Thursday, January 31, 2008
One very cool thing that has been going on - Expats from all over the world will be allowed to vote in the Democratic primary at Democrats Abroad. The deadline for signing up for the primary has passed, but you can still sign up to get a ballot for the upcoming presidential election! There have been a few OBAMA rallies going on across China - at least in Shanghai and Beijing - and I believe his wife even phoned in to speak to one of the groups live.
It is snowing again here - just started an hour ago - at first, really light snow twirling around - now it's quite heavy and at this rate will start piling up. It seems cold enough out that it will stick to the ground and roads fairly quickly. Lots of people are trying to leave today and tomorrow for holiday - not sure if it will happen for them! We have booked a hotel for a few days next week in Puxi (the other side of Shanghai from where we live) and are looking forward to seeing some fireworks from up high.
Since the TV is out, I spent a large portion of the day reading stuff around the web. For those interested in the EXPAT LIFE - check this out - or this. The first link is to an NPR segment about Alan Paul, a guy I met while living in Beijing. His wife's job is the reason they moved to Beijing and he also writes a column for the Wall Street Journal about being an expat (second link). He writes some good articles and I enjoy reading them.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Yes, 3 days of snowy weather! Apparently, this is the most amount of snow days they've had in about 20 years (many different reports from 17-25 years). It is causing major havoc for those traveling for Chinese New Years - the only time during the year many people travel to see wives, parents and children. It is quite sad that many people are stranded at airports and train stations. There is one train station that had over 500,000 people stranded - can you imagine that many people at one station?
For us, it's been fun and a welcome change to rain! The kids have been having lots of fun playing in the snow and coming in to have hot chocolate (thank you Aunt S - perfect timing!!!!). Yesterday, it did not snow, even though the kids had a snow day - they cancelled school due to the roads being pretty bad. It was actually sunny for a bit. But, today, it has started snowing again and it is forecasted for more snow this weekend.
This was the second day of snow here in Shanghai. It was just a light dusting of heavy, wet snow. The kids had a blast though, making little snowmen and some really hard ice balls for throwing.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
It snowed ALL DAY today but none of it stuck. The kids loved it. Ryken and Liz ran around catching snow and trying to eat it. Ashley was staying at a friends house, so we missed out on pictures with her and the snow.
Monday, January 21, 2008
You need a tissue for that, you will get sick if you eat it.
NO I won't. I eat lots and lots and lots of boogers and I'm not sick!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We pointed to some square tables and suggested that we put 2 together to make a table big enough for 7 with room for plates and dishes. Again, "no" was the answer and explanation. After much debate between my friends and the waiter, another waitress came over explaining that manager was not there today and couldn't be consulted as to whether we could move those tables together and so we couldn't move them as it would change the look of the restaurant. (the tables were not reserved and the restaurant was much closer to empty than full) We finally gave up the debate and resolved to just deal with the small table.
After a few minutes though, the staff came with with a bigger round table and proceeded to replace a small table next to us with the bigger table and then reset all the dishes and move us over to the new bigger table. All of us were astonished at this. It was nice to have a bigger table, but wasn't it so much more work to go outside and get a new table and put it up and take away old table and reset table than just letting us switch tables that were already there and available? It just doesn't make sense. And the Chinese speakers who were with us could not understand it either. But at least the staff did something.
Monday, January 14, 2008
We had a full weekend getting more things organized in the house. Of course, organizing the house means a trip to IKEA and that's what Ashley, Anthony and I did on Saturday - choosing the leave the younger ones at home. IKEA was packed and when we checked out every checkout lane (I think there are around 25) was full with 5-6 people waiting in line. It was pure craziness. We bought 2 bookcases for the living room and one cubed shelf unit for Ryken's room. The cost for this to be delivered to our house in Pudong (at least a 1 hour ride away) the very next day was 50 RMB (about 7 us dollars!) - what a great deal.
After IKEA, we went to check out BEST BUY. The first Best Buy store in China. And it's MASSIVE. It takes up 4 floors. But it seems to be missing something - it just isn't the same as a Best Buy back home. The most interesting thing I noticed is the lack of games, DVD's and CD's. But then, when you can buy all the copied ones right around the corner for so cheap, why would they sell real ones? I did check out the massive massage chairs they have for sale and that was an amazing 15 minutes! Talk about a comfortable chair!
Anthony and I ended the weekend watching ATONEMENT. It was a good copy (meaning no shaky cam and language was actually in English) except for the parts where some French is spoken. I am assuming that in the real movie, the French is translated with English subtitles - but for some reason our copy was missing that and if we put on English subtitles it would just say "(FRENCH)" - so that was no help. But even without knowing what was said in French - I thought it was a great movie.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Every morning, I wake up hoping to see clearly across the street, but it is no use. We try to limit our time outdoors and are thinking of getting some more indoor air purifiers. We have 2 really good ones (IQAir) but that may not be enough.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
We had a great Christmas since we took a trip back home and spent about 2 weeks in the States. It was only for visiting family (so don't be offended if you're a friend and didn't hear from us!) and visit family we did! Lots of going back and forth between Austin and Dallas and many Christmas celebrations. The kids enjoyed seeing all the cousins and getting so many presents. Ryken had his first haircut and WOW - does he look different. I definitely miss the curls - but he's still adorable!
We flew back to Shanghai leaving the States on Jan 1st - this was a great time to travel since our plane our about 1/2 full - which left us with 4 extra seats to stretch out in. The kids did great during our travels - and we got within 300 miles of the North Pole. It was dark outside but we let the kids know where we were and that Santa was sleeping after being so busy with Christmas.
Since being back in Shanghai - we've taken the kids to the Aquarium and gone ice skating. Keeping the kids awake and busy during the day helps with the jetlag transition. The girls start back at school tomorrow and I am excited to have some down time!