May: The longest Month

May is historically the longest month of my life. Mostly because I’m a teacher, and it’s the last full month we have to teach before going on summer break. This year we have to teach all the way up to June 19, so my summerache has been quite acute. To combat this, my husband knows that if he works in small trips and getaways to help with the summerache, both his and mine. This May was no different. We didn’t have the money to do a getaway to the Philippines like last year, but we did have enough to do some hotel staycations locally. After our Macau getaway the first weekend of May, we survived another week of school before heading out to the Intercontinental Shenzhen. If you followed my blog last year, you will notice that we stayed their twice near the end of the year, which we did again this May. We are members of the IHG hotel group, so we always get upgraded and these times were no different. The first visit this year, we went for Mother’s Day, and it was lovely. We got a huge suite, club privileges, and nobody was at the pool (mostly because the weather was bad). The second stay was the last weekend of May and it was a little rough around the edges, mostly because it was Children’s Day that weekend, so everybody brought their kids. It was fun, but a little crowded for us. Also, ironically, they didn’t allow children into the club, which they’d always done before. Still, it is always nice to treat ourselves to the huge pool, awesome breakfast buffet (it rivals Vegas), huge bathtub, and beautiful workout room. I kind of want to go back this weekend. 🙂

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We also had a stay in HK this month. We decided to go on a Friday night, instead of our usual Saturday morning on the ferry. It was a pretty easy border crossing, nothing like the first time we walked across the border. It actually took longer to catch a cab to Shenzhen-Wan than it did to make it through customs, but it was a pretty hefty cab fare to get to our hotel from the border on the HK side. Lucky for us, when we checked in, they were full, so we were upgraded to the biggest room I’ve ever stayed in (this was at the Crown Plaza Kowloon East). It had a dining room, a living room, a bedroom, a secret closet, a huge bathroom and a second hidden bathroom. It was serious luxury. So much so, that we didn’t check out until close to 3pm the next day. Then we ran our usual errands in central HK, before catching a late ferry home. It was quick, but again made us feel refreshed. Our sweet digs at the hotel:

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In between hotel stays, we’ve been brewing up a storm! We’ve been focusing on making yummy IPA’s and ok hefeweizen. At one point, we had 25 gallons of beer in one stage or another in our closet. Pretty crazy! We have since drank that down (we had to have a party to lower our supply), but we still will have quite a stash when we return in August. It’s been so fun to brew, and I’m excited to get new ingredients from the States this summer.

IMG_8155 IMG_8154 IMG_8178 IMG_8082   We’ve also found a new place to visit for happy hours and hanging out with friends. It’s called Frankie’s and it’s like walking out of China and straight into any non-descript bar in the USA. It’s like a transporter. The food is good (mostly fried) and the beer is great! They’ve got a ton of craft brew on tap, but unfortunately it’s an expensive habit. We’ve been with friends a few times and the bill has always been about $100 a piece, (after a long night of fun). We also had one reunion with Los Dos Duos to finish out the year at quiz night. We’ve been hobbling through the year short-handed because one of the Varvels always has to stay home with their new son. It’s a worthy sacrifice. 🙂

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So fast forward to now, just 10 days away from heading back to the States for the summer and the time has virtually stopped. It sped by for a few weeks while I was taking my online IB courses for next year, but those finished today. And now all I can think is how many hours I still have before I get to board a plane to Seattle. It’s torturous. And exhausting for some reason.

There will be a few sad goodbyes this year. Some of the soccer girls are leaving and not returning, and some teachers whom I’ve grown to really like are moving on to greener pastures. That and next year I’ll be moving campuses up to the Secondary to teach Biology. It’s hard to say goodbye to people not knowing when the next time you will see them again is. It’s different from when somebody moves away from home because you know they’ll be back to visit sometime, at least to see family. But this is a different kind of goodbye. It’s an acknowledgement of the moments you share in the same time and place, that time is up, but not the friendship. It’s also a feeling that if you come across this person anywhere else in the world, it will be different, but also the same. The nature of people who live overseas is unique and it’s unlike anything I’ve encountered. I wish all my friends who are moving on to new places the best of luck and I can’t wait to visit. There is not much more to report about life here. I can’t wait to break the holding pattern and get this summer started! Much love and see you soon! xo j

Here are a couple random pics from this month:

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