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Strange Item to return from China

Two days ago I offered a challenge for all our readers to name the strange, usually discarded item I brought back from China. I’ll review these great guesses and give you the answer.

Connie said “I think you brought home soap and tea.” While I did bring home tea, lots of it, I didn’t bring home soap. That part is really weird for me, I must admit. Connie, I’m glad to be back, thank you!

Sarah suggested Ziploc bags. This was one of the strange things about China. I expected to find ZipLoc and I would have paid dearly for them! They weren’t available in the markets I found and there were many times I wish I had them. Next time I go I will bring EXTRA ZipLoc bags. This brand has the heavy weight and tight seal that was so desperately needed at times.

Tonya said “Welcome back! I’m going to guess – empty containers and empty packaging.” I did bring home a few cool empty containers but this is probably normal for most people. Do you bring home empty containers because they are cool? The key here is empty packaging! Tonya is my sister and if you read the blog about language barriers then you know Tonya P is the TP the hotel delivered! We’re now hot on the trail!

Caren said “Well, I know that they will not let you bring plants, veggies or meat in from another country, so I am thinking also that you brought back some great empty containers to put soaps in. I’m so glad that you have arrived back in the states safe and sound with the best memories. Having the two girls gone for quiet some time is hard, 2 of mine live far away, one in another country, only Canada, but still far away that I don’t get to see them that often, Skype helps.” Skype and FaceTime do help. They are life savers! I just wonder what my Grandma would have thought about those. Empty containers again, but this wasn’t what I had in mind. Thanks for the well wishes! We are glad to be back.

Marija said “Soap! I think it was the soap you brought back.” I know! What soapmaker doesn’t bring home soap? This was so weird!! Marija, I loved your PS. Here it is: “I got my first order from you guys yesterday…it reached me incredibly quickly and contained almost discarded mini lip balm of beloved red (or was it blood) orange. wow! what a cute little surprise, I love the mini balm packaging and am ordering some today! thanks, Marija” Little things can get lost in the packaging so look carefully. I am so glad you found this mini!

Crystal said “Pipettes.” That would be funny! I actually left all product and supplies like this with Andee. We are hoping she will pop her head in here during her stay in China. I’m the guilty party that left the inspiration to blog and create. Yes, Crystal, the lack of humidity has gotten the better of us but I have walked by Taylor in the blog kitchen and she is deep into her work to create something to soothe the skin. She plans on sharing all next week. Keep your email on notice to get the blog daily!

Rebecca guessed “I’m going to guess a couple of things you would normally dispose of but kept, I’m guessing a laundry bag from a Chinese dry cleaners, or a soap box or chopsticks , your trip sounded so exciting for you.” Oh gosh! I did bring home a bag for the dry cleaner. We kept teasing about ‘ancient Chinese secrets’ and the younger kids didn’t get the Calgon commercial reference, but all of us adults did and we laughed it up. We’re not close to the item I was thinking of though.

Bekka said “Matchbooks!” I didn’t realize until a few years ago that there is a whole group of people who collect these items. It is a really fascinating hobby, but it was not a matchbook.

Carolyn suggested “I’m guessing you brought back all the samples of different soaps, lotions, and shampoos that they leave in hotel rooms. (That’s what I always do!) Glad to have you back, safe and sound; and a little lonely, I’m sure. But it won’t be for too long. And what a wonderful opportunity for your girls! Blessings to you and all those dear to you, Carolyn.” Thanks Carolyn! We had a great time and I sure do miss Andee and Jerry. I get to FaceTime with them in the AM or PM. It is a riot to see their faces and share in the news. I left all the samples with the new couple and I brought back things I wanted. So, no, it isn’t the hotel toiletries.

Lynda guessed, “Some type of packaging, sacks OR newspapers.” It is a sort of packaging, but a very specific kind. Not the concept of an empty bottle or the like. Dirk did get a few beer bottle labels for his collection. But this isn’t what I was thinking of in my blog. There have been very good guesses here!

Leilani guessed, “Disposable Shower Cap? Or one of those cool tins that Chinese medicine comes in.” Oh my gosh! I haven’t seen a disposable shower cap in years! That would have been really cool!

Robin wrote “Soap wrappers, for lack of a better term. I keep all of the soap wrappers (cigar bands, tissue, labels) that come off soaps I received in swaps or purchased myself to try. The blog box was a fantastic surprise the other day, too! Much more than I could have asked for. ~Robin” Robin, we are so glad you liked to blog kitchen box. They were great at helping us corral the extra supplies in the blog kitchen and certainly were fun to hear of the special things people are making. I like the idea of a collection of soap wrappers. I haven’t started one though.

Julie wrote “I’m thinking chopsticks and a wrapper listing the ingredients of a soap you found that you are going to try and recreate.” That would be cool, but I didn’t get that far in my travels. Yes we climbed the Great Wall, saw the Temple of Heaven, walked the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, but shopping for soaps didn’t happen. Maybe Andee can do that for us.

Cee wrote “A collection of hotel soaps.” I wish I had. 🙂

Lesley says “My guess is chopsticks, they work so well for swirling soap.” I was given some chopsticks but I suspect these are for eating. They have silk wrappers as holders. The chopsticks are amazing in China. By the end of our stay I didn’t need to wear a bib while using chopsticks.

Peggy wrote “I think you brought home small samples of toiletrees from China hotels you stayed in.” I think that because we are soap and lotion makers this is a common theme. Unfortunately I didn’t bring any of these items.

Cindy says “Something that most people would discard…hmm that makes me think of the hotel sample sized toiletries such as soap, shampoo, lotion, etc. Of course there are other things, perhaps a newspaper from the area you were in or some packaging that something you purchased came in, I am not really certain. It will be fun to hear what it actually was. I absolutely loved the box of freebies that you sent. I used some of them in lip balm and lotions. Thanks so much for the great gifts. It is certainly good to have you back. I’m sure you’ll miss Andee, but I’m sure she will have a great time with her studies. Welcome back and thanks again for all you do.” Thanks Cindy! We are so glad you have been busy helping the blog team empty the drawers and cupboard (and counters) to make lotions and lip balms. That is the best news of all! You won’t believe the answer, which is coming right up!

Leslie wrote “Bottles, perhaps plastic coke bottles?” That would have been good but soda isn’t popular in China. We found a few cans and such but even 7-11 carried supplements and more nutritious drinks.

Christine says “That’s definitely gotta be used soap.” I so wish! It is great!

Lisa wrote “A folding fan? I’ve been thinking about this, but can’t come up with anything else.” I was given a lovely folding fan. They have large fans for men and dainty fans for women. I was amazed by all the collectable fans I saw.”

Terri asked “Cool and interesting packaging–probably packaging that would make an interesting soap mold?” There are amazing soap mold materials all over this planet. I am amazed by different vessels that would make great molds from all over the place. But not it.

So, are you anxious to hear? I brought back toilet paper tubes. When I was a little girl the tubes were quite stiff, today they are very thin and flexible. Since I spin wool and silk and other fibers it is common for spinners to ask for toilet paper tubes to wrap their yarns. These were so stiff I collected them from all the guests and used them in any void in our luggage. I was able to spin wool at the Temple of Heaven. It was a wonderful break in our first few days of site seeing. Later I was able to spin at the park where a doughnut-shaped pond was created. The rest of the family went paddling around the pond and I sat under a tree with my spinning wheel. I got lots of strange looks, more so than when I spin in the USA, but my afternoon was wonderful. I almost finished the wool/Tencel mix I brought with me. My spinning wheel was the most difficult item to get through security for me. Dirk had a hard time because he was the IT guy with all the electronics and every time they wanted to know why he had so many converters and cables and wires. Otherwise, security wasn’t too bad. Could someone explain why my bag must be checked by a human when I just went through the machines and had to show the humans my contents? I emptied my carry on more than once in the same series of checks. The redundantcy was a little much for my likes because I always try to validate every thing us humans do at MMS. It is either essential or it is not. I didn’t see the value in the checking after a checking.

I’ll get someone to pull a random number and we’ll get a blog kitchen box out the door.


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