Another October post! It’s miraculous, but really my extra time to post is due to an unexpected typhoon day, which gave us a much needed 3 day weekend. It gives me time to spend some time to reflect and enjoy our recent autumn adventures.
In my last post, I mentioned that my mom had arrived for a visit. She came in on the Friday evening of our October break (National Holiday in China). She brought a suitcase full of games and a puzzle for us to put together. I had stocked the house with Sav Blanc and lots of coffee, ready for our time together to chat and hang out. That we did. We spent the whole first day together in our PJ’s drinking coffee, chatting and putting a puzzle together. It was perfect. We played some of the new games she brought for Paul, and I stashed some for Christmas. The following days were pretty much the same. We spent one of those days brewing in preparation for the Shenzhen craft beer fest that is coming soon. It was nice to have her here and get so spend so much lazy, glorious time together. We ordered in, took her to Mexican food, took her to our neighborhood beer bar Taps, watched a bunch of movies and took lots of naps.
By Wednesday of the break, we were ready to take on an adventure in Bangkok. We gathered up Callie and all our bags and piled into a car to the Shenzhen Airport. After checking in, making through security, we had time to shop! My mom, Callie and I all bought new dresses (there was a discount for buying 3!) and then hopped on the short flight to Bangkok. We arrived with no issues, and caught a taxi van to our hotel, which was my first taste of Bangkok traffic. YUCK. But we made it to our super nice hotel and checked in with no problems just in time to hit the lounge for dinner and drinks.
Thursday we made a big push to get out to the temples, which are supposed to be fantastic and very beautiful. We all headed down to the river to take a taxi boat down to the Grand Palace, which Paul loved. It was a little overcast, but cleared up and when the sun hit us it was HOT. We managed to find the Palace, and we passed the dress code check, but Paul and Donnie did a fast track in the Palace due to the heat and crowds. Callie, Mom and I took our time sweating it out in our long sleeves admiring the incredible temples and statues. We saw the Emerald Buddha and many other amazing sights (I think I took way too many pictures). We wandered around there for close to 3 hours before heading over to see Wat Pho, which has the reclining Buddha. That was spectacular! By then we were all sunburned, hot and hungry, so we stopped for some quick street food before making our way down to the docks to bargain for another water taxi. The weather had turned again, and our ride home was choppy, Callie and Mom loved it, but it made me nervous. 😉
We got back to the hotel and found we had a little bit of time before dinner, so I gathered up Paul and headed down to the swimming pool. This pool was epic! It overlooked the city and was both inside and outside of the building. We had fun splashing around until we went up and enjoyed another free dinner in the lounge. 🙂
Haha sorry for the massive photo dump! I couldn’t narrow the pictures down, I was so amazed by this place.
On Friday, I had no touristing plans. I wanted to chill out at the pool for as long as possible and soak up as much summer sun in October as I possibly could. We Took turns playing with Paul in the pool and relaxing, and it was a great down day. We did rally and take a walk down to the market adjacent to the hotel to checkout its wares. Nothing too motivating, and we were saving our shopping prowess for the weekend market. We did dress up and head to the local craft beer place, which just like Phuket was overwhelmingly disappointing (I didn’t even take pics). We met up and had a drink with our friend Amanda and then Donnie and I snuck out for some street food when we got back. It was fun.
On Saturday, we geared up and ate a big breakfast before taking a taxi out to the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. We left around 9, got there around 10 and it was already swarmed with people. It is a massive market with all things Thai, art, food, clothes, bags, wallets, ceramics, and so much more. We promptly lost my mom in the first few minutes (she had gone to find a restroom, but I didn’t see her go). My shopping was inhibited a bit due to worry for my mom, but I did find some cool stuff. By the time we had located my mom, everybody was hot and the marked was starting to get unbearable crowded (it reminded me of NIOSA). So I threw a mini-fit of frustration which sent everybody into funk. The we got into a cab and got back to the hotel. We all took some down time to cool off and later on, Donnie, Callie and I went to have a meal at a really cool place. Then Callie and I had fun shutting down the lounge afterwards, chatting and sipping on wine.
Sunday meant it was time to head back to Shenzhen. Our flight wasn’t until the evening, so we had a slow morning at the hotel, took a ride across the river and looked at the antiques market, and packed up to leave. The traffic leaving made me sick to my stomach thinking we wouldn’t make it to catch our flight, but everything was fine. We had time to eat a quick meal before flying back to Shenzhen. And unlike other October breaks, we were in bed by 11pm instead of 1 or 2am. 🙂
We all headed back to work on Monday, leaving mom at home to relax and catch up on missed sleep, but we enjoyed her company when we came home in the evenings. On Wednesday, her last day in Shenzhen, I brought her to work with me. I had her come talk to my class about her practice, and also our Psychology objectives. She only came for half the day, and then I dropped her off at home again. It was so great! The kids asked her all kids of questions and could see the applications of what we were learning in class in the real world. I was super proud to have her there. 🙂
For our last meal with Mom, we took her back to Taps where the owner of the bar had set aside a special growler for her to take back. She had charmed him when we were there the first time, and he gave his fresh cranberry sour (which he later named Cosmopolitan) in a really nice growler to her for FREE! Haha, it was a nice way to end our time together and she was really excited about her growler.
We said goodbye to Mom early Thursday morning. It’s always hard to say goodbye to her. She makes me feel so at home and balanced. I really love it when we get to just hangout, and I love that when she visits I don’t feel any pressure to be the perfect hostess or tour guide. We can just be. We can just enjoy the time together. It recharges me and I can’t wait until the next time. She has a 10 yr visa now, so hopefully she’ll be back soon!
That same day I made my way out to the soccer field for the biggest tournament of the season for my MS girls team. It’s the SDRC tournament that lasts 3 days. Last year I don’t think we scored one goal. It was heartbreaking. This year was fun, super hot like last year, and also just as heartbreaking.The girls played so well, but we had a couple of key players not able to participate in the full tournament. We were in second place headed into Saturday’s games, but sadly lost both games and ended up in 4th place overall (there were only 5 teams). But it was hard fought, the last game ended in penalty kicks, and it felt like world cup. The girls were super emotional, and so was I, but they recovered well. We played that same team this week and tied them again. Although it was terrible to lose that way, we had no reason to be ashamed, and I was really proud of the team. We have another tournament coming up the last weekend of October, and I am excited to see if we can do even better.
The next day Donnie and I spent most of the day brewing another 40L of beer for the beer fest that’s just around the corner. Although all we brew is IPA’s we attempted something we’ve never done before. We are attempting to make the exact same beer we just brewed. We are attempting consistency. This is something that big brewers have no problem with, but with homebrewing it’s difficult to replicate the exact same conditions. We kegged the beer from when my mom was here, and then put another 40L in the fermenter. We’ll see! We still have 3/4 of a keg of our last batch. But after November 11-12, we’ll be completely out. Weird to think there is 100L of beer sitting in the other room, haha, but I probably will only drink a few liters of it. I hope both batches turn out and we can maintain our reputation of having some of the best IPA in the city. I’m excited to share it at the fest! I even made us a logo to use the day of the fest, I’m thinking of making stickers, hehe.
It was also a very special day because PAUL LOST HIS FIRST TOOTH! It had been loose for sometime, and he had dislodged it the night before but wouldn’t let us take it out. After consulting Brainpop (his current obsession) and Nana, we decided an apple would be the best way to get it out. I didn’t make it to the store in time though. He was hungry, so he had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and when he brought me his bowl, his tooth was gone! He had swallowed it (which was in fact his worst fear). We promptly wrote a note to the tooth fairy informing her of this event, and I tried to assuage his worry about having a tooth inside his stomach. All was well, and the tooth fairy was generous with a 50rmb note to replace his sweet note to her. It was so eventful! We celebrated with Paul’s first sip of Big Red, which is now available here in China! Haha it was a fun day. 🙂
That brings us up to this week. Southern China was hit with two typhoons this week, and we had a lot of rain. We had parent conferences for Monday and Tuesday, and then class for two days before school got canceled Friday due to the impending typhoon. It was a little anticlimactic as per usual, but Shenzhen shut down everything, which I’ve never seen before. No buses, trains, ferries, or other transport ran, all schools and government offices were closed. It was pretty intense. I was so thankful for the typhoon because I’ve been feeling especially run down this week. My body is succumbing to sickness and I’m not sleeping well to boot. Having 3 days off in a row is exactly what I needed. 🙂 Today is only day 2. We’re just hanging out, making food and watching movies, trying to keep the house clean, lol. Today is sunny though, so we’re gonna get outside!
Tonight is a special event, the Captivating Gala. We’ve never been and I’m excited to dress up and go out. I spent some of yesterday messing with my makeup and hair to choose styles. I am not that girly, but I do enjoy dolling up once in a while. I guess I’ll write more about that in my next post! Sorry for the rambling and the epic amount of pics, and thank you for reading. ❤
Love to all, J