Last weekend, I turned 30 years old. Because it was the end of Ramadan, we had a four day weekend to observe the holiday of Eid, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. I did not have much planned for my 30th birthday, as it was nearing the end of the school year, and I mostly wanted to just relax. But my friend Nick had other plans, and convinced myself and another friend named Jonathan that we should do the world’s longest zip-line. Continue reading
Christmastime is in full swing in Shanghai. One of the many great things about living in a city with such a diverse expatriate population is the Christmas market scene. I have never been to an authentic Christmas market, but I am guessing that Shanghai does a pretty bang-up job. As Angela mentioned in a previous post, we had purchased our first adult Christmas tree a few weeks ago, and desperately needed some decorations for it. We decided to explore a few of the local German and French Christmas markets in Shanghai. The best one we went to with a good group of friends, right down the street from our house. There are all kinds of Christmasy things to buy, and lots of mulled wine to drink (my favorite part). We had a great time, and picked up some nice hand painted ornaments for our little tree. On the way home from one of these markets, Angela and I also completed a major Shanghai goal: we got a golden taxi. I don’t know the story with the golden taxis, so I won’t pretend to make up any explanations, but what I do know is that Shanghai has made a limited number of British looking golden taxis under the name of the ‘London Taxi Company’. There are probably thousands of these taxis in the city, but we have only seen about eight, so I am imagining that there are only 100 in the entire city, and that merely spotting one is a miracle. Well, we did even better. We rode in one! On the way home from a little Christmas shopping, we spotted one sitting a few blocks away. Letting several perfectly good cabs drive by, we sprinted to this one and got it. Here is a shot of Angela emerging from the glorious golden taxi as proof.
October was a whirlwind month for Jason and I. Thankfully we came back from October break rested and ready for the busy month ahead. For me, October was the month I started my masters program. The program is offered though SUNY (Southern University of New York). The classes are on campus at SCIS and online. The on campus classes are given over 2 weekends, which means 15 straight days at school. Thankfully, my first class was low stress and and quick to get through!
For Jason, October was the month of the SCIS Music Festival. Jason had been working very hard to prepare for this event. The festival showcases all of the middle school muisc ensembles: guitar, percussion, choir, band, and orchestra. For band, Jason invited retired Iowa band directors Jim Fritz and Leon Kuehner to guest direct the bands. Jim, Leon and Leon’s wife Linda arrived to Shanghai the weekend before the festival. On Saturday we went out to eat at Di Shui Dong for some good “Chinese” food! Afterwords, they wanted to see the city so we took them to Captain’s Bar on the Bund.
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!
We have arrived to our last month of our first year abroad! We have been keeping busy with work and the city! Two weeks ago I danced in the school dance production and it was amazing! The performance was about the environment and the students and teachers did a great job. It was so fun to dance with my fellow teachers and our dance was a hit!
We’ve done it! We’ve survived our 1st semester of international teaching! *Side-note: Jason still has 2 concerts this week* Otherwise we’re done! I had my concerts last week on Tuesday and Thursday and they were a huge hit! Parents, teachers, and administrators loved them! Besides the fact that we’re awesome, my co-worker and I think that our concerts went so well because we both come from being band directors and know how to run things! The kids were also really cute! It did make for a long week. Monday and Tuesday were spent rehearsing 2nd and 3rd graders with a full dress rehearsal and concert on Tuesday night. Wednesday and Thursday we did the same thing all over again with 4th and 5th grade. I also received 2 huge flower arrangements. The packaging is a little crazy!