Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Mom

For Christmas this year Joel and I were supposed to have our first Christmas away together in Shanghai.  We decorated for Christmas, set up our tree, bought presents for each other and then the 23rd of december, during a skype chat with my dad,  he told us that he wanted to surprise my mom by bringing us home for Christmas.  So within 12 hours we bought plane tickets, packed our bags and boarded a plane to the US.  We will just have to have another Christmas waiting for us when we return to Shanghai!
When we got here we surprised my mom by walking into the restaurant that she was eating in with friends.  She was so stunned that she didn't speak for several minutes.  We definitely caused a scene with everyone yelling, so excited!  So even though that was a great surprise for her we have one more...

This year for Christmas we our sponsoring a Healing Home baby in my mom's name.  It is a little boy named Jian Na.  My dad is going to pay for his cleft pallet surgery and then sponsor him monthly to pay for his after-care and housing.  I will send updates via my blog whenever I can and to top it all off, my mom gets to give him an English name!

Merry Christmas mom, when you come to Shanghai in March you can meet this little cutie in person!

Jian Na, one of the newest additions to Healing Home.
If anyone would like more info on the Healing Home, helping out, sponsoring a child or even just sending a small donation please click here to visit their website.  Every little bit helps!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Play time at Healing Home

Last post I showed a few pics from our time at Healing Home, the cleft pallet orphanage here.  I go once a week with a few ladies and we have a class for the older children (older being about a year old) and then stay and play with the babies.  We are teaching the children English, Chinese and sign-language.  It is a lot of fun, we sign and songs and play little instruments.  Really we just love being able to spend time with the children and see the smile on their faces.  The younger ones have mostly not had their surgeries yet as you can see from the pictures.  The amazing thing is that the older ones who have healed from their surgery you can barely tell that anything was wrong in the first place.  Healing home will pay for the children's surgeries through donations and their after care until they are adopted.  The children are mostly sponsored so someone is sending them money once a month to pay their expenses.  It is a really great place for the children, they are well taken care of and seem really happy.  If you want more info on what they do at Healing home you can visit their website by clicking the link below.

Healing Home

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cleaning up the Healing Home

One of my weekly activities here in Shanghai is working at the orphanage for children with cleft palettes.  The American Women's Club of Shanghai decided to help out for a day and clean up their yard and organize inside to prepare the house for winter.  We planted some new plants that will stand the cold weather, organized the clothes so warm sweaters were easily accessed and disinfected all the toys in the play room.  It felt good to help out and it was a great way to get to know more people within the expat community.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shanghai Chili cook-off

On a beautiful Saturday in Shanghai we headed over to the old World Expo site close to our house to attend the annual Shanghai Chili Cook-off.  It felt like a regular Colorado festival that Joel I were used to attending, lots of people, beer and booths serving amazing chili.  We had a blast going down the line and sampling all the different chills.  Some were so good, others not so good.  Our favorite ended up winning second place.  Can't wait to go to the restaurant and try it again!

Here is a view of the event, it was a beautiful day out.  It didn't even feel like we were in China!

Kristin and Tim enjoying the beer at the festival!

Us girls before we had too much chili!

Joel with Kristin and Tim enjoying the sunshine.

Kristin waiting in line for a sample.

Joel looks right at home!

The girls sampling the chili, most of the samples were so good!

Joel trying to beat a little boy at the football toss.

John had to give it a try also!

They were both winners!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shanghai Boat Cruise

After all of our fun activities back in the states it was time to return to Shanghai.  After 20 hours of travel, one sort of nights sleep and zero unpacking we had an event with the American Women's Club for a 70's theme dinner boat cruise.  Joel and I sucked up our jet-lag and put on our dancing shoes, and boy was it worth it.
Joel and I didn't have time to put together costumes but some people really went all out.  There were a few full spandex body suits, one Elvis and lots of bright colors and patterns.  The night started with a glass of champagne to watch the view of the lights while our boat disembarked.  Joel and I had never been on the river before and the view was spectacular.  Seeing both sides of the river at once, all lit up was so beautiful.  On one side of the river is what they call the Bund, where historic old buildings from the 1800 and 1900's stand unchanged.  Directly across from it, on the other side is like looking into the future.  Strange, towering buildings lit up in technicolor dominate the Pudong side skyline.  It was really great to see both sides at once, and on a clear night where the moon was visible as well.
We had dinner inside on the boat, which was nothing exciting, a mixture of Chinese and Western, neither of which were good.  And then back out onto the viewing deck for dancing the rest of the night to tunes from the 70's.  In true Chinese fashion, we did blow the fuse a few times but the power would be back up and running in just a few minutes.  It was a great night, laughing dancing and friends on a beautiful night in Shanghai.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Annie got married!

One of the main reasons that I came home for a month when I did was not only to catch up with friends and family but to be a bridesmaid in one of my sorority sister's weddings.  I knew that even though I was moving to China right after she asked me to be a bridesmaid that I would never miss it for anything.
The wedding festivities started the day we got back from the cabin,  with a lingerie shower for Anne and then bachelorette and bachelor parties (separate of course!) for the bride and groom.  The boys got a little more wild than the girls did but we had wine and then went dancing and it was a lot of fun.  All the girls had cards with activities that they had to talk someone at the club into, someone being a guy and the activities all had something to do with Anne.  For example, one card said... dance with a bald guy.  My card said that I had to talk someone into giving Anne their sock.  It was really funny.  When we were at dinner, someone's card said to find someone to sing to Anne, so a man serenaded her in front of the restaurant!  It was so great!
The next day was the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner which was hosted at a famous Colorado restaurant called the Fort.  It is built as an old fort and is complete with a teepee and an old settler walking around with a shot gun.  We had quail and salmon for dinner, complete with gun powder and burbon shots.  Everyone gave speeches and honored the couple.
The next day was the wedding.  We spent the morning getting ready at the hotel and just relaxing.  The ceremony was beautiful, it was outside overlooking the mountains just outside Denver, Colorado.  The weather was perfect.  The reception was fun too, we got to catch up with a bunch of my old college friends.  It was fun to see how everyone had grown up, until the dancing started! ; )  The dancing was so much fun and we were sad when the night came to a close.  It was a fantastic wedding for a fantastic couple.  Congrats Anne and Trent!