Thursday, April 24, 2008

Italian Dinner in Shanghai

We dined at a lovely Italian restaurant around the corner from Hooters. It was very good. I started out with a bowl of cream of asparagus soup and moved onto spaghetti with tomato sauce, and a cold Coke to top it off. Beverages are served mostly warm here and because you shouldn’t use ice, they usually refrigerate for Westerners. Even the bottled water is warm – I put ours in the mini-fridge in our room. I was so happy to get a cold one.

On the way back to the Renaissance, I bought a Coach wallet for 75 RMB or about US $10.50. Mike says I should have negotiated some more but hey, it was my first time. I’m pretty pleased with my success.

Then we went back to the hotel and tried to relax. Mike watched Hotel Rwanda on TV and I called my new friend Kristin O’Keeffe. Kristin wrote a column last week in the Post-Gazette on her experiences here in Shanghai. She’s lived here for two years, following her new husband here due to his job with an international company I cannot recall.

Anyway, ironically, my friend, Theresa Melnick called me on Saturday to tell me about her article. I had already cancelled the P-G for this week so there was no way I was going to “read all about it” before we left for the airport - unless I went online. So after reading about Kristin’s experiences, I emailed her. She responded to my email before we landed in Shanghai. How’s that for technology? We had a lovely chat about places to visit and where to eat. She lives in the French Concession which is the older part of the city. The buildings are lower there – no high rises in sight. There are lovely streets with mature trees and beautiful walled gardens. It does seem quieter there.

Then I spoke with my fellow Westinghouse wife, Amy Shaqqo who has organized a group dinner at Peter’s Tex Mex for Friday night. She’s had a hankering for Tex Mex and there are some new families moving in this week. Both of them have small children, as does Amy so it made perfect sense to bring the group together for a small dinner party – we’re up to 25 by now for sure.

We slept like babies last night – finally - until about 4:31 am when someone from Oakmont called us – I couldn’t get to the Blackberry in time to answer it. Darn it – we would now be up for a while wondering who it was that called because the number is not in Mike’s address book.

I’ve emailed Kate to ask her to check messages at home. Then email us with anything important.

We received a wonderful email from Staci Rullo, our real estate agent in Pittsburgh. She’s listed the house and it’s already up on the webpage at Northwood – check us out!

AND – we have a potential buyer who will stop tonight – Wednesday night at 6:30 pm. Staci was worried about Snowball but I encouraged her to have the agent armed with a dog treat and put her on the deck while the buyers toured the house. This is good news – only 24 hours and already an interested family. It’s a great neighborhood with great neighbors. I wouldn’t be leaving if I didn’t have to.

My biggest concern this morning was the Pennsylvania Primary. I was so anxious to hear if Hillary had taken the state by storm. Sure enough the polls hadn’t closed when we woke up so I had to wait until I got into the Westinghouse office to read all about it. Yes, she did it. My faith in my fellow Pennsylvanian has been renewed – lol. That was said with tongue in cheek. I know my friend Val will not be happy. She was supporting the other guy. But at least I don’t have to vote for McCain just yet.

Lunch at the Westinghouse JPMO CafĂ© was quite an awakening. There was not much there I could figure out. There were no fish eyes staring at me but maybe some spinach and some mushrooms – Mike chose the tofu with gravy on it and steamed rice. I chose yogurt and a banana. I will be so thin after this 5 years living in Shanghai – I’m praying for it.

Now, we’re off on another trip back to the hotel. I hope to take some photos of the sites along the way so I can post them tonight.

Stay tuned for the next chapter.


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