February 4, 2015

You haven't lived until you've been to Walmart in China

I love Walmart. I said it. I mean of course, I really love HEB, but I grew up in a town that had the first Walmart in Texas.  And the first Super Walmart.  That's right...good ol' Mt. Pleasant, Texas had the first Walmart. Hey...it's our only claim to fame, besides the fact that we have THE Pilgrim Pride Plant...and who wants to claim that? So, Walmart is all I have really known for years. HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods...those are the like the Taj Mahals of supermarkets.  I love them as well, but my first love was Walmart.  Saturday we experienced the Walmart in Beijing. Good gracious I do not know what I thought I was going to walk into.  Actually, I do....I honestly had this secret hope that it would be just like American Walmarts, only everything would be in Chinese... wrong.  This was the loudest place I have ever been to...EVER.  Everyone had on microphones and they were talking so loud over them trying to sell you produce...and it was in a language that I clearly cannot understand...I left with a massive headache.  But..it was an experience, and this is why we are here...right??
I must give them props to their floral section....it was massive and the flowers were beautiful.  Flowers over here are not very expensive, hence why I have already received a humungous bouquet of them....and don't you worry I already told Walt that since flowers are so cheap I expect fresh ones on a weekly basis.  
That picture is a 1/4 of the flower section.  
We did stock up on some must have items while at Walmart....like a Chinese dress for the girls, and of course Disney Princess water bottles for school, some Hello Kitty earmuffs, and pink "ugg" knock offs for the girls to wear to school...but all in all we walked around like crazy people.  I think at one point in time Walt and I just laughed at each other.  People would just come up to me and want to touch Avanell....I'm telling you, she is a rare find here.  Walt was trying to get by a man, but the  man was staring so hard at Avanell, just staring, and Walt didn't know how to say, "Excuse me," so he honestly sat there for about 2 minutes while the man just stared at my daughter.  I would say that after this trip I do not ever have the desire to go to another Walmart in China...I think I'll stick to the Western supermarket Jenny Lou's. 

Needless to say on Sunday I told Walt that I 
a.) did not want to ride in a car and sit in traffic forever  (have I mentioned that Beijing has about 21 MILLION people living here?) Holy smokes...I'm from a town of 12,000...
b.) wanted to walk to someplace quite...no more yelling in a supermarket for me. 
So we did just that.  We ventured out and walked to a fun little restaurant called Big Smoke.  I had a really yummy cucumber martini, Walt had fried chicken, the girls had yogurt with granola and truffle mac and cheese.  The place was really quaint and quiet.  It was great.  After that we walked into a French Boulangerie and went to a little French chocolate shop.  We then decided that it would be fun to take a rickshaw home.  The best way to describe this is a bicycle with a huge covered seat on the back.  This little old man peddled faster than anyone I have ever seen and how we all fit on that one little seat I will never know! The girls LOVED it and proceeded to tell me that it was the most fun they have had this whole time. 

It was a fun weekend by all. 
This week has been quiet.  Avanell and I started a baby playgroup at the girls' school on Mondays.  She is the littlest one in her class, but she showed everyone that she means business... she crawled over to everyone's plates and tried to get everyone's snack.... and she made sure to knock down all of the blocks that the older kids were playing with.  Yeah...don't mess with Avanell. That's my girl, make yourself known.  
Today I went shopping with a friend to look for a silver dress for Walt's company Chinese New Year Party. Really, a silver dress?! A man must have thought up the color because I could hardly find any silver dresses anywhere.  I went with a gray dress and a silver necklace...but seriously? Silver? In the winter? Talk about washing me out! Avanell had fun though, she met a friend in the dressing room and just couldn't get enough of her! 

And HUGE news that I must share. Like I said earlier Wednesdays are our driver's "no drive" days.  When you pick out your license according to the city of Beijing you have a certain day you can't drive.  I'm not quite sure how this works for the teenagers, but I haven't seen any teenagers driving a car either.  So we had a dilemma...we currently live about 45 min away from school (once we move into our house we will walk everyday)...what was I to do? I had to send my 3 and 4 year old to school ON A BUS. This wasn't just a regular school bus, it was like a tourist bus...but still! I about died as I watch my babies drive away AND to make matters worse they didn't even come home until 4:55! And what did they tell me when they got off the bus? That they loved it and wanted to ride the bus everyday! Yeah right...I never considered myself that helicopter parent...but my 3 and 4 year old are NOT riding the bus, except while we are here in the apartment.  
I think it's funny...every day I reminded some way, some how that I am from the good ol' U.S. of A. 
and if today it meant that I realized I was a helicopter parent, so be it!