I did a favor for a friend and went shopping with her sister. Her sister lives in China... the province that had the earthquake. My friend Lei just had a baby girl Caroline a few weeks ago. Her parents had arrived for their first visit to the United States the previous day! Caroline was 16 days early. Lei & Carl are proud parents. Lei's sister Gia came this past week for a 3 week stay. The grandparents are here on a six month tourist visa so they will be here until the end of November 2008.
I did a favor for Lei and took her deprived fashion conscious sister shopping... until I dropped! (almost) Lei & Carl & Charlie & Caroline live in North Frisco, so I started over from East Plano around 12:30 pm to reach their house by 1 pm (our preset time for our shopping expedition). I figured it would be a couple of hours at the factory outlet. NOPE! Four hours later, we finished up when the stores closed at 6pm. Thank heaven for A/C, water bottles and walking shoes. Cell phones and short too. Forgot the sun screen! Oops! I had a small pink glow after all that walking outside between the stores. ;-)
The Allen Outlet Mall is a big place! We parked near two of her destinations... "Tommy" (Hilfiger) and Polo (Ralph Lauren). In between we stopped in Guess, Calvin Klein, Ann Klein and a few more I can't remember. I took frequent breaks in chairs as they were available... and kept my spending to a minimum. $15 designer "Tommy" flip-flops. A $30 beautiful Ann Klein watch. Then I steered her to my favorite shoe store - Cole Hahn. Not to her taste... too old. But I got a terrific deal on some summer mule loafers in tan/taupe suede. Only when it's not raining will those shoes tread pavement. No plus size clothes at the outlet except at Liz Claiborne.
We got back into the HOT car and drove across the parking lot towards BCBG & Coach. Three or four more destinations. I got a new black wallet from Coach as my birthday present from C. (I told him later!) BCBG was fasinating and took at least an hour. Very hip and young, nothing near my size, or that of anyone above a size 10 probably. Very pretty chic stuff. Oh, BTW, she was walking around in heels... I didn't notice that until we were walking towards the Liz store.
We didn't even stop at the chocolate store. She's not into sweets. I guess that and good genes explain her being a size 4. Last of all we visited one of my favorite stores Liz Claiborne. I found a new black fall jacket with hood ($20 originally $200). My friend's sister Gia probably spent $750 easily on clothes, clothes and more clothes, plus a couple watches. She says that designer clothes made in China are less expensive here in America, especially at the outlet. Plus the girl loves her some fashion! She got presents for several friends too. But the lioness' share was all for Gia. I would too if I were 25, size 4 and looked like her. She's married and trying to have her 1st baby. It's their dream she said.
We had no trouble communicating. Shopping is the UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE for women of all nations. Her English is OK... no long conversations about culture, Just easy short sentences. If it got difficult, I was to call her sister. I only had to call once... she didn't understand why the clerk had to take the watch to the register so that we could checkout... after standing in line. I guess they don't steal watches in China.
When I took her home to Frisco, she was SO appreciative. I was invited in and fed cake and cantaloupe plus a large glass of water. A bag of home grown basil, rosemary and other herbs was waiting for me to bring home to C for cooking this week.
Everyone in the Frisco home got to take naps while we were gone except Lei. Her three year old is attached to her by the hip (sort of) and is jealous of all the attention paid to the new baby. So he doesn't let her rest much. She said he's DEFINITELY going to nursery school (3 1/2 days per week) starting in the Fall. She's going back to school to complete her PhD while her mother is here and is minding the baby. Her father is out digging in the backyard. They don't have much grass, just a medium sized garden in the backyard... full of vegetables, roses, flowers and herbs. It smells GOOD.
I did a favor for a friend and made a new one. Guess who's been invited to visit China and have her own personal tour guide? WOO HOO!