The summer is almost over. Elijah and I are still in HOT Texas, so we still feel like the summer vacation is still going. We have done a number of posts on the fun we’ve had outside, in the pool and barbecuing. We weren’t able to blog too much about our first month of the summer vacation, so here’s a little flashback to July…
By the time July arrived, we had already been insanely busy for four weeks. At the end of June, we moved out of our old apartment, and into our newly painted and repaired apartment. This will be our home for the next two years. It was a relief for Justin to finally be on summer vacation, and for me to be able to take a break from all the DIY house improvements that we had been doing. Justin went off to work a summer camp in the mornings, and at our apartment we had three kids coming every morning during the same hours that Justin was away. In the afternoons we got to spend some well-deserved time as a family. The months preceeding summer were hard on us. We were working a lot to save for our second big trip home. The first was home to South Africa, and the second was home to the States. Two big international trips in one year cost us quite a bit, so we had to do a lot of extra work. We were so happy when the summer arrived and we had most of our afternoons off together!
My students relaxing in our lounge with Eli. They did not want to leave the apartment during their breaks, because it was so hot outside. They chose, instead, to watch a program while they ate a snack. Sometimes Elijah would join them on the couch – the four of them looked so sweet sitting together.
In the afternoons we would take a walk down into our apartment complex. There are many stores just outside the main gate – one of the biggest reasons why we love this location, the convenience of having everything we need in close proximity. We buy fruit and vegetables every 2-3 days, so there’s no mass buying like in the States. Grocery trips are small and frequent. There are a number of reasons for this, but since we don’t have a car I’d say that the biggest reason is that we don’t want to carry too many bags home, and up six flights of stairs.
The summer’s are hot in Qingdao. Hot and very humid. As you can see, Elijah only needs to wear a onesie and, even in just that, he is covered in sweat after being aside for a while. On this particular afternoon, we sat downstairs at the main gate, waiting for Justin to come home. We like doing cute things like that for him.
Elijah loves our new apartment. He has so much room to play and explore. Upstairs he has a massive playroom (pictured above). Downstairs he is free to “roam” among the lounge, dining room, and kitchen, usually looking for something to unpack or rearrange. While we cook he pulls all of the tupperware out of the bottom drawer of our cabinets, and plays with it on the kitchen floor.
We did a number of family dates during July – all of them were special to us, and we can’t wait to do more from the end of September onwards. We will be cutting back on our workload (A LOT) so that we can get back to basics, and spend as much quality time together as we can. With Fall coming round, the weather will be perfect for beach walks, hikes, and outdoor actuates. Summer is just too hot, humid and crowded.
We also did a couple of toddler-free dates. Our new favourite Korean restaurant is right around the corner from our apartment complex. It is a wonderful place with tons of side dishes and yummy extras. We absolutely loved having Korean BBQ there, and we can’t wait to go back in October. A delicious dinner followed by an evening stroll along the beach – Ummm… yes please, perfection!
This is our apartment complex – it is quiet, peaceful, and filled with tons of friendly locals. We haven’t even had the chance to properly explore or enjoy this complex, but as I said above, we will be working less and enjoying more once Elijah and I arrive back in China. We took Eli outside to play on the grass a couple of times, but he’s not a huge fan of grass. This must be because he didn’t get to experience having a yard in the first year of his life – he seems pretty confused by grass. He pulls at it, and then tries to eat it. Admittedly, this boy tries to eat EVERYTHING, so it doesn’t surprise me that he has tried (many times) to eat the grass.
Another great thing about July was that we got into a good running rhythm again. This new location inspires us to get out running, and stay active. Sometimes we go separately, but many times we go together, with Elijah in the jogging stroller. The path along the coast is beautiful but during July there were large crowds of people coming to check out Qingdao. It is kind of weird to be a foreigner in China, looking at Chinese people as visiting “our city” as tourists. Many of them have never seen white foreigners before, so a “quick run along the beach” can turn into people snapping blurry pictures as we pass by, or even trying to make us stop to pose in pictures with them.
We are grateful for all of the extra time that we got to spend together for the first month of summer. We certainly did enjoy our free afternoons and evenings. We treasure our quality time together, and especially now that we are a family, so we are looking forward to the changes coming in October. Elijah and I will arrive back in China the day before Justin’s birthday, and shortly after that Justin has a week off from school (a Chinese vacation week that occurs every year at the beginning of October). We will be relaxing, running by the beach, going on a hike or two, and making up for the month that we were apart.
It has been a good summer.
Time to bring on Fall – What an awesome season!