Friday, August 1, 2008

This week in China


It's been an eventful week here. I've been very busy trying to keep up with the Chinese - they are wonderful people. The Chinese nationals I come in contact with daily are phenomenal. So kind and so willing to help in any way.

Sunday and Monday I h

Tuesday was a lot of fun. My friend, Theresa DeVito (her husband, Paul works with (W) in the Consortium Office). Mike works in the JPMO (Joint Procurement Management Office). Anyway, Theresa needed to pick up a jacket she had made at the tailor so her driver, Jack, picked me up and off we went to pick up her friend, Judy at her apartment in Times Square.

It turns out that Judy's husband, George, works at Tyco Electronics. They are from Philadelphia. Well, it turns out my good friend, Debbie Reid Wallace, Beaver Class of 72 lives in Philadelphia now AND works for Tyco Electronics. Debbie was in Beijing last Spring but in Switzerland last year. I think that is where she heard his name because he went to Switzerland. It IS a Small, small world.

So off to the fabric markets/tailors we go. We get to the tailor that made their Chanel jacket and I get measured for a pair of slacks in a crepe fabric for $16. Then we're off to another tailor where I was measured for a lovely white cotton blouse - tone on tone with 3/4 sleeves and pearl buttons. Beautiful tucking in the front and back - $18. Then off to another tailor where I was measured for a turquoise linen blouse/jacket with long sleeves and French cuffs. The lining in the neckline and cuffs is lime green and the buttons on the cuffs are turquoise and lime Chinese frogs. Ed Gillett, I know you are making some wise crack about that! All these clothes will be finished next Tuesday the 5th when Kate will be here and we'll get her some suits and dresses. It's going to be such fun!

You should see the cashmere! Rust, plum, green, black, grey, white - OMG - and the designs - you can see Chanel, Lacoste, Burberry, they are all copied here. I've been told to get measured for my coat soon because the prices will go up and up the closer to winter we get.

Then on Wednesday, my wonderful driver, Mr. Chen, took me on a shopping spree of Europe - he came to get me at 10 and we went to the French grocery store - Carrefour and the German grocery store - Metro which is like Sam's Club or Costco, you need a card and then to IKEA. We had a great time. He practices his English and I practice saying all the Chinese street names.

Thursday and Friday this week, Mike and I had intensive Cross Cultural Training with Rachel Hsia, from Cartus - the relocation company. Rachel has a great background. She's got a Masters Degree in Information Technology from the University of Pittsburgh so we chatted quite a bit about Pittsburgh. She was raised in South Carolina and she can turn on that Southern accent Miss Edie! I laughed and laughed!

Very interesting experiences. We met with Ms. Spring Liu who taught us about Chinese history and customs/manners. Her background was amazing. She worked for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington and spent some time in the military. Beautiful woman.

Then we met a Mr. Kai Kim Yin. He spent 25 years with Pepsi and has also owned/operated/managed many companies - he is 70 years old but you'd never know it. Very likeable man and very funny. I enjoyed his experiences.

Friday we met Jennifer Dawson who has lived in China for 18 years. She is a real estate broker and she also has copyrighted these fabulous "taxi cards" that you take in your purse when you want to go somewhere and show the taxi driver the name of the place you want to go and he takes you there because the words are in English (for you) and in Chinese (for the taxi driver). Very innovative! She taught us all about the ins and outs of living in Shanghai - where to get groceries - what stores to shop at - what hospitals to go to. I'm feeling better and better about being here. She is also convinced I'll enjoy meeting the many expats at coffees and teas and that the Australian women are wild and wonderful! So much fun. She provided us with brochures on the American Chamber of Commerce, The Shanghai Expatriates Association and the American Women's Club. All important groups to join. I will probably do it all. You know me!

Well, I'd better get a move on - Mike will be home from the golf course soon. He's really enjoying playing here and he's doing so much better - wonder why that is?????

It will only feel like 101 Degrees today so that is much cooler - thunderstorms tonight. Wonder where we will go for dinner.

I'm attaching some photos of our apartment.

Kate arrives Sunday night so I might be busy next week. I'll try and update though.

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