Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Chinese Suburban

Sometimes we really miss our Suburban that is parked back in Utah but I had to take a picture of our Chinese Suburban. If our family wants to go anywhere together close, we all jump on our bikes. So instead of having a car parked in our driveway, we have five bikes parked and ready to go. At least we are doing our part in saving the environment...Go Green!!!!!!
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Sometimes we have to work for the things we want.

Last week I really wanted some good French bread or just bread in general. It seems the bread here usually is a sweet bread and I was craving for that good buttery flavor. I decided to just make it myself. Of course I've made bread before but that was with my Bosch mixer which makes it so easy. I spent a few hours of my day mixing, kneading, waiting, kneading again, waiting, and then finally baking. This was the result.

As I was making this I thought of how easy it was to get what we wanted back in the States. If I wanted good bread, I could just jump in my car and knew right where to go to buy it. If I wanted my hair cut, I knew exactly where to go and could explain what I wanted. Anything I wanted I knew where to go and it was easy. Here, not so easy anymore. If I want something bad enough here I have to work hard to get it. Whether that means spending an hour on the metro to go shopping for clothes or an hour ride on a bus then another 30 minutes on the subway to get decent Mexican food or taking two hours to make bread.

We've had to give up a lot of modern conveniences and comforts to come here to China. Our nice home, furnishings, car, friends, and our family but I hope that our kids can learn something of more value here. The concept that not everything comes easy...if you really want something you have to work hard to get it.

China has really opened our eyes to how easy people have it back home. There may be hard financial times going on but that will someday pass. What is sad is seeing the poor and hungry on the streets. Seeing how hard these people work here and yet they have so little. The people here are so friendly and willing to help when they themselves don't have much.

So the next time you jump in your car to go get that loaf of French Bread...enjoy it and appreciate the fact that it didn't take you two hours to get.

Sometimes we have to work hard for the things we want.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Zhong guo ren bu xi huan zhe ge"

On Wednesday's I don't have my AYI cook dinner for us because I like to occasionally have some good ole' Mexican or American food. This also allows me to teach her some new dishes. She always is interested in what I'm making. The problem is that I'm not always home in time to show her before she leaves at 5:00. Well, yesterday I made the point of being there.

I was trying a new recipe that I found online. It was a called "Mexican Sour Cream Rice". Basically it is a version of my Green Enchilada recipe but using rice instead of corn tortillas. I thought this would be a good substitute since rice is so easily found here and corn tortillas are unheard of. It has chopped green chilies, a can of Cream of Chicken soup, sour cream, cilantro, chopped chicken, cheese, seasonings, and rice.

She was so interested and taking notes the whole time. As we were mixing all the ingredients together, she had this semi-disgusted look on her face and said to me "Zhong guo ren bu xi huan zhe ge" meaning Chinese people don't like this...referring to the dish. It was so funny because she was really serious. To us the dish was heaven...everything we love in it but to her it was the most disgusting thing in the world. It was amazing to think that people could actually not like Mexican food. Funny how we all have such different tastes and why? Only because of the environment we live in. There have been many times when we have said the same about their food but I never thought that they wouldn't like my food.

A side story to all this was that when I was grating the cheese, Vika came in and wanted a piece. She loves cheese, as we all do in my family. My AYI then told me that "Vika chi cheesie (that's how she says cheese) pang" meaning Vika eats cheese...Vika will be fat. That just through me for a loop coming from someone who just a few weeks ago allowed Vika to eat 18 chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. So the cookies won't make her fat but the cheese will? hmmmm Cheese or Cookies? What is the better choice? Again, different culture....different thinking.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jonny's Shoot

We finally got a copy of the catalog that Jonny did a shoot for back in October. He made 1000 RMB for this shoot which is about $150.00. It was fun but I don't think he wants to do it again. I was amazed at how much he has grown in the past 6 months. He looks so young in these pictures. He is one handsome dude.


The other shots our on our web album at http://picasaweb.google.com/rundells6/JonnyPhotoShoot?feat=directlink
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Vika's B-Day at Disneyland

For Vika's birthday we took the whole family to Disneyland in Hong Kong. This was to be a princess birthday for Vika with the real princesses. The park didn't open until 10:30 but we weren't sure how long it would take us to get there because we had to take a taxi to the border, cross the border, then either take a bus or taxi to Disneyland. You never know how long it will take to cross so we left at 8:00 in the morning. We decided on taking a taxi to the park and it was way faster than we thought. It only took us about an hour and a half to get there, so we had plenty of time to spare.
Once we got in the park it was almost exactly like Disneyland in Anaheim. The layout was the same which made it easy to get around. The park is much smaller though, they don't have nearly as many rides but it felt like we were back in California.

Of course, the signs in Chinese were a give away that we were actually in Hong Kong.
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As soon as we got into the park, Vika took off for Cinderella's castle. This was her first stop on a long day of fun.

We took Vika into a store in Fantasyland and let her pick out a princess dress to wear all day. Of course, she picked Sleeping Beauty. She really looked like a princess in it. Of course this only added to the craziness of people wanting to take her picture. It was like she was one of the real princesses. They would stop and want pictures of her all day long. She hammed it up quite well and was a big hit.
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The kids had a lot of fun together. This was in Tomorrowland. Boy aren't they strong.


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Rachel stands out in this crowd. The day started out pretty warm but by the afternoon when the parade started it was really cold and windy but that didn't stop Vika from enjoying it.
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What girl would not love spending time with two princesses? This was the highlight of the day for Vika. She was explaining to Princess Aurora that she has the same dress. It was so cute to watch them interact with her. They spent a few minutes just talking to Vika. When we came into the park we told them it was Vika's birthday so they gave her a birthday button. Everyone gave her special attention all day because of it. She even had a birthday wish said over the intercom at the Dumbo ride.
She really felt like a princess. She even got a hug from Snow White.
Disneyland really is the "Happiest Place on the Earth" even here in China. It really is a small world.
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Disneyland Hong Kong

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Rachel's Driving Lesson

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Rachel had her first driving experience here in China. Of course it was on Autopia. I'm not sure I ready for her to drive yet. This summer we will hopefully get her permit when we are in Utah.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bu Yao Gei Ta Bing Gan!!!!!!

Lacking the accent tones "Bu yao gei ta bing gan" means "Don't give her a cookie" in Mandarin. Why would I say that you ask? Because I'm tired of my ayi (maid) giving Vika cookies everyday. Our ayi picks Vika up from school everyday at 3:30 and lets her eat anything she wants when she gets home. Of course, that means everything that we wouldn't allow her to eat. I've tried to be nice about it and kindly suggest that she not do that, but I've about had it now.

I had put about 1 1/2 dozen of the cookies I baked the other day in the cupboard so that Vika wouldn't see them when she came home. I got home about 4:40 and she was sitting on the couch with an empty bag that used to have 1 1/2 dozen chocolate chip cookies in them. I was not happy. Our ayi came in and was just laughing as she tried to explain that Vika ate all the cookies. Hasn't she heard of the word "NO"!!!!!!! Vika has learned to play her and gets whatever she wants when we aren't there. It's becoming a problem. She hardly ever wants to eat dinner and now I know why - because she has already eaten cookies. This isn't the first time this happened, but how do I get it across to our ayi that it isn't a good idea to give a three year old cookies before dinner and especially 1 1/2 dozen? So I guess I need to say it again but firmer now.

BU YAO GEI TA BING GAN!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who ever thought eating cookies could be so fun!

Tonight I broke down and made gooey chocolate chip cookies. This may be such a simple thing to do back in the states but not here. The cost alone of the ingredients is outrageous. I could have bought 10 packages of Oreos at the store for the cost of making four dozen chocolate chip cookies but who can resist the warm gooey chocolate as you bite into these delicious treats. I've only made them a few times here not just because of the cost but also because of the conditions. Our oven doesn't have the normal temperature markings on it so I'm never sure what the exact temperature is. After adjusting and playing around with it, I think I got it down. This time the cookies were perfect. I was really missing my Bosch mixer though as I had to mix them by hand but it was well worth it after seeing the joy it brought to my family.
We devoured two dozen of the cookies in less than 15 minutes and I had to fight to get just one bite. Of course I had another stash in the kitchen.
Each mouthful brought laughter and smile to their cute faces.
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So who would ever have thought that eating a cookie could be so fun?
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Awe The Simple Pleasures of Life

Yes, Mountain Dew has finally made it here to China. This was one thing we were really missing from the States and it finally made its appearance this month in our local 7-11. They don't have Diet but hey we won't be too picky. I had to take a picture of this bottle because it is so cool with Mountain Dew written in Chinese. For sure a collector's item for us. They are having a promotion this month and we can buy this bottle for 1.50 RMB That's right - a hole whopping 10 cents!!!!!! The normal price is 3.50 which is still really cheap - 25 cents.

Awe the simple pleasures of life!
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Facebook


Gavin and I both have joined the facebook world along with Jonny and Rachel. Of course, Jonny and Rachel have been apart of that world for awhile. We stepped on board just to see what it was all about and LOVE facebook. If any of you that read our blog have facebook, come join our friend list. It is a fun way to communicate and stay in touch with friends and family. I do have to say that it is addicting though so be warned. We will continue to have our blog but we are having fun chatting and communicating through facebook as well. If you have an account just do a friend search for Coree Bramwell Rundell, Gavin Rundell, Rachel Rundell, and Jonny Rundell. Come join us - It's fun!!!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

When they say a bus for 16 do they really mean it?

This weekend we went to Guangzhou for a District Conference for church. Guangzhou is about a two hour trip north of Shenzhen. There are several ways we could have gotten there, train, public bus, but we had arranged with two other families to charter a bus to take us up and then back the next day. We had seventeen people and they said no problem we have a 16 passenger bus that can take you. Here in China there aren't any car seat or seat belt laws so we are used to having a few little kids together in a seat. The "bus" showed up and it wasn't a bus at all but a large van. How in the world did they think we could fit 17 people, 18 including the driver, and all our luggage in this 15 passenger van. It was quite the maneuvering trick but we actually did it. Comfortably? NO, but we did it. So when they say "No problem, we have a 16 passenger bus" they don't really mean that.

The drive took us about three hours because the driver kept getting lost but once we got there we were so glad we went. We ended up staying in a three bedroom apartment for the night. This place rented out furnished apartments just like a hotel. It was very large and comfortable. We got there about 5:00 in the afternoon and had two hours until the first adult session started. There were about 15 other families from our Shenzhen branch that went so all the kids had McDonalds in the rooms, while some of the adults went out for Chinese food. Imagine that? Chinese food in China. It was very good food though. Very similar to our favorite "Red Lantern" which has closed here in Shekou.

The sessions were really good and I am so glad that we went. We were able to mingle with other members of the church here in China. The District consists of all of China so this conference was for the members down here in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. They will have another one next weekend in Beijing for the members up north. All the speakers were very good and uplifting. We were able to listen to two General Authorities from our Area Presidency. It is so neat to know that it doesn't matter where we are in the world, we can hear the same message and feel the same spirit. It was a really good conference and we look forward to the next one next year.

We didn't have much time to see the city but what we saw was amazing. The architecture is incredible. There is construction of new high rise buildings going on all over the place and it is pretty amazing how some of these structures could even have been built. I didn't take a camera so below are some pictures of some of the buildings that we saw which I found on the Internet.



This is the Guangzhou TV Tower. It is completed by now and is incredible. I never thought I would find beauty in a building but they have some amazing stuff here.