Thursday, September 30, 2010

National Day.

Today is National Day, China’s version of America’s Independence Day. I am not a Sinophile, although I am learning more living here and writing this blog. October 1st is the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and is celebrated as the National Holiday all over China (not to be confused with Double Ten Day, which is National Day for the Republic of China, Taiwan). On this day back in 1949, the Chinese people, under the leadership of Communist Party of China, declared victory in War of Liberation. A grand ceremony was held at Tiananmen Square. At the ceremony, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central People's Government, solemnly declared the founding of P.R.C. and raised the first national flag of China in person. 300,000 soldiers and people gathered at the square for the grand parade and celebration procession.

In recent years, the Chinese Government extended the National Day Holiday to one week’s time, which was called the Golden Week. It is intended to help expand the domestic tourism market and allow people time to make long-distance family visits. This is a period of greatly heightened travel activity. The other Golden Week is the Chinese New Year.

Susan has gone off exploring today with one of the other Ivy teachers and the rest of us are going to go for a walk to two parks with the dog and return home after going by New-Mart and the downtown area to see if there are any festivites. Tonight we are preparing dinner for Yen, one of the TA’s, who has been a great help to us in the past when taking DJ to the hospital or to see the doctor for anything.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All is well in the world.

Suzanne will soon officially become a teenager, although we have felt that she has been sprouting into a fine young lady for some time now. Ivy’s director, Mei Han, paid for a birthday dinner for Suzanne and our newest teacher, Sarah, whose birthday is today. I bought a big cake. I thought I was ordering a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Chinese really don’t do frosting. They do more of a whipped topping. And the cake wasn’t chocolate, but chocolate here isn’t exactly what we are used to anyway. We still have a chocolate cake mix sent from some that we will fix and enjoy at home. The dinner was for all of the Ivy staff and foreign teachers. It was a beautiful dinner and everyone had a great time. Even some of the kids from one of my public school classes got Suzanne some presents. We are very proud of her and love her very much. You can see pictures of Suzanne eating the longevity noodle. And I have tacked on some pics of DJ sitting in a high chair and one of her crib she is almost outgrowing since coming here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

364 Days.

Here is a picture of my newest shiny pajamas. It is supposed to be a suit I had made out of some material I picked out that had a very pretty and colorful design. I have been waiting for the weather to get cooler so I could wear it. It is 42̊F this morning and tomorrow is Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival.

Have you ever wanted an extra day in the week that you didn’t have to work? Tomorrow is one of those days for me. I do not get paid for the holiday and I do not have to work, nor does it count against my hours for the week. I also do not have to make the school day up on the weekend, although I do have two Friday’s this week. It is almost like there is only 364 days this year.

Deb and I went out last night to dinner but our favorite place to eat, Flolon’s Pizza was closed and out of business. We went to a little bar one street over that also serves spaghetti and pizza. It is a little more expensive but is still pretty good food and a really nice place. On the way there we stopped at a bakery and bought some Moon Cakes. None of us had ever tried any so we brought home a variety. They are very densely packed small cakes, much like fruit cake in the states. They have a pretty pattern on the outside and different kinds of fillings on the inside. The girls like the chocolate and I like the candy filled. Spot is the only one who likes the cakes with nuts.

There is also another holiday coming at the beginning of October that I will blog about later. I will have off three days then. Some of the other teachers are planning trips to other cities but it would just be too expensive and a lot of trouble for all of us to go somewhere. We will probably just stay home or go somewhere locally.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I wrote down and took a look at our budget before we moved to China. All our expenses totaled $2,555. I wasn’t making that much because of reduced hours. I converted the budget into a percentage and also into what it would equal in Chinese money. I thought someone might find it interesting to look at our current budget.
TOTAL= $2,555/MONTH = 100%
INSURANCE = $330 = 12.92%
TAXES = $295 = 11.55%
HOUSE = $305 = 11.94%
UTIL. (ELEC, GAS, WATER, TV,) = $285 = 11.15%
CAR = $460 = 18%
PHONE = $175 = 6.85%
SCHOOL = $100 = 3.91%
FOOD = $535 = 20.94%
OTHER = $70 = 2.74%

TOTAL = 6,000/MONTH = 100%
INSURANCE = 1,000 = 16.67%
UTIL. = 400 = 6.67%
CAR = 0
PHONE = 400 = 6.67%
FOOD = 3,000 = 50%
OTHER = 200 = 3.33%
SAVINGS = 1,000 = 16.66%

My pay is 1/3 what I would need in the US. The school pays for insurance on me but I had to purchase insurance for the family before we left America at $1,780 for one year. We don’t pay taxes. Housing is provided. Water and electric are 1/4 what they would be in the states. We don’t have a car, but we do take taxis and buses when we don’t walk. Cell is 1/3 what it was before we came here because it is pay as you go and we only call each other usually. We purchased all of Suzanne’s home schooling materials before we came over here. The cost of eating out isn’t too expensive except at KFC. A big expense of our food budget is buying imported items such as pasta and cheese. We are trying to get used to not using them as much but it is a hard habit to break.

Following budget we should be able to save 1,000RMB each month. So far we have saved nothing because we have had extra cost moving here and getting settled. A single person could live comfortable and save money. A couple, even with a family, like our friends in Beijing, who both work, can manage to save money. Deb would like to look into getting ESL certification so she also can work after DJ gets old enough to go to preschool. Our budget isn’t in the red like it used to be but we still have to watch it. For what little we do have, we really enjoy ourselves.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New dress for Suzanne.

We had this dress made. Suzanne desinged it and picked out the materials herself.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Teacher's Day.

Today was National Teacher’s Day in China. The public school I work at in the mornings only had half a day today. I was presented with some flowers when I walked in and later received more gifts from my classes. I had one class at Ivy this evening at was given even more flowers. I never experienced Teacher Appreciation in the USA but I love it here. I never was recognized in such a wonderful way by my previous jobs.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dinner anyone?

Tonight, Mei treated the teachers to dinner in honor of the new teacher Sarah and the returning teacher, Georges wife, Connie. Connie is the one wearing the black suit and she and George are from Canada. Sarah is the one with the red hair and is from Tennesse. It was a very nice night out for us teachers since we all have started working longer hours at Ivy on top of starting back teaching at public school. I brought home many leftovers for the family. Just before I left for the dinner, DJ was helping herself to some some red date and apple flavored rice cereal.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just another day of laboring on Labor Day.

We had a going away party at Ivy this last Sunday for Rita. She was a very good T.A. and friend. She is going back to school in another city but will try to come back in January I think. We introduced a local pizza place to her and she had to buy pizza for everyone. It was a very nice party. The little boy’s name is Charlie and is the nephew of one of the Ivy workers. He was very fascinated with DJ and she was mesmerized by him. DJ also loves her big sister. Susan was trying to teach her how to crawl the other day. DJ didn’t learn to well but Susan passed with flying colors. I started my second week of public school this term today. We took a walk down to the river this afternoon to play with the dog and just to get out again before the cold weather starts.

Mei Han has been very good to us and has helped make life much easier here for us with the family. We are very busy on weekends at Ivy.