Beautiful Beijing Part II

This was by far my favorite part of the trip and an experience I will treasure for some time to come! It was so special! I’ve been to other parts of the Great Wall and this one was the most special. Not to mention that it was lightly snowing with ominous clouds that added to the beautiful morning. You take the cable car up the wall and can walk the section before either taking a chairlift down or as we opted, a toboggan! I really enjoyed this day so much and it’s part of what makes Beijing and China so special.

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End of Semester and Welcoming Chinese New Year!

(Gave all my students red packets full of chocolate)

The semester is drawing to an end before we welcome and the whole country goes on holiday for Chinese New Year. There is something so special about “firsts” and my first semester of teaching in China is something I foresee as always being incredibly meaningful in my life. My students, ages 4-11, have put in so much hard work this semester between the rolling of the eyes and “teacher no homework” complaints. My littles have learned to write the alphabet, blend sounds and read while my older students have learned to crank out five page essays like it’s nothing. I have been told dolphins look like me, pictures have been drawn of me dying by shark attack or explosion and I have gotten all the little squishy hugs. I have learned the art of bribing by stickers, taught them various high-five games to keep them focused and can shut their “bad behavior” with my famous glare. I have assured all the parents that their kids are wonderful and making progress (except that one kid who never does his homework….just kidding. He’s a doll). And most of all I have absolutely LOVED this first semester. I decided to write reflect and write a note to all my students.

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Life Lately in Shanghai!

Merry Christmas Eve to all! While there is an abundance of Christmas decorations around Shanghai, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas. This isn’t bad as I’m not having the nostalgia for the holidays and missing home that much. I’ve been busy with yoga, work, reading and all the good stuff. I will be making some Scandinavian cookies per tradition this week and treating myself to a holiday massage. 2018 has been quite the year that started with a trip to Mexico and is ending in Shanghai! Who would have guessed. I finished writing the family holiday letter and am headed out to find some dumplings before work. Here’s a look at some photos of my life lately!

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Nadine .L

People come in and out of lives and I am so thankful that Nadine and I both serendipitously both ended back in China. We first met in Malaysia six years ago when we were both living there for a year. We shared our challenges living in a new country, laughed at the funny cultural idiosyncrasies and ate all the food. Six years later and not much has changed! Nadine is finishing an internship in Kunshan which is a city only a train ride away from Shanghai. We have shared several weekends together running around Shanghai, ordering food from the comfort of my apartment and exchanging hilarious stickers on WeChat. My mom always encouraged me to be friends with redheads so there you go mom! Nadine is a German beauty who has traveled the world and is finishing her undergraduate studies in business before pursuing her masters. The other weekend I sat down with her and interviewed her about all the adventures she has had and all those to come.

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I’ve Got (Holiday) Spirit, How About You?

Happy Holidays! Did Thanksgiving even happen? The Christmas spirit is here and thriving in Shanghai through excessively decorated malls, bright lights and consumerism. The holidays can often be a tough time for everyone no matter who they are or where they are in the world. Ive been doing lots of fun things to celebrate including going to a German Christmas market with the girls, decorating gingerbread houses with coworkers at my apartment and happily accepting the chocolate presents my students are giving me. Shanghai is very festive this time of the year and I am loving it!

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Health and Happiness in Shanghai

This past weekend I experienced a very scary health ordeal that put me in the hospital for over five hours and had half a dozen tests done including ultrasounds, EKG, X-ray and enzyme analysis. I was sitting in one of my favorite cafes eating a Korean lunch on the phone with family when my stomach started churning and a pain in my shoulder and chest overtook me. The few days before, I had experienced some odd sensations in my stomach but nothing that I was concerned about as they came and went fast. I took a cab home, shoved some personal items into a bag and took a cab straight to the hospital. I knew something was seriously wrong and had tears pouring down my face as I tried to breathe. Being sick in a foreign country is really scary! Plus, the level of pain I was experiencing was like nothing I had ever felt and I had to focus on taking slow and deep breathes in and out.

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Shanghai Life Lately

Happy Singles Day! Singles day is November 11th and is the biggest shopping day of the year in China with sales galore. Black Friday has nothing on China’s Singles Day. I have dived into the world of Taobao and Baopal online app shopping and there is really no going back. That being said, I still do enjoy shopping in person. Call me old-fashioned. I thought I would include a few pictures of life lately that have made me laugh, amused me or brought me a lot of happiness (the food). Life in Shanghai remains wonderful and delightful even as the weather gets colder and days get shorter.

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Golden Week and Hangzhou

I come to you writing this entry from under my IKEA covers with a 4 liter bottle of water next to me, a pile of kleenex on the other side and half a dozen riccola cough drops tossed around on my bed. Yes, I am sick. I can’t remember the last time I was this sick! I am not a sickly person but this horrendous cough, congestion, fatigue and fever has really done me in these past few days!

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What Happened to August?

During my commute on the metro back home this afternoon, it dawned on me that it is September. I arrived in Shanghai the evening of August 15th and the last few weeks have been somewhat of a blur between surviving the heat, welcoming afternoon rain showers, moving out of my hotel, training for work and exploring Shanghai. I recently received my schedule for work and was informed that I have the first week of October entirely off for the autumn festival. I can only imagine that this week is hectic with celebrations and busy assuming that most of the country has the week off.

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Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and the Great Solar Eclipse!

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In the last few days, the weather has been cooler and I can feel the fall breeze coming in. Fall is my favorite time of the year and while it means that it is one of the busiest times of the year for me, it is also one of the most beautiful. Before I transition completely into fall mode, I wanted to look back on an amazing trip this summer to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone that I took with my mom and one of my best friends, Meggi. My mom has always wanted to go to Yellowstone and started talking about this trip years ago, as due to the popularity of the park, reservations need to be made way in advance if you want to stay at the old lodge. We happened to book our trip a week before the eclipse by chance and quickly changed it when we realized the date of the eclipse and that we would be in 99% totality in our location! And let me tell you, it did not disapoint one bit; in fact it far exceeded all expectations I had. I would hear people say that the eclipse was nothing special and that it was okay. Well let me tell you…seeing it in totality was absolutely magical!

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