Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chopsticks on Fire!

This has been a busy week for my chopsticks. After our initial success at Hunan East, we tried the Golden Dragon Monday, where our waiter George gave us advice on Chinese food and drink, corrected our Chinese pronounciation, and suggested that we contact his niece in Dalian (a coastal city near Beijing) so that we would know someone when we move. How nice is that? The jasmine tea, potstickers and Yang Zhou fried rice were also excellent, and we even had a complimentary glass of Dragon Silk Riesling, which was probably good if you like Riesling. My niece Kelly gave me a fancy set of chopsticks with a little silk pouch, so I am now eating in style. We tried Panda Express on Friday and that was also tasty, so I am happy to report that I can find good food even in the fast food area, at least here in the States. Joe has been practicing his Chinese using our language DVD and a website called Livemocha, where you trade language lessons with someone, both written and audio. He is speaking in complete sentences and tells me he knows what he is saying.

Good news from China: First, we got an email from our new Head of School with our list of email buddies, so I'll be contacting mine (a music guy) soon. Either I haven't had many new questions or I'm just not writing them down to remember them. The principal of the lower school is Tammy Roudebaugh, so my poor students will have to make some careful decisions about who we are! Second, there is a cupcake seller in Shanghai named Emily whose blog is maintained through her VPN on, so this blog might not have to switch to another site, I hope. Third, Shanghai has bowling alleys, including one named Sakura that has 40 lanes! Although I probably can't bring my ten-pound ball, I think I might include my bowling shoes. Finally, China does not observe Daylight Savings Time, so this Arizonan will leave her clocks unchanged even overseas! This pleased me greatly until I realized that I was agreeing with a Communist government on a matter of policy, but I'm just going to say that even a blind squirrel finds a few nuts.

On Saturday, we visited the Chinese Cultural Center, which is a combination office building and strip mall with all things Asian, including a big food market where we found all sorts of food, including squid jerky, dried snack anchovies and quail eggs. We passed on all of those things, opting for two types of tea (jasmine for Joe and Extra Gunpowder for me), a tea infuser, and also some music CDs and another book from a different store. We also walked through a huge garden on the backside of the building that had beautiful trees and replicas of various gardens and buildings from China, which gave us some good ideas for vacations once we get there.

Jack's situation is still uncertain, although we have two backups in my two sisters (Jill volunteered also). We will be back in Prescott next weekend and see if anyone there has found a place in both heart and home. We did get a call back from Tiffany the dental hygienist, but we decided not to follow that option. I went to a concert given by two friends of mine who play flute and glass armonica (you need to look this up), an instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin and composed for by just about everyone in the eighteenth century, including Mozart. When I told my kids about the concert and mentioned what great friends I have here, one of my kids said, "Mrs. Rauschenbach, if Mozart were alive today, he'd be your friend!" Kid, you have great instincts, because I always find wonderful and interesting friends, and although it's hard to leave the ones here, I know the ones in Shanghai are also going to be Mozarts.

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