Monday, September 24, 2012

They're here!

After many months of waiting my folks, and our first visitors, are finally here!  We are all super excited to show them around our adopted home over the next two weeks and can only hope that we don't leave them too exhausted by the time they head home.  We're starting with easy excursions to some of the cities highlights, with the Jin Mao Tower being our first stop.  At 88 floors high I don't think there is a better way to see the city!  It gives you an amazing 360 view of downtown Shanghai, including one of the cities most recognizable landmark, the Oriental Pearl Tower.  Mom took the unique opportunity to mail some post cards from the world's highest post office and picked up a Jin Mao magnet to add to her vast collection.  Off to lunch next at South Beauty, a Szechuan place, where Dad got to try authentic Chinese dumplings and according to him the best he's ever had.  That night we took him to a local place for dumplings.  We had Chem, our driver order for us since the menu is all in Chinese and the staff speaks no English.  This is how you know you are in a "real" Chinese restaurant, dinner for the seven of us cost about $15.

Today Lucas had work and Lily school so it was just the four of us.  Charlie has yet another cold with a bad cough so we made a detour to the doctors.  Nothing major, but the doctor did give me some cough medicine for him and an antihistamine to help with the mosquito bites.  With his sensitive skin the bites get swollen and take forever to heal.  Doctor visit done we headed to the AP Plaza market, which is where you can find all kinds of souvenirs, silk robes, purses, watches, jade, and a thousand and one other things you don't need.  Using the Century Square entrance we wandered around for about an hour picking up a bunch of souvenirs, a "Michael Kors" purse for mom, and a new suitcase for dad since the handle on his broke on the trip over.  We headed home for lunch since Ayi was cooking chicken noodle soup.  The Chinese use long spaghetti style noodles and cook a whole chicken in it and use very little seasoning.  It is very simple and very good, perfect since I am still trying to shake off a cold.  Tonight we went to Simply Thai for dinner to celebrate Lucas's promotion which was officially announced today at work.  Lucas is now the Regional New Business Development Manager, bit of a mouthful, but we are all very proud of him!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lily's Birthday

Saturday we celebrated Liliane's fifth birthday.  It is hard to believe that she is already five and as cliche as it sounds I can't stop myself from asking, where did the time go?  To celebrate I took the kids to the aquarium, which is a favorite of both.  We spent a good hour looking at all the different fish and other animals they have.  Liliane as always kept me on my toes with questions about everything and her own opinions on various topics related to fish.  We had a quick lunch at the aquarium and ice cream too before playing a few games.  Then it was time to call it quits and head home for a nap.

After naps it was time for the birthday girl to open her presents.  Charlie decided to get in on the actions too and after an initial squawk from big sister and a reminder from mom of how much she helped him with his birthday presents the presents were quickly unwrapped.  Lily sends a big thank you to everyone for her presents, which includes a scooter from her Aunties and Granny in Florida.  Not to worry, we bought the safety gear too!  We had dinner at the Blue Frog as per Lily's request, where she ordered a steak for dinner.  I guess she takes after her Papa.  Birthday cake and wishes before it was back home for bed time.

Today we took the kids to the Shanghai Zoo.  This is not the one we went to in the spring and although I'd heard bad things about animals in small cages it wasn't as bad as I'd feared.  It does need improving and the Chinese are terrible about respecting the animals and their habitats but as Lucas pointed out, they have little respect for people too.  The kids had a great time though and loved seeing all the animals.  We grabbed a traditional Chinese lunch... meat on a stick!  We got hotdogs for the kids, and Lucas and I tried pork, chicken, and beef.  We both agreed the pork was the best of the three. 

As with all attractions in Shanghai the zoo has many carnival rides including a huge ferris wheel.  With last nights heavy rains the day was humid and any opportunity to catch a breeze was not going to be missed!  Plus we got some wonderful views of the zoo.  We spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon at the park before Lucas and I agreed it was time to head home, rain was coming.  Not even a minute after getting settled in the car the heavens opened up!  One minute longer and we would have been soaked!  It was a wonderful weekend for sure.  Tomorrow Lucas heads to Hong Kong for two days.  Jealous!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


So, I should begin this with an explanation... our family laptop is in the States with my folks.  We bought it just before our move here and we were starting to have some problems with it.  Naturally we wanted it looked at before we passed the 1 year warranty so we brought it in to Best Buy to be looked at.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't look at it since it is under warranty and told me that they would ship it back to the manufacturer and that it would take 2-4 weeks.  Since my folks are visiting us at the end of Sept we decided it was worth being without our laptop for 6 weeks.  I can check email and surf the net with my iPad, even Skype, Facebook, and blog.  However, it is not exactly easy or convenient to blog and upload pictures to FB or my blog.  So, for this reason my blog will be without pictures for the next few weeks unless I find an easier way to upload them. 

We had a very nice weekend, meeting most of the other North American ex-pats at BASF at a brunch at Baker & Spice.  I met two other moms that are house wives like myself, one has been here for two months, the other for less than 24 hours.  Since both have little girls close in age to Lily I invited them to her birthday party next Friday. 

That night we had hoped to try a Shanghainese restaurant but the address that was listed wasn't right.  I don't know if it has moved locations or if the address was never right but we were left scrambling to find another place to eat that would have something the kids would like.  We finally ended up at a Japanese place and although we ordered chicken wings and french fries for the kids they both preferred my beef with vegetables and rice.  Since both ate a good dinner we treated them to an ice cream from Dairy Queen. 

Today we had brunch with a family we met this summer at the Flying Fox, a popular Western restaurant.  We invited them to Julie's, which is one of our favorite places to get an American style breakfast and a place we don't get to too often.  It was nice to spend a quiet weekend together relaxing with friends.