Four Iowans Abroad

Angela and I recently hosted two very special guests. Angela’s mother Cindy and her grandmother Marjorie visited us for two weeks. It was awesome! They are both very laid back people, and were a pleasure to have around. It also gave Angela and I a chance to do a few things that we had not yet accomplished in and around Shanghai.
Arriving at the Airport!

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The Summer of 2015: Back in Iowa

After spending a week exploring Chengdu and Shanghai with Angela’s brother and sister-in-law, we flew back to where our hearts are:

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Iowa, USA! It is always such a pleasant feeling to exchange big city life with rural Iowa for a month. My dad met us at O’Hare, and took us home from there. It worked well, and probably saved us some time rather than trying to fly to Iowa from Chicago (although it cost my father some extra time…). We spent the first few days enjoying some of the things that we miss most about our home state. We will often talk with our friends about the meals that we have to eat while we are home. Below is Angela’s staple must-have, purchased from That Place near Marshalltown, Iowa.

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Visitors in Shanghai!

At the end of June, Jason and I had the pleasure of hosting my brother Jon and sister in-law Rachel in Shanghai. After spending a week in Beijing, Jon and Rachel flew in to Shanghai the day after our school let out. Before heading to Chengdu we fit as much in as we could as the weather was pleasant and the air quality was good.

On the day that they arrived, we took Jon and Rachel to our go-to tailor Tony and Helen at the local fake market that we frequent as they were interested in making some cheap tailored clothes.  On our way home, we stopped for lunch at a delicious Muslim pulled noodles restaurant near our metro stop (S. Shaanxi) on line 10. For less than 40RMB we ate some tasty hand pulled noodles.

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Sweet and Spicy Chengdu

Chendgu and Sichuan province are highly recommend in all of the China travel books, and with my family visiting we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit!   After a rare on time departure from Pudong we arrived in Chengdu late afternoon on Sunday.  Whenever arriving to a new place, I always try to arrange an airport pick up from the hotel.  Is this more expensive?  Yes!  Is it worth it?  Yes!  As a nervous traveler it’s less stressful to know that you’ll have a ride when you arrive!
We stayed at Mrs. Panda Hostel which was located right near the Li River and semi central Chengdu.  The price was decent and the rooms were more like hotel rooms than hostel!  The common area was very spacious and served beer and food!
Since we had all afternoon we decided to take the bus to the Wuhou Temple and Jinli Pedestrain Street. After exploring the temple and gardens we stopped for some snacks and overpriced beers before heading back to the hostel.  We had the option to get our ears cleaned by the locals but decided to pass.
 Temple
Mystery Foods
Since our hotel was near a university, the staff recommended a near by street with a variety of resturants.  We decided on one that had a picture menu so that we didn’t end up with something strange!  We ended up with standard Sichuan foods such as Mapo Tofu, green beans, egg plant, ribs, and some random cold meat dish.  All in all it was delicious!

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Thanksgiving year 2

I can’t believe that tomorrow is the 1st day of December!  Holy cow, this year has gone fast!   Thanksgiving in Shanghai is always a fun time.  There is never a shortage of things to do.   This year we had 3, yes 3, Thanksgivings to attend!    Thanksgiving 1, was actually on Thursday,  at a restaurant called Captain Rooster.  Boramy, Austin (friend from UNI) and the GKs all joined for an all you can eat and drink extravaganza.  We love Captain Rooster, because they have amazing fried chicken and mac&cheese!  There turkey wasn’t bad either!   The place is pretty small and it was very busy.  Since it was still in the 60s we opted to sit outside!  However, by sitting outside, we got a little shorted on all the food!   They menu included: Turkey, green bean casserole, turkey pot pie, sweet potato casserole, mashed potato, stuffing mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and egg nog.  It was a lot of food and all tasted great!

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Last Week in Iowa!

Our final week at home is finally here.  It’s crazy how fast 1 month goes!   Nevertheless, Jason and I have been very busy with our time in the states.

The 4th of July weekend was spent in Northeast Iowa, visiting friends and our old stomping grounds!   I do feel that Northeast Iowa may be the most beautiful part of the state!   We were all lucky enough to stay at our old roommates house!   The house provided us all a place to relax and hang out, which made our short time together more fun!   We spent time in Decorah playing disc golf, enjoying the local brew (Toppling Goliath)  and food!   Even though it was a quick trip it was so great to see our friends!

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Summer in Iowa!

We have started our summer break back in the USA!   Our flight from Shanghai was a little rough and we ended departing 1.5 hours late and then at a standstill in Chicago.  After some running in the airport we made our flight to Minneapolis and ended up getting in around 11:00…we were supposed to land at 8!   A few of my cousins who were staying near by even stayed and waited with my parents!   We had a 2hr drive to get to Lake Osakis and didn’t get to bed until 3 am…so needless to say it was a long day!

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Final Countdown

The final 2 weeks (or less) are here!    Since moving from New Hampton, Iowa Jason and I have gone to our respective childhood homes to unpack, repack, hang-out, relax, and freak out!   I was lucky to spend 2 weeks at our family cabin with my aunts, uncles, cousin, and Grandma.  I love going to the lake–it is my favorite part of summer!

Here we are celebrating my parent’s anniversary!    ImageImageFishing on the boat!

We were also able to spend some time with Jason’s side of the family!   We went on a bike ride around Okoboji!  Here are Jason, his dad, brother, and uncles mid-way through the ride!

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This past weekend we ventured to Minneapolis to hang out with my family and our friend Joe.  We had a picnic around Lake Harriet, flew kites, grilled out, and had a great time!

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