Just like most people, when a new year starts, I reflect on the year that has past. It’s kind of nice keeping a record like this blog, because I can literally go back and read what I was doing a year ago. (So can you!) Really not a whole lot is different, but I feel like writing, so I’ll tell you anyway.
This time last year we had bought our own juicer after experimenting while on holiday in Germany. We’re still juicing today, at least one meal a day is some sort of delicious juice. In fact I’m sipping on a delicious blend of beet, pineapple, apple, carrot, ginger juice as I write this.
We were getting into a groove of exercising, which for me is always tricky to sustain during the holidays. This past year was not easy on our waistlines, and we lost a fundamental piece of ourselves when Donnie started working longer hours at his new admin job. We used to carve out time to run or at least walk together, but it was one of the first things that fell by the wayside in August when we had to adjust to the new schedule. So fast forward to January 2017, we were ready to take on the challenge of getting our health and fitness back. We joined a gym when we got back from Austria, and even invested in personal training sessions. It’s slow and steady, but it’s progress. We’ve adjusted our eating habits to support a healthier lifestyle, and although it feels like one step forward, two steps back, we’re getting there slowly. Hopefully the forward momentum carries on, and becomes our habit again.
Another reason we needed to kick off some of our extra weight has been all the yummy beer we’ve been brewing (and drinking). This year marks the start of our 3rd year brewing, and we brewed our first batch on our new brewing system. We met the guys from Brewtek at the first SZN craft beer fest, and they’ve been friends since. We ran into them a few months ago, and they offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse on a Nanobrew system. It would greatly simplify our setup, and allow us more precision on our brews. The system was delivered in late November, but we didn’t have time to use it before our winter holiday, so we put it to good use as soon as we were able!
It was a long brew day, mostly figuring out the details of our new system (how long it takes water to get hot, how much water is lost while brewing, what temps, how much mash….etc). I think we started at 10am with cleaning, and finished cleaning up afterwards around 7pm. Long day. That brew is still in the fermenter, so I’ll have to update you later on how well it turned out. The system did make it so much easier though, no lifting heavy, boiling wort, no standing on chair to stir, and I think that also makes our brew sessions much safer. 😉 Since we’ve cut back on drinking beer (see healthier lifestyle change above), we have a lot left. We only own 4 kegs, and 3 contain beer right now, not to mention the 50 liters in the fermenter. We’ll have to give some away in order to make room for new brews. Not a bad problem to have, overall.
I guess maybe these changes are more subtle to see than they are to feel, but the shift is there.
There were a couple of fun things in January, as per usual. We celebrated Donnie’s 49th birthday, it was low key, going out with friends and then out with Paul on his actual birthday (it fell on a Monday this year). And the annual CNY school party, which for the 4th year I won exactly zero of the raffle prizes. It was fun though, we got to sit at a table with our friends the Varvels, and Halls, and a few other people. We snuck some homebrew to the party, so we shared it while we watched all the dancing (it was really entertaining). And, just like last year, we finished up the night by having a beer at Bionic in Baishizhou, and called it a night relatively early.
January still has 11 days left, but it feels like it’s almost over, which is pretty crazy. Things are quiet here in Shenzhen in preparation for the big holiday next week, and it’s actually my favorite time. The weather is usually cool and clear, and the streets are a little less frenetic. We only have a few days of school next week before we depart on our Chinese New Year adventure, and believe it or not, I’m ready for another break. 😉
Love to all, J.