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Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher

a travel blog by carseat tourist

My family and I are from LummiIsland, Washington. We are teaching English and adopting from China.
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First Snow of the winter

Harbin, China

Friday it snowed for the first time this winter. I'm sure the stuff will be here until we go home New Years Eve, but the 1st snow is always the funnest.
It was late for the 1st snow this year, other years we had snow in early October. The snow is bittersweet because I rather have pretty snow if it is so freakin' cold, but we can't ride our bikes anymore...so everything becomes so much more of a chore.
Little Guy is a Southern boy so he doesn't have much snow experience. He liked it but thought it was too cold. Princess just loves snow!!!! It was hard to get pictures of her because she runs and plays so fast in the snow that the camera just gets a blur.
We went to Hans with the other foreigners on Friday night.
It is like a buffet with kabobs. They bring out these huge kabobs of meat and slice it on your plate. All kinds of things including tongue, Chicken heart, squid, and Normal stuff like steak and hotdogs. Then there is a buffet on chinese dishes an odd pastries. It is suppose to be a German theme, but I've been to Germany and never had food like that.
Saturaday thie kids played in the snow and then the power went out (just like every snowstorm on Lummi Island).
Teenager was pretty sad without the net so she even played with us.

permalink written by  carseat tourist on November 15, 2009 from Harbin, China
from the travel blog: Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher
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Yarn Market

Harbin, China

We went to the yarn market today. I had been to a good one in Shenyang and had been trying to go to one in Harbin forever. Finally I had good directions!!! The material market in Harbin was sooo awesome, I thought up here in freezing Harbin, the yarn market would be the best.
I was a bit disappointed. The one in Shenyang is has much better lighting and the vendors are really friendly.
Harbin's yarn market is bigger but sells many more sweaters and things. But they are very bland sweaters, not hip cool stuff. It occupies 2 floors. The fifth floor is cheaper.
In Shenyang we bargained for everything, but this place had bargaining for sweaters, but the yarn was all set prices by spool or by weight. They didn't let us take pictures of all the woman knitting. It was really cool, because now I've seen "handmade in China". They looked like they were having an ok time, I just wished they had better lighting. They could really knit and crochet quickly. There were some shops that measure you and then handmake a sweater for you.
Princess did not enjoy the yarn market because it was full of little old ladies who pinched her cheeks every time we paused to look. But I noticed that they pinched the Chinese kids cheeks too. Those kids looked just as unhappy as Princess. The yarn place is a chic thing, so Little Guy stayed home with his Dad.
I liked the Shenyang market better, but I still came home with lots of yarn.
We got Little Guy a pair of knitted overalls. In my mind prior to living in China, I pictured all the little kids wearing silk padded outfits with dragons on them. Well, that isn't what they really wear here. They do wear the padded pants (me too, it's freezing), but the most "chinese" thing that I have seen kids uniformly wear are these knitted outfits. Little Guy was so happy when we put his pair on him.
Immediately, the second we got home, both children tore into the bags of yarn. Maybe they are part cat or something. They had fun with the spools and then they wanted me to roll the yarn into balls. They think it is very funny to sit in the middle of a skein and have the other one run around them and make the ball. To be 5...

permalink written by  carseat tourist on November 21, 2009 from Harbin, China
from the travel blog: Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher
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4 months later, the story of Little Guy

Harbin, China

I think Little Guy is starting to have real progress. He has been in the family for four months.
It has not been easy. At all. But love conquers all.
The most amazing thing happened at Kindergarten yesterday. We dropped off the kids and unbundled them. The lead teacher comes running out in the hall. Ms. Lead teacher that previously said that Little Guy was fated not to remain at school. Ms. Lead teacher that in October only decided that he could continue to go to school because she likes Princess.
She says "wait a moment". We are thinking, oh, no if she was going to kick him out of school, couldn't she tell us before we took all his coats and gear off? She is talking very fast in Chinese and is very sincere. I caught the general idea as "Not Princess, ping-pong Little Guy" We assumed he had committed his final act of trouble with the ping-pong paddle and Princess could stay at school and he needed to go. So I told her that we were going back to USA on Dec 31. Her eyes started welling up. She left us in the hall and came back with her calendar and the good English teacher. The good English teacher shocked the mittens off of us. Little Guy has been "selected" for ping-pong. He is getting free ping-pong lessons, not Princess. This is a great honor. I have had a former child ping-pong star in my class at the university and he is revered as king at the university. You can just say his name and people just gasp in happiness. So to be selected for ping-pong lessons by the kindergarten ping-pong master is a tremendous opportunity.
Cheers to the ayi who has beared with us during this time. I am amazed in her tender care and incredible patience with our family. In the beginning Little Guy wanted nothing to do with her or her cooking.
But even so, she has done what she can to help with him. In the store last week he had a throw down over not getting ultraman shoes when we were boot shopping. The store people and crowd were, as usual, offering awful advice or rude comments. She just ignored them and helped us get the boots we needed while enduring his fit.
And Little Guy is quite a trooper having 2 sisters that like to dress him up.
Teenager has gone to town with that yarn and pumped out a hat a day!
We are all happy that they are making the ice rink at the soccer field. They painfully spray water on the field and level it. It should be ready this weekend!

permalink written by  carseat tourist on November 25, 2009 from Harbin, China
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Harbin, China

Our third year in China, and you would think we would have Thanksgiving down. The main problem is that most of the ingredients in a Thanksgiving are native to the States, not China. We planned ahead by bringing over some ingredients and hiding them in our cupboard all year. It is really hard, brown gravy sound really appetizing about July when you have not had any since Feb. This years feast started with a conversation with my students on Tuesday about where could I buy a fresh bird. I knew that if I wanted a turkey I could pony up and go to the Metro and pay a lot of RMB for a 2cd rate imported bird. I see they raise ducks and chicken all over, I wanted to find a fresh one. When you go to the Chinese restaurants the ducks are amazing. I wanted to get one like that. The chickens we buy seem to be tough old birds. My students said that tough old birds are good for you and somehow it will make you live a long life to eat them, so that's why they are sold like that. The restaurants get their birds from special duck farms. They thought there might be a market near where I bought yarn that possibly I could get a good duck, but they weren't sure if I could get a raw one. Meanwhile one student was busy playing with her phone. I thought she was using her translator to follow the conversation or else was just rude and texting in class. I teach adults, and many of them are very very important in the university so sometimes they have real business that goes on their phones during class. Anyway, they are all adults so I figure that I don't need to babysit them and tell them not to use their phones. So we continue to talk about the food safety issues surrounding butchers and poultry dealers and the phone student sets down the phone and says, "My husband is bring a goose". I, of course, offered to buy it. No, no, no. Since I don't give grades in the class, it isn't a bribe, it is a genuine gift. It still felt really awkward.
Her husband's friend is a bird dealer, wild and raised, and lives in the country. Did I want the bird live? I asked for no feathers.
This student is also in my husbands class. Some people really want to improve their English so they come to mutiple classes a week. The die hard one we call "English junkies", they can't stand to miss any classes. She is more like a "fair weather fan", if she has time she comes to every class in a week and then there will be weeks that we don't see her. So on Wed. she delivered a large frozen goose to Chris's class. I was so relieved that she did it in his class because I wasn't sure how I would receive the bird properly or what do you do with a big frozen bird while you teach for 2 hours. Plus, how would the other students react to her giving us the goose.
Anyway, the bird was big and frozen at 4pm and because we had to teach all afternoon on Thanksgiving, we planned to eat at noon. Teenager has class 'til 12 and I begin teaching at 2-6 and Chris has the night shift at 6:30pm. So noon was the only time we had for the feast.
Everything in our kitchen is the size of the dwarf's in Snow White. We have a little bitty sink with a little fridge and an oven about the size bigger than a toaster oven. Counter space does not exist. The ayi uses the cutting board over the sink to work on when she cooks.
We chose to thaw the bird in the crock pot. The problem is that the crock pot is near where the cat usually eats. It has never been a problem before because the crock pot has a lid on it, as does the rice cooker. You load up your pot on the stove and then plop it down into the appliance on the floor. It as as clean as you can get in China. We talked of moving the operation to various rooms but decided it was best to just provide supervision of the cat outside of the kitchen. The cat has to go thru the kitchen to the balcony to take care of her business so we didn't want to have issues with that either.
So we put the bird in the crock pot and went to sleep. At 1am we woke to the delicious smell goose. Half the bird was done. I mean really done. The other half was thawed. We decided to put it in the fridge and go back to sleep.
In the morning we found we had cooked off the wings, but the bonus was that now it was the size that could fit into the oven.
The second big problem was the pumpkin pie. We had carefully researched how to make a pumpkin pie from scratch online. The plan executed perfectly and we had wonderful pumpkin goup that looked just like the stuff in the can. Then the recipe called for the crust. The problem was that a crust uses lots of butter. Butter is expensive here, about 22RMB a stick. 4 sticks for a pie!!! So we raided our cabinet and found a gingerbread kit we brought from the States, just add water! It actually was delicious and now will forever replace the crust of a pumpkin pie in our house.
For our Thanksgiving feast, we also had deviled eggs (only tricky ingredient in China is yellow mustard), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (no normal mini marshmallows, but the white with rainbow centers browned nicely), cranberries (from the States), brown gravy (mix from the States, green bean casserole (tasted quite Asian because the mushroom soup here is different), jello (from the States), beer biscuits (beer is more reliable than Chinese yeast), the goose stuffed with oranges and mushrooms (no stuffing, and we were too late realizing we needed to make croutons or find puffed millet (maybe available), we could have used rice, but we are kind of sick of rice), and pumpkin pie. We invited the other American teacher and he brought cherry tomatoes and Chinese pastries. This year we invited our two biggest "English junkies" because they have come to sooo mannny classes that we couldn't help but become their friends and we thought if you like English that much, you might as well see a "real" American Thanksgiving. And Little Guy decided to be "that whiny kid" that always is at a family get together and he cried for the first 5 minutes of the feast. His sister had is favorite plate and then a guest had his favorite fork and on top of that was sitting on the stool that he usually plays with. But everyone just talked over his fit and he was happy when he got the biscuits and his sister traded plates with him. It felt like a very normal Thanksgiving meal, so maybe China has become our new normal.
But I was really Thankful that this will be the last Thanksgiving in China for at least a few years!
I wanted to take more pictures, but so much was going on that I forgot.

permalink written by  carseat tourist on November 27, 2009 from Harbin, China
from the travel blog: Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher
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In touch with our food sources

Harbin, China

There is all this stuff in the media how Americans are not in touch with their food sources. One summer we leased a vineyard and berry patch, so we actually are quite in touch with our fruits, thank you. Now Princess and I were on our way to the market to buy eggs and frozen chicken breasts on Sunday and witnessed for than most American 5 year olds do about the food chain. The free range chickens outside our complex are no more. In the time it took to walk the length of our apartment building in the snow/ice, one chicken was slaughtered. Right there in the snow, in broad daylight. It was the exact method my student from a village had described to me. Oddly I thought he had described the steps out of order, but indeed the protocol was exactly in the order he said. First the chicken is force fed some vinegar and something to cause the feathers to be removed easily. This is in preferance to the boil off the feathers method. Actually it is cheaper and uses less fuel. We missed the ingestion of the substance, but witnessed step 2 and 3. Step 2 plucking the feathers, while Step 3 slicing the chickens throat and draining the blood of the bird so that when Step 4 the head is all the way cut off it doesn't run around. I was quite amazed that they plucked the feathers while the chicken bled to death, I thought that was rather cruel. But it was -18 so maybe the bird was numb with the cold anyway. The process was pretty quick and there wasn't time to shield Princess from the truth of the food chain. My guide to parenting children while living in another culture had said that the easiest way to deal with these eyepopping culture shock scene was to act like its no big deal. The idea being that if you make a big deal of it then your kid will be more scared by your reaction than the actual situation. So, I just walked by like this was an everyday thing. She was quite interested and asked what was happening. I said they were going to eat the chicken and that actually that is what happened to all the chickens before we eat them. She walked along and said she wasn't sure if she wanted to eat chicken like that. I thought that she might turn into a vegetarian from the experience, but nope- we walked by McD's and she asked for chicken nuggets. We didn't get McD's but we did get our eggs and frozen chicken breasts. I took the picture of the snow on the way home. And Princess ate chicken and pesto (from the last of our American sauce packets) at dinner and then grossed out Teenager by relaying the whole picture to her sister during the meal.
Chris has bought whole chickens at the Chinese Muslim butcher and witnessed the chicken demise. At the Muslim butcher they put the chicken in a metal pail and then chop off the head. They use the scald method to remove the feathers after the bird is not moving.

permalink written by  carseat tourist on December 2, 2009 from Harbin, China
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Rink is open

Harbin, China

The ice is frozen and we can skate! It is super cold so we don't want to skate for long! The former soccer field set-up requires that you sit on the ice cold bleachers and change into your skates outside. My little toes can barely handle that part. Princess loves the cold and it doesn't bother her a bit. Teenager used to competitively skate in the States before we moved to China. So we have lots of videos of her skating. There is a video of another little girl skating during her performance. The little girl is as cute as a button, and blond haired and blue eyed. Princess watched this video for a year before she ever skated, but she believed that little girl was herself. Her sister was in the video so naturally that blond haired cutie must of been Princess. She believed she could do all these fancy tricks because she saw what she thought was herself doing these fancy tricks. Amazingly the first time she ice skated she was really sure fitted and could even spin in circles. The power of the mind! Anyway, that was last year. This year her skates had gotten wet being stored on our balcony that has leaky windows. We put them on the radiator to dry out. I think they shrunk a little. Poor princess took to the ice for the first time this year with all her confidence and fell on her butt. She was so baffled. She tried skating around and kept falling. I felt so bad for her because she loved skating so much last winter and this winter was not having the same experience. We are going to try to stretch her skate so that maybe she is more comfortable. Back at the apartment....poor Little Guy is so sad. He saw us get out skates for everyone in the family. He thinks they look very cool and he would like to try. But he has a had a former (before us) skull fracture and we are too afraid with his lack of balance on land to let him go on the ice. We talked about using our helmet, but it is really not the right size for him. The scariness of the Chinese hospital just doesn't seem worth the risk. On a separate sad, painful note I got coal in my eye. The air is so polluted with coal dust that when I was taking the munchkins to school I felt like I got something gritty in my eye. A few hours later I was in unbearable pain. So I took out my contacts. Well the coal dust was under my contact and scratched my eye as i removed the contact. The pain was much worse. We flushed and flushed my eye. I spent the night in misery and in the next morning we flushed my eye out again and finally a little fleck of coal flushed out. Coal is acidic so it was just the worst pain, grit plus acid burn. Augh!!!! Life in the land of frigid pollution...

permalink written by  carseat tourist on December 3, 2009 from Harbin, China
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Shopping weekend

Harbin, China

Last weekend Teenager prepared for her big trip back to the States. She is leaving ahead of us because she needs to take some test so she can do Running Start(early college) when we go back in January.
First we went on the GuZheng quest. The GuZheng was the big 16th b-day present so she really wanted to take it home.
Her teacher told her we could get a hard case from her friend's shop. So we went all the way downtown. First we stopped at the place we got interesting jade. We were disappointed because the vendor said because it was cold she had no selection and would be getting no selection. We bought a few things then moved to the next booth where and old bitty attempted to pickpocket me. I have met my fair share of pickpockets in China, it actually had been nearly 8months since the last attempt to steal from me. I used to work with monkeys so I view this as a weaker monkey trying to steal food from a more dominant or higher ranking monkey. The monkeys will sort it out scratching and biting and usually the low ranking monkey goes crying back to where it came from. Of course, I'm civilized. But when you try to rob me, naturally I must defend my things. I really see it as picking a fight. The pickpocket chooses to bother me so I can either fight or flight or force them to do that. Last year a woman in a fur coat attempted to unzip my purse and instincts kicked in and I slammed her up against the wall in front of my children. She was in a fur coat, so really, did she need to steal? After that I realized I needed to chill out because I don't want to become such a violent person. Some guy actually got my camera last year and I stared him down and Teenager screamed in Chinese and he decided to give the camera back. Most of the time it is kids and I feel sad for them because I know someone is forcing them to do that. Anyway this 50-60 year old woman tried to get in my purse in the crowded mall. I grabbed her hand out of my purse and she immediately admitted defeat by showing both hands and rolling back her sleeves a little. Ugh...we let her go.
So we went on to the GuZheng store where they overcharged me for this beat up used hard case. It was freezing because it is Harbin, and thats what it does, so we wanted to take a cab home. No. The case was too big and no cabs would let us roll down the windows. So we had to take buses which was so cold and we were so unwelcome with that big case. Mutiple busses.
We get home and thaw out to find that the instrument doesn't fit!!!! So we have to make a zillion calls and it is decided that yes the case can be returned, but the GuZheng needs to be bubble wrapped put in a box. Since no taxis would take us we decided to return the case the next day and bubble wrap another day. After riding 2 buses back with the case the next morning, we were happy to be free of the case, but wanted to go to the material market. Teenager doesn't love material like I do, but she offered to take me for an early birthday present. Fur and silk are all mixed in this massive dirty warehouse. We bought enough silk to make all new curtains for the Lummi Island cabin (the crackheads stole every curtain rod and curtain, why, why????). Then we bought some fur scarves. In America, I used to be against fur. Mainly because of the waste of the meat product and the cruelty of the industry. In China, I know they ate that animal. In fact, I know they treated that animal just like they treat the chickens and their dogs. Once I had a student whose aunt raised foxes and sent him to college, so I really have changed my opinion on the fur issue. Plus it is soooo soft. Harbin is suppose to be the cheapest place in world to buy fur. The scarves I bought were actually even the by-product of the coats. They take all the trimmings from fur coats and make them into balls and string the balls together. One of the things I admire most about the Chinese is that they don't waste anything.
After the shopping we had to pack up my girl. The ayi's son drove us in his new car to the airport. He is a taxi driver. Before he had a normal red cab, now he has a little red car. I guess he is a private driver now. He is a sweet boy. The airline lady was so mean.
We went to check in and she was only going to let her take one bag even though she was transferring to an international flight. Then she was trying to short us on the weight saying the weight to Canada was less than to the US, well Miss Smartypants lost that argument because Teenager was flying all the way to America via Canada. Unfortunately the bags were slightly over so we had the heartbreaking repacking scene at the airport. Teenager was trying to be all grown up about it, but the ayi's son was seeing that her heart was breaking so as the airline lady was printing the labels he was unzipping the bags and stuffing back in some of her things. It was really touching.

Teenager got stuck everywhere she went...she left our apartment on Wed 8am China time and I finally got the message she arrived at her destination at 2am China time on Friday morning.

permalink written by  carseat tourist on December 10, 2009 from Harbin, China
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The big countdown

Harbin, China

Life has moved into super speed...we are leaving this place in 15 days!!! Augh! I'm so ready but so terrified! Here I have no food I like, but back in America I may have no job to buy food I like either! What's worse seeing and smelling yummy food at the grocery store and not being able to get it or looking a websites and drooling over food that you can't possible cook in your itty bitty oven in China? Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up and get one of those zillion jobs I applied for and I will go home and eat happily ever after. The US media is filled with horror stories about unemployment so it does make me appreciate the ignorance is bliss media approach in China. My experience from rejection letters is that the zoo field is having about 25-30 applicants per job. The Husband actually got a nibble today from someone saying that due to the holiday season they hadn't had enough applicants so he can come in and fill out an ap. So that kinda made us think it maybe just a myth that there are no jobs. Last year we were thoroughly scared enough that we came back to China for another round...course we were still in line for adoption (naturally you don't leave the country without your completed family). Now we have Little Guy and he really needs some services that can't be found here (it's not really fare to let him drool over sign language websites, when he can go have real friends to chat with) and Teenager is already in America. So we are starting to pack.
Speaking of food, I was getting down those pretty mooncake boxes so I could pack some breakables or something in them. I was quite shocked to see that we still had 5 mooncakes left. Lets say I'm not going to be wasting my luggage space with those little tidbits. I tried presenting them again to Little Guy and Princess. They took a bite and ....
I don't feel that bad about disposing the rest. I know the donkeys eat the food scraps outside. Everything gets recycled here.

To end this journey on a positive note, I'm going to countdown stuff I'll miss in China.
I will miss my students....they are so cute! They have told me more amazing stories than I have ever read or seen in movies. They will and would do anything for me. Today I came to class and they thought it was the last class. My boss had told me last week I was mistaken, I will be teaching until Dec 23...there was some confusion about the school calendar and the loss of the National Day week and then possible the few days we had "the illness". I was kind of like "oh". So I go to class and the students had wanted to have a little Christmas Party (always a strange idea of what Western Christmas must be like) so I made them gingerbread cookies (from the mix I hoarded all year) and brought them candy canes (hidden from my munchkins) and sowed them our advent chocolate calendar (I didn't dare try to steal that from the munchkins). So I said, "you know we have another week of class" as I walked in. They screamed, and hugged each other! They said "we get to see you again!!!" They immediately texted the person who was absent from class because she had to sub. They were so happy. The other teacher left her class and ran over to mine and said, "I'm so happy, I wanted to come to class so much today!" I have other students, I call them my English junkies and they come to all my classes that they can. I will really miss them. How often do you get paid to do a job where people are soooo happy to see you and want to learn from you? I can't remember ever having kids in America scream of joy because we had to make up a snow day and they get to spend a nice sunny summer day in my class.
We had a nice little party and they were so sweet. They brought little bitty oranges (always they bring these to all events) and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chestnuts, and Russian instant coffee. I showed them how to stir the coffee with the candy cane and they thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And they are so polite, Teenager used to have a class down the hall and would come visit. Last week the Husband subbed for me when I took her to the airport. They were so worried about her traveling alone. So today they asked about her test and I told them her scores were 96 and 98 out of 100 and they screamed again. In their mind their is only one college entrance exam and it is such a life changing score that they think her test is just as important. It was sweet that they cared and are so enthusiastic. I will miss them.

permalink written by  carseat tourist on December 16, 2009 from Harbin, China
from the travel blog: Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher
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The cheese factor

Harbin, China

No, I will no miss the lack of cheese in China...
But I will miss the cheesyness of China. This place does cheesy with pride. What in American cool schools has been labeled as cheesy, uncool, the chinese embrace and have fun with.
All over there are people dressed in matching couples clothes. One of my students came to class wearing his half of the matching black scarf with a bright pink heart ensemble without his girlfriend who usually comes to class. I asked if that was her scarf and he looked down like I had crushed his very spirit mentioning that he was alone in wearing the scarf. He was actually sad that they were not matching together at that moment. If I ever got my husband to wear a black scarf with a giant pink heart I'm sure he'd rip it off the second I was out of sight. Anyway I think its sweet that the guys love matching their girl friends.
And the wedding photos! Everywhere you go people are taking cheesy wedding photos. They put the couples in the cutest poses and take a million pictures. Not at the wedding, that is a videographer, but months before the wedding the rent outfits and have tons of photos made all over town, in every town across China. I find it cheesy but sweet...signs of love everywhere!
Last year in Shenyang our friends hooked us up with a photography studio and they took lots of pictures of the girls and made them into a board book album of Chenglish. It would have Princess doing something really cute and under the picture would be random words from the English language that made no sense together or in the context of the picture. It was very cheesy, but cute! They used Princess and Teenager as ads for their studio.
So this year we decided to pay for a studio in Harbin to create a cheesy masterpiece for us. I must say they achieved the goal. Although the album is not as Chenglish as we thought it would be....maybe they thought we were french because they wrote Paris New Vision all over. My student went with me to supervise the transaction and the photo shoot. The place in Shenyang had been a furnace because it was summer with no a.c. The girls were unpaid models, so we joked about it being a child labor sweat shop. Harbin we were paying customers but there was no heat, it was a complete freezer. They had an entire apartment full of costumes, but only a few for little boys. Most photo shoots involve 100 day old babies and wedding couples. We decided to do a Chinese theme and they had a get-up for the husband. As chics, of course we think Chinese costumes rock so we own a few. Little Guy thinks he should do a show every time he puts his on. Husband is not a fan of dress up, he hated that hat. In fact he took that off so fast that it was lost in the shuffle and the photography studio called after we left and pestered my poor student to find the hat. It was found in the bottom of our bag with Princess's dress and we had to humbly return it to the studio. My student had done 100 day baby photos of her princess and paid the same price as us, 400RMB. When we went to pick up the package- a glass pendant, a silk wallhanging, a poster size print, a wall plaque on fake wood, and The Album; she was amazed that everything for us was upgraded to the largest size available. Anyway, I will miss the cheesy China that gives foreigner upgrades!

permalink written by  carseat tourist on December 17, 2009 from Harbin, China
from the travel blog: Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher
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Harbin, China

I will definitely miss the cakes from China. They are so elaborate. They look so amazing. It is always a shock when you bite in and found out that they don't taste as yummy as they look. They make every occasion seem so quaint. Today a student brought a cake for the last class. It was so thoughtful.
Little Guy really likes cake. In the beginning he wanted nothing to do with cakes. Yesterday a homemade cake was made for a birthday and it was chocolate. Usually he hates chocolate anything. But after assisting with the candle blowing, he plowed right in. And even wanted another piece.
So today-viola another cake. He grabbed his fork and waited 15 minutes for everyone to come. He signed for us to light candles, but didn't have a fit when it didn't happen. He polished of a slice and wanted more again.
We are going to use the leftover Chinese cake to make rum balls for Christmas....we'll see how that goes. There was no leftover homemade cake.

permalink written by  carseat tourist on December 18, 2009 from Harbin, China
from the travel blog: Life in Harbin as an American English Teacher
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