Thursday, December 5, 2013

Homeward Bound!

Howdy everyone!

Well, we're HOMEWARD BOUND (in about 2 weeks).  I head home in two
weeks for my Christmas leave!

I can't believe that its been over a month since my last update!  That means two things...1. I'm really busy, or 2. I'm finally getting acclimated to things here.  Its more the 1 than the 2.

Since my last update, we've had thanksgiving and lots of visitors. My sister and her family came for a visit.  We celebrated thanksgiving at my home with them, along with my expat friends.  I made most of my own food, with the exception of the Turkey, which had to come from the Holiday Inn (restricted oven space in my home). My friends brought a great salad and a nice apple crumble for dessert!  On Friday, I took  Jennifer and her family out to visit the Qingdao Beer factory, Jimo Lu (the equivalent of Silk Street in Beijing, or Harwin for you Houstonians), and then to the Oceanside Olympic Sailing Center.  I was so excited and happy to have them here! The girls are certainly growing up very fast!  The left on Saturday and went back to Beijing for a few days before heading home today.  I'm attaching pics of the good eats we had!

As far as everything else, its all status quo.  I purchased a dining room table and chairs, so thats been nice to have, and we had a wonderfully decorated thanksgiving table!  The house in China is still
the same, its starting to feel comfortable now.  I have added a few paintings and its starting to feel settled in.  I am meeting more people and have my normal Saturday night routine with my friends down, kind of like back home.  We go try new restaurants, eat western food mostly, and go have a nice time. I've attached some pictures of the things we have eaten. Theres also a photo of a Lamb KaBob vendor in Qingdao, from Western China, on the border of Kazakhstan.  You can
see, he doesn't even look Asian!

The weather here has gotten quite cold.  We are now getting around 28  at night, and 40-50 in the daytime.  With the cold weather, comes extreme dryness right now.  I have two humidifiers going non stop, to cut down on nosebleeds and static shock.  The heat, which cost me around 600 USD to turn on ( will last from nov 15- mar15) comes from the floor of the apartment.  So its nice and warm.  The bad part is, theres not really a good way to regulate it, so I have to open the door to the patio, otherwise I wake up to 80 degrees in the house in the mornings!

Work is good, right now, I'm headed to beijing to attend our 4th quarter meetings and finalize the budgets for 2014. The meeting originally was planned for Dec 4-7 and is now 4-11!  We like meetings here.  WIthin my department, my guys are all doing well.    Everyone now follows our dress code, and we have our daily meetings in english.  I realized that people were getting online and translating their days activities. So in order to get them to speak more, I have added a
question of the day to the board.  Every day, they have to answer a short question.  It has proven effective, not only to encourage people to talk, but to better know everyone.

The house in the US is pretty much back to normal.  I'm going to work with Sharon, my professional organizer friend to go through the tons of boxes that the restoration company boxed everything up when the house was flooded.  I'm very grateful to have my mom and step dad, and my neighbors and contractor get the house back together in one piece being so far away!

That about sums it up.  I'm excited to get home and spend time with everyone, please feel free to email, call, or text and let me know if you're available for dinner or coffee or anything.  I'm really looking forward to some good mexican and italian food!

Peace and love to all!