Saturday, December 16, 2017

No School

One semester is in the books and we feel very fortunate to be doing what we're doing.  The girls like many things about their new school.  Nina likes learning the violin and Chinese, and Pip likes that school is less focused on academics and that she has more time to play.  They like their friends on the bus and all the playground equipment.  Humorously, they both like learning to speak with a British accent and they both like the school nurse.  Kara has found friends, some who are working at YCIS and others.  She spends time volunteering at an orphanage, at the girls' school, and attending special activities around town in addition to her online courses.  Ben likes his new coworkers and his students and looks forward to next school year when he doesn't have to do as much work to create every lesson.  Here is a small holiday video his friends put together for the end of the semester assembly.

Birthday party silliness  ---  Last ones left

Learning how to make dumplings


With 17 days off, we're looking forward to some relaxation, some exploring, and some Christmas spirit.  Today we put up a Christmas tree to go with our wreath and poinsettia.  We're listening to Christmas music and we typically watch a Christmas movie before bed.  We've already had good laughs at Claymation Christmas, Garfield, and the Grinch.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... kind of

Well, the decorations are up, the music is playing, and the spirit is here, but the weather doesn't feel like Christmas just yet.  The leaves are changing color and the beauty of fall is colliding with our typically snowy season.  Nonetheless, we are having a great time exploring new Christmas events and taking in all the festivities.  From German Chriskindlmarkts to a giant snow globe, we've found no shortage of Christmas spirit here.  The girls are even thrilled to have their elf, Marwin, finally find his way to our new apartment.  They have been busy with some Christmas performances and events at school and it was fun to see Nina as a (literal) star in her show.

Outside the globe and inside
The "snow" at the bottom of the globe

Ben's school lit up at night

We've had some bad pollution days as of late and had to find inside activities.  We were excited to try the movie theater a block away and got to see Coco.  We really enjoyed the show and have been listening to the music whenever we stray from Christmas tunes.  We caught a Shanghai Sharks basketball game with some friends and Ben still doesn't like watching Jimmer Fredette.  We were happy to get a beautiful day to take in Xujiahui park on Saturday.

Getting our reserved tickets using our phone app  ---  3D fun

Monday, November 27, 2017

Start of the Holiday Season

As the semester rolls on, we are happy to have the opportunities to take part in some new traditions as well as old.  We had a Friendsgiving celebration and enjoyed the turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  We feel extremely thankful for our new journey, our new friends, and our support from back home.

The schools have been putting on a few events recently and the latest was a wonderful Tree-Lighting ceremony for Christmas.  This included wonderful music, bazaar booths, games, food, treats, and a spot for kids to buy holiday presents in secret.  It was a lovely night and got us in the spirit of Christmas.


We continue to wander and explore, but changed it up a bit by making return visits to some fun spots.  Taking in the beauty of Yuyuan Garden (and the crazy accompanying shops) as well as a repeat visit to the library where Kara scored her new library card.

Just like old times at the library - crafts and chaos

Random diner   -     One of a million Christmas shops