Monday, April 29, 2013

Picture Catch-Up

Life has been busy! Here are a few shots from the last couple of weeks. 

Hubby and D went to Shanghai for the weekend to watch the Formula One race. I hear it was loud, high adrenaline and a blast!
He was supporting the Mercedes team

At the Bund in Shanghai

Dad of the Year Award!

Dang, he is cute!
I have been working hard on my health!
Why do I sweat so much more than everyone else!
(Rhetorical Question)

Awesome full moon on a clear night

Yay for Spring!

Oh, the smell of Lilacs! Makes me miss my home in No Cal...
My amazing friend and Mandarin teacher met me for lunch and introduced me to a few new dishes.
Tofu and some green, leafy yumminess

I honestly cannot give up these little babies. One thing I will truly miss!

Flip-flop weather!

Hosting a conference call, driving a stick shift, drinking a soda IN BEIJING TRAFFIC
(apparently with his eyes closed). Heaven help us!

The new mom-mobile!

Need some dishes? How about getting them from the back of a cart?

Jupi, hubby and D (on his ripstick) strolling down 2nd Ring Rd.
I am super irritated about the guard railing they just put up. It serves no purpose and makes it SO difficult as Chinese people rarely move over. See those yellow bricks to the left...they are for the visually impaired and nobody wants to walk on them. Stupid guard rails that serve no purpose and make my life inconvenient!
Last remainder of the Beijing City dusk.
 So beautiful!

Family fun time!

Come visit us on Behind The Refrigerator Door this week! 
We are talking about stress...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Follow Me on Facebook~ Behind The Refrigerator Door

Not too many things in life are one's address;) But I have found that the need to be healthy is something that everyone, everywhere should be doing. For a lot, like me, focusing on being healthy has had it's ups and downs. It is all chronicled on my other blog: Behind The Refrigerator Door.

I do not have multiple personalities, it is the same Jen over there as is here on TimeOutForMe, although that gets a little more personal. I definitely "let it all hang out".

Someday my two blogs may merge, but for now, you are invited to follow the Behind The Refrigerator Door Facebook Page. This is NOT a place for me to blab all the time. It is a place where WE can all share and feel validated about our successes and temporary set-backs on our road to good health! I hope you will join us!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big News! We Are Moving To...

*Los Angeles*

When we set out on our China adventure it was unthinkable for me to be leaving my dream home and wonderful life full of friends and family. I really thought my life would just be on pause and we would return, un-pause the button, and go right back to our prior life. I even told people I would hang my pictures up in the exact same places. I can't help but laugh at myself at how naive those thoughts were! Although thinking that way helped me through the thought of coming to China.

Things change... although it stings to be saying goodbye to that life, I know that Southern California is where we are meant to go next and we are so excited about it.  I am grateful for this confirmation, I didn't really feel that about coming to China. Now I realize I could not fathom making this transition without China in between.

There are lots of questions and decisions to be made. What will we do with our Northern California home? Can we buy or will we have to rent? How will the kids do with this new transition (studies show repatriation is harder than expatriation. Yikes!)? When will we be moving? Where will we be moving to? What will the subtitle on my blog be now :) ?

I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do that it will all work out. It is a huge leap of faith, but Heavenly Father will not let us down. Like all choices in life, this has been a spiritual one with some very precious reassurances. 
We leave China on or around June 14th!
Thank you for all of your support through this amazing China chapter in our lives. I mean it when I say I could not have done it without you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chengdu Highlights~ China

This is my final post of our spring break trip to Chengdu, China. We went to Chengdu to see the pandas and found so much more!
Here are some highlights from our week!

We usually stay at Marriott's since hubby has points with them, but this time we stayed at a Chinese hotel called Chengdu Comfort. It was clean and affordable enough to get two rooms. The location was good. Drawbacks were only chinese food (not the good kind) and only Chinese TV.

Those in my family who eat rice were thrilled at how the Sichuan Province serves rice, in a bucket!

These servers at a Hot Pot restaurant were so cute!
They laughed at our chinese so much. They don't see many foreigners in this area of Chengdu.
At our Hot Pot dinner I thought I ordered lotus roots and I ordered pig stomach!
Hubby was the only to try it. Yuck!

Fun shopping. It became a quest to find these particular popsicles. The kids checked every single ice cream chest on our entire trip. Do you know how frequent ice cream chests are? Very! Not one was found. We concluded they just don't have them in this part of China. Hey, whatever engages the kiddos right?

It seems like whenever we go on vacation; whether it be So Cal, Hawaii, Yangshuo or Thailand we run into someone we know. Most of the time it is people from the kids school. Chengdu was no different. Here is E with one of her favorite high school teachers. Fun!

Cute little twins!
Jin Li Street in downtown Chengdu. Very old and very quaint.

We had a lot of fun walking through the scenic Jin Li Street.
There are many shops,  snack stands and restaurants to check out.

Good Luck!
We stayed about one day too long, but found TainFu Square,
where Chairman Mao stands watching over. 
We thought it might be fun to spend a day at the Sichuan Science and Technology Museum. It was in dire need of repair and updating, but had lots of hands on activities. We all had fun.

Anywhere that has aviation my boy is happy!
One of the highlights of our whole trip was this sweet kid who latched himself onto us at the museum. Apparently his parents were working on this national holiday and they dropped him off at the museum for the day. He was so cute and funny! We spent the whole day with him.
One thing I miss about the US is quality eateries in touristy type places. This snack bar was the only food at the museum. Chips and Ramen Noodle boxes were it and we were hungry!

Hubby was at it again eating a disgusting egg!
 Sometime I will post the video I took of him eating it. Hilarious!
This very hip and happening alley was right next to our hotel.
These restaurants were packed at night.

 We had a great time in Chengdu and recommend it for anyone traveling to China!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Du Jiang Yan- Much More Than Irrigation!

I have to admit that when hubby said we were going to go see an Irrigation System I was not thrilled, and neither were the kids. But this place was SO cool!
Who knew we would see so many fun things in one place?

Like "Disney" characters! Even with their heads off!
This was particularly entertaining to me, 
as I use to rub elbows with the characters closely when I worked at Disneyland in college.

We have been to a few different places in China, but nothing as quaint and charming as this place! We took a high speed train from Chengdu to DuJiangYan, and a quick taxi ride from the train station to this spot.
A gate to a tunnel that leads you over the river.

Intricate paintings in the tunnel.

The view from the tunnel bridge.
We had fun getting snacks from the many food vendors. It was like we were celebs because we were the ONLY foreigners here. 
So grateful that my kids are adventurous enough to try things sold from a cart!

I was less adventurous with just getting some fresh strawberries.
Now that we were all fueled up it was time to go hike. 
We set out to hike up to that pagoda on the hill, but found the trail to the irrigation system on the way.

Just a few flights of stairs until the trail.

Look at these two cuties we ran into!
So this irrigation system is world famous because it was over 2,200 years ago around 250 BC! It is still in use today and services 36 counties.
Part of the DuJiangYan Irrigation System.

The air in Chengdu was just as bad as Beijing.
The bridge you see is where we walked to.

He going to be taller than me very soon!
This bridge was so fun, as it was a little bouncy.
Can you spot D and I?
Where, you ask, is the teenage daughter?
She was ticked off at this point and was miles ahead.
Hubby stands across the river from the monastery.
All that foliage is where we hiked. It was amazing. 
After a couple of hours of traipsing through the hills we were in search of real food now. Luckily this street was very entertaining to search.

 You would think it would be easy to find something to eat...but  unless you want to eat chicken feet (pictured below)...
...or at a restaurant where you can pick your live entree (chickens, ducks, rabbits) out front... then you would be like us. Still searching for a place to eat.
These are not intended as pets.

So we stopped to get some exercise on a water wheel. 
It is a lot harder than it looks!

 Since food was not in our imminent future we wandered into a park, and garden area, that I can honestly say was the most beautiful place in China I've ever been.

Japanese  Chinese style gardens
Azaleas were blooming all over the place.

It was hard not to get romantic in such a beautiful place.
 In one section of the garden there was a group of people doing traditional Chinese calligraphy and water color painting. They called us over and wanted the kids to participate. A television camera filmed them interacting with the artists. Who knows where my kids will show up on tv! They were all very kind and began giving the kids their artwork. 
The artist giving her painting to the kids. 

More pictures with the white kids.

 We saw so many interesting things that day. Just a few more examples before I leave you...

 Yes! The little girl is going the main thoroughfare.

Where we FINALLY got dinner.
A whole in the wall place that satisfied everyone and felt like we were guests in someone's home.
Who needs a car?
It is very common to see anything and everything carried on a scooter. Here is an example of a lot of beverages.

We made it back to the train station with plenty of time to spare. We always carry a deck of cards. Here we are playing gin rummy and drawing quite a crowd. 

The Chinese love their card games. 

 Thanks for making it through this incredibly long post 
(you deserve to reward yourself in some way)
Can you believe I am still not done showing you Chengdu!
Stay Tuned!
(just not today because this post took me three hours!)