Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring is here and so are CUPCAKES!

I am not sure which one I'm more excited about, but this past week we got to enjoy a couple warm days, beautiful blooms on the trees and fresh cupcakes!

The wonderful C'est Cupcake has opened; even better, they were giving away FREE cupcakes all week!!!

This is a random elevator ... not sure where it's going, but we thought it looked funny in a field of mud.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Are we having fun yet?

Our monthly dorm outing this month was to Happy Valley Amusement Park about an hour away from our house.  Taking 11 teenagers to a place like this was a lot of fun, but it was also exhausting!

To add to the adventure of the day, we used public transportation to get there and back instead of a school bus.  Many of our students have never taken a public bus or the subway here in Shanghai -- even though they've lived here longer than us and also speak Mandarin! 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Joining the Masses

We did it!  We bought our first set of wheels as a married couple ... and joined the millions of other cyclists on Shanghai's busy streets!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Great Outdoors

It is hard to explain with words how wearing it can feel sometimes to live in the constant hustle and bustle of a city like Shanghai.  There are very few outdoor recreational opportunities and at times we find ourselves feeling a little trapped by the cement that surrounds us on every side.  Last week, I asked Jason to see if he could find somewhere for us to get out of the city and maybe go hiking. 

He found this fantastic park ... and while it was more of a place to walk than to hike (Shanghai is f-l-a-t), it was a glorious escape from the big city.  Even better ... we'd had snow flurries all day Tuesday and by Friday were able to wear shorts!

Just walking down this street on our way from the subway to the park was incredibly relaxing  and refreshing.

Our first stop inside the park - the Stalactite Cave / Toilet ....
... many aspects of the park were Disneyland-esque

Signed, Sealed & Delivered

It's official! We have signed contracts through the end of the 2011 school year! Whew!
It's gonna be strange to stay in the same place for two years in a row!
We feel incredibly blessed to have this job and especially the prospect of another year of employment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A bit dusty!

This is the first time I've ever seen this as the current weather forecast! 

There have been huge sand storms moving through many of the northern provinces of China.  I saw pictures of the dust/dirt in Beijing that made me cringe and then yesterday noticed that it was making its way even farther south to Shanghai.  Right now, everything outside is covered in a pretty thick layer of dust. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Look what we found in the trash this morning!

Jason was throwing out something in the living room trash this morning and noticed one of these casually laying in the bin ... a quick check of bedroom trash bins resulted in two more in two separate rooms!  Although I doubt there is any legal drinking age limit here, it is strictly prohibited at the school & in the dorm.  Knowing our students, I found it really hard to believe that any of them would be this brazen or this naive...

After a quick interrogation (kidding) tonight, we did find out that a student brought empty bottles to the dorm to use as water bottles.  Hmmm.  A bit odd?.  Another student admitted that he had drank a tiny bit, but didn't think it was a big deal since it had such low alcohol content.  Unfortunately for both students, it is a big deal for the school - the principal & parents will be notified.  Just the fun of our evening :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's pineapple season ... somewhere.

Two weeks ago I noticed that the price on pineapples at our local store had plummetted.  Not sure if they'd be very good, I bought one and was very pleasantly surprised!  SOOO delicious!  For the equivalent of $1 US, you can get a perfectly ripened and freshly peeled pineapple.  Watching the guys peel these things is a treat too - it's amazing how quickly they can do it.

I absolutely love pineapple.  I eat it until the acid starts to burn my mouth...and then I have a little more. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's What's for Dinner

Every weekend, we are extremely blessed to have a cook come to the house to cook for the students and us.  Having household "staff" is still a very weird feeling for both of us, but we aren't complaining (at all)!!   

I do find myself a bit startled on occassion by the smells and sounds that are emitted from the dorm kitchen when the cook is here.  I am especially astonished by what I will see sitting around in giant bowls and pans waiting to be cooked up.  This is what was on the menu last Saturday...

Anyone interested in joining us next weekend???

In all fairness, these foods that look so strange to me are usually cooked up into a dish that is surprisingly tasty.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An award?

I never knew that there was a beautiful blogger award until recently when my lovely friend, Molly, nominated me for one. It's a sort of pay-it-forward type of award that goes as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award
2. copy the award and paste it on your blog
3. link to the person who nomiated you for the award
4. share 7 interesting things about yourself
5. nominate 7 other beautiful bloggers

Thank you Molly (who takes the most amazing photos and is the person who inspired me to start a blog)!!

7 interesting things:

1 - I have been procrastinating on paying this award forward because coming up with 7 interesting things about myself just seems like a bit of a stretch for me right now.

2 - I used to tell peple I was adopted to see if they would believe me (all my siblings have blond, straight hair & blue eyes); most people did.

3 - I still miss Palau every day. I love having running water, working lights and walls; but, my heart is in Palau.

4 - I slept on the floor last night in the dorm study room under a pile of blankets because I couldn't get warm enough to fall asleep in our bed ... the logical thing for most people would have been to cuddle up to their spouse. Not sure what I was thinking with that one (& neither was Jason when he found me this morning)

5 - It looks like we'll be living in Shanghai for a 2nd year - a big step for us since we've lived in 3 countries in the less than 3 years that we've been married. We've seen a contract with our names on it for next year & are awaiting the proper channels it is supposed to go through before we can sign. I didn't expect to like China enough to want to live here very long. It has exceeded my expectations by far.
6 - I'm reading Three Cups of Tea right now. This incredible story of one selfless American man creating a different life for Pakistani children through education and the many people who have helped him along the way has left me in tears many times.

7 - I have been feeling a little directionless lately. This is an awesome job that I really enjoy, but on most days it's not super challenging or inspiring. I feel like I need a new hobby or something. Trying to volunteer in Shanghai has been a challenge. It seems only non-Chinese agencies allow volunteer assistance and the few that are here tend to be flooded with volunteers. So, I've been brainstorming about what I could DO. Last night, I told Jason perhaps I should become an acrobat. What do you think?

And, my blog nominations are:

1. William - Peace Corps buddy who writes incredibly well and has a passion to help the less fortunate that inspires me.

2. Kim - Friend from an LA Bible study who introduced me to the wonderful apartment in Montrose that I got to live in. Beautiful woman with a beautiful family.

3. Amanda - College acquaintance who hasn't posted in quite some time, but writes beautifully.

4. Jen - Jason's cousin-in-law who I've only met once, but who I'd love the chance to get to know better. They adopted a beautiful girl from China & put our first Chinese money in our pockets last summer.

5. April - my amazing cousin/chef and who is a ton of fun just to be around.

6. Megan - a college friend who lives in D.C. and hasn't posted in a while ...

7. Kim (#2) - living with her adorable family in the rugged beauty of New Zealand & just added a boy to their family.