Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tips for pack out and moving --- PANIC!!!!!

Actually, no, don't panic. I've been missing in action for the last week because I have officially started to panic.  I don't know why, I've been trying to slowly organize myself for this move for the last three months.... But still.  *sigh* I don't think there's a way to do this moving thing without it. (I think it's all mixed up with leaving your home, looking forward to the new home, and all the uncertainty and lack of control that you have with the whole process) I actually had planned to do a post in narrative form about preparing for the movers, but I'm way too freaked out to think about it coherently.
So here are a few notes: 

1.  group stuff according to categories.  Put all your pictures together, lamps together, extension cords, cables, etc... You might use them all in different rooms, but every house is laid out in a slightly different way and what you have going on now might not be what you've got in the future. 

2.  Save your original boxes (for tvs, dishes, anything really breakable) if you can, pack your stuff in it.

3.  Breathe

4.  Empty all your trash (yes, some packers will pack the trash)

5.  Label things that don't go with you.  Put suitcases and small things you don't want packed in another room where the packers won't go. 

6.  If you can, arrange for kids and dogs to be somewhere else, or give them a space of their own away from the packers.

7.  Breathe

8.  Prepare a dinner ahead of time, or know the number of good take out.  You will not want to make dinner, or leave dinner plans until the last minute (same goes for lunch).

9.  Try to write specific notes on each box, if you can (I know that I usually can't, there are too many packers and not enough of me).

10.  Breathe

When all else fails, remember they will pack everything and most everything will arrive at your next place, if you are not organized, they will still pack, and you will be able to organize when you get there.  So long as you have your suitcases, pets, and as many children as you started with you will be fine. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

China cleans....

In the new luxury mall we saw this ingenious way of cleaning floors.

Do we have these in the West?  I actually don't think I've ever seen anyone cleaning floors during business hours, maybe we do have them....
But just to remind you that man is still better than a machine in China, there is this:

Yes, it's a guy with a bucket and a rag cleaning the construction barricades on one of the busiest streets in town. No, there is usually not anything to warn you that you are about to run over someone, but then he is wearing a bright orange vest, so I guess that's progress-right?

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Panda Base

When visitors come to town one of the first things we ask is "Do you want to see the pandas?"  because that is what Szechuan (spell check won't accept Sichuan as a spelling, which is how it is actually spelled) is know for.  I have tried many different ways of explaining where we are to people who don't know China, and none of them work as well as Sichuan-it's where the pandas are.  Once I say that I get the ooohhhh accompanied by the nod of the head which means "I still don't know what you are talking about but I'm going to pretend that I do because I've heard of pandas--they're in China right?". 
I've been to the Panda base 4 or 5 times now (we don't get that many visitors) and I still mostly like it.  Pandas are cute, but they aren't the most entertaining animal out there. 

When you go see them, you are basically either going to see pandas eating, sleeping, or walking someplace else to eat or sleep.

That being said, the panda base is huge!  There are a bunch of different panda enclosures, and each one is nicely landscaped with lots of flowering trees, shrubs and bamboo.  It's not the Taipei Zoom which has to be one of my favorite places, but it's a nice morning out.  And you get to see the cute cuddly-looking pandas in something which resembles a natural habitat.

If you are curious, there is apparently a video there that goes into great detail about panda breeding in captivity--but I'm not curious about that at all.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Zucchini Zucchini

So I know I haven't posted any pictures from our vegetable deliveries, I've been a little busy preparing to move, but also our deliveries have been pretty standard.  Regular old cabbage (the kind you would see at Kroger's) tiny potatoes, and zucchini, a couple of greens here and there but all things I've seen before.  BUT I thought I'd stop in and post about what I did with some of the vegetables, after all I got cabbage three weeks in a row (I don't like cooked cabbage THAT much) and at some point we had 4 giant Zucchinis in our fridge. 

With the cabbage I discovered that I can actually make coleslaw.  I thought it was something really difficult and hard to make (I've had a lot of really bad coleslaw) but actually it's pretty simple.  I just used the standard Southern Living cookbook's barbecue slaw (I really love that cookbook).  It's not the best coleslaw in the world but it's much better than any coleslaw I've had in a long time... AND what's even better it only used ingredients that I had in my cupboard and need to get rid of (less than a month left at post!), I even took it to one of those potluck events that the consulate community is so fond of. 

The zucchini was tougher.  I roasted it, grilled it, stir fried it--but still I was getting a lukewarm reception from the discerning duo.  Finally, over everyone's objections I went searching for a zucchini bread recipe (strangely enough none of my cookbooks have that recipe, I thought it was an American staple).  When the Smitten Kitchen turned up in my search results I went no further (her food is AMAZING!) So I made her zucchini bread, and she did not disappoint.  The muffins (because why make a big huge loaf when you can have muffins?) I made using her recipe were great, flavorful moist, delicious. 

Unfortunately, I STILL have zucchini.  I think next will be zucchini pancakes for dinner.