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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October Review!

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.  10675734_10100832654011863_4776144092395674824_n

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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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A Weekend In The Frozen Tundra…Harbin, China.

 

 

Alright, tundra might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but Harbin was still pretty cold. Two of our good friends, Bell and Matt, decided that they were going on a weekend getaway to Harbin, China a few weeks ago. I could not have told you very much about Harbin when I agreed to go along, except that I knew that this city was the host of the annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Well, I can’t tell you all that much more about Harbin after having traveled there, but the trip was still great. On Friday night, we boarded a plane after having sat in the Pudong International Airport for many hours. We had a direct flight to Harbin, which is significantly closer to Russia than Shanghai. I was invigorated by the cold once we stepped off of the plane. Although I frequently find myself complaining about the cold, damp weather in Shanghai, this was a dry, more ‘real’ kind of cold. It made me think of winter in the midwest, and that filled me with glee. We had arranged a cab, and arrived at our hotel with no problems. The hotel had overbooked, so we had to share our room with some of our good friends who were homeless for one night.

We realized on our way to the hotel that the St. Sophia Cathedral was right down the road. On Saturday morning, we decided that this would be a great place to start our tour of Harbin, so we walked there. In the morning sun, it was actually quite pleasant outside.

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Holiday Cheer!

It’s hard to believe that it is already December 8th and that we’ve been in China for 5 months!  We only have 2 weeks of school left until a well deserved 3 week break!  As you may have heard in the news, Shanghai has been hitting some crazy high pollution levels.   The beginning of the week, the pollution was over 200.  By Thursday it was pushing 400 and then on Friday Shanghai broke records with air quality above the index 500.  It is hard to explain what it’s like, but I”m really hoping this 500 business is not a reoccurring thing.

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Thanksgiving Part 1

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!

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