It has been just about a year since our last blog post. A lot has happened in that time, but we have struggled to find the motivation to keep up on our blog. We recently made a big transition by moving from Shanghai, China to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, with a couple month stopover in Iowa. Angela and I both wanted to get back into this, so be prepared for a recap of the past 12 months of our lives… Continue reading
Angela and I are back in Shanghai and getting adjusted to being on a normal working person schedule. Although it would be great to be on vacation all of the time (and some of our relatives think that we indeed are), it is nice to be back into a routine. Angela has all new administrators, and is adjusting to a newly implemented schedule. I no longer teach any guitar classes, and get to teach just band without having to share the band room anymore. It is a tremendous relief for me to stay in the same room all day, every day, and get to teach band for every class. I am finding myself much more comfortable at the start of this year than in previous years. Angela is the lower school specials leader this year, and I am the 6th grade team leader. That means we are both extremely important people. Overall, it has been great getting back to our apartment and our life, and seeing all of our wonderful friends.
We recently did something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. It was our friend Juliet’s birthday, and for her birthday she wanted to go to a classy afternoon tea. Being an American, I have never been to afternoon tea as a meal or activity, so I was excited to try it. I was also excited that afternoon tea was going to take place at the Fairmont Peace Hotel. This is a really old, classy hotel on the Bund, and also home to the ‘Old Jazz Band’, which is Shanghai’s oldest jazz band. All of the members were in their 80’s, and had been playing together for many years. I have wanted to hear them play since we arrived in Shanghai.
Angela and I enjoying our very first afternoon tea.
After spending a week exploring Chengdu and Shanghai with Angela’s brother and sister-in-law, we flew back to where our hearts are:
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.
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.
Wow what a crazy week of highs and lows! First off, we have to give a huge THANK YOU to the Shanghai Bloggers and all the companies for the amazing goodie bag! Fields (an online grocery store) was very creative and gave us product that related to our blog! Can you guess what it was? Corn! So if you’re looking for a way to keep up with all the Shanghai bloggers, download the app! Besides the amazing party, I had my week of concerts. It was stressful and exhausting but well worth it! This year Sean and I did 2 mini-musicals for grade 4/5 and 2/3. Both concerts went extremely well and the kids had a blast! The past 2 years have flown by, but I have to say Sean and I have done a pretty good job! Continue reading
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.
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!
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!
Jason and I had our first Thanksgiving abroad and unlike our family members back home, we had to work! It actually wasn’t too bad since we knew that Friday would be a professional development day! We started our week with a Tuesday night Sushi date! Even though it was only Tuesday, it was great to get out of our neighborhood and eat some delicious sushi! On our way home we stopped at a new Mexican restaurant to get Corona-ritas! Let’s just say, it was the perfect night cap!