tasty bytes from China

June 2011
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The fantasy is over.
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 9:39 am


You’d be surprised the weird things you dream about while living in China.

Many Late Night REM performances involve trips back to America to see loved ones or more truthfully, loved stuff. Of course, the details of the dreams would be odd, such as being half dressed for a flight, forgetting our passports or getting a bulk head seat next to Bullwinkle on a pilgrimage back to America.

One of my reoccurring dreams involved our storage unit in Chicago, a five by eight foot cubicle filled with crap  we rent in Chicago.

We rent the space, not the crap.

This space I travel to nightly is an imaginary mecca of my mind, containing all of the stuff that didn’t fit into our 200 pounds of luggage we originally brought to China. The inventory includes my Hobart mixer, art work of my father’s, my great grandmother’s rocking chair and Jeff’s fishing poles.

And of course, the space also contains all of the things I thought were in the side pocket of the Samsonite. That includes a DVD of family photos, a stop watch (with an actual second hand), a pepper grinder, two steak knives, an oyster shell Christmas ornament, an Ove Glove, and half of a bike lock.

 So for ten months at night– especially after meals that contained lots of local mushrooms–my imagination would journey to Riverview Storage in Chicago, searching for the things on my “honey I thought YOU packed it” list.

Now Fast Forward to last week when we really got to Chicago. After fueling up on guacamole and tootsie rolls we stopped at our storage unit.

We cracked open the lock, sure to find all of the things we lusted for over the three hundred and four days.

None of them appeared.

The booty  I  thought it contained wasn’t there, making me feeling like a crusty old pirate who gave his right hook for a treasure chest filled with sea crabs.

We did find a few cool T-shirts we forgot existed, the charger from a cell phone that we no longer desperately needed, and my cuckoo clock.

Kooks (the bird in my clock) will be coming to China with us, with our without a visa.  Jeff wants to replace the bird with a miniature statue of Chairman Mao.

So the big question is, now that the fantasy is over where will our dreams take us now?

The cereal aisle at Jewel?  

The candy selection at Walgreens? 

Or while in America, will  visions of squatty potties invade our brains when we hit the hay?

Only time will tell.

1 comment
Hitting the big Wu Ling
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:37 am

Hitting the big Wu –Ling



Last weekend, I got the privilege to celebrate my 50th birthday. Most of my milestone birthdays, another milestone birthday.

Not just making it up the hill, learning to count that high in Chinese.

Numbers, whether the big wu ling or zero, don’t translate

Along with the Chinese pronunciation, there is a Chinese character. Local markets do not use the 1,2, 3, 4,5 that Big Bird and Ernie taught us on Sesame Street,  but the characters below.



 So everything in a Chinese 99 cent store is .

Trust me, even the simplified Chinese characters aren’t so simple.  Zero, or ling, is the most complicated of all.

Four, if you mispronounce it, means death. That is why phone numbers that contain a lot of fours are inexpensive. On the other hand, 8 or Bahhhh (like the sheep) is a lucky number. Chinese pay a premium on cell phone numbers that sound a lot like Mary’s Lil’ lamg.

You’d think hand gestures would help you out, but forget it.  One index finger up means one, bunny ears means two, but once you start using the second hand, things get a little crazy.

Six looks like a surfer’s hang loose sign, seven looks like a shadow picture of a decrepit one ear bunny, and eight looks like you just ate a bowl of chili and want someone to pull your finger. 

Check out all of the hand gestures below.

So, that’s why turning big wu ling in china a big accomplishment.