I thought it would be a good time to answer a few questions that I’ve been asked. Mostly it’s just answers as I don’t really want to type out the questions and I’m certain that you can tell what the question is by the answer.
I’m sure Ben is not our driver’s real name but a lot of Chinese in the service industry adopt Western names. Most of the Chinese people that Anders works with have easy names (for us anyway). I will be referring to anyone we meet by their first initial. I think it’s best as I don’t know who may be monitoring this and I want to protect the innocent 😉 Ben is a very common choice so I felt comfortable in calling him by his full name.
Ben drives for us alone. He’s basically on call 24/7. We do not give him a schedule although he knows that when Anders is in town he will be driving him to and fro work every day. If I need him during the day I just call or send a text. If it’s too complicated I have Anders’ admin (secretary to you and me) make the arrangements. If he drives us to dinner, the grocery store, or wherever, he waits. If it’s going to be a quick in and out, he stays parked in front. If not he goes somewhere and waits. I bet there are congregating places for all of the other drivers in Guangzhou. I know this, if we say pick us up from dinner in 2 hours, he’s there. When Anders tells him to pick him up at 7:30AM for work, he’s outside the building at 7. It’s only been a week but I haven’t waited for him once’ He’s either Johnny-on-the-spot or he’s waiting for me. He worked for us Saturday afternoon and evening but had Sunday off. When we’re on vacation he is too and of course he will know in advance.
The van is ours alone for the 3 years we’re here. We have already put in tissues, gum, grocery bags and I believe Anders is going to leave his old iPod with Ben as well. He likes AC/DC! Andrew, I will be adding the “I Love You” heart as soon as it arrives with the sea shipment.
Our furniture is due to arrive in China sometime next week. It will then need to clear customs and that can take several weeks. They have been known to go through 80% of the shipment looking for contraband. I got nothing to hide. I can’t wait to have my stuff with me. That’s the best I can describe it too, stuff. It’s the things that make you feel at home.
What came last week was our air shipment which is a puny, little, token shipment of the things you can’t live without until your sea container arrives. It was 7 boxes. For us it was additional clothing (5 weeks of the same 2 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, and several tops for me got old reeeeal fast), toiletries, and of course everything we could possibly need for Lily.
Anders’ administrative assistant is D. This is the first time in 26 years with P&G that he has his own admin and does not either have to do his own work or share one with several people. She is invaluable and I believe that Anders will never have someone like that again and will miss her more than anyone when we leave. As time goes on I’ll share just how wonderful she is. We were at our neighbor’s house last night and S was talking about how lucky Anders is to have her.
October – February are supposed to be very pleasant months here. The weather cools off, the humidity lifts, and it actually gets cool. Not heavy coat worthy or anything but jackets will be necessary. 5 months out of 12 isn’t so bad. We had a thunderstorm roll through this afternoon and it cooled off from 95 to 84.
Someone asked me if I had to do any entertaining while I was here and that answer was a big fat NO. However, tune in over the weekend or early next week because I have to accompany Anders to an off-site, overnight meeting and I’ll be telling you all about that. Yep, D was making the arrangements for Anders and his team to work off-site at a hotel for whatever reason they do that and asked if I would be coming. He said oh no I would not be doing that. She looked dubious and asked very politely again. Anders assured her that that would not be happening. She then told him that it’s expected because his team will want to meet me and if I come then other spouses will come too. This is by no means the norm in the US. I have no idea what to expect but I’m sure I’ll be fascinated.
Guangzhou is GZ. I almost never type it the right way and am tired of correcting it so from now on it’s GZ.
HAULING CONCRETE update – There was a woman working today. You go girl!
I hope this answers some of your questions. If you have any don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be curious too.
4:30 PM – 86 degrees