May Day Break

Megan came back from LA late Wednesday night after being there for a week for the wedding of a good friend.  The girls and I are extremely happy that mommy is back home, and it’s just in time for my one week break from school.

Saturday:  I had to report to work and attend a staff appreciation banquet in the evening so Saturday didn’t quite feel like vacation yet.

Sunday:  I taught a lesson to the middle schoolers on how to be a grace giver.  If you’re angry, exclusive and/or jealous, you’ll have problems.  Megan, Rose, Grace, and I attended a going away bash for a couple of our colleagues – yummy Western treats and fun entertainment.

Monday:  I rode my bike to an electronics market with a friend of mine, and we made some computer part purchases.  In case you didn’t know, printer ink is a rip-off.  For dinner, our families ate like champs at TGI Friday’s.

Tuesday:  We rode our bikes to the People’s Park where they had a bizarre display of a robotic Ultraman and the monsters he fights.  Rose was a little fearful of these mechanical pieces of foam, but the two white tigers and monkeys were a hit.  Rose and Grace also enjoyed the airplane amusement park ride.  Grace said wee about a dozen times while we were flying up in the air.

Wednesday Rose was not feeling well so we canceled a trip to Beijing.  I took Grace on a little bike ride, and we purchased some fruit and vegetables on the street.  I had a mutton stick craving earlier in the day so for supper I brought back home a bunch of these guys.

Thursday:  Grace continues to use large quantities of tissue paper due to a runny nose.  Megan isn’t feelin’ so hot now.  Despite the illnesses the family is fighting, we go to Home Depot and purchase some goodies for the apartment.  Megan and I consume a couple bags of microwave popcorn and watch North Country after the girls go down.

Friday:  We discovered a new Chinese restaurant that we will definitely return to – close, clean, very affordable, great eats, picture menus, high chairs, and fast and friendly service.  Grace was a little scared of the soft-shelled turtles swimming in the aquarium, but who can blame her?  They are ugly critters.

Saturday The Wickershams visit the Tianjin Science and Technology Museum.  It can’t compete with Chicago’s Science and Technology Museum, but for only four bucks, the four of us can have an enjoyable and educational afternoon.  We eat dinner at a local Muslim restaurant with a former student of Megan’s.

Sunday The girls and I take a monster nap for a good chunk of the afternoon.  It’s a day of rest, and we don’t do the ten-minute power nap thing.  Like yesterday, another student that Megan once taught has dinner with us.

My vacation was a nice break from work.  Since havin’ the girls, we realize there is much of Tianjin we have yet to explore.  I’m thankful for all the vacation time I receive, and I’m especially thankful that I can spend it with mi familia.

may day
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Winter Update

I’m currently in the second week of a two-week break called Chun Jie (Spring Festival).  I have been spending lots of time with the fam and getting several projects done around the home.  The last three years during Chun Jie Megan and I have visited several countries in tropical Southeast Asia.  Now that we have two young girls part of the Wickersham clan though, we decided to stay in Tianjin for our vacation.  Last week for Valentine’s Day Megan and I had our first date since Rose joined the crew in mid-December.  We hunkered down at an Indian eatery called Alibaba’s.  We had a very nice lunch in a calm and quiet atmosphere which was a pleasant change.  Being the smooth guy I am, I also presented Megan with her favorite chocolate bar – Almond Joy.  This is an uncommon and pricey find in our neck of the woods.  As far as Megan’s Valentine’s gift to me, she made me a kick-butt breakfast of French Toast and an omelet loaded to the max.  She also cooked up some tasty buffalo wings as an after dinner snackarama.  Later in the week, we had a fellow Hoosier visit us after returning from a conference in Thailand.  Jenn stayed with us for a couple of days before visiting other TJ friends.  Major highlights of  our vacation time has also included going down the slides at the indoor TIS playground, watching Curious George at daddy’s work, bike rides to HomeWay and HomeWorld (kind of like a Super Wal-Mart), our very first dance classes designed for little ladies, putting up coat racks and pictures in our daughters’ rooms, hanging out with people less than four feet tall, candy deliveries to our mini friends, starting movies when the girls have gone down, but not having the energy to watch them entirely, a successful six month follow-up visit for Grace, finding some decent time to read for personal enrichment and enjoyment, reading lots of children’s books, and seeing cool and crazy creatures at the Tianjin Museum of Natural History.  Although Megan and I aren’t trekking exotic locations in faraway lands, we wouldn’t trade our lives for the world.  Things are a little busier and a little tougher now that we are four, but it’s a thrilling adventure!

Tianjin Museum of Natural History

Our Last Days Before We Become Three

Today was a really nice day.  Due to a much-needed shower, we were gifted with a gorgeous blue sky and puffy white clouds.  This is an uncommon sight due to all the smog that normally engulfs Tianjin.  With the sun coming out so quickly and blasting its rays, all the water in the streets dried up in time for my bike ride.  Sweet.  I had a great Chinese lesson in the morning.  Not exactly a regular thing for me.  Normally I walk away from class remembering that I have another 49,900+ characters to learn.  Not feelin’ sore from my workout yesterday.  Cool beans.  I’ve been able to get my lazy butt in the gym a lot lately.  I be in the zone.  My mid-afternoon nap was a very pleasant experience.  I realize that could be a thing of the past starting next week.  Read some from Ezekiel and Luke.  Need to get fed from both the Old and the New.  Our washing machine was fixed for only a few bucks.  That was quite a pleasant surprise.  We finalized our Wuhan hotel accommodations, translation services, and travel arrangements for next week.  We continue to countdown to Gotcha Day and are so thankful for all that have helped us through this process.  Went to one of the many TJ Starbucks tonight with Megan to cap off our June 7th.  Used coupons to obtain two free drinks –  an Espresso Frappuccino and a Green Tea Frappuccino.  These drinks are da diggity bomb, but they taste even better when they’re free.  A shout out goes to one of my students for the caffeine pick-me-up.  Also purchased some grub for 1/2 off due to the late hours.  Good eats.  On top of that, Megan didn’t want all of her drink so I got a bbbbonus.  Today was a really nice day.

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May Day Holiday

At the start of every May, we have a break from work for several days.  Last year during our May Day Holiday Megan and I went to Kyoto, Japan to visit my relatives.  My mother was able to fly out of Indy to make that trip.  This year Megan, her parents, and I flew down to Guangxi Autonomous Region in southern China.  After landing in Guilin we took a taxi to Yangshuo where we were able to leisurely explore the gorgeous scenery by bike and boat – winding rivers amidst limestone pinnacles, stone houses along cobbled streets, and rows and rows of terraced rice fields.  When we weren’t admiring being out in the sticks, we were either souvenir shopping or eating at one of the host of Western-style cafes.  I ordered rat on my last night in Yangshuo, but to my disappointment, none was available.  Another day.  The cooks were able to prepare me a mixed fruit pizza though, and our vacation started off with me chomping on some nasty starfish in Beijing.  Living in China is great.

A view from our hotel balcony.

Christmas 2005

After attending service and getting our praise on at the International Fellowship, Megan took pictures of me in various locations throughout Tianjin while I had my Billy Bob teeth in.  The teeth were a gift from our good friend Paula back in Cali, and I’m sure my students will enjoy my instruction more now that I have this most excellent teaching tool.  I b lookin’ real ugly.  I’ll post pictures up next month.  For lunch, we ate ostrich pizza with some colleagues at Pizza Hut.  That makes for a memorable Christmas meal.  I highly recommend the stuff.  Speakin’ of food, one of the presents Megan gifted me with was corn flavored beef jerky.  That stuff is da’ bomb.  Although I’m known to savor my jerky, maybe likin’ corn flavored jerky is a Hoosier thing.  Megan thought it was so-so.  Today Megan and I head south to Nanjing/Shanghai to visit some friends so I won’t be putting up any posts for a little over a week.  Sorry, amigos.

teeth

What I Haven’t Been Doing

Today I left my apartment for the first time in two days.  I decided to ride my bike which I had not done in one week.  I went to the gym and pumped some iron which I had not been done since late September.  Now I will shower and change my clothes which I haven’t done in two days.  Tonight Megan and I will eat dinner at the home of a friend.  I haven’t seen my buddy in a few weeks.  It’s good to get out.

Wang Qian's Family, The Kidds, & the Wickershams