Busy Life=Happy J

Before I get into the goings on in my life, I have to make note of the earthquake that took place a few days following my last post. We left Nepal on April 18, and a week later, a devastating earthquake destroyed quite a bit of the capitol, but also left the surrounding areas leveled. It was shocking to me to look at pictures and video of the places we had been standing just a week earlier. So many of the sites we visited were damaged or completely demolished, including the building our hotel was in. My emotions ranged from relief that we hadn’t been there, to worry for the people we still cared about who were there, to helplessness, knowing we were so far away and could give so little, and finally settling on a stunned sad feeling. No one will ever see Nepal the way we did again.

Besides sorting through those emotions, we’ve jumped into spring here in Shenzhen head first! I hit the ground running when I returned from Nepal a few short weeks ago. Here’s what’s been going on:

A Visit From Dad!

Dad was in Shenzhen when I got back from Kathmandu, so we arranged to meet up as often as possible. This meant that I actually got to see him the day I got home! He was a little bit sick, and I was super tired from traveling all night, but we hadn’t seen him since his visit in September. I was in family heaven, being back with Donnie and Paul and getting to have my Dad too. We chatted, caught up with all the fun things going on in our lives (especially Dad’s!) and mostly had a mellow day around the house. He went home early, and we planned to meet up with him the next day at his hotel, and that’s what we did. (After a short trip to the LCC for some souvenirs and more eye glasses for Donnie). In general, it’s wonderful having people visit, and I especially like it when I get to spend time with Dad just doing normal things because there’s no pressure to see the city.

He ended up leaving a day early, but before he did, he had the opportunity to come and visit my classroom. I made him say a few words to the class about his job and about how he uses the scientific method in his daily life, and they were generally impressed. I definitely was. πŸ™‚ We met up with Donnie and Paul after that for a meal at the Paulaner and it was too soon time to say goodbye. Hopefully we will cross paths with him this summer, if not, it’s nice to know he’ll be back soon. ❀

A New Dog

Duncan is well-loved!
Duncan is well-loved!

Right after I returned from Nepal, Donnie and I decided to adopt a dog from a family who is moving away this year. His name was originally Chippy, but we renamed him Duncan (after the Spur, of course). He’s a malti-poo and is tiny! He’s a relatively good dog; he can run around without a leash outside and I just have to whistle for him to come racing back. He loves to cuddle too, and Paul has had a great time playing and chasing him. It’s been nice having a dog again, but it’s work too. Donnie takes the morning walk with him, and I take the evening one, but that’s led to another great development for Paul…

A New Cyclist

Paul likes to come out with whoever is taking out the dog, and he likes to take his bike. We took the pedals off his bike that he got for Christmas so that he could use it as a balance bike, so he was taking that outside to ride while we let the dog do his business. Well, one morning, he decided it was ok to let Donnie put the pedals back on (he’d been vehemently against it), and boom! He was riding! No training wheels, no parent holding his seat and pushing, no falling! It’s only a matter of time before a great wipeout, but he’s been riding everyday and loves it. It makes my heart happy for him, but also makes it beat fast when he races around our apartment complex. πŸ™‚

I’m really proud of him, and it’s just like all his other major milestones: he does it when he’s ready, and only then. Just like giving up breast feeding, bottles, learning how to use the toilet, and so on. He’s always done things on his own timeline, and I’m glad for that, and it’s good for me to keep in mind as he gets older. Don’t rush it. πŸ˜‰

Soccer Girls Night Out

The same weekend that Paul learned to ride, I went out with some friends. It was pretty soon after getting back from Nepal, so I was tired, but these girls are fun so I went anyway. A woman named Steph was hosting this time (there’s been one other dinner party), and she made the most amazing Italian dinner. I’ve really loved having friends this year, it’s taken nearly 2 years for me to feel comfortable in my new city. Building a social life as a wife and mom is pretty difficult, especially Β in China. Joining this soccer league has been the best, meeting girls from all over and all ages. This particular evening was also a send off for one of the girls, Dre, who was moving back to the States. Dre is well loved, so we all went out to a nightclub afterwards to have some drinks and linger into the night. It was fun, but I felt old, so I called it a night. I felt old the next morning too, when I could barely get out of bed. πŸ˜‰

A Trip to the “Beach”

That same weekend, we rallied one Sunday afternoon and headed out to a new place in Futian. Futian is an area of Shenzhen about an hour a way by cab, and maybe 1.5 hours by subway. We went to a party at a place called The Futian Beach. It was being hosted by Bionic Brew (who’s taproom has been shut down again), so we wanted to enjoy the opportunity to drink some good craft brew. Just like the brew pub, it was hard to find, tucked between some sports courts in a parking lot. It was like a trailer park with tiki torches and bamboo fence around it. It was basically a huge, clean sandpit. It was cool! Paul calls it the desert and wants to go back, and I would like to also. We hung out all afternoon playing in the sand, playing huge Jenga, and enjoying the company of the crowd. We were the token family, the rest was mostly young single guys. The guys that own the place were taking promo pics, and he sent some to me so be prepared for pic overload.

Mo-My New Ride

I’ve been juggling a few bicycles lately, but finally I have settled into my new ride. She’s a beautiful Giant Momentum, so I call her Mo’ for short. She’s a retro ride with leather handle bars and seat. Paul and I have been having a blast cruising around town, and I’m enjoying having a city bike again instead of a road bike. πŸ™‚

A Chili-Party Birthday

This past week was filled with birthdays of friends. There were so many birthdays, we couldn’t attend all the celebrations, but we did get to go to one. My friend Jessica, who I think I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog, was having a birthday dinner and party after. So even though Donnie was beginning to get sick, I dragged him out this past Thursday. Jess had planned dinner at a restaurant right down the street from us, literally a five minute walk, but we’d never been. The restaurant is called Chili Party, and the name called out to us, but we were never brave enough to try it. It’s a cool place! Or hot rather. You and a partner have to place your order on a checklist based on what you want to eat. So Donnie and I put together a stir-fry of Sezchuan pepper, broccoli, sweet potato, cabbage and bamboo shoots (you could add meat, but it was strange stuff like ‘guts’). It came out in a big bowl and was so spicy I wasn’t sure I could stomach a lot of it. But so good, and really reasonably priced. A lot of people showed up to the event and everybody was in a good mood because we had a holiday the next day. Lots of cheers and laughs, and after we all gathered to head to The Village to continue the party. The Village was fun like it always was, and I enjoyed the time with people I don’t get to see so often. Again, I’m so grateful to get to know people better this year, there are some really amazing people who live here. We headed home in the early hours of the morning and I was reminded again of my age the next day. πŸ˜‰ But it was worth it.

After such a crazy night, I was craving a day of rest. That’s exactly what I got. Donnie was busy finishing up his classes and getting sick, so Paul and I spent the hours playing, riding bikes, and watching movies. We babysat Thomas on Friday night so Honey and Zack could go out for another friend’s birthday. It was so cool to see Paul interact with Thomas, and Thomas wanted to do everything just like Paul. We played and played and played. It was a great day. πŸ™‚

If you stuck with me this far, thank you! It’s a long post, I know, but it’s almost over!!!

Macau!

To top off a busy week, Donnie and I had been planning an overnight trip to Macau to see Katy Perry, who was on tour there this past weekend. We bought the tickets back in February or March and had been planning it for months. Unfortunately, we failed to remember that this was also the weekend all of Donnie’s finals were due for his coursework, and on top of it, he was getting progressively more sick. Amy came over to watch Paul for the day and night and we had a stressful time getting to the ferry. After arriving in Macau, we checked into our hotel and settled in. I was looking forward to laying in the sun by the pool and relaxing, but it was cloudy and cool. It still ended up being fun and Donnie and I relaxed out there for a few hours before coming in to get ready for the concert. I feel bad because I know he wasn’t feeling well, but was trying to be excited for the concert. We walked across the street and found the venue before sitting in our nosebleed seats. Even with all the stress and sickness, it was such a great show! I knew that Katy Perry would deliver, but I was impressed with her showmanship and her incredible energy. If you ever have the chance to see her, I would highly recommend it. We were tired after so instead of going out like we planned, we ordered room service and enjoyed having a tv with American channels. πŸ™‚ The next morning after scrambling to finish some of Donnie’s work, we headed home. Donnie had pretty much lost his voice and felt terrible, so he went straight to bed when we got home. It was fun, but I wish it had fallen on a weekend with less stress and less sickness.

So life has been super busy, but being busy distracts me from the many weeks we still have before summer arrives. It should slow down a little in the coming weeks, but I hope not. I enjoy spending time with my family, fun people and trying new things, so this past month has been a blur of that. I’m so grateful for the love that surrounds me on a daily basis, including the love I feel from far away.

I did really miss San Antonio during Fiesta this year, and my heart is broken for the Spurs. But onwards and upwards, right?

Much love to all.

xo, J

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