Friday, February 22, 2013

Shy girl's guide to making friends

I am shy.  I HATE talking to people.  Which makes this lifestyle of ours an interesting choice for me.  But while I'm shy, I do like to have friends, so it is always a challenge when we move to a new place to find a place for the permanently weird like me.  
But, this is now our 6th move so I have a few tips that I can sometimes get to work for me, sometimes not (in fact if you have any tips PLEASE let me know because I could use them).  

1.  JOIN!  Find groups, join them.  It doesn't matter if they sound stupid, or like something you wouldn't necessarily do, you won't meet people in your house (believe me I've waited, people aren't going to come to you).  Women's groups, book clubs, baby groups, PTAs, these are all places where people come together chances are you will meet somebody there.  

2.  TALK!  I know it's hard, but you have to talk to other people. It usually doesn't have to be witty or even clever.  If you are overseas it's as simple as "how long have you been in XYZ?" or even "is this your first time living overseas?"  you can follow that question up with "oh, where else have you been?"  Being overseas gives you a great conversation starters.  (this also works on your home turf too, but people might not have as much to say).  You can also make small talk based on the activity you are doing, "do you read many books?" "oh is that your baby?"  "what grade is your child in?" "What other charities are you involved in?"

3.  INVITE! This is critical!  You have to invite people out to indicate your willingness to be more than just acquaintances.   You have to do this often, and early.  It doesn't have to be fancy, Coffee, tea, drinks, lunch, pedicures, museums, whatever.  Just an exchange of phone numbers isn't enough, just an open "we should hang out" is also not enough.  You have to make a specific plan, and it's easier if you initiate it.  Chances are, the other person is just sitting around wishing for something to do to, but they don't know that you are not doing anything either, and that you could be not doing anything together.  

4.  REPEAT!  You might think, hey I've done it once, great.  Now the people will start flocking to me.  Sadly no, (or at least not for me--if you've had other experiences, don't tell me, I'd rather think it's this way for everyone and not just me) you have to keep putting yourself out there, and talking to people in order to get a group of people that you can hang out with.  It's tiring, and can be frustrating, but it's worth it.... or so I keep telling myself.  

**I would suggest you do this as soon as you get to a new place.  I have had many many experiences, where I have found people who I think are really really cool, but I waited too long and I made friends with them as they were leaving.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Baking with Babes

With Babes off school we have had tons of time to hang out and bake together.  She's big enough now that she can actually be of help with baking and it's actually help and not just mess.  So last week we baked.
I have been wanting a Cherry pie now for AGES!  But for whatever reason Cherries in China are crazy expensive, so no pie for us.  BUT I finally found some that were not so bad, ok the price was not bad, but the cherries looked horrible (I had to do a lot of careful picking to get a pretty flat pie).  It turned out so well, that I might have to bake an Apple pie next.

As an added bonus we also made some brioche, because a day of baking is not complete without making some bread.  It was actually pretty easy to make (I LOVE my kitchenaid!), we made it with raisins and cranberries so it's a little sweet, but just a little.  It's great with my morning cuppa tea.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fun with Babes

Hey, I missed my Walking in Wuhan this week.  I've been home all week with Babes who is out of school and we've been watching movies, baking, knitting (well, I've been knitting), having fancy tea parties, going out to breakfast, and just generally having fun.  I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed going places with her, and also how challenging it has gotten to keep her amused for longer than a couple of hours at a time (I personally think this is why they invented preschool).
We've been listening to Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men,  it's a hilariously funny book (audiobook for us) about 9 year old Tiffany Aching and her adventures with the Nac Mac Feegle (or the wee free folk) against a fairy queen.  I think it's a little advanced for Babes, but mostly because the narrator speaks really fast and the Nac Mac Feegle tend to speak funny.  But with slow going and lots of stopping I think she's getting as much out of it as she got out of Matilda by Roald Dahl (which was also a wee bit over her head, but she seemed to understand most of what was going on and seemed to really enjoy the book).
By the way Happy Valentine's Day to you all.  This was actually the first time I've celebrated Valentine's day in awhile.  I mostly think on it as a way to sell more flowers and candy, so we usually don't do anything, but Babes was so excited by the prospect of a day devoted to love that we had to celebrate it.  So we did what any self respecting princess in training would do.... we had a tea party:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The calm before the storm....

Happy Chinese New Year's EVE!  It is quiet out today.... a little too quiet.  Actually it's not.  The traffic noise is low, and the streets are emptier, but every so often you can hear some fireworks, crackling in the distance (or nearby depending on where you are).
Just in time for the New Year it snowed yesterday and Wuhan was a beautiful winterscape.  It actually felt a lot like Christmas, people were bundled up running to the store, everyone racing to get that last minute gift, or last minute ingredient for their NY's dinners.

It's all gone today, it warmed up and melted, but it was a beautiful sunny day so I can't complain.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Fiber Friday!

Since I've been inside so much I've done a bunch of knitting.  I made Babes a Hat, Scarf and glove set to match her school uniform.  I had to make the hat super huge to fit over all of her hair braids.  But I'm fairly happy with the results.  The hat kinda looks like a watermelon, and the scarf, well it's a scarf.  I used the foaming waves lace pattern to make both the hat and the scarf interesting, as well as stripes in her school colors.

I also making a pair of convertible fingerless gloves for myself.  I was inspired by the Diamonds in the Snow pattern on Ravelry.

They are a little big, and there are some things I'd do differently, but overall I'm happy with the way they turned out.  On my needles right now is a fuzzy scarf I'm making for someone who recently gifted me some yarn.  It's going to eventually look something like a fox, I hope, but right now it looks like this:

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Walking in Wuhan, run up to Chinese New Year edition

As the year of the snake approaches, the stores have been awash in a sea of red, and crowded, oh so crowded.  Chinese people are busy shopping, spring cleaning, and smoking meat as they prepare for the arrival of relatives and friends.  

Friday, February 01, 2013

Honey dog!

Last Friday our Honeydog FINALLY made it home!  She's been staying with my parents since we came to Wuhan because United changed their dog flight policy to require us to ship Honeydog cargo.  Poor dog.  Not only did she have to stay crated for the long overseas flight (15 hours or so) BUT they kept her crated the entire time she was trying to clear customs (2 days).  I have no idea if they let her out once a day, or if she was required to stay crated. We hired a shipper for that part of the journey, and while I asked these questions, their answers were vague (and I think I'd rather not know).
Anyway, she's home now, safe, and sound, which is all that really matters.  I can honestly say, that I will be trying to find a way to fly other than United when it comes time to leave Wuhan.
Anyway, this is why we did it (yes, it is only about 2 seconds) don't blink you'll miss it.