Friday, December 15, 2017

Siem Reap, Cambodia

In 2002, Jim and I got married and we took our honeymoon in Southeast Asia. I was only concerned about going to a beach, but Jim had bigger (better) plans including visiting Siem Reap. When we first visited the temples in Siem Reap, I was totally amazed. I had never seen anything like it and was fascinated by the history, the art and that you could just roam in and out and up and through the temples.

Jim in 2002

It has been a dream of mine to come back here with the kids. We waited until they were old enough and here we are. We spent 3 days exploring the same temples and, to our surprise, not much has changed.

We were worried about crowds, but they were about the same. There were a lot of people at Angkor Wat, but only at the entrance, then the people disbursed and things were mostly quiet again. The beauty, the history the details were all just as interesting as they were when I first saw them.

In addition to the temples, we had time to fit in a cooking class and have dinner with the Sautel's who, for the second year in a row, vacationed at the same place as us at Christmas. We also had dessert with our Chinese tutor Christina, who was also here on vacation.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

We hosted Thanksgiving again this year!  Last year we had a limited guest list due to a lack of space and we had chickens due to lack of knowing where to get a turkey but this year we invited everyone who works at our school and had TWO turkeys.

We are lucky enough to have friends who would not only let us use their oven to cook the second turkey, but they did all the work-they even carved it when they brought it over. And this was their very first Thanksgiving! 

lots of shoes in our very full house

We had a photobooth!

Once again, we had a potluck style Thanksgiving. It's really the best way because everyone can focus on that one thing they're good at, so all the food is excellent. We had all the staples plus kung pao chicken, egg rolls, tomato soup, Danish coconut cake and a variety of other amazing dishes.

Food! (unrelated-putting a sofa in the kitchen is one
of the best decorating decisions I've ever made)

Felicity's tomato soup was the first thing to go!

more food!

Jim's plate

After we ate, everyone just hung out. Kids upstairs, everyone else downstairs. It was really relaxing and fun to watch football and talk, just as Thanksgiving should be.

football games all day.

Each year, Katie in SF sends me a Fall care package (i.e. Thanksgiving themed socks, stickers, thanksgiving napkins, Trader Joe's pumpkin spice coffee, etc.) and this year there were place cards too. We had more guests than place cards so before people came over, I had the kids write something on each card and spread them throughout the house. Here's just a sample of what they're grateful for at this time:

The party was just what we had hoped it would be, we wish Thanksgiving was more than once a year.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tianjin Taobao Street

Today I heard Christmas music while grocery shopping-it's that time of year again! Due to a tradition we started when we first moved to Korea, our tree is already up. The lights have yet to turn up after our move to the OC, so we need to get some new ones! Last year we found a lot of decorations at Da Hutong however, that has since moved. We visited the new Da Hutong in August and it was ok, but not as great as it had been origionally. Maybe they have Christmas things now but I had heard that "Taobao Street" is even better than Da Hutong, so I decided to check it out.

Taobao is a website that sells basically whatever you want. Examples of things I have ordered from Taobao are gouda cheese, bike helmets, fabric, school supplies, etc. It has everything. I had high hopes for Taobao Street.

Here is the address in Chinese: 中山门曙光里市场 and FYI, it's roughly here:

BUT, is it worth going? Maybe? Maybe not. There was not any gouda, bike helmets, fabric or Christmas decorations. However, it was pretty interesting and I did get a few things. If you decide to go, just be prepared that people are smoking everywhere, it was like being in a bar, but a bar that only served cigarettes and rather than drinking, people were just smoking. I think I now qualify as a smoker after my afternoon at Taobao Street. Anyway, I took some pictures of some of the interesting things we saw. Here you go!

WHY DIDN'T I BUY ONE? (I bet when you add a warm drink a winter coat appears over them. Or something like that)

So, it's definitely something to do, something to see. I'll keep looking out for the Christmas decorations that were at Da Hutong last year. Maybe they're at the new one now? I'll keep an eye out. For now, I'll order my lights on taobao. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

This is Halloween

It's everyone's not teachers favorite time of year! Halloween is not celebrated in China, but we live in a little international bubble, so we are enthusiastically celebrating it at school and in our neighborhood, the OC. Some organization and planning had to go in to making it happen. Many families participated (over 100 kids) but we didn't want to have the kids cross the busy road in OC so only some houses handed out candy. Everyone participating contributed candy though, so the houses giving it out didn't have to bear the brunt of providing for all the kids. Candy was delivered to me all week by kids and Saturday morning the Halloween crew met up in my classroom and we separated candy to drop off at the 18 houses.

One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me....

Everyone met up at 4:00 and was given a map showing the participating houses. 

Grace was a tough pirate

August was a zombie baseball player

Ruby was a beautiful knight

 It was really fun, the weather was good and the kids got a lot of good candy. Overall, it was a huge success. Now let the holiday season begin!