We haven’t posted recently. Partly, because we’ve been busy; it’s exam season. Partly, because when I write I like to talk about fun things in China, and now we’re starting to get homesick.
I certainly miss family and friends. And I miss being in more control of my nutrition – my kingdom for a nutrition label!
I miss reading books in English. They’re so hard to find here – and when I do find them, they’re expensive or not very good. I just finished The Pelican Brief. That’s as good as it gets.
I miss baking and playing with all my new kitchen toys from the bridal shower. I successfully made microwave oatmeal cookies, but that’s the extent that our one hot plate and one microwave will allow.
Mostly, I miss shopping. Since I lost a lot of weight with the Tufts University Calerie study, I didn’t have clothes that fit me. I figured I’d buy some in China where it would be cheaper. What a mistake that was!
First, Chinese women don’t have butts – and I have a generous one. The middle-aged Chinese clothes run in larger sizes, but not the cute younger clothes, which are made for late-blooming 15 year olds. The style now is a flouncy kind of look, and I like a more narrow, tailored style. Worst of all is the prices!
There are little boutiques everywhere, places owned by one person and carrying just one size of each item. Nothing, in six months, has ever gone on clearance in these places. The same sweater dress has been hanging in one window the entire time we’ve lived here. The prices are outrageous – 600 RMB for a sweater! That’s like 100 US – I wouldn’t even pay that back home, and here I’m getting paid a quarter of my US salary!
I know that Chinese women probably bargain down the prices, but my shiny white skin means there’s no bargaining for me – they can smell money.
Even H & M, the one Western store in Nanjing, is a cruel oasis. In Boston, H & M is affordable, but here it’s more expensive than back home. When I do go there to shop (fitting rooms! price tags! no employees following me around!), I rarely buy anything because the price is so high.
Perhaps the saddest bit is the shoes. Oh, they have beautiful shoes here – little works of art stepping everywhere on the jaggedly paved sidewalks. I’ve never been a shoe person until I came to China. The varieties of colors and heels, boots, slippers…. But sadly, my feet are enormous. They don’t make my size. We had great fun in Yangshuo as I tried on every pair of boots the place owned. I felt like the ugly step sisters as my heels refused to even touch the soles. Such cruel irony, the one style element I can get behind in China is the one I can never own.