Category Archives: Uncategorized

Massage Options

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Anders and his team were at a  resort for an annual meeting  Thursday and Friday. He came home with a menu of the spa offerings and they make my massage look tame.  Think about what you might want us to arrange for you when you visit. The resort is about 2 hours away  but we would be more than happy to watch you get one of your choosing.

Partial Massage: Foot triming, Ears picking, hand triming (these are not typos, I’m writing what is printed in the brochure) and what I may have had  2 weeks ago, Aromatic Ovary Care

Single Item: Scrapping and cupping

Special Treatment: Attractive Woman Aromatherapy Breast Care. Anders and I are debating whether it’s intended for attractive women (Who determines that?) or if it’s supposed to make one’s breasts attractive.  Also available:  Hot Oil Promote Lactation

Fascination Manual: ( any ideas what this means? ) Fascination Style for Men or Fascination Style for Women

TCM (means Traditional Chinese Medicine) Health-Keeping Therapy has provided us with the most head-scratching options: Ocean Dragon and Phoenix – Anders thinks they burn you and then you rise like a phoenix from the ashes, Royal Fumigation (for woman), Nephric Ridge Fumigation (I dare anyone to look that up), and Foot Fumigation.

My favorite of all is without a doubt: Buttock Fumigation (I guess you choose left or right or pay double to have both done). I think every man should have one of these. I don’t know what they do, if it’s painful or not, but what man doesn’t need to have at least one buttock fumigated?

Disclaimer: I did not make any of these up because as Anders said you can’t make this s*** up.

11AM – 89 degrees

Medical Exam

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One of my favorite experience so far has been our medical exam. It was conducted while we were in GZ in April for our look-see/house hunting trip. It’s a requirement for all who apply for a residence visa and it is so Chinese. I’m shaking my head as I’m writing this because it’s just so darn funny. I have heard from others  that they didn’t like it, they thought it was too personal but it is what it is and one has to do it if they want to live in China.

I must first tell you about our relocation rep. that lead us through the maze of the exam. Think of the Tasmanian Devil in full tornadic form, toss in Speedy Gonzalez, add a splash of the Energizer Bunny and you have K. I’m not sure the experience would have been the same without him frantically herding us. He really was part of the entertainment. I was exhausted just watching him and as soon as we were done, he was the epitome of calm. Unbelievable.

So we arrived at the ITHC (International Travel Health Center) right on time at 8AM. We were ushered to seats while K did whatever he had to do. We filled out a very brief paper and then were led to our first desk where the only question was, “Are you pregnant? ” I answered, “NO!!!!!” and Anders answered, “I hope not!!!!!!” Not sure what happens if the answer is yes, but we obviously gave the right one. Then we were allowed to fill out a full registration form and K paid way too much money I’m sure.  Need I say that we had about 10 photos and 3 copies of our passports to hand over?  We were then given some papers that we had to carry with us and on the front of those was one photo so we know they don’t all go to waste.

We then walked across the street where the real action began. This building was probably built in 1950 and hasn’t seen a whole lot of renovating. We were to put our papers in a basket outside each door, wait, and then go when called. K did a very good job of making sure we did not lose our place in line and would frantically wave us in if we hesitated for more than a second. Honestly, sometimes it was hard to understand the name the nurses and doctors were calling and before  I could even process that it was me they wanted, he’d be picking my papers out of the basket, shaking them at me, and calling forward.

1) Height, weight, and blood pressure  It was a bit like being in high school again as there were other people in the room and the nurse said your weight out loud! Come on, not even Anders knows my weight but  4 other Chinese do now.  

2) Blood station  I thought I was at a bank. There were 4 teller windows, you step up, sit down, present your arm, she ties the band on, and draws your blood.

3) General Health  I was given a questionnaire in English and I learned too late that the answer is always no. I answered yes to surgery, just broken bones, but I knew as soon as I said it I should have lied.  The doctor started to ask me questions and between her very limited English and my pointing she determined it wasn’t a deal breaker. After some general prodding and breathing in and out, I was done. No big deal.

4) EKG  It was my first EKG and I actually found it kind of comforting that I wasn’t sent off in an ambulance because I had an irregular heartbeat or anything.

5) Chest X-ray  This was a little disconcerting. I’ve had X-rays before but you’re not usually aware when they’re actually taking the picture. You hear something but nothing that makes you think , “Oh they got the x-ray.” Not in China… it was a loud whooshing sound and I do mean loud and I do mean whooshing and you know when it begins and when it’s done.  I also put the protective apron on wrong but fortunately Anders was there to interpret the hand signals I was getting from the technician.

6) Ear, nose, and throat  Just your basic ENT exam.

7) Vision test  This was the only doctor that spoke good English and he was a CREEPER. He also spoke a little Italian and I think he fancied himself a Latin Lover. I’m surprised it wasn’t a bra off exam 😉 He also kept talking about how good- looking Anders was. I know he is but he waxed on a little too long about that.

8) Ultrasound  Not my first but definitely a first for Anders. It was funny to hear him describe the feel of the jelly, how the technician just squished it all over the place, and how disgusting it was to clean it off  himself. Yeah, man up!

9) Urine   What medical exam would be complete without peeing in a cup? Ah but the difference  here is that you do it over a squatter (I’m sure there will be a future post about squatters). Veni, vidi, vici the squatter!!!!

That was it, done and dusted. One hour and according to K, the fattest. That is not a typo, he said fattest. Having lived with Swiss precision for 5 years I believe that the Swiss would have dropped their jaws at how efficient it was. We received our invitation letters from the Chinese government to apply for our permits so we can only assume they did not find anything terribly wrong. It’s kind of comforting because it was probably the most thorough exam I’ve had since I applied to college. Thank you government of China for giving me peace of mind.

4PM – 88 degrees

Police Station

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All visitors within 24 hours of arrival must appear at the local police station. The Chinese government likes to know where all people are at all times. I have to do it once a month until I have my permanent residence permit. Anders didn’t have to do it because they take care of it at hotels as a service for their guests. I did not go alone, we had a driver, a representative of the apartment complex, and a representative from our relocation company.

If I hadn’t been taken there or if I had an emergency I never would have found the place. The entrance was around back of what looked like a store front, up the back steps, and into an open office. The first thing that hit me was the smell of onions cooking . The second thing I noticed was the complete lack of anything police-like. Yep, not a one in sight  just 4 office workers. I was very graciously ushered to a child’s small  plastic red stool. Nothing fancy here. I sat there for about an hour while it took 4 people to print out my permit and Anders’. One thing you have to get over and get over it real fast is that everyone and his brother is interested in your passport. Within the first 3 days of arrival I’m fairly certain that about 100 people have seen, touched, and/or copied it. After much talking back and forth (I said not a word, just smiled a lot) and one signature from me we were free to leave. Oh yes, between 5 of us we managed to leave without Anders passport! We got halfway down the back steps when one of the women came running after us to return it. I just figured that someone wanted to take it home to show their family. They could then pass it around the neighborhood where it could be seen, touched, and/or copied by one and all. I’m sure it’s legal.

FInal thoughts on the Police Station:

About halfway through someone started cooking lunch in the back room, it was time to do something with those onions I smelled when I first walked in. I smelled the wok heating up and the heard the food going into the nice hot oil. It smelled heavenly but alas they did not offer me any.

A policeman did come into the office after about 40 minutes where he promptly sat down and read the paper. No APBs, no donuts, no guns, just some staring at me occasionally.

They must only manufacture fine point writing instruments in this country.  The girl who filled out my paperwork did a lot of writing in Chinese characters. It’s beautiful but man is it intricate. One must only use fine point pens or  it  looks like a Rorschach inkblot.

So when you come for a visit you too will be ushered to the pseudo police station, sit on a kiddie stool, drool over the fantastic lunch they’re going to enjoy without you, get stared at by a police officer, and walk out knowing that the Chinese government has tabs on you.

4:45 PM – 90 degrees (still haven’t attempted to find the degree symbol and quite frankly I don’t think I will)

Q and A (really only A)

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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

 

 

We’re here!

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It’s Monday morning 8:30. My flight was exhausting but made it safe and sound. I was so happy to see Anders, it’s been 24 days. I also met our driver Ben. He is a sweetheart. After he dropped us at our apartment and helped bring up our bags he said “We’re a family now.” I love him already. I’m sure I’ll be writing about our adventures with Ben. Gotta run because we’re face timing with Kiersten.

Someone doesn’t have a clue!

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I wish I knew what I was doing but I don’t. My goal was to get the blog set up before I left so I could let everyone know the address. You’re here and I’m glad you made it. I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing other than I started a blog. Please bear with me over the next few weeks/months/years as I figure out what I’m doing. All I can say is that you never know what you might see when you read my post.