This week in Shanghai…

This is a deceptively calm photo of Qibao, an “ancient” settlement on the outskirts of Shanghai. It is an area that prospered during the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. There was some old and beautiful architecture, the canals you see here and tiny alleyways jam packed with food and merchants.  What you can’t see in the photo is the thrall behind me. It was the most crowded place we have been in China yet. Granted – we went on a Chinese holiday (not smart) but word has it that this spot is always crowded. It was hard to see past the mess and chaos to get a feel for the ancient settlement. These two pictures in no way represent what it was actually like!! Not sure how I pulled that off…

It was hot and smelly and I would call the overall outing a bust if not for this tea tasting the boys did. The whole scene literally made the day. The woman was so serious about her tea. She let the boys pick which tea they wanted to taste (fruit tea, of course) and invited them to sit while she brewed a fresh pot.  They loved the tea and the whole experience. Super cute.

The Chinese holiday this week was Dragon Boat Festival, everyone had Monday and Tuesday off. We did Qibao on Monday and decided to just lay low Tuesday, that was the day we took the chess boards to the coffee shop. Wednesday the air quality here tanked so we stayed home. Thursday the air quality was not much better, but we decided to venture out to find air masks since A) the air quality was horrible B) we are heading to Beijing next week and C) I decided the boys need to wear them when they play soccer. Grayson in particular is having a hard time with his lungs so, better safe than sorry. The trip was futile (shocker) and I ended up ordering them online. Nothing is Shanghai is where it is supposed to be and if it is, it doesn’t have what it is supposed to have…

This is the boys this morning at That’s Mandarin, a Mandarin school here in Shanghai.

Mike and I decided that it would be a tragic waste for the us to be immersed in a language and culture for 3+ months and not learn it, so we enrolled in Mandarin classes here (well, the boys and I did). They are so0oo thrilled. I am taking the classes with them, I think it will be fun once we get underway. We start Monday! We were playing with Grayson’s camera while waiting for the Didi (Shanghai Uber) after our visit to the Mandarin School. Didi is another awesome pain in the ass. We can’t live without it, as Shanghai taxis only fit 4 people and you can’t take the subway everywhere, but there’s always some problem with Didi. As you can tell from these photos, we were waiting and waiting and waiting…

This afternoon the air quality improved and the boys got to play soccer while I made dinner. I have come to appreciate how much easier the right tools make things in the kitchen. I finally caved and bought some measuring spoons and cup, a rubber spatula and a cast iron skillet. Next on my list is tongs and I am considering a blender. I know cooking the way I do for our diet is a challenge – but good lord it is much more difficult here. I think everything is more difficult here for six Americans, but so far its all worth it.


  1. Gamma

    I think it is great how you are really getting the boys out to explore the city. The tea tasting sounds wondeful. I’m sure they had a blast.
    Love that you are all going to Mandarin school.
    It’s fun following your adventures. As soon as I read about the Didi, I remembered the term from when I was there. But I don’t remember ever taking one!
    Dad and I are going up to Mammoth on June 16 for about a week. Dad’s friend Jim is letting us stay at his house up there. It will be nice to get out of the heat for a while.
    Keep posting pictures, we love them.

    Miss you,lots, kisses all around

  2. Kris

    Well that all sounds horrible and hard and hot. I don’t know how you are managing your tribe and all the crazy issues you had last week. I hope Beijing is treating you much better!

  3. Michele Muzzy

    The boys drinking and experiencing tea in China. I just love it! Also love the close up photos. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *