At long last, we have warmth here in Shanghai! The sun has been out (well, it is brighter…..you can’t actually see the sun, hahaha!) and the temperatures are climbing. Apparently, we are going from shivering to sweating, with no in-between! However, I am not complaining, because everywhere, people seem a little happier, and we are all looking forward to some warmer weather.
As many of you know, we have been asked to return for a second year to teach here in Shanghai. After many sessions of back and forth, pros and cons, we have decided that when we are finished at the end of the school year, we will return home for good. As much as we love the lifestyle, the students, and the friends we have made, we feel that our adventure is finished for now. We miss our family and friends back home – and the clean air! We have had so much fun here, and tried so many things that I never thought we would try – ever! We had a dinner party here in our tiny apartment last week – we managed to squeeze in 13 people! I use the term “dinner” loosely, since I actually only made finger food – we don’t have enough dishes nor table space to fit everyone for a sit-down dinner! We invited the Chinese administration staff to join us so that we could tell them in person that we won’t be returning next year. To our amazement, there were tears, and actual crying as well as hugs and well – wishes! They are not very vocal about how they feel about us, so we never really knew. They really enjoyed the food I prepared, which was good, because it almost didn’t happen! I made beef spring rolls, vodka infused cherry tomatoes, shrimp and tatziki cucumber cups, crab and cream cheese roll ups, stuffed mushroom caps, carrots wrapped in prosciutto with parmesan cheese, Greek marinated tomato and bocconcini skewers( well, actually on tooth picks because I couldn’t find longer skewers!) garlic bread and chocolate dipped strawberries and pretzels for dessert! I had planned more meat dishes, but there was a ban on chicken from the avian flu, no one trusts pork yet from the 16,000 dead pigs that were dropped in the water, and I couldn’t go to the wet markets(think Granville Island) because that’s where they had the live chickens! I was near the end of my rope, fighting a head cold and trying to think of substitutions that I could make instead. However, it all worked out, and we had an enjoyable evening with all the staff, even though they were so sad when they left. Anyway, kind of a long winded story for all that, but now you know that we will be home sometime on July 1st, and Canada Day for us will mean so much more than you know!
Our other exciting news is that tomorrow, April 16th, our good friends Mary-Anne and Boyd will be arriving for a whirlwind tour of Shanghai! We are so excited to have visitors from home – we can hardly wait for them to get here! We are taking them off to see Beijing this coming weekend, so expect some more pictures after that! Then we have so many things that we want to show them, there may not be enough hours in the days to get to them all! Unfortunately, both Bruce and I have to work during their stay here, but our good friend Wen Juan, who is married to one of our teachers, has graciously accepted to be their tour guide while we work. Lucky them! Shanghai has so much to offer, it’s hard to pick out what to see and what to let go……I’ll see if I can talk them into doing a guest blog, as our friends Geoff and Terry have done with their visitors on their blog, “The Jiaxing Express”. It’s always great to get a different perspective from visitors who haven’t been here before. I highly recommend reading Terry and Geoff’s blog; it is so funny and you really get a sense of what it’s like to live here and experience the things we live through!
We will fill you in on all of the mini adventures we have over the next few weeks as we take on Shanghai once again as a tourist! Look out, Shanghai, Kim and Mary-Anne are coming to get ya!! See you all after July 1st!!