First off, Happy New Year!
Being back about a week now here in USA. I can see and understand why many Westerners who have lived in China (or Asia) for several years would not want to move back to their home country (like USA).
There are many things we Westerners take for granted while living in our home country but when we go overseas, we often fall into the habit of bitching and complaining about various habits or happenings in China (or other countries cultures, habits, ect).
My attitude has always been transparent to those Westerners who are always trying to change China or Chinese people. You know who I am talking about. They always bitch or moan how this or that in China or how Chinese people do things the “wrong” way.
They can’t seem to let go and are always trying to teach or change something or someone. Chinese have their own way of doing things and we Westerners also have our own. My raw, straight forward advice;
Adapt or Leave!
Funny story. Day after Christmas I was doing some shopping and noticed this extra $20 some USD on the bottom of the receipt and questioned quickly (and a bit angrily) “hey, wtf is this $20 some dollar…!?!?” and the counter lady says “HELLO, its called sales tax…..” and then it suddenly hit me, “…right, I am no longer in China” …she was confused but after a little explaining, she quickly related as other Chinese have often questioned similar inquiries “what the…?!?!”
I was later shopping in the super market, and HOLY CRAP are the shopping carts huge. Or perhaps I am just used to the Chinese shopping carts?
I suppose because China has super markets on almost every other corner, the Chinese can shop for food every other day compared to 3-5 times a month like most Westerners do.
I found various foods (vegetables, fruits, meats, soda drinks) more expensive when comparing to China’s super market prices. Although surprisingly I found the sauces, pasta, spices, milk, various frozen foods to be a whole lot cheaper then in China.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t buy 20 heads of onions due to the price. I didn’t go crazy stocking up on food like I would have in China. Cathy must be really proud because she spent 3+ years with me and each time she would just shake her head every time I went food shopping. I suppose she was thinking I was shopping in case an Apocalypse was around the corner.
I did find this wonderful, piece of heaven which is added into your coffee. Baileys Hazelnut Coffee Creamer.
Baileys Coffee Creamers have various flavors and I will try them one by one through time but at this time, Hazelnut is by far the best!
Moving back to Christmas.
I left on the 24th of December at 8am and arrived on the 24th (USA time) in the afternoon.
Could Delta be hypocrites or could all this be a simple misunderstanding?
I doubt this was a misunderstanding since I called not one, but two operators to verify check in luggage policies.
What happened was when I booked my ticket, I called to verify how much allowed weight of each baggage I can check in.
The operator from Salt Lake, Utah office said I can check in 3 bags of 50 pounds (22kg) each. I was like, wait, 3 bags? He said yes, because I am a Delta Silver Medallion flying customer. I was excited, but skeptical because I remembered before I was only allowed 2 bags, but then again I wasn’t a Silver Medallion before. So I called again, spoke to another operator and he said the same, 3 bags, 50 pounds each.
So the day of my flight, I was checking in and the desk clerk said I am only allowed to check in 2 bags. They wanted $200 USD (1,280 RMB) additinal fee for the third bag. Oh Really? I immediately called the Delta phone support and now they are telling me I am only allowed 2 bags. If I wanted to check in the 3rd bag, it is $200 additional fee. I was furious but tried to keep my cool because I felt cheated and wanted to resolve this as quick as possible. No matter how I pleaded or explained my situation on how I verified with not one, but two Delta phone operators, she didn’t care to listen and just said pay the fee and later file a claim with Delta for reimbursement. How convenient, pay now, file a claim and HOPE to get your money back that you were never suppose to pay in the first place.
Here is the best part. They managed to lose that third piece of luggage. So not only did I pay $200 extra for this third check in bag, but they lost it. What the hell. My dress shoes and belt was inside that bag which I had planned on wearing the very same night on Christmas Eve. Top it off, my digital camera was inside it so I had to use a loaner just to get the photos I had posted below. Fortunately Delta did find the bag and delivered it to my home address on Christmas day.
I will call Delta after all the holidays have passed and update you all on what is happening with that $200 they stole from me.
This is the first time in 7 years that I have spent Christmas (and New Years) with family.
Steven, Nephew, Dad
Mom and Steven
Steven and Sister
Sister and Steven
We took a lot of pictures and we were all happy that the entire family has once again, come together for the holidays.
I found myself waking up around 3am on Christmas morning. Looking through the fridge, I didn’t really see anything. So I drove out and got me some Filiberto’s Mexican Food which is open 24 hours a day.
Prices have increased so much that back in 2005 this 2 Beef Burrito Set used to be $5.26 USD something and now its more then $8.47 USD. My favorite Carne Asada Steak Burrito was $3.32 USD and now its around $5.89 USD.
As you know, I boxed / crated up a lot of my things. The day has come (Dec 27) where the crate has arrived.
I drove to the warehouse, grabbed the paperwork for clearing customs and drove down to the airport to visit the customs office. When I got there, I processed the papers, and this customs agent drilled me like I was a suspect in a murder trial. After I mentioned that I am the shipper, that these are my personal items and that I am moving back to USA from China. His whole attitude changed. He got curious about China, why I was moving back and more. After telling him I am in manufacturing and coming back to search for engineers, programmers, designers and more, he became more arms wide open type of attitude and said;
Creating jobs in America is good…
Normally we would charge some import tax but I will let you slide since you seem like a good fella
Suddenly I was thinking of the movie Good Fellas. How the Italians migrated to US and took over the streets of Chicago (or New York or Jersey). I suppose in due time, I will take over the streets but more in the design, hacker labs and engineering industries, haha.
So I went back to the warehouse and got my wooden crate. As you can see, it arrived / survived in one piece (surprise surprise, Chinese quality…ok, bad joke).
Finally after unloading and organizing almost everything away.
I realized I needed more space.
So I went to Home Depot and purchased a couple plastic bins that fits nicely under the bed. Holy crap, they are expensive compared to China. This one was $18.95 USD (121 RMB) where-as in China it would of been less then half.
While I was there, I accidentally ran into a professional Work Bench for $59.99 USD (384 RMB) which was on clearance (last one in stock). I quickly searched for a large shopping stroller and bought it quickly before anyone else would of been interested in it. I couldn’t wait to get home to assemble it.
The great thing about this impulsive purchase was, I already had in my mind to “eventually” purchase an oversize table for electronic assembly and engineer learning. So the timing was just right.
I got home, assembled it and loaded it with tools, hardware, and components to make it look like its been there for years.
I also fixed / cleaned up my work area. Yes, that is a 30″ monitor.
Fedex also delivered my new Dell Inspiron 15R Laptop just yesterday (December 30th) – amazingly fast Intel i7 Quad Core with 8gb Ram. I purchased the 4 year warranty with 4 years accidental coverage as this will be my main computer for the next 2-3 years. All in all, I got it for under $1,200 and I have a year to pay it off before interest charges are added.
Custom orange back plate ($29 add on)
Some final notes.
I was driving on the freeway today going some 90+ MPH.
I got curious to how much KPH that was, and it turned out to be 140+ KPH. It then crossed my mind how the cars I’d driven in China (in the past) between 100 to 120 KPH, that the cars would become a little bit unstable (shake a little). Where-as my car here in USA wouldn’t shake at all even if I was going 130+ MPH. Makes me wonder about Chinese cars…
I woke up the other day at 4am wanting to eat some Chinese food. Unfortunately none are open at 4am. Though today while driving by China Town Buffet, I again thought about stopping by to eat some Chinese Food but I already had plans to eat at Johnny Rockets (burger place) in Arizona Mills Mall with my Sister. Attached is there menu (click for larger detailed picture).
I feel 2012 is going to be an exciting year. I have settled in. Unpacked. Organized. New Laptop. Cool Work Bench. Coffee Creamers (taste of heaven) and most importantly, closer to FAMILY!
How Bugs Bunny used to say;
Thats it folks!
Again, Happy new year and thanks for reading.