Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A New House

We're buying a house! That's right - we are moving back to Austin and we just returned from a brief trip there. While in Austin, we did some house searching and we found what we hope is the perfect house for us. We ended up making an offer and getting it! We close in about a month. We are so excited and happy to be moving back home! The plan, for now, is a move home date at the beginning of August. Anthony will most likely have to stay in China for a few more months after that (possibly up to December, but we hope sooner). It has been an interesting journey over here, but I am ready for it to be over.
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Disney on Ice, Chinese Style

We took the girls to see Disney's Princess on Ice show here in Shanghai over the holidays. It was a great ice show and the girls loved seeing all the skaters dressed up as Disney characters. They lipsynced in English to Chinese lyrics for all the songs. That was very interesting and often times humorous to watch. It was a bit disappointing that all the songs were in Chinese, but this is China, so I understand. The place was absolutely FREEZING though - even out in the lobby areas, where there was no ice to keep frozen, there was no heat - it was freezing. We should have brought blankets to keep us warm during the show! For future reference, anyone attending a show at the Shanghai Gymnastics Stadium - they do not use HEAT and it is COLD so dress accordingly. When we saw Harry Connick Jr last year, it was at the same place, and again, it was cold, no heat.
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bless You

Ryken just came up to me in the study, while I'm checking email. I tell him the study is a mess and mommy really needs to clean it up. He says "I'll go get you a ***(mumble)". I think he says Tissue - so I repeat - "You're going to get mommy a tissue?"and he says "No not tissue mommy a bless you and it's mine". He runs away and gets a tissue and brings it to me and says "this is a bless you, not a tissue".

I just thought it was funny and should share.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tree and Cat

Tree and Cat, originally uploaded by Armstrongs in Asia.

I am going to try and put up some of Ashley's fabulous artwork! Yes, I think it's fabulous.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Interesting talk from ayi

With all this election stuff going on, my ayi has seen me watching the debates and news on election coverage. She has asked me several times who I like and I have told her Obama. She seemed quite surprised. Then one day, she asked why I like him, when Americans don't like black people. I was shocked at her question and unfortunately don't speak enough Chinese to communicate effectively enough how America works. I just simply stated that it doesn't matter to me what color his skin is, I still like him. I asked her who she liked and she said Obama - I said why and she pointed her fingers like a gun and said McCain likes this too much. Hmmm...this is what she is hearing from Chinese media and her sons teachers. Today, when I told her that Obama won the presidency, she seemed happy. Then looked at me perplexed and again said that she thought Americans did not like black people so how could he win. I tried to explain to her again that in America there are many different colored people, that you can go to America and have a child and that child will be a US Citizen, will be American, no matter what color of their skin. I don't really think she understood me very well.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rotesserie Chicken

I found this the other day at our local Carrefour! I was so excited! One thing I do miss is the Rotisserie Chicken from our grocery stores back home. I love the smell and taste of them. They had about 5 different kinds of flavored rotisserie chicken when I was there and I bought one and brought it home for lunch. It was so yummy! I remember buying a chicken from Costco in Taipei when we lived there and when I opened the bag, the chicken still had it's head on it! That turned me off a bit on buying anymore full chickens in Asia. But this one was on display with no head! I will be buying these more often.

Bound to Happen

first scratch, originally uploaded by Armstrongs in Asia.'s the first fender bender we had with the car! I was driving....but it wasn't my fault. There are so many crazy idiot drivers here that it was bound to happen sooner or later. Some guy was going down the wrong way on the wrong side of the road while I was turning into our complex when he hit the front of my car. He drove off, which is a big no-no here in China. You are always supposed to stop and wait for the police to come and determine fault. Who knows why the guy left - most likely he knew it was his fault and didn't have money to pay out. It was a big ordeal going down to the police station and making the report - it turns out they had the accident on video from a street camera nearby and could state for insurance purposes that it wasn't my fault. The accident was on a Tuesday, I took the car to the dealer on Wednesday and picked it up on Friday all fixed! And the cost....300 RMB - that's about 43 USD! That was 30% of the total price - insurance covered 70%. I was amazed how cheap.

Going down to the police station to do the report was eye-opening. It was absolute insanity. I took a friend who can speak and write Chinese with me as they have no English speaking officers (yes, in a part of town where there are THOUSANDS of foreigners, they do not have anyone in the traffic police department who can speak English). We had filled out the report at her house in pen on the report form - but when we took it in - we were told we had to use a "special pen" to fill it out. So my friend had to write it out all over again using the pen from the police station which cost us 10rmb as a deposit to use. It was a normal black felt tip pen. While she was filling it out, I was watching all these people come in to dispute accidents and decide whose fault it was - some of these people had obvious broken bones, open wounds with blood gushing out and bruises with lacerations. The shouting and fighting over who should pay what was very loud. There were open arguments going on while police officers just sat back and listened. It was insane to me. I've never seen anything like it. When you visit a doctor here, you have to pay for it up front - so people were not getting treatment for injuries, they were arguing for money so they could go seek treatment after getting paid by whoever caused the accident. Sometimes, the injured would just sit back while relatives or friends would argue on their behalf. I was just stunned and amazed by this process. It makes me see how far this country really needs to go to become modern....

There was also a board up at the station listing the number of accidents for the month in our area of town (Zhangjiang 119 square km or 46 square miles) - the number for August was around 2400. I have no idea what that means or what the number includes (bike accidents, pedestrian accidents, motor vehicle, etc) but it is the traffic police, so all accidents would involve traffic somehow. I'd be curious to see real statistics on this versus other countries.

I've talked to several people who drive and own cars here and I've been told that accidents and scratches happen ALL the TIME. It is just so common here. One of my friends doesn't even tell her husband anymore and at the end of the every year, she gets the whole car body redone.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our Couch!

The new couch has arrived! We spent a full day furniture shopping last month and found this one. We had to order it with the color we wanted - by looking at a small swatch of a sample. So, we weren't real sure what the final color was going to look like, but we are happy with it now. It's nice to have a relaxing place to read and watch TV/DVD's.