Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Round 2

Our official Thanksgiving dinner was Saturday night this year. SInce we are in China, everyone had to work all day on Thanksgiving and it worked out better to do it then. We had a busy day!

We picked up some American friends we met a few weeks ago about 11 am and went out to lunch at a yummy dumpling restaurant recommended to us by a Chinese guy. Then we headed to a holiday bazaar held by the international school that all the kids we know go to. They had a lot of local Chinese artisans who were selling some pretty cool stuff. I got a pretty awesome wall hanging/Christmas decoration. Nick doesn't love it as much as I do, but I think he's grateful I didn't decide I wanted the huge handcarved nativity instead. Here' s a picture:

We then headed to the beach to walk around, but it was a cold miserable day, so that didn't last too long. We had Thanksgiving in the same home where we usually have church. It was so fun! There was a group of about 25 people and so much yummy food. I felt like I was back in the US. We had turkey, ham, candied yams, stuffing, potatoes, and even cranberry sauce. I can't believe somebody found cranberries, but apparently it was a joint effort with everybody looking out for them at every store around town.

Nick's favorite part of the night came next. Somebody decided it would be fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with a big fireworks show, and since fireworks are so cheap here in China they really went all out. Our dinner was cleverly named "Turkey and Pie-rotechnics." The show went on for about 20 minutes and then we headed back for pie. Nick laughed because I ate 4 different pieces, but I don't get pie that often and it was too hard to choose between all the yummy flavors. I ended up with chocolate pecan pie, banana cream pie, pumpkin cheesecake and apple pie. It was all so good!

We had a great Thanksgiving even though we are far from home. We are so grateful to have met so many wonderful people out here in China and for the chance to eat a little American comfort food once in awhile. I don't think Thanksgiving will ever feel complete for Nick again without fireworks though, China is spoiling the little pyro in him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I never thought the first Thanksgiving dinner I would have to host would be in China, but after 2 frantic days it turned out pretty well. I think all my Chinese coworkers enjoyed the food, and if they didn't then they faked it really well! We had quite a bit of food and I think it overwhelmed some of them. Western food is heavier than what they are used too. Here's our menu:

Chicken breasts
Mashed potatoes
Steamed carrots with honey
Fried Pumpkin
Fruit Salad
Green Beans with Bell Peppers and Onions

and pumpkin pie to finish!

It was quite a hectic night, work was actually really slow for me today, but the minute I got off my friend Mona and I raced to the tram to get here before the pumpkin pie and stuffing were supposed to be delivered. A minute after we ran in the door I got a call from the bakery telling me they were stuck in traffic and wouldn't get there for almost an hour! So we spent that time prepping all the other food. It is hard work planning a dinner that big with only 2 little burners and no oven. Thankfully everyone was really understanding when some of the dishes weren't served super hot. I guess they don't know any better.

Soon after we got started everyone else started arriving bringing lots of random Chinese snack food which will probably lay around the house for months and lots of helping hands. My little kitchen was packed full of people trying to be helpful. It was fun though. Some of the girls I work with are really good cooks, and others were trying to pick up some cooking tips.

Here's some pictures from the night:

Lee and Mona helping prepare all the food. We way overestimated how much we would need, and even after I shoved plates of food off on everyone I still filled my fridge up.

The group minus Evelyn. All these people are from my department at work so they all speak English pretty well. You can also see most of the food on the table.

The aftermath. Our kitchen table was way too small for this group so we ate around the coffee table. It actually worked out well because everyone was so full they just wanted to stretch out on the floor anyway.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last minute Thanksgiving party

Our Thanksgiving plans this year were boring, in fact Nick will be in Nanjing on Thursday, so we were just planning on going to a post-Thanksgiving dinner a woman in our church group organized for Saturday. Today at work however I mentioned it was Thanksgiving and everyone decided they wanted to celebrate and have dinner at my house! Its not a huge group, just 10 people. We don't really have a lot of space though....

So we are having fake Thanksgiving. I told them not to expect turkey since I have no oven, and I couldn't cook a turkey even if I did since I'll be at work all day. I feel kind of weird making chicken for Thanksgiving, but its the best I can do on such short notice. I found a bakery that would make a turkey for me, but I don't want to spend $150 so that option is out. I am getting a pumpkin pie and stuffing delivered from that bakery though. Seriously I can't wait! Having people over provides me with a good excuse to order yummy food while Nick is gone, usually I am content with grilled cheese sandwiches every night.

I'll post pictures later of how our little Thanksgiving turns out. Luckily everyone that is coming is Chinese and has never celebrated Thanksgiving before so they have no expectations.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today I saw a pretty interesting outfit. If I come home and wear something completely ridiculous and unmatching (I don't think thats a word) I blame it on over exposure to the crazy color combinations I see on the street and in the office everyday. Most days I'm just overwhelmed with mixtures of black and brown and navy, but today was particularly bad. Just try to picture this...

Emerald green shoes
Purple leggings
A checkered beige colored skirt
Bright red t-shirt
Black and white striped scarf

All on one person! Its fun to people watch here and wonder from what magazine someone got their clothing inspirations.

On a completely unrelated note, we bought HARRY POTTER tickets today. It was quite an ordeal finding a show in English so we wouldn't have to read subtitles, but some people from work helped me out and we bought 33 tickets for tomorrow night. Pretty much everyone in our church group here is going with us. I'm sure we'll be quite the spectacle for the Chinese people, most everyone at work didn't understand why I was so excited for this movie. I guess its not a big deal here, but I can't wait!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Floor Heaters

I have a love/hate relationship with the floor heaters in our apartment.They were turned on November 1st, so we had a couple of cold weeks before then but now we are toasty warm. The problem is it gets too warm! Most days we have to wear shorts and keep the windows open to be comfortable. Eventually we'll get them all adjusted, but I've heard it takes a few weeks. The good part is that if you leave your clothes on the floor at night, and then pull them on in the morning they are nice and warm when you climb out of bed. Also, since my feet are pretty much perpetually cold it is so nice to walk around on a heated floor.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Carl Sagan!

So I found out yesterday that I share my birthday with Carl Sagan. I feel a little bit smarter now.

Dana celebrates something called "birthday week". That means i get to buy/open/discuss birthday presents all week long. Dana's mom sent me a package that arrived friday. It included very important things that i have run out of including: a new shaving razor (I have been using the last mach 3 head i had the past 2 months----without the stick itself), i also got some deodorant, which i had been low on. and some awesome new black slacks seeing as i seem to be dressing up a lot more lately. Also, some seasoning packets for chicken wings which i will be using tonight! Thanks Ericksons!

Next, i picked out my present from my parentals. They always put birthday money into our bankaccounts because everyone in our family is a bit spread out. We have had this little nook in our house that has the best view in the house but no way to utilize the view because it lacks a chair (remember we are on the 29th floor)! I went to Ikea and got one of those cool rocking chairs. Now...this is my view while i answer work emails! I wake up at 6:30am or so and answer emails and watch the sunrise. I love it! Thanks mom and dad!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Nick introduced me to this new treat on Friday night. We were wandering around downtown and had just finished a delicious dinner of dumplings, but we needed a little something more.

I have no idea what this is called, but it was delicious. Yes we did finish it between the 2 of us! I know it looks huge, but the whole center of it was a pile of shaved ice. Basically what they did was make a huge pile of shaved ice and put fresh mango all over the outside. Then they blended up some more fresh mango with sweetened condensed milk and poured it over the top, then completed it with a scoop of mango ice cream. It was so good! They have other flavors, but the mango was so good I don't know if I'll ever get around to trying them.

Nick told me this was a favorite treat of his from Taiwan, and I am super glad that we can have it here too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

chinglish..."jew's ear drops"?

This is a drink they sell at the market downstairs....

wonder what the manufacturing process entails????

Monday, November 1, 2010

Random Pictures from this Week

We took a walk Sunday afternoon down to the water. Nick can't wait to buy a pole and join these guys!

The lovely tram I ride to work every morning. It's better than taking the bus because you avoid the traffic, but I bet you can't guess just how many people they shove into this little thing...

Nick pointing to our apartment building.

I finally convinced Nick to go get a foot massage with me. He wasn't very good at relaxing, while I was almost asleep he had his phone or his kindle in his hands the whole time. He did enjoy it though, so hopefully we can make it a tradition and I can help him learn to just sit and do nothing.

That's my computer. I'm in a little room with 6 other people. They all speak English pretty well and are super nice. They are helping me with Chinese slowly. I'm even learning some of the local dialect.

My view from my desk. The girl standing up is Mona and she's my favorite person at work. She took me shopping last weekend and I found a fabulous coat for cheap. She also knows all the yummy places to eat in Dalian so I'm slowly expanding my food choices.

I ate hotpot for the first time this weekend too, but I forgot my camera that night. We will go back soon and hopefully get some pictures. I was kind of scared to try it since I've heard mixed reviews, but the place we went was really nice and I enjoyed it. Mona even informed me that we can have hotpot at home as long as we have a rice cooker, just fill it with water and plug it in. I don't know if we're quite ready to try that yet... maybe someday.