This week, Jiajia has been concentrating on getting her new flat decorated. This was bought on behalf of her uncle who, as a pensioner, qualifies for a substantial Government discount, but has no money to take advantage of it. He's now decided he doesn't want to live there anyway, preferring to stay in the flat that Jiajia bought for him decades ago. So the flat is ours to use. For the record, her uncle (I call him "Drunkle", as he's never sober) is not technically Jiajia's real uncle - just a family friend whom Ava's grandmother made her promise to look after on her death bed. Not that "grandmother" was technically Ava's grandmother either, but that's another story!
New properties in China are sold as concrete shells, with no floor, no pastered walls and only the most basic of amenities. So Ava has been scouring markets and the internet to buy wooden floorboards, tiles, lights, sink, taps, etc. She timed it so that she could buy a lot of things on 11th Nov, which is "Singles Day" in China (11/11, geddit?). As well as remembering those who can't yet take part in "Valentines Day", it is also famous for big discounts in shops and on internet websites. So Ava was up until 3am getting bargains for the flat from, as the floorboard shop puts it, "...the wood of departure Philisophical world". Quite.
One of Ava's favourite activities in the UK is shopping. She does surprisingly little in China, preferring to buy online and sell on the high street! She loves her lotions and potions, whether for herself or as gifts for friend, but her particular favourite is scouring the charity shops for a bargain. There are no charity shops in China. Ava often stumbles upon Chinese ornaments or pictures which are obliviously under-valued. Personally, I'm happier in Greggs, the 99p shop or Smiths but each to their own, right?
We weren't sure if this shop was named after our son, but we thought it was worth a photo regardless.
JD finally managed to secure one of the special car trolleys at our local supermarket after many previous visits when they were all being used by other children. He had a blast driving it around, shouting" Car! Car!" whenever any customer dared to stray into his path!
JD's other favourite events and places on our supermarket trips are the demo electric organs which he likes to have a play with, the huge fish in tanks which fascinate him, the candy counter where the shop assistants always slip him a free sweetie, the antics of the live frogs (also for cooking) and the streamers twirling above the meat joints - JD swirls his finger around in the air in time with those. Who knew shopping could be such fun?
Ava and I took JD to our nearest Walmart supermarket the other day, Ava to look for groceries and baby products, me to look for Chinglish. I managed to find some "chafing sausages" and a pack of "low-temperature wisdom" before a snotty little shop assistant tapped me on the shoulder and said in Chinese, "You can't take photos here!" I was my usual polite, smiley and slightly stroppy self, "Why not?"
"It's forbidden" she replied.
"Because it's against the rules."
"What rules. Show me the rules."
"The rules say you must not take photos."
"Then show me the rules. I don't believe you"
"Urgh, foreigners!" ...and off she strutted, somewhat defeated I feel!
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