Thursday, June 29, 2017

Let's review our first year in China

We recently finished up our first year in living in Tianjin, China. We put together a review video and all of us had to answer the following questions:

1. What was the best part of your year?
2. What were your first impressions of China?
3. What is your favorite Chinese food?
4. What was the most surprising thing about China?
5. Describe China in 3 words.
6. What was the most difficult thing about this year?
7. What Chinese words do you know?
8. What do you miss about Korea?
9. What is your proudest achievement of this year?
10. What was the best trip of the year?
11. What advice would you give to someone moving to China?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Laura visits!

Our good friend, Laura, came to visit us last week! Laura had a week long break from school and flew direct from Seoul to Tianjin (it was easy). We had a day off on Monday, so I picked her up from the airport and then we hung around the OC. We took her to the market and then for some beef noodles.

On Tuesday, she came to school with me! What a treat! Here she is showing kids how to break a glass with your voice (it didn't exactly work this time):
She popped in to Jim's class to sing some Justin Bieber on the ukulele:
Here she is singing with my students

Tuesday night the two of us took the fast train to Beijing and went to the Forbidden City and shopping on Wednesday.

Shopping at the dirt market:
At Panjaiyuan
We headed back to Tianjin Wednesday night, and just missed a giant sand storm that blew into Beijing Thursday morning. But then, that same sandstorm arrived in Tianjin by midday Thursday. The dust was off the charts:

Friday after school, we took another fast train to Qinhongdao near where the Great Wall of China begins! 

outside the Tianjin train station

We visited a very interesting part of the Great Wall-this part goes in to the sea!

Overall, having Laura visit was a 10/10. I can't recommend having her visit you enough. Next time you have some time, invite Laura over. It is SO much fun!

Also, The Farleys aren't the only ones who love Laura. Turns out, all of China loves her too, everyone wanted their picture taken with Laura: 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Break 2017

Welcome GUEST BLOGGER, Jim's mom Maureen

When three dear grandchildren and their mom and dad live in China and Spring Break comes around, what do you do? Jim and I said, "let's go" and we booked a trip to China. Qatar Airways made the flight from Philadelphia to Beijing in 20 hours (with an interesting plane change in Doha). Our son Jim was a welcome sight as he met us at the Beijing airport hotel after we had slept a few hours and together we rode the fast train (200mph!!) to Tianjin arriving just in time to meet Grace, Ruby and August and Irish coming home from school. They live in a beautiful house close to school and the children made "Welcome to China" greetings for us. 

Then best of all, the next day we went to the International School of Tianjin and spent most of their last day before Spring Break visiting everyone's classrooms and attending a school assembly where Ruby received an award. The school campus and classrooms are beautiful. Small classes with students and teachers from many countries. We had lunch in the school cafeteria and chose an ice cream dessert with money August gave us from his wallet as a treat. I have wanted to actually see where everyone spent their days and now I'm happy to picture the whole family in a really great place. 

Next day Irish went to San Francisco to visit a friend. The rest of us visited an interesting history museum in Tianjin. We also had a great lunch and get together with my cousin and her husband who has worked in China for 10 years. 

Soon after we took off by train with Jim and the children to Suzhou and later to Shanghai. Jim is a well seasoned travel planner and the choice of these two cities was perfect-old and new China. In Suzhou we visited one of the finest gardens in all of southern China dating back to 1513, the Humble Administrator's Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had breakfasts from street vendors, stopped in small shops along narrow streets, and saw a Chinese town much as it looked years ago.

From there we boarded the train and sped off to Shanghai, a city of 18 million and home to the world's 2nd tallest building "Shanghai Tower" and its surrounding very tall neighbors. Shanghai is a vibrant, exciting and very busy international city. In addition to a huge shipping port it's also a financial center and home to many wold companies. 

Irish flew back in time to meet up for a trip to Shanghai Disney.

Did you know Kylo Ren speaks Chinese?

And Darth Vader speaks Chinese:
"I caught a fish THIS BIG!"

By the end of the week it was time to return to 
Tianjin and we once again boarded the train for the 5 hour ride North. Ruby, Grace and August are really good travelers.  We played hangman, read books and talked and watched a more rural landscape speed by. At the Tianjin station we said goodbye as the China Farleys had to go home and get ready for a new school week. Jim and I continued to Beijing and extended our trip to Asia by visiting Hong Kong and Vietnam. After a fantastic trip to the other side of the world, we're looking forward to seeing Jim, Irish, Grace, Ruby and August again in Denver, Colorado this summer. 

Irish here. Side note:

I went to California-again! Last summer, it was agreed upon that I would go to San Francisco for spring break because Katie would have a new baby around that time. And who better to help during the night, than someone with jetlag? (For the record, though, I did not help at night at all).

 Finally, the weather in SF was perfect, the baby was excellent while I was there and I got to return some shoes at Nordstrom that I had purchased in December. It was another very quick trip, but I have a pretty solid system of coffee and benedryl now that makes international travel a snap.

Not pictured: Katie's pre-pregnancy jeans, which she was wearing