Monday, February 12, 2007

All the tea in China

I have 5 new boxes of tea from China. Unfortunately I do not read Chinese and have no idea which is which! I've tried the brown (tasted like a Yunnan tea I have) and the yellow (Jasmine pearls; even I can identify that). Is there anyone out there who can read the labels for me?

The 5 boxes are the peace-offering/I-missed-you gift from my husband when he came back on Friday from his emergency trip to Shanghai.

Why an emergency trip? Well, about a week and a half earlier he received some really freaked out phone calls from the engineering big wigs saying that something was messed up with the Chinese release of a Cadillac. Brian calibrates the transmission on the American release of this car and had to get his ass over their pronto to help whoever had dropped the ball. So as soon as he could get his Visa fed ex-ed from the consulate, he was off on a plane to Shanghai.
A Chinese billboard of said soon-to-be-fixed car

Now normally getting to go to Shanghai would be great! But under these circumstances, it was not so great. He worked 13 hour days (he had to be at the engineering facility for the 8 am and 8pm conference calls back to Milford) and got to know the road between his hotel and the engineering facility pretty well. The rest of Shanghai? Well, he had one afternoon free before he got back on the plane and he moseyed around a little, took photos of the architecture in the smog and bought tea and other quirky stuff for the kids.
That's the main Art Museum. He didn't have time to actually go inside...

Of course, with his absence I indulged in a little self-pity, after all he got out of town for the coldest week we've had this year--the snot froze into little plugs in the kids' noses, so they even cancelled school for two days.

The kids were rather maniacal from being cooped up and stuck with just me for a week. When he returned with the cute clothes he brought them, they were so excited that they danced around like little wind up toys:
Fiona in her "Sparkles the Rescue Cat Dress"

Then we fed them some of the Chinese New Year candy Brian brought home for them and they got even stranger:
The candy includes such delicacies as:
Gummy Corn on the Cob
Pudding flavored squishy puffs

Squishy puff kids in their padded (pudding flavored?) Chinese outfits

The big bummer (in my opinion) of the trip was the lack of time to eat. Brian got to know the Chinese cafeteria food pretty well. Finally on his last evening there, he was taken out for a banquet-style meal and gorged himself on what he described as wonderful food. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring the camera to this event (or maybe he was too embarrassed to have to explain his wife's food fixation and why he was photographing all the food...)

However, I did learn that airplane food can look really tempting, provided you fly first class through Tokyo and order the Asian meal:
Yes, people, that is sashimi on an airplane.

We're trying to get back to normal (or as normal as we get) but it is a challenge with one parent whose body clock is 13 hours off from the rest of us. Yesterday Brian sat down with Ian to read a Choose Your Own Adventure book with him (Ian has just discovered these and loves them; I appreciate them on a new level since you can have some pretty interesting conversations with a kid about narrative and what makes a good story after reading one) and when I went up to check on them, Ian was reading with his book propped up against his sleeping Dad. Dad made it through one "choice" in the book before collapsing.

My solution to the slumbering papa? Why, make him some tea, of course! After all, I have five new varieties from which to choose!