Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Children’s Day

As a kid, I would always celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  As a little kid I would always wonder why there wasn’t a kid’s day.  Guess what readers; China has a holiday that is designated for celebrating kids!  Every June 1st , kids in the People’s Republic of China get celebrated and spoiled.

My kids have been excited about Children’s day since Tuesday.  When I walked into classrooms the kids reminded me that there will be a school carnival on Friday and that on Sunday they will be getting all kinds of toys, electronics, and more from their parents. 

I have to say, kids in general are pretty fun…especially my students.  So as my Childrens’ Day gift to them, I present to you:

The Top Ten Reasons Why I Love My Students and Teaching in China.

1)  The kids are very respectful.  Every time I pass a student, they always greet me (and other adults) with an enthusiastic smile and “Hullo Teacher!”

2)  My kids help me see a playful side of China that I wouldn’t have seen in other professions.

3)  It’s great to work in a place where you get mobbed everyday with hugs.

4)  It’s fun to pretend I am Maria VonTrapp or Anna from The King and I.  It’s hard to not love your job when you have singing kids around you.

5)  My kids are incredibly creative.  It’s fun to watch them make cute wardrobes out of trash bags or Halloween masks out of paper plates.

6)  I love watching their faces when they experience American traditions like egg decorating and visiting Santa Claus for the first time.

7)  I love their seemingly endless lines of innocent questioning. 

8)  They are intelligent.  They speak English much better than I speak Chinese.

9)  They know when to party, but they get back to business when the fun is over.

10)  I love being able to share my heart with little ones who will be making an impact halfway around the world.

If you are reading this kids, know that you are awesome and have greatly enriched my life in ways I never thought possible!  Happy Children’s Day!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Christopher’s Day Off

While I absolutely love my days off in Shanghai, sometimes I feel guilty that Chris has to work while I am living the Shanghai life.  So for Mayday holiday, I told Chris that he had to plan his dream day off. 

At first, he didn’t know where to start, so I lent him my copy of Shanghai Day by Day and he got down to business.  After a few hours of combing through my book he decided that he wanted to take a photo safari of Old Shanghai and eat meat.  

10:26 AM- Chris finally rolls out of bed, takes a shower and assembles his camera gear. 

Someone wanted to cuddle.  I wanted to explore.  I won.
10:50 AM- We catch a cab and arrive at Wenmiao Lu and take in the mountains of stuff for sale. 
If you are looking for Anime accessories, Wenmaio Lu is the place for you!

If you are wanting a pet snake, look no further!  I have to admit… I was creeped out! 
11:10 AM- After getting distracted by snakes and toys, we finally reach the Confucian Temple for the first official stop of our tour.
We were greeted by a statue of Confucius and some incense.

A student ties a prayer to a railing while hoping for good marks.

Other students had the same idea.

Temples are some of the most peaceful places on earth.
In the back of the temple complex, there is a teapot museum.  Make sure you stop by before you leave!
11:48 AM- We stop for post temple sugar cane juice.
I originally bought the juice, but it was WAY to sweet for my taste.  Thank goodness Chris was willing to finish it off.
11:56 AM- We wander through some Shikumens.
Who are you, and WHY are you invading my territory?

One of the great things about walking through Shikumens is you never know what you will see. 
Oh the irony... 
12:30 PM- We visit the Dajjng Lu Temples.

The Baiyun Daoist Temple wasn't nearly as large as the Confucian Temple.
However, I was impressed by the colorful statues.
While at the temple, we checked out the last standing section of the old Shanghai City Wall.

12:55 PM- We walk to Old Street and the YuYuan Bazar.

I think most of Shanghai wanted to check out the arts, crafts and other random junk on Old Street.
1:35 PM- We FINALLY eat lunch at Din Tai Fung.

Din Tai Fung is my new favorite xiaolongbao restaurant. I am embarrassed to say I have become a tad of a dumpling snob.
2:15 PM- We continue on our temple tour to see the Templeof the City Gods.

After seeing so many temples, the statues of different gods all sort of run together. 
After the Temple of the City Gods, we were getting a little templed out.
2:44 PM- We get distracted by more junk for sale.

Chris continues his quest to find the perfect notebook.
2:51 PM- I nearly get hit by a man on a Hello Kitty ebike.

This man came within 3 cm of running over my feet.
3:52 PM- We head home and take the pups out for a walk and a cocktail.

This was Leia's favorite part of the day!
8:04 PM- We head to Flame for a steak dinner!

The fillets at Flame were awesome, and their happy hour wine specials are a great deal!

The soundtrack at the restaurant was INCREDIBLE and the salted carmel banana torte was to die for!

10:00 PM- We have cocktails with friends at Constellation 2.

Chris and our friend Uwe develop a plan to become masters of the universe. 
I’ll be honest, I preferred tea at the Peace Hotel more than meandering through Shanghainese Shikumens, but it was great to see my man in his element!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I’ll Be There For You: Our Trip to Central Perk

When I was in college, Thursday night was always spent crowded around the TV watching the show Friends.  Thanks to the help of a box set Christmas present, I can say that I have seen every episode created.   I thoroughly enjoy the show, especially the scenes shot at the Central Perk, a coffee house in New York.

In 2006, an Iranian businessman decided to cash in on the Central Perk idea and started a franchise of the coffee houses in 32 different countries.  Fortunately one of these cafes is located in Shanghai!  So over the Mayday holiday, Chris and I stopped by to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a few episodes of Friends.

The cafe is a little tricky to find.  Don't enter the doorway by the 160 street sign.  Keep walking down the street to this sign. 

Chris decided to dress in 90's flannel for our visit.

As we were walking in, this little kitty was walking out.  I couldn't help singing "Smelly Cat".
This Central Perk window was actually inside the cafe.  It looked remarkably like the sign on the show.

In addition to coffee, the cafe offered character themed cupcakes. 
They were out of the Monica, so I settled for an awesome Red Velvet Rachel cupcake. 

Chris cuddles Hugsy, Joey's penguin, on the couch.
The drinks are served in Friends favorite quote mugs.  I loved the episode with Ross and Emily's wedding!

The barista added a little Central Perk touch to Chris' Brown Sugar coffee.  At the cafe, patrons can sip coffee while watching old episodes of Friends.

I was quite impressed with their coffee selections. 

If you like Friends, cupcakes, and/or coffee I highly recommend a stop to Central Perk.  For instructions on how to get to Central Perk, click here!