The teachers in the conversation department got together tonight for "Mexican" food. We had homemade tortillas, Mexican beans, rice, taco seasoned beef, homemade salsa, even cheese saved from what the summer teams brought us.... It was so good. Everybody brought one thing and we had a feast! The guy who signed up to bring lettuce brought a Chinese cabbage instead and pulled it out saying "I hope I didn't bring cabbage again. Last time I tried to buy lettuce, I ended up buying cabbage." We had a good laugh at that and confirmed that the same thing had happened again.
The funny thing about Yanji is that sometimes you can get some of the things you need/want and sometimes you can't. We have a Korean import store that sells corn tortilla chips, but they are so popular among the foreigners here that they sell out soon after they get a shipment in. I bought some last semester and kept them, actually intending to give them as a gift. I never got around to giving the gift, so I still had the chips, which turned out to be great because the import store is out of them until October. One teacher made her favorite pie (banoffy pie?) which requires sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream. She went downtown to get the one kind of whipping cream you can sometimes find, and the store was out, so she called around campus and found someone who had some powder you can mix up that is sorta like whipped cream. It was good. We are becoming masters at substituting and making from scratch. It's kinda fun.
I was at the market today to pick up some vegetables to flavor the beans with and saw this box of silkworm larvae. Many of them were still moving. A little boy picked one up (they're about as big as half of your thumb) and took it to his grandma who was nearby. They were having fun making the larvae move on command. Every time the grandma would yell a word, the thing would wiggle!
The construction I mentioned is downtown now, too. So, the inside market where we buy fruits, vegetables, and meat has been moved to the streets outside. They still had everything we needed, but we didn't find our favorite vendors. I went with a friend who was cooking the meat because she had never gone to the meat market before. We bought the beef, but then we couldn't find anyone to grind it for us. We ended up having to take it to another market a short bus ride away where they put it in their meat grinder. When the things that have become familiar change, we have to get creative, but it ends up giving us new experiences.