After two weeks of schlepping my laundry down four flights, over to the
Swarm of Americans Takes Over the Apartment Building
Two days ago we heard noise in the hallway and being nosy—I mean, naturally inquisitive—Samuel poked his head out the door. With a slam of the door Samuel turned to us and said, “A foreigner!” Yes indeed, we all ran to the door, flung it open wide and there she was. Not two minutes later, more came from upstairs and down and I am sorry to say I don’t have a picture of what we must have looked like, slack-jawed and eyes bulging, as the population of the foreign experts apartment building just more than doubled. We have: Vanetta on the fifth floor from
Crickets Come to Live with Us
Every basket has a cricket in it.
Does anyone remember reading books as a kid where the Chinese boy or girl brings home a small bamboo cage with a cricket in it? I know I remember something like that in my many years of reading, but true to form I don’t have any idea when or where I read it. But it did stick in my mind, the image of a cricket in a small bamboo cage, clutched in the hands of a young child. And so, nostalgia drove me to buy two incredibly big and fat and chirpy crickets for Samuel and Grace.
We have fed them green onions and wet grass. Samuel’s cricket, named Jeff, started looking poorly so we liberated him. Grace’s cricket, Jaimie, is doing much better. She has eaten a lot of green onions, pooped a lot, and chirps quite cheerfully. She will be liberated before we leave for
Vanetta and Lynette took the kids and me to a warehouse across town for a unique shopping experience. The person who owns the place supplies all the grocery stores around here with imported food, and also sells at wholesale (I think--I can't read my receipt yet, need a translator) these items to people willing to go out to the warehouse. From the outside, you would never in a million years believe what lurked in the shadows behind the crumbling brick walls and the guy stewing auto parts in a pot in front of his shop.
This is in the back of the warehouse complex. It actually looks much more solid than the front of the buildings.
Turns out the electricity went out before we got there so we had to feel around in the dark in the refrigerator room, which was the farthest away from sunlight. Anyway, the people working there greeted us warmly and ushered us into the first room where we found, among other things: cereal, mustard, Swiss Miss cocoa, jam, peanut butter, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, pickles, Campbell’s soup… the mind boggles just trying to remember it all so I won’t even bother, but you get the idea. I got butter from
The white box in front left is cream cheese, underneath is mozzarella and next to that is the block of cheddar from New Zealand.
Buying everything meant an hour in a stuffy little room, since without electricity the computers weren’t working. The “cashiers” had to handwrite everything out and look up prices in large reams of paper.
Inside the "office".
Outside the "office"--see the chickens in the background?
Everyone was very nice and there was only one moment where I started to worry: they couldn’t find the price on my big bottle of dried basil and I had become extremely attached to it by that point, already creating wonderful spaghetti sauce in my mind. In the end they figured out something and we were all able to buy our goods. The entire office walked us out to the street, carrying our boxes, hailed a cab and waved us off as we drove away. It was the most surreal shopping trip I’ve ever been on. And guaranteed I will go back again.
Tuna, pasta, raisins, butter, muesli, cocoa, bay leaves, Swiss Miss Cocoa (I yielded to pressure from the kids), chocolate bars, basil, vietnamese chili garlic sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, strawberry jam, tea.
I Get a Toaster Oven
I have inherited a toaster oven from Lynette, who somehow had two. I am coming up in the world as you can see in the picture.
She also gave me a loaf pan and a couple of “cookie” sheets. This is why I bought cocoa and butter--ah ha! And now it looks like Marsha downstairs has two crockpots—guess who gets to have the second one?