Monday, August 29, 2016

Quick weekend trip to Beijing

We took the fast train up to Beijing for a little bit this weekend! There is SO MUCH to see. We left a little later than we really wanted to on Saturday morning and made it to Beijing by 11:15. The actual train trip between Tianjin and Beijing was the fastest part of the trip. It took us longer to get from our apartment to the train station-that's how fast the train is. It goes like 290kph. What is kph, America? That just means really fast.

I can't tell you how many days we'll need to actually see Beijing, the city is huge and amazing. We'll keep going back. For this trip we saw Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Sadly, the Forbidden City was actually forbidden to us because by the time we got there, they had sold out of their 80,000 tickets for the day. But we live just down the way in Tianjin, so we'll be back.

Check out the video of the weekend!

Beijing August 2016 from Farley on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Downtown Tianjin: We finally left our neighborhood

Now that we're more settled and don't need to go to Ikea during all of our free time, we decided to check out downtown. We went to two places: Tianjin Ancient Cultural Street (or as you may know it, Guwenhua Jie) and Nanshi food street. It's about a 30 minute drive from our neighborhood.
I don't know what's going on here. They were looking at these fruits and then measuring and examining the pits. The tattooed Buddhist taxi driver I had yesterday had several of these. What does it mean?!

We got some masks for the kids. The woman would NOT negotiate on price. I don't know if I should have dramitacally walked away or what, but I just gave her what she asked. Probably a rookie mistake. We went across the street from the market to the river. The city is really pretty-and even prettier at night, but we had to leave right after dinner because August's flip flop broke (this happens to us a lot) so we have a reason to go back soon.

Anyway, the river. I love living in a city with water. The river and surrounding buildings and bridges are beautiful.

We walked over to "food street". It's not really a street, it's inside this building. Two floors of restaurants and food stalls.

in here!
There were some recognizable candy and some not (NOT CHOCOLATE)

This food (below), jianbing, is so delicious that Jim and I have been eating it every Saturday and Sunday for breakfast. It's the Chinese crepe. According to the internet, soon everyone in America will be eating this every Saturday and Sunday for breakfast too. Brace yourself for an increased quality of life, America.

Sesame snacks:

Bricks of brown sugar
Candied nuts
We stopped at one stall to try dessert things we'd been seeing all day. The woman makes it by taking some dough from a bowl and putting it in a cup. Then stacks the cup and steams the dough. Then she pops them out and you can put a jam on top. 

Guess who speaks Chinese? Jim will tell you he doesn't but he carried on for a while with these women, answering all of their questions.

While we waited for our little cakes, we figured out what all the jams were. They were all pretty obvious except for one. It looked like chocolate. The woman gave us a sample. After I tasted it I made all the kids try it (it tasted kind of like sweetarts candy):

We were stopped at this place for a while. Like Seoul, there are not too many foreigners in Tianjin. Unlike Seoul, we were the ONLY foreigners. All day people gaped at us. Over and over children would point and yell "Měiguórén!" which means "American!" As we waited, a small crowd stopped to look at us and stare at the 3 -THREE- children. Then people wanted to take MY picture. My point is, come visit us in China and you'll get the celebrity treatment from the people of Tianjin. 

We finally got our cakes-they were delicious-we got all the jams except for the sourNOTchocolate one and were on our way. Before we started at food street I told the kids that we were going to buy some things that might be unusual but if they tried everything we bought, we could get ice cream at McDonalds before we went home. Because of course, food street has McDonalds....

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Settling In

We've been here a couple weeks now and some things are easier (no more waiting for the elevator) and some things are still a bit harder (no one wants my credit card-everyone wants cash), but let me tell you this: we've been able to get McDonalds and Ikea delivery all by ourselves.

Let me show you around a bit. I'm going to post pictures of things I think you're most interested in right away: the school, the neighborhood we live in and our home.

First off, the reason we're here- the International School of Tianjin. The facilities are lovely and after 1 day of teaching here, I can tell you that the students are also lovely. The staff has been really friendly too. Hooray!

If you don't want to play outside, you can play inside:

My classroom:
 Jim's classroom:

 Chinese class:

We're living in a neighborhood called Crystal City. It's as fancy as it sounds.

This is our neighbor's apartment. There's a talking bird in that cage.
This bird knows far more Chinese than I do.

Korean exercise machines! (or were they Chinese exercise machines in Korea?)
Our neighborhood has a barber. (photo credit: August Farley)
Friday we walked around and got dinner out. On our way back we passed a talent competition: 

A few blocks further, we came across this trio playing music:

I love our apartment. We've been to Ikea a couple of times, unpacked our shipment, had plants delivered and all of a sudden it's home.
The 1st floor is ours
Our upstairs neighbors
The living room (that tv gets Lifetime and Nickelodeon!)

Look closely, there's the dining room back there

Grace and Ruby's room:

August's room:

Our room: 

And, of course, the grown-up room! 

The first day of school! Grace and Ruby are going into 4th grade and August is going into 1st!

Note the inconsistent size and quality of all the pictures. Boy, getting this thing up on the blog took quite a bit of time.
So much of this. So, so much.