Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cup O'Luo Bo

I made this discovery last week but it's only just now that I've been able to write about it. I've been too busy writing about the endless construction from hell, cheapskates and crackpots that we encounter on a daily basis around here. They kept me so busy I barely had time for the main crackpot in my life, MIL, and her inability to refrain from being a slob.

This was what my counter looked like on the night in question. There are only so many times I can ask "what is wrong with her?" before I give up and chalk it up to a head full of sawdust. In this photo, I'd like you to spot the green cup. See it?

Ok, next, I want to show you what was INSIDE that green cup. Are you ready?

You know you want to see it, don't you? Of course you do!

 I had to move it to our table to get good lighting. Can you see what's inside? 2 slices of luo bo, that annoying Chinese radish!

 Come closer...closer! Gah!

As if it's not bizarre enough to find shit like this in a cup, here is an even closer view of the 2 slices of luo bo. As you can see, these are not fresh. They had a rubbery texture and were not fit for eating. Yet that old cow is saving them. I think she needs to start eating the shit she leaves out. Jeremy won't make her though. "It could kill her!" Well, I could kill her too, especially if she keeps leaving my kitchen like this. Oh but my husband loves his troll of a mother so I have to let her live. Hopefully soon we'll be able to move away and she can cut up 20 luo bo and leave them around her house to keep her company.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Well, I'll Be!

Sometimes, MIL amazes me. Like when she made this...
Why, it's not barf in a bowl! It's yu xiang rou si, my favorite pork dish! It's thin slices of pork, potatoes, green peppers and carrots in a spicy yet sweet sauce. It rules. And hold on to your hat because I'm going to say something I very seldom say: MIL rocked it.

Yes. She really did. It was better than in any restaurant. No, I didn't bang my head on anything. I really, truly mean it. Remember, she does a wonderful job cooking for the Chinese New Year celebrations. So why then does everything else she makes look and taste like vomit? Jeremy may have found the answer.

She's lazy. He said he was talking to her about her cooking. She expressed disappointment that I was unhappy with her food. She didn't know what to make for me any more. So Jeremy reminded her that I don't like to eat the same things every single day and that I like variety. She complained that I don't like Chinese food and that's where he set her straight. No, Jennifer loves GOOD Chinese food. You keep slopping together things like you don't care about the ingredients. He told her if she made this dish, I'd be thrilled. Good job, Honey!

I wonder how many times she'll make it this week though. Oy.

MIL might have had some success with her cuisine this evening, but she did leave a bunch of questionable crap in the kitchen of course.
 A severed luo bo! Oh joy! Thank you!

 A partially used carrot. If we had snow (oh how I wish!), we could use this for a snowman's nose.

I'm not quite sure what's up with this. It seems to be the mixture she'd put into a dumpling in the same bowl as a raw egg. It's rather odd, even for her.

$10 says this hot mess is still out when I come home from work tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Extreme Cheapskates: China Edition

Have you ever seen Extreme Cheapskates on TLC? I tease Jeremy sometimes for being cheap but in all honesty, he's mostly just frugal with an occasional WTF cheap-freakout. He's good at saving money but also has no problems spending it. Except on batteries for the baby's vibrating chair for example.

Anyway, one night, we were watching TLC and Extreme Cheapskates came on. It was the episode with this guy:
 His name is Ron Hayes and we'll never forget him because he took his wife out for ice cream, except that he asked for about 12 different samples and then ran off with them. I feel sorry for her. That is so super embarrassing. Cheapskate!

Here he is again, squeezing ketchup packets he got from somewhere into his ketchup bottle at home. So he doesn't have to buy ketchup.

Jeremy was making fun of him. He called him "Cheapskate Face" and we all know how hilarious my husband's nicknames for people are (remember when he called Seoul "Grandpa Face?"). He went on and on about how this guy had a cheap face and made fun of the shirt too. God, we laughed so hard.

Today, we went to Metro to get some groceries. Since Christmas is this week, I needed some things so I could make us an awesome Christmas dinner. My husband didn't pull any typical wallet-tightening moves this time. He told me to pick out anything I wanted for whatever I was going to make. But before we could even park the car, we encountered a real live extreme cheapskate!

I should mention that there seems to be a lot of stingy people here in China. Some of that is largely due to older generations still not being used to more plentiful resources. People here will travel places and bring instant noodles with them rather than buy the food. I think I mentioned that in the post about the idiots on the airplanes.

Somewhere between 4 and 6 months ago, the Metro installed a parking card system. You have to take a card and then wait for the electronic arm to lift and in you go. But as long as you are out before 2 hours are up, it's free. Even when we've dragged our feet around there, it's never taken us 2 hours to shop for groceries.

So as we pull in to park in the lot, there is a car in front of us. It stops, and an older woman gets out. Not geriatric old but older. And she leans in the window and talks to the driver. I can tell what's happening. These buttholes don't want to pay for parking. Heaven forbid! They're taking a long time discussing this so Jeremy beeps at them. She looks at us and then continues talking. So he beeps longer. Then she bitches at us and Jeremy bitches right back. I also add my own 2 cents, rolling down the window and shouting at them in English to move their asses and quit being such cheap turds.

My Chinese might suck but I know exactly what they're saying to each other. Jeremy's trying to tell them to go in - that there is no charge for parking for 2 whole hours. But they're such cheap assholes. The woman walks her dumb ass through the gate meanwhile her husband snarls at us to back up so he can turn around. Now other cars have joined us and are also honking at the cheapskate who won't park in the Metro parking lot. Free for 2 hours. Just so you know, even if you DID shop for over 2 hours, do you know how much it costs per hour after 2 hours? 4 rmb. Yes. 4 measly rmb.

Finally, the Parking Lot Cheapskate turns around and gets out of our way. As Jeremy fumes away while we park, I bug him, "How do you say 'cheapskate' in Chinese? Is it 'pianyi ren'?" 'Pianyi ren' would translate to ' cheap person.' But Jeremy tells me no as we walk into the store.

"Xiao qi gui," he says after he's brought us a cart. It literally translates to 'stingy ghost' and is not something someone wants to be called here. I wanted to say it to that woman if we saw her inside the store. Which we did. But fearing she'd be some psycho, I simply pointed and said, "Hey! It's the Cheapskate Lady!" To which we laughed hysterically. It makes me wonder how many other people turn around at the sight of the parking gate when they go to park at the Metro. Next time, I'll see if Jeremy will ask the parking guard in the name of research!

The Unreserved Reserved Spot

This afternoon, as we walked toward our car to head to the supermarket, Jeremy told me something rather amusing. He said the parking guy for our street approached him the other day. He had quite the offer! He said that if Jeremy paid him 150 rmb, he could have a reserved spot that only he could park in. We already pay 100 rmb per month to be able to park on our shitty street, which is often a challenge thanks to the idiotic construction disasters that often afflict the road we live on. But if we paid a total of 250 rmb per month, we'd have a reserved spot.

Of course, that seemed too good to be true. People are always parking like royal shitheads here even when there is no construction going down. Guaranteeing a reserved spot on this street seems a bit hokey. My husband asked the parking guy how he intended to keep the spot free from other cars. Will you always be able to keep it available? And the guy's answer? "I don't know." Oh, man! Only in this country will someone offer you a reserved parking space that's all for you but be unable to make that happen for you. Gotta give him an A for effort though.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Just Stop.

I still can't even since the other day, and now, there is this funness...
 You can still see the first hole they dug on the sidewalk further in the background behind this giant pit they've dug that I surmise can only lead straight to hell. If you are a regular reader of my posts, then you have probably already guessed that this is not the first time they've excavated a huge hole here. But! It is the first time that they have made one THIS big. At least since we've been living here. Oooooh.

Remember, here is what it looked like the other day:
Why they keep doing this, I will never know. Because, were it me with this project, I would have fiddled with the shit underneath the concrete and bricks BEFORE laying down the new bricks but what the fuck do I know about construction? Not much but I will tell you this...I have never seen so much fuckery in my whole life and I come from South Florida where they are constantly building new condos and kicking the shit out of the natural habitat. I've seen all kinds of weird shit back in my native Florida, but not anything quite like this. What, did they do all this work and then some chode comes in and goes, "Oh yeah! Oopsie Daisy! We forgot to put pipes down there. Tear it up again, boys!"

I know I'm often apologizing for my half-assed photos on here and this one is no exception. Sorry. Seriously. I suck. But I'm not a completely inept photographer. I was just trying to snap this quickly as Raelynn and I ran to Hao Shufu's awaiting taxi. We were already running late because someone *coughcoughRaelynncough* eats slower than a turtle. Unfortunately, because I was moving as I was taking this photo, you can't see what made this even more amusing...someone had thrown a whole cabbage down there. No idea if it was accidental or intentional but it made me wonder.

When will this shit end?!? At least it's not interfering with my sleep but damn! Just stop already!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Can't Even...

I think I'll just sit in a permanent facepalm position. Remember my post from yesterday? Three separate idiotic airplane incidents here in China caused by stupid and/or selfish fucks. Well, add a fourth one to that, won't you?

This time, 2 female passengers got into a brawl over their seating arrangements. You can read the whole story here.

As for me, I fear that when we take our next trip down to Guangzhou for Jeremy's visa interview, which we will be scheduling soon, that some buttwipe will pull some crap like this and cause our flight to turn around. Or when we go to America.


Because let me tell you assholes something...if you do some fool shit like these other people did on a plane that I happen to be on, I will take a diaper full of my baby's shit and shove it in your fucking face. I think the other passengers on the plane will be happy to assist with this. So please, chill the fuck out and get your shit together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

For The Love Of...!!!

Dear China, we need to talk. There have been 3 separate incidents in as many days regarding some of your citizens aboard airplanes which leads me to believe that a severe outbreak of stupid is reaching epidemic levels in your country.

First, there was the flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Nanjing where 2 very selfish and moronic people engaged in an argument with a flight attendant and then threw steaming hot instant noodles onto said flight attendant. I believe I recall Xi Jinping imploring you folks to stop eating noodles whilst traveling. Which makes me insane for many reasons, but primarily because I cannot even fathom shelling out money for airfare and hotel in a new destination only to hide in my hotel room and eat some shitty convenience food instead of trying the food from another place. Something is wrong with you. Very wrong. Really.

Then, there was this selfish prick who wanted to get off the airplane faster so he opened the emergency exit, which in turn, deployed the emergency slide and caused the plane to be 2 hours late for take-off for its' next destination. Can I just ask you what kind of a moron do you have to be to not understand the words "EMERGENCY EXIT" printed in big red letters? It's in Chinese too for God's sake! It's just like the idiots who don't lock the doors to the airplane bathrooms on Chinese flights, even though it is in English AND Chinese. Hence, every single time I've had to use the bathroom when flying around China, I've walked in on someone using it because it says "VACANT" because the imbecile inside didn't lock it.

And today, I saw this one of some yokel who had never before been on a plane and of course did not listen to the safety instructions before take-off because he opened the emergency exit to get a breath of fresh air. At least this idiot opened the door over the wing so there was no emergency slide to deploy.

The level of stupid here is seriously astonishing. It deserves to be in the Guiness Book of World Records. "Most Stupid People Assembled in One Place at One Time." Congratulations, China. You're a winner!

Keeping Up With The Konstruction

Remember the other day when I said this? Well, that didn't take long for them to destroy it again, now did it?

This is right in front of my building, which Raelynn and I are walking away from as we head off to school. OF COURSE they are already digging up the sidewalk they just rebuilt. OF COURSE!

Here is a close-up of the hole they've dug into the sidewalk. Lord knows what the reasoning behind this is. Perhaps people here like to dig holes. Whatever the case, there are several more of them down the street. I bet it's for some wiring or plumbing or something like that. Which begs the question: why not do that BEFORE laying down the new sidewalk so you don't have to, you know, dig it up and redo it again?!? That's what always bugs me here - common sense does not exist. At all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Do What I Want

Yesterday, when I posted about the people of China blatantly ignoring signage in their native language - such rebels - I totally forgot to include another photo my husband took of more rule-breakers. Forgiveness please.

 So, what did these people do?

I'm not sure you can tell from this photo but the car in front of ours, as well as the ones in the adjacent lane, has the right of way. See, the light is green. It's our turn to go. But we can't. Because the city buses as well as regular people driving their cars have blocked the intersection. Thanks assholes. This is such a common sight over here. In the US, those blocking the intersection would be ticketed. But over here? No one does shit. I always get so nervous when shit like this happens because I fear we'll be stuck in some epic traffic jam. Like that one that lasted 2 weeks in Beijing a few years ago. No, I'm not even joking. Seriously. Click here to read about that (or here to see a bunch of images of that insanity). It terrifies me to think of an emergency vehicle trying to get through.

People here just do what they want and that, coupled with a lack of enforcement of these laws, is what causes this to be, as Jeremy so adorably coined it, "a fall-behind country." He also uses "disorder" to describe things here quite a bit. It's rather fitting.

Fortunately for us, the buses and cars that were blocking the way finally moved up and, to our great relief, the vehicles behind them stayed put at their red light so we could take our turn on the green light. It's stuff like this that I will think about when we move to the US and we're sitting in traffic. I won't complain ever again about traffic in the US, even if it is rush hour in Miami. That is infinitely less atrocious than the chaotic disordered state of being that the roads of Qingdao so often exhibit.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Breaking All The Rules

As Christmas quickly approaches, Jeremy and I took the kids and headed to the mall this weekend. In America, I'd just say fuck it and order everything online because there is no way in hell I will set foot in a mall there after Thanksgiving all the way through around January 10th. But here, it's quite different at this time of year. Sure, there's Christmas crap everywhere. And Christmas music, much to my joy (and before you think I'm insane for that, please come join me for Chinese New Year and you will understand what annoying music being piped through a sound system truly is). But Christmas shoppers? Not really.

On a Sunday at around lunch time, the Marina City mall, which is usually busy even when it is not the holiday season, was very placid. I was thrilled. I'd wanted to go there because there's an H&M. I had no idea what to get Jeremy for Christmas except this shirt I'd seen him looking at the last time we were there a few weeks ago.

Can I just tell you how much I love H&M? It's true. I can always find something I like in there. Always. This time, as soon as we walked in, a sweater called to me. It did. It was so me, it wasn't even funny. I rush up to it and adore it some more. It's black and has a fluffy pink heart in the center. Oh I have to have it. HAVE TO. It's 149 rmb which isn't too bad. And they have it in my size. Oh please fit me. Please look nice on me. You have to! Jeremy loves it. He wants me to try it on. On the way to the fitting room, I find another gem. A Tiffany-blue sweatshirt with a horse silhouette on it. It's so soft and comfy. I dash off with one of those too. I hand the baby to Jeremy and try on clothes faster than Superman. Lucky for me, both items look awesome so I've just gained 2 very fab Christmas gifts. Sure, there's no surprise but at least my husband knows they fit and they are liked.

Now for him. We head to the men's section. There's a huge sale going on but the shirt he liked is not where it was before. I finally find it and discover it's 249 rmb. Jeremy doesn't want me to spend that kind of money on him for a shirt. But it's Christmas, I'd protested. I want him to have something he really likes. So he says he'll look at the sale items instead. And for about 300 rmb, we found him 2 dashing sweaters.

We were high on a shopping buzz. And to top it off, Raelynn had been such a good girl. We decided to buy her an ice cream from McDonald's to reward her. After that, as we were walking around, we saw some weird displays. I thought they were dinosaurs and wanted a closer look.

 Well, it's not a dinosaur but it is some sort of life-size creature from some movie. Which movie, I've no clue but there's some poster to the left that seems to be advertising it. Unfortunately, it's in Chinese. And my Chinese just happens to suck.

But you know what? Despite my sub-par Chinese skills, I will tell you this: I understand the sign posted with the creature there. That coupled with the roping tells me that you do not want me to get close to this display or touch it. So I don't. But the Chinese people around us? Oh, China...

 This little girl's mom told her to get inside with the creature. Great parenting. Let's ignore the sign that's posted which, Jeremy says, essentially translates to "do not touch or climb." Why is it that I suck at Chinese but yet I totally understand and obey the sign that I can't really read? Oh, and the man with the baby in the first picture? Just before Jeremy snapped that photo, he was putting his baby on top of the creature. We just didn't snap a photo quickly enough.

Yes, go ahead. Touch the display even though it says not to. Get inside the roping even though it is obvious you are not wanted within its' confines. Brilliant.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

And On It Goes

It absolutely amazes me the way they conduct construction projects around here. I swear these people do the same things over and over and over again in the same places to ensure everyone has a job. That is the only logical explanation for their piecemeal, haphazard way of constructing anything. Like our street, which I posted about recently.

And on and on and on it goes, though I think it has finally come to an end. Here are the latest photos of our third world street:

They had done this overnight and my husband had forgotten about it when he'd parked elsewhere. When Raelynn and I came downstairs to find our driver, this is what we saw. We had to walk all the way to the end of the street and try to find Hao Shufu there. Jeremy (who, incidentally, took these photos before he went to work) called him to help me explain where we'd be but of all days Hao Shufu forgot his phone, it was of course on this day. His wife had answered and she was standing outside the gas station near our home, waiting for her husband so she could give him his phone. Jeremy told me to walk to the gas station and that's where we found her. Several moments later, Hao Shufu found us. He had apparently gone to the other side of the barricades you see in that last photo and was trying to yell to us. I never thought he would be on that side of the barricades because a couple days prior, there was a gigantic hole the size of a crater in the center of the street. Lord only knows what they were doing with that one. It rendered the street impossible to drive on and damn near made it impossible for pedestrians to pass through as well.

Anyway, they smoothed the road out from what you see above and it looks normal once more, or as normal as things look around here at least. The cars are parked on the sides again and now we wait and wonder when they will tear this shit up for another round of bullshit construction. Hopefully, they will wait until after we move away.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Can't Believe It

You're not going to believe this. I can't believe it myself. And I cannot even believe I'm about to say this but I must rescind what I said about MIL being the worst cook ever. She's not. She's now officially the 2nd worst cook.

I know. I KNOW. And just so we're clear, I'm not saying MIL is suddenly some 5-star chef. I'm simply saying that there is someone who is a much worse cook than her. Now that is truly tough to beat, isn't it?

So how did we find a worse cook than MIL? Gather around, my children and I will tell you the tale...

It all went down this weekend. Some friends of Jeremy's invited us to their home for lunch. They're a nice married couple with a new baby boy that's about 2 or 3 months older than Seoul (and incidentally, their baby is gigantic). The wife told us she wanted to make us dumplings and asked if we could come on Saturday, but we had plans to attend the big ISQ Christmas Fair that day so we told her we'd love to if it could happen on Sunday. So Sunday lunch it was.

But when we got there, there was an old Chinese woman just like MIL cooking away. It turned out to be her mom. The mom was cooking for us, not her. Regretfully, I did not take any photos. I was busy with Seoul who was fussy from not napping sufficiently enough prior to our arrival, but let me just tell you that they almost made MIL's bowl of barf look like a culinary masterpiece.

The dumplings looked even worse than MIL's. The casing was thick and floury like MIL's but what made them by and large far worse was that there wasn't much filling inside them. And the filling was gross on top of that. She made some other thing that looked like rubbery pig feet, something I wouldn't even eat on a good day. And she also made some cabbage salad, which honestly was the only slightly palatable option. The husband had picked up 2 dishes from a restaurant - sweet and sour pork, and some eggplant with squid dish. Clearly, the restaurant he chose these items from was sub-par. But the worst thing of all on the table was a large, whole fish. MIL makes one and I have mentioned in other posts that it is one of the few things she does rather well (click on this post and scroll down until you see the fish if you want a gander). This woman did not do this well. It looked dry, like someone had put it on to cook and somehow set it to cremate. It looked so dry that it might shatter with the touch of your chopsticks.

I thought maybe I was just being picky so I politely ate some of the food (but slowly so it looked like I was eating more than I was). Except for that fish. No way was I eating that thing. When some space opened on my plate after forcing myself to eat 5 dumplings, the mom piled more of them on my plate. Nooooooooooooo!

When we had sat down to eat, the wife had brought this weird sugary yogurty drink that Chinese and Korean people alike love to give to kids. As a teacher here, I've been given them before too. They are SO nasty. I'm not a fan of them. Raelynn likes them enough but never begs for them. If they're offered, she'll accept. Jeremy told this woman not to give it to Raelynn, but she insisted. Raelynn drank it and then ate a few dumplings. She picked at her food which is unlike her when dumplings are around.

I should have known something was wrong when the wife offered Raelynn a piece of cheesecake from a nearby bakery. Raelynn refused it. Raelynn loves cake, especially cheesecake. She went and sat on their floor to play and then she threw up all over the play mat and herself. The good news was she felt much better after vomiting. The bad news was that it was everywhere. I began cleaning it up and the wife helped me, which was really nice of her. I hoped she didn't hear Raelynn tell me that she threw up because she didn't like the food.

If I didn't have much of an appetite before the barfing, I surely had none after. I just drank my beer politely and prayed we would go home soon before I was made to eat more of this truly vile food. I noticed Jeremy wasn't eating very much either. I would later learn that he too felt the food was gross. So at least MIL doesn't cook as badly as this woman does. Though their house was cleaner. The mom of this woman lives there with them and the baby. You know I would have run away and never come back if I had to live under the same roof as MIL, right?

Honestly, their house was nicer than ours. From the stairwell to the flooring to the layout and decor. We did the best we could with what we were given though and if you have seen my earlier posts, you know what we had to deal with. What I don't understand is how their house is cleaner but as Jeremy pointed out, they knew we were coming. He said the wife probably made sure everything was cleaned up first and that the mom probably makes as much a mess as his own mother does. 

By the way, let me tell you about their giant baby. Jeremy and I were stunned that this baby is as fat as he is. And she's breastfeeding him! But apparently, not exclusively. That sugary yogurty drink? She gives that to her son. And she feeds him food too. Not in a beginning solids kind of way either. She asked me a ton of questions about breastfeeding and foods and such and I told her everything I know. How did I learn all of this? By researching it. But people here don't do stuff like that. This girl, and the hoards of others like her, just do what they are told. Don't question anything. I'm seriously amazed this culture has endured for over 5,000 years. How is that even possible? She seemed to be very interested in the process of properly introducing solids, yet a short while later, she brought out watermelon slices and tried to feed that to the mammoth baby. Then her mother was giving him apple which she was scraping off onto a spoon. Oy.

In any event, fat babies and terrible food aside, it wasn't a completely awful experience. But the next time we meet up, I pray we will be at our house or a good restaurant instead.

Getting Meme-tastic With MIL

Do you know how I don't want to spend my evenings after working all day? Cleaning up after MIL. Yet tonight, I discover another cabbage sitting out, just like this one, in the very same place. And that, my friends, is when I completely lost it. I seriously almost chucked it out our window in a fit of rage. Instead, I did the right thing and put it in the refrigerator, where it should have been in the first place. And thus, another MIL meme was born...
It is going to take all my strength to restrain myself from throwing the next thing I find out the window though. Serenity now!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WTF Is In My Kitchen?

In case you're wondering, "shagua" means "stupid" in Chinese. 

Just once, I would love to come home from work and find my house up to par with my level of clean. It's a pipe dream, I know, but I still secretly hope each day as I unlock the door that when I walk in, I will find Mary Poppins instead of Trollzilla holding my baby and greeting me with a sparkling house that doesn't reek of the lingering greasy smells of fish she fried for lunch, and left out alllllllllllll day on the counter.

After working all day, all I want is to spend time with Seoul, and once she's sleeping, hang out with Raelynn. I also wouldn't mind something that wasn't nasty for dinner. Instead, I get things like barf in a bowl and a psychotic mess of random napkins on the floor, sofa, table, chair, under the table, under the sofa, on the kitchen counters - basically everywhere except for the garbage can - that I am now either forced to clean up or leave in place which only enrages me more and also encourages my in-laws, as if to say, "Hey, I like garbage on the floor. Please throw some more down there. Also, add more vegetables and dishes to the countertops because I can still see some of the counter peeking through. I'll just prepare dinner on the floor on top of your garbage pile."

Jeremy had a work meeting this evening so once MIL finally buzzed off, I was left with the aftermath of her whirlwind half-assed cleaning spree. Which, as you probably know from previous posts, means I had to clean up after her. While Raelynn played with some of her toys and Seoul slept, I began tidying up the kitchen to MY standards of clean, not hers. And I found some interesting things because my mother-in-law is Chinese and apparently, that means I should just tolerate her bizarre-borderline-insane habits of leaving out things like this...
 This is a plate of fried tofu. It has been sitting out since yesterday. I left it to see what would happen and I was not at all surprised to find it still there today. I know, I know. I expected a miracle I guess since I thought someone would dispose of it. Why leave a whole plate of food out like that? Why make it if you're not going to eat it? It's this cultural confusion I can't get behind in this country. I've lived here 4 years and I still have yet to figure this shit out. It's as mystifying as those bloody Chinese characters themselves.

I told Jeremy I was going to throw it out and he implored me not to. See, because if I do, then MIL will be all like, "Hey, where's my mummified tofu?" And he'll tell her I threw it away and she'll get angry. But if he TELLS her, "Hey, your tofu has fossilized after sitting out for so long. You should throw it away because if you eat it, you'll get sick," it's less upsetting to her. I asked him why she doesn't eat it and he said, "Are you crazy?!? She could die!" And that my friends, is when I facepalmed. Seriously. This. Culture. Makes. Me. Nuts.

 Half an apple. WHY would you do that?!? Why wouldn't you just eat the whole thing?!? She cut half up for Raelynn because every day she HAS TO do this. Because she's an old zombie who can't do anything different a day in her life. The world will go to pieces if Raelynn doesn't have an apple! And that bag? That is a dirty bag full of raisins. Urgh. I want to cry.

 Look how dirty. WHY is it here?!? Go back to MIL's house, you!

Finally, we have a tupperware filled with an assortment of plastic bags, garlic and luo bo. FUCKING LUO BO! You know, I went through this tupperware and I found 4 - yes, FOUR - completely different cut up luo bo. That means she cut up one, ate some of it, then cut up another...oh! And she left some out on the counter too in another bag and I threw that in the refrigerator. WHY CAN'T YOU JUST EAT ONE WHOLE LUO BO AND THEN CUT UP ANOTHER ONE??? WHY DO YOU KEEP LEAVING RANDOM PIECES OF LUO BO AROUND MY KITCHEN AND HOME??? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????????????????????????

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

More MIL Meme Fun

And of course, she did it again. She did not heed the previous warning in meme form.
 So I made this one for her. Think Jeremy will translate it for me? I'm going with no...

People Suck

Sometimes, people just suck. I've been meaning to write about some of the suckier ones I've unfortunately encountered but other stuff's been popping up. After today though, I'm ready to snap, so I need to vent. And believe it or not, MIL and FIL are not on this particular list. They suck, for sure, but this is strictly about encounters with strangers who totally blow. So, join me for a tour of suckage, won't you?

The Gaggle of Suckotrons at the Metro
Around the end of October, we had gone grocery shopping at the Metro. This was while Raelynn was adjusting to being back at school and Jeremy and I were working tirelessly to correct the negative behaviors his mutant parents had encouraged while I was out on maternity leave. We were on line waiting to pay when Jeremy plucked Raelynn from the cart. She wanted to stay in the cart but she was crushing our bread and some other items, and she wasn't happy about being suddenly removed and made to stand. And into a tantrum she went. Jeremy handled it expertly, giving her a stern warning to correct her behavior (she was hitting him and shouting) or else he'd put back the bag of pretzels she'd wanted. The bad behavior continued so I fully supported my husband when he took the pretzels out of our cart and put them back. Raelynn wailed and wailed and still continued this epic tantrum of embarrassing proportions. So, with Seoul strapped to me in the carrier, I snatched Raelynn under one of my arms and dragged her out of the store.

There's a glass-enclosed exit area where, in the colder months, various vendors have other items to sell, like overpriced Belgian chocolates or plants. I carried her there and set her down to wait for Jeremy. The people at the chocolate booth started to come over and try to offer samples. I did not want people giving my kid candy during her tantrum, like people here are known to do. As I'm yelling at Raelynn to stop this insanity now and mentally lamenting that I didn't get the car keys from Jeremy, I look up and see some college-aged girl from some volunteer group booth taking my picture with a Nikon. No fucking joke. And that's when I absolutely lost it. I began screaming at her in a mixture of English and Chinese and as she snapped away, I flipped her off. Then and only then did she turn away in embarrassment. I struggled with Raelynn some more and now about 20 people had congregated to stare. Bunch of suck-ass fucks. The security guard then approached me and I thought he was going to offer Raelynn some candy as she writhed on the floor like a total jerk while I desperately tried to pick her up without dropping Seoul from the carrier. But he was the only one of all those people - now more had gathered - to even bother to help me out. He picked her up off the floor. And he said nothing judgmental at all. Thank you, Kind Metro Security Guard.

Shortly after this, which incidentally, felt like 1,000 years but was more like 10 minutes, Jeremy emerged with our cart of groceries and he, who usually implores me to be patient with the people of China, totally told all of them off. My hero husband. I love you. Thank you for chasing the suckos away.

The Sucky Nosy Lady on Our Street
Maybe a week after the Metro incident, this next mess occurred. Raelynn was also prone to throwing tantrums when I woke her up on the school bus once we arrived at our stop. I tried everything I could think of - punishing her, keeping her awake, offering a reward for waking up without pitching a fit - but every time, it was agony. I felt like the bus driver hated us. I wouldn't have blamed him.

So I drag her kicking and screaming off the bus and ignore the usual stares. Then she tries to dart away into the street. So I grab her, carry her to a safe patch of sidewalk and give her a spanking for doing such a dangerous thing. She cries and says she hates me. I then tell her she's in big trouble and I'm taking a toy from her. Now she changes her tune. She's sorry and crying and just a total mess while I tell her I'm not speaking to her for now. As we're talking and walking, and she's crying away, some nosy lady skitters up to us, like that small yippy dog that always followed Spike the Dog in the old Looney Tunes cartoons. And like all idiot people here, she tries to interfere. In Chinese, she asks Raelynn why she's crying. We ignore her, as we're talking to each other, and keep walking. She persists and keeps bothering us. So finally, I stop and turn to her and in Chinese I tell her to mind her own business, and that my child is crying because she was being bad and now she's in trouble. The woman stares at me. Again, I repeat myself. And she still just stares as if I'm speaking some alien language to her. Finally, I shriek at her to fuck off and get out of my sight and she hightails it out of there. You, Sucky Nosy Lady on Our Street, suck tremendously.

The Sucky I-Can't-Believe-It's-A-Girl Lady in the Restaurant
On Sunday after church, we went to our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We requested a private room and as we were led there, a woman around MIL's age (perhaps slightly younger) who was seated at a table we passed became overjoyed at the sight of Raelynn and the baby. So she popped into our room and asked if she could take a look at the children. Sure, we say. She makes a huge deal about how gorgeous Raelynn is. And then she turns to the baby and she says it must be a boy. Is it a boy or a girl? It's a boy, right? Um, no. She is also a girl, I say, giving her the eye. And then the woman complains to my husband that I frowned at her about this. He tells her that she's rude for judging us for having 2 daughters, that we are very happy to have 2 daughters and that we didn't want a boy. She leaves and loudly complains about us to her table in the main part of the restaurant. Asshole. You suck for thinking a boy child is better than a girl child.

The Sucky Mom Who Basically Called Me Fat
As you know, I had my 2nd child in mid-July. I work. And when I come home from work, I have maybe an hour or 2 before my baby gets tired and cranky and wants to sleep. That time before sleep is filled with nursing her, bathing her, singing her songs, playing with her, talking to her and other Seoul-and-Me things. How I would love time to get in a real workout but this time will pass all too quickly and I don't want to miss a moment of it. So I'm not yet a stick again, like I'd hoped. I lost about 22 lbs. from breastfeeding and have remained at the same weight no matter how much or how little I have eaten since. Every chance I get, I am moving around during my classes and trying to take advantage of the general activeness of kindergarten children.

This week, we have optional PTA meetings. Of course, for my class, the only parents who want to meet with me are the parents of my very best student. I have nothing new to tell them about their wonderful daughter so I have no idea why they want to have a meeting. It's always this way for the 2nd semester. For 1st semester, meetings are mandatory. But when they are optional, it seems only the good students' parents want to show up. So for my fellow kindergarten coworker, Jon, the parents of his student with the best English skills came in for a meeting today.

The meeting was toward the end of the day so I guess his parents just stuck around until the children were dismissed. Before bringing my students out to their school buses, I popped into our office to grab my coat and change into my outdoor shoes (we have to wear slippers inside the kindergarten) and ran into the mother of this boy. I greet her and as I'm slipping into my coat she asks me, "Oh are you expecting a baby?" I freeze, with one arm mid-sleeve and stare at her. Christina, my Korean teacher, looks appalled by this woman and even though I've said nothing yet, knows me well enough to know how pissed off I am. My pleasant smile dissolves instantly and I cast her an icy glare. "No, I just had one four and a half months ago, but thank you so much for calling me fat," I tell her. She gives a half-assed apology and I give her the mean-girl laugh. If you know me, you know EXACTLY which one. She is just lucky she's a parent of one of our students because if not, I'd have tore her a new one.

The funny thing is, I was feeling pretty good about myself until that moment. And even funnier is that woman was in the room when I was pumping my breast milk during my break time. Yes, I'm pregnant AND pumping milk. Moron. The only wise thing she did was stay out of our office and away from me after insulting me. Talk about the height of rudeness. No, my stomach is not flat yet. I have 2 beautiful daughters to show for it though. Some day, I will get my body completely back in shape but for now, I have to take baby steps to get there. I know that I will never regret spending time with my girls. Sure, it's disappointing to not have bounced back but I'm not 20. I only LOOK 20. Ok, 28. But still. It's a work in progress and I really resent some sucky bitch asking me if I'm pregnant when I'm not even close to looking like a pregnant person. Even a pregnant person in the early stages of pregnancy. Yes you, Thinks-She's-So-Perfect-Mom, suck most of all. 

By the way, some good did come out of the first 2 encounters with sucktastic people...Raelynn has learned her lesson after being punished for her bad behavior. That, coupled with limited time with her grandpa, has left us with a wonderfully well-behaved little girl who no longer throws tantrums in an attempt to get her way. Thank goodness, on so many levels, especially so that I no longer have to endure gaping stares from sucky strangers on the street.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hey-la, Hey-la, The Barf Is Back!

For tonight's dinner, as I approach the table, I find chicken wings and a seaweed salad.
Nothing wrong with those items. But our large serving bowl is out, with the lid on top. Gingerly, I lift the lid, and this is what I find...
The barf! It's back!

Well, to be honest, it looks like a different kind of barf. But it's still barf. Blech!

Boy For Sale!

Sometimes, you see some truly random things in China. And when you do, no matter how long you live here, or in my husband's case if you are even FROM here, you'll likely laugh. And snap photos. Because. This shit's just funny.
 Why yes, some guy is towing his kid around on a small trolley. It cracks me up for so many reasons, one of them being how the boy is sitting with his arms out. Also, it instantly made me think of the poem "For Sale" by Shel Silverstein which talks about a sister for sale. Oddly, I recalled it as "Boy for Sale" but I was mistaken. It happens.

Sorry these photos suck. Like many of my photos. Jeremy took these while he was driving. Well, more like rolling down the street. We were look for a good fruit vendor near our neighborhood so we weren't exactly flying down the road. When we saw this guy pulling his son on the cart though, we both laughed hysterically and he offered to snap the photos. So here they are. Just another day and another silly sighting in China.

The Crazy Construction Continues!

I'm so behind on my blog posts. Sorry guys! But here's one to tide you over, chock full of more insane construction photos from my street.

A giant hole. What's most surprising to me about this is they actually put something up around it so no one would fall in. Times, they are a'changin'.

Sorry for the crappiness of these photos, but we were in the car when I took them. Here's another make-shift gate to prevent people from falling into the holes. Or pooping into them. Not sure which.

 As we're driving down the street, a steamroller is passing us.

I will just caption this with my husband's favorite exclamation:

It's what Koreans call Jesus. Because in Korean language, there is no "z." It's one of those Korean language things that has stuck with him ever since moving away from there.

 I wish this photo had come out better. They've already laid the new sidewalk but for some reason, are jackhammering this part. There's a guy with a wheelbarrow pushing the debris and he's gone and ruined my photo by pushing it in front of the guy with the jackhammer.

 We park and of course I notice that someone (or something) has already ruined the new sidewalk with poo. It looks like it probably came from one of those yippy small dogs though. Still, that's just wrong. I think the sidewalk maybe stayed feces and urine free for about 1 hour, tops. That's my official ruling anyway.

And for Lord knows what reason, they tore this part up after putting it down. If I were the owner of that car there, I'd be piiiiiiiiiiiiiissed.

For now, that concludes my construction craziness photo series. If there's more wackiness to document, you'll find it first here.