Monday, September 10, 2012


When I woke up this morning something felt different. It took a little while before I realised it was definitely cooler, I hadn't rushed to switch on A/C as soon as I went into the living room. As I sat with my morning cup of Lady Grey, Twinings of course, and  piece of toast I was thinking how nice it would be to enjoy a cooler time of the year. It was a lovely 22c, but still only 8-00am. Summer has been great, at times too hot for me, but I certainly am not complaining, I dealt with it, and enjoyed it. Why wouldn't you. Some people leave the city to escape the summer heat, but not us, we stuck it out, and it was no hardship. We know the alternative!

My local paper was telling me that although it would be cooler over the next few days Summer was still with us. Here, unlike at home, seasons are determined by the amount of days with consecutive temperatures. In the case of Autumn we have to experience 5 days when the thermometer falls below 22c. Then Autumn will have arrived. Usually this happens around the end of September.

A Typical Summer Day Here

I then got a nostalgic feeling. I love Autumn at home, and it always makes me want to play the homemaker. I love the smell of fresh laundry and fresh sheets on the bed. A nice stew bubbling on the stove and a nice clean home. Not that I don't like this at anytime of the year but there is something special about Autumn. It is my favourite seasons.

So I set about playing the perfect wife. I decided to start with the ironing. Here I have a confession, I don't really iron any more. Just the odd thing I need quickly, but generally someone does it for me. Come on I'm sure you've all heard of Chinese Laundries! They are everywhere, and very cheap. Also I have an Ayi, translate as maid, who comes in and takes care of cleaning the kitchen, including the cooker and oven, the bathrooms and the floors. So as you see this would be a rare treat for me.  I  know you hate me now!

Iron plugged in, board put up, I set about reducing the pile.

I put "Jimmy's Food Factory" into the DVD player and got to it. I did enjoy it, for about the first 10 minutes, then I realised it wasn't as cool as I had first thought, little rivers of moisture were now slowly running down my spine, the hair around my temples was  plastered flat to my head, and the rest of my hair had taken on a life of it's own. With the heat and the steam from the iron I was now looking like some mad lady. Okay this wasn't as much fun as I had thought. However I had learned that marshmallows are made with pig skin, pig heads and bones, well the gelatine is, I know that rams somewhere in Hampshire are given c.a.t scans before determining the healthiest ram, the one which will have all the fun with the ewes, and hopefully produce the best lambs the following Spring. I also know that cakes go hard when stale, whilst biscuits go soft, all to do with moisture. I know how they roll mini rolls, how they fast freeze fish to produce fish fingers, and why it is difficult to get the perfect fish finger. So all was not a waste of time. My food knowledge had been increased greatly!

Can't believe I've put this dreadful pic out there for all to see. lol. 

I persisted, and completed my task. As always there was the satisfaction of having a nice pile of great smelling laundry. I always like a task when the finished result is so obvious for all to see. I put away all of my husband's shirts, a lot of them, and stored stuff neatly into drawers. 

 I then brought out the polish and duster and soon the house was smelling like a newly cleaned home. One thing is my Ayi does not use any chemicals when cleaning, which I know is environmentally friendly, but I do like the smells of polish and cleaner. Makes me feel I've completed something. 

At this point I heard the washing machine go into a final spin, and remembered that ironing never really goes away! I then decided today had been a bit of self indulgence, bit of role playing, and that truly I am happy to let someone take the chores out of my hands. So happy with what I'd done I settled down with a cup of coffee and a sense of satisfaction.

So please don't hate me for taking advantage of the good life here. I may be a bit spoiled, a tai,tai as they call women in my position. Really it just means someone who is lucky enough to enjoy the good things in life, usually a boss' wife but literally translates as Mrs, Mrs. One thing is I never forget is just how lucky I am, or where I have come from. I also realise the fragility of it all, it could all end as easily as it started. It also has huge disadvantages, family far away being the hardest thing to deal with. I miss them every day.

Life is good in Shanghai, it won't be forever so I am enjoying all I can before it is all just a memory, a very good memory.

1 comment:

  1. Don't hate you Jacqui! Enjoy your lovely lifestyle,but wouldn't mind having someone to do the ironing - which I really hate.