awesome pics...haha!)

Things are moving along here...(wink...wink!)

(oh, and I found your birthday present as I was unpacking my suitcase from June....haha! Sorry. I guess we'll turn it into a Christmas gift now) ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh Megan, Stan's back looks awful, but I guess his internal body temp is surely back to normal again??? Thanks for blogging again. I check pretty frequently:) I'm so glad Lori said she still has your bday gift. I got to give you your gift, but the card that I had all ready to mail, now I can't find anywhere. So you may get a bday card in January, who knows? Anyway, know that I love you and miss you!!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are back to blogging and I have just one tiny observation about this particular mentioned that "massage parlor" sounds sleazy and then you mention that Stan "frequents the establishment" about sounding sleazy!!! HA!
Love you,

Anonymous said...

well, i think that Stan and #16 is getting just a little too familiar. I laughed out loud when I was reading that and I am at work. I love reading your stories. Men's suits are like that in Ecuador. What is funny when you go to the cleaners and have lost the receipt and Dave had to go back and figure out which shirts were his. Him being 6'4" was a little easier to find.