Friday, January 8, 2016

101 Days Later

Hello Friends!  Believe it or not it has been 101 days since we left Shanghai.  Now that most of our boxes have been unpacked and holidays have been celebrated, I want to catch you up on what’s been happening. 

My last 101 days have been a rollercoaster of transition activities, reunions, and celebrations.  When we’ve been visiting with family, we’ve been asked many questions.  Here are some of the popular ones:

How are you?  What have you been up to?  Have you still been going on adventures?
Since our time in Shanghai, life has been a whirlwind of house hunting, unpacking, and road trips to visit family and friends.
It was such a relief to finally get settled in a home.  It took us two months to find the perfect place.

Much of my time has been spent cleaning and unpacking.  I am so glad to finally be settled in  to our new home.

 I haven’t started looking for a job yet, however I have started volunteering at a local elementary school.  I can’t post any pictures of the kids for confidentiality purposes.  I have been more than busy unpacking, cleaning, needlepointing, cooking, and watching a ridiculous amount of TV.  
When repatriating with no career, I highly recommend picking up a hobby that makes you feel productive.  I am now a cross stitching needlepointing fool.
My adventures have changed quite a bit.  Instead of having my breath taken away by scenes from geography textbooks, my heart has been warmed by seeing my family…especially my nieces and nephew. 
The second weekend back in the US, I was reunited with my high school classmates for my twentieth reunion in St. Louis, MO.

My Mom wanted me to celebrate her birthday in St. Louis, so we had a lovely lunch, caught a play, and had dinner with my Dad.
After celebrating with Mom, we headed up to Philly to celebrate my niece's birthday.  We had a great time at her Little Mermaid birthday extravaganza.

The following weekend we headed up to Northwest Indiana to celebrate Halloween with my other niece.  
Chris and I had a great time trick or treating as Thing One and Thing Two.
Since we have been away for so many years, I really wanted to celebrate the holidays with family!  After a wonderful Thanksgiving with the in-laws, I decided to make another 4 day trip to St. Louis to prepare for Christmas with Mom and Dad.  I wanted to see Christmas lights, so we went to the St. Louis Botanical Garden's Garden Glow.
It was fun to be the third wheel on a date with Mom and Dad.

The highlight of the season was spending time with my family Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  
I had forgotten how fun it was to watch little kids on Christmas morning.  
On boxing day, we had a great time exploring downtown Philly.
Hank and I had a good time chilling out by the ice rink. He doesn't know what to make of me yet.

Does Chris like his new job?

Yes.  He is working with a really good crew of people, and is very busy planning for our next long term adventure. 

How are the dogs?  Are they happy being home?

The dogs are happier than ever!   They are happy to be eating their special dachshund food and LOVE their new backyard.

Wow, Shanghai and Burlington are so different.  How do you like it?  Which city do you prefer?

I like comparing the two cities to clothes.  Shanghai is like the little black sequined dress.  It’s fun, it’s exciting, and is always up for a fun night out.  However after a while, I get tired of dressing up and want to snuggle in my pajamas.

Burlington is like pajamas (or yoga pants).  They are easy, comfortable, and very low maintenance.  Burlington is a laid back town that reminds me very much of my hometown.  I love being able to drive myself around town, and having access to a large variety of western food.  I especially love seeing my family and friends.   However, there are many times when I really miss the little black dress. 

Have you kept in touch with your students?  Have you heard from any of your friends from China?


Chris visited with our German friends in November, and I hear from my kids on WeChat all the time. We also reunited with some of our American expat friends on New Year’s Eve.

Chris and I spent New Year's Eve in downtown Chicago.

We spent the evening reunited with our expat friends from Shanghai!  We picked up right were we left off and had a wonderful time watching the Star rise by the Chicago River. 
Are you going to keep the blog?  Will you keep writing? 
Yes, yes, yes!  However, I think this may be one of my final posts on An American Girl in Shanghai.

Now that we’re settled, I will be taking more adventures around the Midwest and will be writing on !  Chris and I have some fun mini adventures coming up, and I look forward to continue sharing my stories with you!  Thanks for reading, and see you on the new blog!

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