Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting Ready for the Big Sale

I never considered myself or Chris to be hoarders.  Sure, we pick up paperback or two when we travel, buy tools when we have a home improvement plan, and snag new clothes when we need them.  However, I don’t consider us to be like the poor souls on cable who need licensed professionals to coax them out of their clutter.  
After our domestic relocation consultant told us that we could only take 220 Kg (about 458 lbs) of things via air freight and one 40 ft. container of sea freight, we realized it was time to de-clutter and sell sell sell!  
This weekend we have sorted through almost 11 years worth of electronics, books, clothes, tools, and other various household items in preparation for our moving sale!

As you can see from the artwork, we may be hoarders.  The good news is I have reclaimed half of my closet!
If you are interested in old Chemical Engineering textbooks, are itching to start that garden, or want to expand your VHS library come visit our mega sale this Saturday from  7am- 2pm.  Not only will you be getting valuable merchandise, you will have a chance to meet my mom, Pat “Money Bags” Ahrens.
Come all!  Buy our stuff!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skeeter Bait

Before living in China, it is important to be properly vaccinated.  Hence, I have been injected with close to $1000 worth of vaccines in the past few months.  The good news is that for the remainder of my life I will not be getting Polio, Hepatitis A OR B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis or many other diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes.  Despite the fact that I am super imunized, I was told by the nice needle wielders at Passport Health that I need to protect myself from malaria and skeeter transmitted diseases by using insect repellent. 
Many of you who know me know that I am fillet mignon to mosquitoes.  If there is a mosquito within 5 miles of my house, he or she will inevitably find me.  So in a proactive effort, I decided to give three different insect repellents a spin.  For those of you who are fillet like me...these reviews are for you.
For my test, I decided to give three separate products, Evada Bug, Deep Woods Off Wipes, and Sawyer’s Ultra 30 Insect Repellent a try. 

For three nights, I covered my arms, legs, hands, neck and face with each of the aforementioned repellents.  I would then sit out on my deck (skeeter heaven) for at least 30 minutes, then go inside to assess the damage.  I am very happy to say that I did not get a single bite in the testing process, but I do feel the need to report the pros and cons of each repellent.  
For Sunday night’s test run, I applied Evada Bug.  
Evada Bug is an all natural insect repellent that is sold at our local Piggly Wiggly.  (Yes Yankee friends, I do shop at ‘The Pig”.  Don’t judge.)  I took the green bottle and liberally applied the spray in my kitchen.  It is an oil based spray, so my floor quickly turned into an ice-rink.  Despite the fact that the repellent had no DEET, it did it’s job.  It even repelled my husband!  (I think his exact quote was ‘you smell like a hippie’.  Honestly, I thought the same thing.) Long story short, Evada Bug is stinky, all natural, and effective.
For Monday night’s test, I tried the Deep Woods Off Wipes. 
The smell of the Off brought back memories of Girl Scout Camp at Bee Tree Park.  I know that this stuff is tried and true.  I was even more excited that the skeeter fighting power that one finds in a can is now accessible in a wet nap.  (VERY cool for TSA purposes.)  I opened up a pouch and covered myself with OFF goodness.  I need to admit that I was disappointed that the wipe was dry after 20 seconds of air exposure.  The good news is that for a second night I did not get eaten alive.  I am also happy to report that I did not repel Chris either!  Mission accomplished!  Yeah for DEET!
For Tuesday night’s test, I tried Sawyer’s Ultra 30 Insect lotion a shot. 
This is the lotion the Passport Health folks sold me when I was still in shock over the move.  (I know, I am a sucker.)  I opened the bottle, and a white substance that resembled mayonnaise squirt out of the bottle.  Good was odorless.  I took a seat in my deck throne and waited for the skeeter attack.  Nothing!  What validated the effectiveness of this product is that the mosquitoes were biting Chris!!!!!!!  I know I should not be happy about this, but you gotta love it when a test goes your way.
So which one will I be taking to Shanghai?  More than likely all 3.  A Girl Scout needs to be prepared, right?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The cat (and the cookies) are out of the bag.

Today, I broadcast our impending China adventure to my people at Beech Hill Elementary and Summerville Elementary.  I am fortunate to have received many fun and warm responses from my peers.  One of my coworkers stated that he was going to watch Kill Bill this weekend as a congratulatory tribute. Another brought me a bag of fortune cookies to share with the instructional technology team. :)

Many people have asked questions, so I am going to try to answer them on this post.
Q) Where are you going to live?
A) I don’t know.  As part of our relocation package, Chris and I will be taking a week long trip to Shanghai to play House Hunters International.  (No we are NOT going to be on the show, it is just a game. :) ) Bosch has paired us up with a real estate agent, Alex, who will hopefully show us some nice places.  I am thinking we will more than likely end up living in an expat community, however a Shanghai sky rise may be fun.  I will post pics as soon as I am able.
Q) What are you going to do while you are there?
A)  Again, I don’t know.  I am thinking that I can
    1. Teach in one of the Western Schools
    2. Teach English as a Foreign Language 
    3. Apply for a sales job at the Apple Store in Pudong
    4. Learn to be a professional Mah Jong player.
Q) Will you be taking the dogs with you?
  1. Yes.  Ditka and Leia are our fur babies.  There is no way we would leave them behind.
Q) How long will you be there?
  1. Three years, I think.
Q) Will you be able to come home during that time?
  1. Yes.  As part of our relocation package, we will be heading home at least once per year.
Q) Will you bring your cars?
  1. No. We are going to sell them. There is no way I would be able to manage the crazy Shanghai traffic.  One of my guide books states,
“Expect to get in at least two traffic accidents per year.”
If you are interested in a 2004 Chrysler Sebring or a 1998 Buick Century, please let me know.  
Q) What are you going to do with your house?
  1. I don’t know.  We are still having the rental vs. selling conversation.
Q) Is Chris in the military?
  1. No. He is an engineer who works for Bosch.
Q) Where will you live when you come back?
  1. Again, I don’t know.
Q)  What are you going to do with all of your stuff?
  1. We plan on holding a garage sale extravaganza.  Our mega sale will include volumes of Chris’ political propaganda, women’s clothing in multiple sizes, a lovely sofa and armchair, a vintage VCR and more!  I will post the sale date if you are interested.  
Bonus Question:  When do you leave?
  1. Chris’ start date is June 1st, so we are thinking late May or early June.  On my birthday I may be eating authentic Chinese noodles for good luck!!!  
I will answer more questions as they come in.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mandarin Puppies

Tonight Chris and I had our first Mandarin lesson. From now until the time we head off to Shanghai, we will learning our new language two nights a week from our darling tutor Jie.

For most of our first lesson, Jie taught us seven "simple" vowel and four simple consonant sounds. So, for 120 minutes, Jie would say "aaaaaaaahhhhhhh-ooooowwwww-eeeeeeeeee-eeeerrrrrrrr-iiiiiiiii-oooooooooo-uuuuuurrrrrr". Like Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady, we would repeat "aaaaaaaahhhhhhh-ooooowwwww-eeeeeeeeee-eeeerrrrrrrr-iiiiiiiii-oooooooooo-uuuuuurrrrrr". She would reply "very very good" and the whole cycle would repeat again. Then we would complete an exercise with the sounds and then review "aaaaaaaahhhhhhh-ooooowwwww-eeeeeeeeee-eeeerrrrrrrr-iiiiiiiii-oooooooooo-uuuuuurrrrrr".

About 90 minutes into our lesson, Ditka started to howl along with us during our lesson. We would say "aaaaahhhh" and he would say "hoooooowwwwww". I think on some level he either wanted us to can it, or he was expressing his desire to get the show on the road to China.

Jie then wanted to know what phrases we wanted to know before leaving for China.

I replied,

"I need to know how to say, I am sorry my dogs are so noisy." Will post an answer as soon as I get one.

Lesson Two is tomorrow night! Zai Jian!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shanghai? Really?

If you would have told me one year ago that I would be leaving my comfortable, safe life in South Carolina to move to Shanghai, China I would have called you crazy. I had the job of my dreams, a beautiful home, a doting was good!

Then Chris had the conversation with Tom, his supervisor. A big opportunity was coming his Shanghai. After prayerful consideration, we decided to go for it!
Now I am leaving my life as I know it.

This blog is about our new life in the Far East. I look forward to sharing my journey as an expat as long as the Great Firewall of China allows me to do so. Gan bei!