In April, at 32 weeks pregnant, we went to have a Maternity Shoot done. Over here, it is nothing like what you would expect in the West. The pictures are mostly ridiculous, but there are a few “normal” looking scenes and outfits to choose from. Of course, those ones cost an arm and a leg, but we worked out a decent deal and retuned to do the shoot shortly after. If you missed the post where we described this experience, you can check it out here: Behind the Scenes: Maternity Shoot. We got the pictures, via email, about a month later, but we had paid for a book too. We were told that we needed to wait on that.
From there started a long, and very frustrating journey of many many miscommunications. We are not sure what the problem was… but obviously, it was all rooted in the huge language gap between us and the photo studio. They sent us a digital copy of the book. We didn’t like the poor, non-sensical working they put on our pictures, so we replied asking for Bible Verses. We typed out the bible verses and told them which pages to place them on. They then – weeks and weeks later – responded saying that the book was ready. When we finally went to pick it, Justin called to tell me that the verses had spelling errors. We then told them to correct the mistakes and reprint the book. A couple of months went by, and they called to say that the reprint was ready. All these calls, FYI, were done though a friend. Adding a middle man almost always slows the process down, and turns the situation into “broken telephone”. Our friend’s English is not very good, so sometimes just understanding what she was saying, was also a challenge. Eventually, Justin and I made our way back to the studio, with our 6 month old son, to pick up our maternity photo album! Wow… 8 months after the photo shoot!!
Since we had to take a taxi all the way there, and it was a reasonably nice day, we turned it into a mini-outing. The staff at the studio were all fascinated by Elijah – and so were the pregnant ladies, all there for their own photo shoots. I remember seeing babies while I was pregnant, and thinking “Not too long now, and I will have one of my own”. We looked through the photo album, made sure there were no mistakes, and then left to walk around and get some food.
The photo studio is located in this building, Wanda Plaza. There many other great places here, including an Indian Restaurant, Starbucks, and a bakery with delicious pastries. We chose to grab some street food and stay outside. The skies were blue, and we weren’t about to miss that! First up, a “Chinese Hamburger” (pictured below). It is called Rou jia mo in Chinese, meaning “meat burger” or “meat sandwich”. It is a street food originating from the Shaanxi Province but now widely consumed all over China. The meat is most commonly pork, stewed for hours, in a soup containing over 20 spices and seasonings. The meat is minced or chopped, and mixed with coriander and mild peppers, then stuffed in “mo”, a type of flatbread. Rou jia mo costs around 6 rmb in most parts of China, and is considered the Chinese equivalent of the Western hamburger/ meat sandwich.
It is really delicious!
Rou jia mo is super tasty, but definitely not enough to fill our bellies, so we grabbed a couple more street foods. Justin got some popcorn chicken, and I got a cup of warm Oden (above). That is a traditional Japanese winter food consisting of several ingredients stewed in a light, soy-flavoured dashi soup. I looove this stuff on a cold wintery day – previously blogged about here.
We are happy to finally have our maternity photo album in our hands…