Wednesday, December 31, 2008


One of the main reasons we headed to Beijing this week was because our friends from Tianjin were having their baby girl in the hospital up there. She was due on the 29th or 30th, and we were hoping to catch a glimpse before we had to head back down to Qingdao.

On the 29th, Kim woke up with mild contractions. Hoping this was the real thing, we all went to lunch at a restaurant near the hospital she was going to deliver in. (By the way, this restaurant has the best Tex Mex found in China, and definitely filled my Tex Mex craving.)

During the lunch, Kim told our little friend Anna, who is two and a half, that there is a baby in her tummy. We caught some adorable pics of Anna trying to feel the baby. Anna also found out that lunch that her mommy has a baby in her tummy too! (Jacquelyn is 8 weeks pregnant and we are so incredibly excited for them!) Here's the pics of Anna and Kim:

From Beijing '08

From Beijing '08

I decided that some positive encouragement would do little Keturah some good, so we told Anna to tell Keturah to come out. We missed the photo shots of this, but it was very cute, I can assure you!

Needless to say, I was a little bummed after lunch when the contractions had lessened and Kim and Patrick decided to head home to let Moyer (their almost two year old son) take a nap. Nathan and I headed off to do some sight seeing on our own. (Pictures of our sightseeing to follow at the end.)

Well, anyways, little did we know, but shortly after they arrived back at the house we were all staying in, they decided it really was time to head back to the hospital. Keturah was born at 8:00 that evening.

We went to the hospital the next day to view their beautiful baby, and it was fun to see Anna with the baby less than twenty four hours after she had told Keturah to come out. Anna wasn't quite sure what to think about this, but the rest of us were thrilled!

From Beijing '08

From Beijing '08

From Beijing '08

From Beijing '08

Congratulations Patrick, Kim, Moyer, and Baby Keturah! We're so excited for you!

Other than seeing friends and meeting baby Keturah, we tried to spend a little time sight seeing and eating at western restuarants we don't have in Qingdao. Here's some pics of what we saw this week. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


It's cold. Really cold. And being that the houses are concrete boxes, it's really really cold.

One interesting note is that getting dressed when it's really really cold takes a lot longer, and has a lot more to it! Gone are the days that one could hop into a pair of jeans and a top, pull on some shoes and socks and head out the door. Dressing is an intricate process now!

Today's outfit consists of two pairs of socks, thick black tights, jeans, a tank top, three layers of sweaters, a hat, and a thick scarf. And that's indoors!

This week I've felt particularly cold as we've been visiting Beijing. Located a few hundred miles north of Qingdao, the days rarely get above freezing, and the nights are well below. Add to it the expansive house we're staying in, and even indoors it's only about 14 degrees Celsius. That's one fantastic thing about our small apartment back in Qingdao! Located on the third floor and warmed by city heat, it stays relatively warm. I will be looking forward to heading back there tomorrow!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow in Qingdao!

It's snowing, and snowing a lot! What a great anniversary. Today we've been married five years. And what a fantastic five years it has been! Here's a few pics to memorialize the day. :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Worse than...

I've finally found out what's worse than taking finals. Even worse than grading finals...I think.

Proctoring finals. Walking around for an hour and a half staring 200 kids down to make sure they are not cheating on their finals.

One fellow teacher even stated "If I had an hour and a half left to live, I would want to proctor an exam. That way that hour and a half would feel like an eternity." I added, "And at the end of it, you would look forward to death."

Well, finals are over and grades are in. Hurrah!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Laughs in China

Funny thing about Chinese door locks. Besides the fact that our door has three different ways that you can lock it, you can also accidentally lock someone inside the apartment. It works like this: if you turn the primary lock once, it locks the door from the outside. If you turn it again, it locks it from both sides, and only a key from the outside can unlock the door.

This has never been a problem before, as we primarily leave the apartment together. But this morning, Nathan had to go to our gathering earlier than me, and I needed the extra sleep. Someone had told us once about the danger of locking the other person in, and when I half awake heard Nathan leave, I thought, that wasn't two clicks, was it? And then rolled over and went back to sleep. I woke up late (after hitting the snooze button ten gazillion times), hurried into the shower, into some clothes, and half dried my hair. Rushing, I completely forgot the two clicks until I was bundled up and ready to head out, taxi money in hand, and found the door wouldn't open. So much for hurrying. Now I'm locked inside waiting to be let out. Romeo, oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Let's hope there's not a fire, or I might be in trouble!

Mr. and Mrs. Clause

So, somehow the two new couples to Qingdao were drafted to be Mr. and Mrs. Clause for the school Christmas Fair. We each had two hour blocks, and I thought you might enjoy seeing the pics!

From Mr. and Mrs. Clause

Our Team!

From Mr. and Mrs. Clause

Us with the other couple during their turn. Stacy looked much cuter in the Mrs. Clause outfit!

As you can see, Nathan and I were thoroughly bundled up after our turn. The room we were having pictures in had no heater, and this was the morning after the coldest day of the year! I think it was nearly below zero degrees Celsius in there. I'm just waiting until next year when I can turn over the title as "new". :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Haha, just thought this was incredibly funny! I never knew "smoke" was a weather condition.

From Random

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Well, we're up for our first big round of good-byes.

We were warned when we came over that the international community is incredibly mobile. Not only are our own company contracts only two years long, our students tend to move in and out quite often. As students' parents' job contracts end, are relocated, or just simply lost due to the economy, rarely will we have the same student for more than a few years.

On top of that, the Korean school year starts in February, so several of our seniors are graduating early in order to be ready to start at the university come the new year.

This year, whether it's due to the economy or what, we are saying good-bye to at least 27 students at the end of the semester. We have over thirty more that have taken admission tests to start in January. With less than four hundred students, that's quite a large percent to come and go in the middle of the year!

So, with the joy of Christmas and graduation, and the stress of finals, we face our first big good-byes. We hope that we have taught them what they needed to learn before they leave, give hugs, and wish them on their way. Always a relational person, this is going to be hard for me. But, I think, it is only the first of many to come.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Comfort Zone

Last time I posted we were about to head up to Tianjin on our own. As you may have seen from Nathan's blog, this went rather uneventfully, and we had a fantastic time! It was so great to reconnect with our friends.

I also mentioned that I was rather nervous about traveling out of our comfort zone of Qingdao. So...that went successfully, and then we went to Hong Kong for a school conference.

Have you ever thought about how frustrating it would be to work 4 months to learn a little Mandarin, only to travel to a place where all of that means practically nothing? :-) In Hong Kong they speak Cantonese, which is completely different from Mandarin. While there are several people who speak a little Mandarin, it is actually easier to find someone who speaks English! Talk about being pushed out of your comfort zone!

But, overall it was a pretty good trip. The conference was great. I had a big juicy steak and ribs (for about $20 USD) for the first time in four months or so. I even found slushies! There were 7/11's everywhere! Now if only I could find some sleep...but finals start next week so I guess that will have to wait.