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our van…

our van…

Today is our first Monday in Beijing! I love Mondays…today is a holiday. Not really sure what holiday, but everyone seems to have the week off. We are still in the ‘getting settled’ mode for sure, and we probably will be for awhile. I am finding that I wish I would have packed different things in the container vs. what we brought on the plane. But we just didn’t know! I had a harsh realization Saturday night…kylee and I went to the grocery store here near by: jenny lou’s. it’s a ‘western’ grocery store and they carry all kinds of stuff just like we can get at home. Kylee and I kind of wandered around scoping out what was available, and then I started to try to plan some meals in my head so I could buy stuff to get us through a few days. It was then that I realized that I don’t know how to cook. I mean, I can heat stuff up! I can put together boxed meals, add chicken or fresh veggies, I can open a bottle of spaghetti sauce and brown some ground beef… but I realized… that isn’t going to work here. I am going to have to cook…like from scratch. I stood in the store frantically trying to remember ingredients to recipes that surely I could make, or had made at some point that didn’t include starting with something pre-made or pre-prepared. i did pack a bunch of cookbooks in the container…and I do have my favorite choc. Chip cookie recipe memorized, but that won’t help us much! We settled on stuff to make stir-fry, and we found a packet of Swedish meatball seasons that we thought would work… so I have my work cut out for me there. I think I better teach my kids a thing or two as I learn…since it’s obviously an important life skill!
Sunday morning we were ON TIME FOR CHURCH! This is a huge accomplishment for the Swapp family. In this case, it helped that we had been up since 3am. We even had a delicious French toast breakfast courtesy of Kylee (we found vanilla and cinnamon at the store the night before). Our van was going to be delivered to the church since it is closer to downtown, and all this week is a holiday. So we had to take 2 taxi’s to get to church. The branch meets in a highrise building about a 20 minute taxi ride from where we live.

Going to church was so awesome! The branch is full of families- there are tons of kids and everyone was so welcoming and happy to have us! I believe they said there are around 90 kids in the primary. 15 or so young women. I think I was even told there are 14 8 year old boys… so cory hit the jackpot for friends! There are even a couple 6 year old girls. Perfect! It was kind of funny- during Sacrament meeting, we were sitting by the windows on one side of the building and there was all this noise outside, and we are quite a ways up…Colton peeked out the blinds to find a guy there washing the windows! LOL. It totally freaked him out! There is tremendous comfort and peace to be able to meet and worship with others that believe the way you do…and I love that the church is the same no matter when and where you are! What an amazing blessing! The individuals in the branch are from all over the world, and have lived all over the world. I look forward to getting to know these people better. And what an awesome resource…I was able to get lots of questions answered and concerns dispelled. We were invited to dinner with a family that have been over here for 12 years… we loved talking to them, learning from them and enjoying making new friends. It all added to helping us feel more comfortable and peaceful in being here. –so our JINBEI van was in fact delivered to Eric after church. The kids’ and I (minus Colton) went w/ the Toronto’s to their home, and eric would be coming along with the van. I guess that when they dropped off the van, there was no gas and apparently no oil included. So eric and colton had a bit of an adventure getting that worked out…but eric is so pumped about the van! It’s a Chinese van, and we were informed that there are some ‘cultural discriminations’ associated with JINBEI- as they are ‘work’ vans… but pretty much it was the most cost-effective way to get 8 passengers anywhere! And I think that when we pile out of it, it will be clear that we’re not exactly Chinese workmen.
Ok… well, it’s a new day. Time to get some laundry done. We have a washer and dryer here…it’s just really small, so we’ll have to do laundry probably every day. We got our internet all set up and it seems to be working as well, so that is a relief!
Here’s to a great Monday!

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