Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friends In China ~ Episode 3 ~ LaDeana

LaDeana and her husband at the Forbidden City.
The "must do" Beijing photo spot.

I am proud to introduce you to a fantastic lady, LaDeana, who has made an impact on my life in a very short time. One of the things I love about our church is something called visiting teaching, where every woman has two other women who visit, care for, and provide service. It is an inspired companionship that results in friendships that may not have usually happened. LaDeana and I most likely would not have gotten as close  because of our different social circles. I am so grateful that we did, I have learned a lot from her.

 Her story is unique because she is leaving (sniff sniff) Beijing, after a short six month stint here. Those who are here for a short time exhibit enthusiasm and "carpe diem" because they know their time is limited.  I need that influence to keep me going.
Where did you move from? Liberty Township, Ohio (about 20 miles north of Cincinnati, Ohio)
How long have you lived in China? 4 ½ months

How long do you plan to stay in China? 1 ½ months. My husband is here working for Procter and Gamble on a temporary assignment of 6 months. We will be leaving October 31. We have been here since the end of April.
Have you lived in any other countries before? No
How did you make the decision to move here? My husband was given the opportunity to come to China to do some training. What he is doing here is not what he normally does for his position at Procter and Gamble. My husband is a Senior Scientist (Toxicologist). Here he is doing more management work. This has been a great opportunity for him to get out of his comfort zone and do things he would not be doing in Cincinnati.

What are the ages of your children? Nathan, 32; Camille, 29; Mark, 26; Valerie, 23 (Just got married on March 3 to Joel Baker). I also have two grandchildren: Benjamin , 3; Madelyn, 1 (children of my daughter Cami and her husband Rodney).
   What things about or in America do you miss most while you’ve been living in China?

My children and grandchildren
The freedom to get around without advance planning. We do not have the luxury of a driver and depend on taxis and the subway to get to our destinations. When I go home (to America), I jump in my car and just drive—oh the freedom.
Hearing people speak English.
Going to the grocery store and being able to read the label and what ingredients are in the food.
Buying chocolate chips (and other beloved American foods) without paying a fortune for them.
Being able to call my friends and not worry about whether I have enough minutes on my phone to talk to them.
Also I miss the great phone connections. It is frustrating having your call dropped several times while trying to talk to someone on your cell phone. Or you can’t connect at all.
My quiet neighborhood in a township with very few cars.
Greek yogurt.
A reliable internet without the need of a VPN to watch your favorite shows or to connect to Facebook.
What do you like most about living in China? The people. Even though I do not speak Chinese, I have learned to love the people. I love to watch them with their families—especially with young children. You can tell that the family unit is very important to them.
I also love the challenges that living here has given me. I have grown to be more patient (as I have been forced to wait for taxis, wait in line, wait in traffic, etc.). I am getting better at expecting the unexpected. Most the time, things do not go as planned and revisions need to be made, to make things work (if that makes any sense).
What are the biggest challenges of living in China? Initially it was learning to go somewhere alone. In America, I am a professional trainer and have traveled all over the U.S. and out of the U.S. alone. I have never felt uncomfortable going places alone, until I came here. It took me about a week before I felt brave enough to venture to the local grocery store by myself. This was because I was unfamiliar with their customs and did not understand their language. I have learned a few Chinese words since we came here and I have become very good at gesturing to get my point across. I can’t tell you how many times I have bought unnecessary food items at Lotus (a local Chinese grocery story) because one of the sales people in the store gave me their sales pitch in Chinese (not understanding a word) and I didn’t want to offend them. So I would just smile, nod, and take the item. Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was buying until I brought it home and had one of the staff at our apartment building tell me what it was.
Now that we have been here a while, I feel the biggest challenge for me is getting from point A to point B. I really dislike subway travel and hate hailing taxis. But if I want to get somewhere that is far away, I have to choose one of the two.
What is your most common mode of transportation? Walking, taxi, and subway.
Do you have an ayi (domestic helper)? No. I live in a serviced apartment and do not need an ayi.
Do you have a driver? I do not have a driver. However, my husband has hired a driver to take him to work in the morning. We live in the Gaobedian area and he works in the Shunyi area which is about an hour commute (one-way). Then he takes a taxi home at night.
Where do you grocery shop? What are some things you buy regularly that you didn't buy in the US? Three grocery stores that I shop at the most are: Jenny Lou’s (geared toward expats), City Shop (also geared toward expats), and Lotus. Recently, I discovered a wet market (a wet market is an enclosed “vegetable/fruit/meat” market which has several vendors under one roof) within walking distance of our apartment that is very clean and has many vegetable, fruit, and miscellaneous vendors. I wish I had discovered that market sooner.
I have noticed I use more soy sauce here than I ever used in the U.S. (probably because I have cooked more Chinese foods here than I did in the U.S.)  We also eat more vegetables and fruits. We are eating less meat because it is more expensive here. I’ve learned to love Chinese dumplings.

What types of restaurants do you eat at? How often do you eat out? My husband and I rarely eat out because there are not many restaurants close to us (except traditional Chinese restaurants). When we do eat out (which is about once a week) we will walk to the Joy City Mall (which is about a half-hour walk—again avoiding taxis and subways) and eat at one of the Chinese restaurants in there. Or we will go to the Sanlitun area and eat at one of the Western-style restaurants there.
What does your typical day look like? After waking up and sending my husband off to work, I exercise in the apartment building’s exercise room for about an hour. Depending upon the day, I will follow Julie (who lives in the same apartment building) around as she does some shopping (she likes to shop & has a driver that can take us almost anywhere). I have done more shopping in Beijing than I have in my whole life. Some days I will stay at the apartment and write on my blog, and do some of my crafts (like cross-stitching). On the weekends, my husband and I usually do some touring of Beijing. I have also been able to train at my husband’s work a few times.
Are there any new hobbies you've picked up in China?
Shopping with a friend. I rarely shop in the U.S. unless I need groceries.
Where is the most interesting place you've visited in China? In China, Guilin. I loved the mountains and the Longshi Rice Terraces. They were an awesome site. 

LaDeana with her husband in Guilin.
She was lucky enough (hint hint) to have her daughter come and visit them!

What is the weirdest thing you've witnessed in China? I had my wallet stolen from my backpack while I was on the subway. That was unusual and very disturbing. This is one reason I do not like to ride the subway.
If you could move to any other city in the world, which would it be? Not sure about that. I usually adapt to wherever we move, and love it. I wouldn’t want to live in the Middle East right now or any high-crime area.  

I've always wanted to take D to Dayton, Ohio due to his name. When we do, we are planning on meeting up with this great couple! Safe travels friend!

1 comment:

LaDeana Wilke said...

Yes, the Bottoms will always be welcome at our home which is close to Dayton, OH. I will miss you greatly Jen.