These last few weeks have been busy for us… And it seems, that the next couple of weeks coming up will be even busier! I thought that a “Lately” post might be good since even though we have been keeping up with the recent posts, we don’t always get to say what’s going on in our day-to-day lives.
Justin and I are both working quite hard. Unlike back at home (ie. South Africa and the US) it is not really “the end of the year” over here in Asia. The end of the Chinese New Year comes in the first week of February so nothing really slows down here until then. The results is that we are trying to keep up with our Western traditions, AND keep working at our normal pace. We will have Christmas Day and New Years Day off, but all the days before, in-between, and after, will be spent going on with normal working hours and regular schedules. It is weird to not have a Christmas break, especially since in South Africa we have a long summer break around that time, but we have lived in Asia for so long now that it doesn’t feel as bad as it did in the beginning. We have a month-long “winter break” coming up, from mid-january to mid-February, so we have also been brainstorming plans for that. All those plans depend on whether my new passport is ready before then. It will probably be a quiet Christmas and New Years for us, and then when the coldest days are here we are hoping to jet off to somewhere where the sun is out! These birds like to migrate south for the winter.
It snowed for the first time this year yesterday afternoon. The forecast said that there would be some sleet, but the snow came down quite fiercely. Much to our joy, it didn’t melt away and today everything is still covered in white. We are expecting more snow later today! It is quite uncommon to get any snow in Qingdao during November. If it comes, it comes in January, and we are usually away (in a tropical location, sipping on cocktails – yes please!) so we don’t get to see much snow here. As you can imagine, we are therefore quite excited about this early snow. There was a big snowstorm in Beijing last week, and we are experiencing the after-effects of that this week. The icy Siberian winds have left Beijing well below zero for the past few days.
Speaking of Beijing, we will be heading up there tomorrow evening. Usually we take the train, but we found decently priced tickets so we flying there after work. We would never fly to Beijing on the coldest weekend IN YEARS by choice, but I need to apply for a new passport and we booked the tickets before the storm was forecast. Fortunately we didn’t book those flights for the weekend that just passed because the weather was so terrible that much of the travel into, and out of, the city of Beijing was delayed or cancelled. If it is too cold this weekend, we might just stay in our hotel all weekend, but if we feel like getting out we might explore a little.
Every year one of the largest International Schools in Qingdao, ISQ, holds a Christmas Fair on the first Saturday of December. We went last year, and I’m sure we will have our photo taken with Santa again this year (Link to Elijah’s: First picture with Santa, Oh my word, look how small our little monkey was!). This year will be really different for us though because I will actually be selling goods at the ISQ Fair. I booked a table and I am currently working on crafts to sell on that much anticipated day. Many people attend this fair – most of them looking for Christmas gifts, baked goods, and a fun day out with the family. Of course, this is another contributing factor to why I am so insanely busy. Before this it was the Fall Soup Party preparations, and after the Fair it will probably be Christmas preparations. I keep thinking that “a break” will come, but then the next event/ occasion pops up and I’m a busy little bee again. It wouldn’t be as bad if I wasn’t teaching as much as I am, but I am thankful for the work (which will fund an exciting trip in January) so I’m not complaining.