I haven’t been so good about posting about our daily lives this year. I’ve mostly focused on our travels, which is good, but I still feel the urge to share some of the not so exciting parts of our lives. The problem is that with my new job teaching IB Biology, and 3 classes of regular Biology, I don’t have very much down time. I am also so tired from working so hard, I am unmotivated to sit down and blog.
Well today I am home with a sick kiddo, so as he watches Mickey Mouse and hopefully recovers, I’m going to try to catch up with some of our in-between moments. (I’ll try to work chronologically, but most likely this post will be all over the place.)
I guess I’ll start with school. We have gotten back into our routine of school days here. I work at the high school, which is a different campus from where I was the past two years. My classroom is a small lab, but with a wall of windows, which I am really loving. Paul rides to school with Donnie everyday and I ride my bike a short 2 min over to my new school. It gives us time to eat breakfast as a family and I have time to hike and workout before I head to school. It’s weird to think back to the days when I would get to school at 6:45am, now I leave for school at 8:10am. It’s a pretty good life. 😉
I work a lot harder than I have in a few years, but it feels good. It’s challenging and time consuming and exhausting, but the students are rising to the challenges and it’s a nice change to be working with older kids. I’m still learning the ropes, but by next year I’ll be much more comfortable. Donnie is our IT director for 4 campuses this year. He has had so many opportunities since we left Texas, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He has had a super busy start to the year, but things are easing off a bit now, just until they start gearing up for next year in March! Paul has had a good year in school so far too! His teacher, Ms. Ellen, has worked with him in so many ways. He’s reading simple words, spelling, writing, adding, counting, and finally saying his ‘y’ sounds! (I was getting a little worried.) Overall, it’s been a fulfilling start to the year (now that it’s almost Christmas break).
We’ve been brewing beer for over a year now. It’s weird to think back to our first brew and that we only brewed 1 gallon! It was barely enough to enjoy. We now brew 5-10 gallons at a time. We’ve upgraded our equipment and invested in a kegorator. It’s pretty cool to have your own homemade beer coming out of a tap in your house, dangerous too. We’ve enjoyed sharing it with friends, having them over, relaxing , listening to music, letting the kids play while we chat. It’s much better than spending a ton of money on expensive drinks at a restaurant, and I think our beer is as good if not better than a lot of places out there.
We’ve also joined up with the other homebrewers in Shenzhen. We meet once a month at Bionic Brew (it’s third and hopefully final location). We’ve met and networked with so many cool people here, and I have never felt so much a part of a community. There are about 20 of us and we meet to share brews, ideas, recipes, and advice. We have super experienced brewers that own bars, first time brewers, and people like us who do it for the main purpose of having good beer to drink for cheap. We’ve calculated that our beer is about $1.50 per pint, which is pretty good for a really refreshing IPA. Anyway, the brewers are a really cool group of people and now we have a way of getting supplies we could never get before (for example CO2 for our kegs). Like I said before, it’s also a really friendly and easy community to fit into. I designed some t-shirts to solidify the group, since I’m currently the only female member, I figured it’s kind of my job. 😉
Soccer is still a major part of my world. I coached again this year for the 3rd year in a row. This year I demoted myself to assistant coach, because I was so overloaded at work. We had so few girls turn out for the team, we only had 12 total. This means that just like last year we had to play all the A and B teams, which was really hard because we only had 3 returning players. I think the total experience we had on the team was 2 years. Needless to say, we didn’t win a game all season, but the girls had fun, and so did I because the head coach was one of my close pals, Lariska.
I’m also still playing women’s soccer here on Wednesdays. I’ve cut back to once or twice a month, since I’ve been so exhausted from work. The hardest part is to get motivated and head out there to play. Once I get there, my energy surges and I laugh and have a great time. I need to get back into it because it really is a much needed ritual. I also love that I’ve gotten to know the girls so much better. We get together about monthly besides our soccer games to do something social, and it is one of my favorite times. We’re having some of them over this Friday for a party we’re hosting and I’m excited to share my time with them. 🙂
In the 2.5 years we’ve been here, it’s taken time to make friends and be able to balance our social lives with our work lives and our workout lives. It’s still a work in progress, but this year has been filled with some really special people and special moments. We’ve deepened our friendships with a few families, and it’s scary to think that some of them might be moving on to other places this next year. All the more reason to soak up time with them. Our friendships and our children’s friendships mean so much to us and I will remember these times always. A little selfish piece of me hopes that we all stick around next year and enjoy another year of life together. Some of the fun times include getting pedicures with Honey, we’ve moved our pedi time to Friday night instead of Sunday morning. We bring a bottle of wine and a bag of pretzels and it’s quite a nice date. 🙂 A few kid’s birthday parties, and adult get togethers sprinkled in. I love my hikes with my good friend Paula, quiz night with everybody, and even a fancy wine and cheese night followed by ridiculous KTV. It’s been a fun few months so far, and I’m thinking it will continue. 🙂
Living in Shenzhen is pretty cool, living in Hong Kong would be even cooler though. 🙂 Luckily, it’s very close. We can hop on a ferry and be there in about an hour. We’ve become pretty comfortable with our knowledge of HK, but we were given an unexpected holiday in September that we decided to use to discover some corners we hadn’t seen before. Paul and I were in need of more passport pages, so we packed up and headed over for a couple of days. After dropping off our stuff at the passport office, we wandered around some corners we hadn’t been to before. We went across the bay to Kowloon to find a new craft brew place, which was delicious. They brew beer and make bread, so their sandwiches are amazing, I had a Thanksgiving sandwich. 🙂 We rode a tram around central and walked through the shopping streets. It’s nice to take the time to look at all the shops and being able to people watch. We picked up our passports with no fuss, then headed to our hotel for the night. The next day we went to an American grocery store and spent way too much money, then went to Hong Kong Brew Craft to pick up supplies. It was a heavy load home, but it was a good trip.
Donnie and I also got away to HK for a day and a night on our own. We had Amy stay with Paul and we headed over to HK in early October for one of our favorite HK events, Beertopia. I wrote about this in our first year in China, it was held in March of 2014, but instead of being held in March of 2015, they pushed it to October. We had to wait a year and a half, but it was worth the wait. Last time, we brought Paul and went for the day, this time we got day and night passes and got a hotel room nearby. It was worth it. We spent the day chatting to local brewers, including Joe from Bionic. We met the HK Homebrewers, and listened to the cover bands. We saw friends from work, from soccer and just from being a part of the SZ homebrew scene. It was a lot of fun, there was great beer, excellent food, beer pong, and a little bit of dancing. We even spent a little bit of time pouring beer for the Bionic tent. Overall a great time, but it was a rough ferry ride home the next day. 😉
Well I think that just about covers all of the special happenings and events that have happened this year. Our Halloween was low key, and we mostly have been spending a lot of time as a family. We try to get Paul out to the Bay on the weekends to run with us, but also hanging at home reading and watching movies together. I’ll end the post with a bunch of random everyday pics, that capture life together.
I’ve tried really hard to stay positive during this post, but really this time of year is the hardest for me. We’re waiting on news for next year (promotions or transfers or nothing at all), and the weather has not chilled at all like it has the last two Novembers. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and although we have some weekend plans, it’s always hard to think back to these weeks at home in the States. I’d be driving to my mom’s house, or meeting up with my family someplace else. It’s hard to watch it happen without me. But in 2.5 short weeks, we’ll be on our way to another Christmas in Munich with our families. I just have to keep looking forward.
Life is good. And I know that. Happy Thanksgiving! oxoxo love to all. J