We just finished a one-day weekend since we had Saturday school again. More on that later but for now I’m trying to catch up on the little things that happened in October before November comes to an end!
….and then there was my sister’s wedding (HERE) all of which I just finally barely finished posts about.
Dave and the kids didn’t sit around and mope while I was gone 🙂
(more about that and autumn hikes and my dad’s birthday in the last post I just barely posted right before this one HERE)
“The Voice” of China
The day after I got home, Dave’s business partner Kevin had received a call from a friend that they needed some American “extras” to do a special on one of the top five in winners in “The Voice of China.”
It was during a school day and the big kids were needing to be at school (still catching up after Cambodia), so we snuck Claire out and headed on over.
In my jet-lagged state I didn’t ask many questions…just figured we would go and be in a big crowd there, but when we arrived they pulled us right in to do our hair and make-up and we realized we were “the show.”
A little bit horrifying for me, a little bit exciting for Claire, and somewhere in between for Dave. Here’s the girl who was in the top three:
She was darling and helped us through it. We were supposed to be her “good friends” visiting from the states and she sang to us and we had to sing to her.
Yes, I’m serious about that.
I am the furthest thing from an actress and even further from a solo singer. Dave, Claire and I had to sing a song for her, and in our dumbfound deer-in-the-headlights stupor we chose “Give Said the Little Stream” of all things. Then Dave and I had to sing a song to each other.
See why I’m saying I was feeling a little bit horrified? Ha!
Everyone was so nice though, and totally helped us through it.
After our on-camera “reunion” and singing, they interviewed Dave since he can speak Chinese.
Here he is all set up for stardom:
Apparently 5 million people (and counting) have watched that interview over here in China. (Kevin was so excited when he showed us the count the other day…Dave was a little mortified.)
It all chalked up to an experience I’m sure none of us will ever forget.
**post edit note: my nephew Rob (who has lived in China) found the link for us (thanks Rob!) Luckily they were smart enough to cut out most of our singing (maybe because I was just about to cry at the end there when I realized they honestly wanted me to sing a solo)…hallelujah! Here it is: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XODE0NjE0MjU2.html
Grace made the soccer team and loved her season (although we all agreed it was way too short).
So proud of that girl.
A night out on the town (our little neighborhood) to go watch volleyball at the school:
Max, after a brief flirt with the idea of never cutting his hair while we are here, finally begged me to chop it off. He went from this:
Claire is excelling in Chinese. She LOVES it and tries to practice with everyone we come across. Taxi drivers, cashiers in stores, random people on the metro, you name it, she’s got a smile and a few Chinese words to practice. I LOVE it. Here’s her latest Chinese test:
“Mei Gui” is her Chinese name.
Lucy, on the other hand, didn’t want to touch Chinese with a ten-foot pole in the beginning. But with help from her sweet tutor (who is helping me a ton too), she’s starting to get some of the key concepts and can answer her teacher’s Chinese questions in Chinese.
I sit in and listen on the lessons, taking notes as fast as I can. It’s such a crazy language and even when you write the words in Pin Yin (which is supposed to be phoenetic), the sounds of each letter are completely different.
My walking-home from school buddy:
As we walk, we keep watching for any turn of the leaves since it’s starting to get so cold, but they are staying green as can be:
Big kids walking into school:
Sports Day was back HERE.
The people next door are remodeling their house.
And when I say “remodeling,” I mean breaking it down to the bare bones very, very loudly.
That thing is a SHELL I tell you! …I don’t even know how it’s still standing up after all the commotion they’ve made over there knocking things out. There is a new huge pile of trash and debris outside every day. (Makes me sorry for our neighbors back home…sorry Daltons!)
We haven’t been in town many weekends, but there was one when we went into an area called Xian Tian Di. It’s kind of a hip, funky area in the old “French Concession” section of town where there are cool tree-lined streets and ancient sidewalks.
It just so happened that it was “Fashion Week” and there were all kinds of photographers mulling around where we got lunch. A few stopped to take pictures of the kids, and then a whole hoard of them started going at it when we got closer to the event. I wish I had been quick enough to capture a picture of them swarming around taking pictures of them at the entrance to the actual fashion show. It was hilarious.
But I did get a pic. of Claire doing her “pose.”
We tried to get into the fashion show but it had already started. Dang it.
We have been turning into pros. at the subway system and there’s something so invigorating about that. I love the subway! So much better than fighting traffic in a cab.
Our closest subway stop is about 10-15 minutes walking from our house and some of our best conversations happen on that little stretch.
After Xian Tien Di we headed to Yu Yuan Gardens (which was a total flop this time around…wrote about that with more pictures over HERE)
They are stepping up to so many things here. One Sunday the youth were in charge of sacrament meeting at church…which means these three plus three others were the “show.” Max and Elle spoke and did such a great job, and Grace sang with them.
Some of Lucy’s cute classmates and wonderful teacher:
This is not a storm or a cloudy day:
It is pollution. And we have had a whole bunch of it lately. Lots of medical masks being worn all around. Maybe we better invest in a few of those puppies.
My sometimes-work-out partner:
Never seems to be a day where we can all go together, but we try.
College prep night at the school:
They are really great at college prep here. They visitors from universities all over the world who come talk about the schools they are representing. This night was a parent’s night to be informed on things like how Harvard turns away 95% of applicants and how many schools you should apply to. We made Max and Elle come with us because hey, they are the ones applying.
Love any chance to go on little dates with those two.
Our friends Kevin and Tammy’s daughter goes to nearby “Disneyland” International school. (If you could visit the school you’d understand why we refer to it as one of the “Disneyland” schools…it is amazing.) Tammy is Chinese but gave birth to her pre-schooler in the states. Because of that, she can attend this great school that only kids with foreign passports can go to.
They had an “International Day” where she needed to make some American treats. She knew where to come to ask for help 😉
She sent her ayi over and we whipped up some cookies and brownies together.
…while discussing all aspects of the Philippines and the U.S. Fascinating discussion.
The next day I went to part of the festival with them. It was quite exceptional.
My friend Tammy with her cute daughter Olivia:
There were food booths from all over the world, and the food was SO GOOD!
I went on a little outing here:
(an antique market)
With these two great ladies:
..and with some other girls another couple times…it’s such a great place to go.
I keep trying to find a time to bring my other kids back.
Seriously how do those things not fall off? Well, they often do. There are spilled goods from trucks every now and again floating over the streets.
Love to go in Claire’s room and find this:
She is so into Harry Potter right now…she’s currently on book #4.
This cute family has taken such great care of us:
She works for a hotel and got us the coolest room to celebrate Dave’s birthday early while my brother was in town.
Love this bridge, because it’s cool:
…but also because it leads us to the Fabric Market.
And thank Heavens for that because didn’t bring any winter Sunday clothes, and it’s cold.
Thank Heavens also for good friends who happened ot be at the Fabric Market at the same time when we could not, for the life of us, find a taxi and Elle had a babysitting job we were scrabbling to get back to. They drove us to the other side of the bridge to grab the metro there.
Dresses and a suit from the fabric market:
And half the time it doesn’t work…especially at night when kids need to use it for homework projects.
Elle was contacted to help spread the word about these cool t-shirts from Olive Lane:
So she did a few photoshoots for them.
We took Lu’s baptism pictures. These were my favorite out-takes:
The high school did this “last man standing” thing where they had to try to eliminate people they were assigned to with squirt guns.
I always have my iPhone with me when we’re walking home from school and sometimes I can’t resist snapping a picture of these girls.
And then we were off on the high speed train to Beijing.