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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our First CNY in Shanghai


We had a very different CNY this year. For the very first time in our lives, we were away from home and our loved ones on this big festival. Daddy and mummy felt that it was too soon for us to make a trip back to Malaysia since we've only arrived in Shanghai less than two months ago. Furthermore, there wasn't any real big celebration on daddy's side of the family in memory of Yeh-yeh's passing just a few months ago.

The few days before CNY were the coldest days of our stay here. There was a cold front and temperatures dipped to a low of -2C and it snowed quite heavily. My wish to see our surrounding covered in snow finally came true!

A White CNY... Snow on our window sill and everything below

Somebody playing with soft and fluffy snow flakes

The shipment of our household goods arrived from Malaysia on 8th Feb, just 2 days before CNY. Daddy and mummy went through a mad rush to unpack, sort and clear 56 boxes of our belongings from home. Up until CNY eve, mummy was still busy putting away stuff so she did not have the time to cook us a special meal. After browsing all the lavish and scrumptious feasts that everyone had back at home (on Facebook), mummy felt bad that she only cooked us 3 miserable dishes...

Our very first proper home-cooked meal in Shanghai... Pan-seared salmon, steamed tofu with prawns and mixed vegetables... Looked miserable but it was a good meal... a good reunion dinner with all our things from home haha!

Obviously, we didn't manage to put away all our stuff in time. After dinner, the unpacking continued... It's like opening presents and guessing what's in each wrap...

When the clock struck 12am on the first day of CNY, the "madness in the sky" began. We have never seen so many fireworks in our lives before! Fireworks and firecrackers are legal in China so they could be seen and heard everywhere throughout the whole night. And over here, they do not pop one by one. They go by the hundreds (or maybe thousands) simultaneously and the explosive sound is CONTINUOUS so you can imagine the noise! From our living room, we had the best unobstructed view of hundreds of spectacular fireworks, all illuminating the skyline at the same time. It was an amazing scene :)

One of the thousands of nice fireworks that entertained us for about 30 minutes!

We missed all the CNY food/goodies back home. Yee sang, arrowhead chips, cookies (they only have Danish butter cookies here) are non-existent here. Even mandarin oranges are rare and not sold in crates and boxes like in Malaysia. The CNY specialty here seems to be meat in different forms... dried meat, preserved meat, waxed meat, cured meat etc. All these are a big no-no in our health-freak-controlled diet so mummy just stocked up on various types of nuts...

Nuts were our only CNY snacks... we spent the whole day cracking peanuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts and pistachios while watching DVDs... ah, bliss!

Of course we missed our family a lot too. Thanks to technology, they are only a (free) video call away! Using Skype and Face Time, we always kept in touch with Ah Ma, Gung Gung, Mah Mah, Koo Ma, Koo Koo and many of our uncles, aunties and cousins too. This will probably be our first and only CNY in China because in the future ones to come, we will definitely go back to Malaysia!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Greetings From Shanghai

We have just entered the second month of our new life in Shanghai. Daddy started work almost immediately (on 2/1) after we touched down on 1/1. While daddy was at work, mummy and I “hibernated” in a hotel for almost a month! Oh yes, for the first month, we stayed in a nice and luxurious hotel (provided by daddy’s company) while house-hunting and school-hunting. Our house and school search ended pretty early in the second week of our arrival so we basically relaxed and enjoyed our hotel stay to the max!

We finally moved in to our “new home” on 26th January. It is a very small but cosy 2-room apartment conveniently located right across a big shopping mall (with familiar tenants like Parkson, Carrefour, H&M, Uniqlo, McDonald’s, KFC etc.) and a lovely neighbourhood park. The Metro subway station is just 10 minutes’ walk away.

So far, we are adjusting well to the new environment and lifestyle here. The weather has been good and kind to us – it’s cold but not too extreme. We love our new home and the neighbourhood, the food here is not too bad and shopping (esp fresh fruits and veggies) is cheap!

We visited 6 international schools during our “Great School Hunt”. International schools here are very, very costly with tuition fees averaging between 70,000yuan to 120,000yuan per year (RM35k-RM60k). We picked the one that is nearest to our home, which also turns out to be the most expensive one! *daddy sweats* I will start school after CNY.

In the meantime, I have been “doing nothing” at home. Besides doing Maths practice, bina ayat for BM and watching tv at home, mummy and I walk to the shopping mall (only 5 minutes’ walk away) almost everyday hehe. Everytime mummy walks into Carrefour, I will sulk and complain I’m bored because she takes forever to buy groceries. There’s just too many new stuff to see and browse!

Here are some random photos to do the rest of the talking…

Relaxing at home

The nice park just across our home

School-hunting in one of the schools with the nicest and most impressive compound 

A weekend stroll in the famous Nanjing Road... can you spot me and daddy?

Lepak-ing at The Bund

The famoud scene at The Bund

Night scene at Nanjing Road

Resting our tired feet in a tram

Playing with giant Lego bricks at a Lego roadshow in the mall... they are currently running a contest to win VIP entrance passes to Legoland Malaysia ;)

Smaland in Ikea... yes, they have Smaland here too *big grin*

My favourite local food... tang bao (soup dumpling aka siu loong bao). Eating out can either be very expensive or very cheap depending on what and where we eat. For example this meal here for a family of 3 cost only 29yuan (RM14.50)... the noodles come in big portions and can be shared. Cheap, eh?

The Wonderful World of Ruoyi

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