During our first weekend here we got up on Saturday (still super early because of the jet lag), and decided to explore the neighborhood.  
We went to check out a close-by gym we thought might be a good place to keep us all in shape while we’re here.

 Lu wasn’t as interested in the exercising as she was in her book.

We checked out the local street food (and Dave bought us some for breakfast).

We tried out some local fruit too.  The peaches were divine.  There are so many cool fruits of so many different varieties here.  So far dragonfruit is my favorite, but I really like pomelos too.

We got mesmerized by the cool plants this lady had laid out on the street and figured they would be a good way to brighten up the bedrooms.

I remember seeing these plants as a kid somewhere sometime and being fascinated by them.  Claire was equally fascinated.

Our local 7-11 treats:

 Corner bakery:

That night we ventured out and took the metro to The Bund (that I wrote about back HERE).

Love that place.

Church doesn’t start until 12:30 on Sunday so we made brunch and just laid low.

…and tried to figure out how to use our kitchen.

Dave gave the kids their pre-starting-school “Father’s Blessings.” 

(We waited for the second first day of school for these blessings this year because we figured they may need them more here!)

There are no LDS church buildings here so we go to church above this car dealership in this round building here:

We somehow got the wrong time for church so we got there early.
And is there a better thing to keep five kids occupied than tricks on an empty escalator?

I think not.

This is where we meet:

(We were early enough we got to explore.)

I love going to church in foreign places.  I love that no matter where we go we can find such a wonderful “family” to belong to even before we get there.

I talked to one of my friends who used to live in China before we left.  She hooked me up with her friends who still live here.  Within hours they had emailed me, cc’d me in on an email with the Branch President, added me to the “Shanghai Sisters” email group (a non-denominational group of wonderful women in and out of the church), added me into their WeChat group (how everyone communicates over here) and we had been invited to dinner after church by the only other family that had any youth in the branch.  We had an automatic “family away from family” here in Shanghai.  And I’m so grateful for that.  I don’t know if I already mentioned it, but back in the desert there are 100 youth in our ward.  Here there was ONE before we got here.

I’m so grateful for the wonderful discussions focused on Christ that inspire and help us wherever we may be in the world.  I’m so grateful that my kids get great lessons and get an opportunity to learn more about the scriptures and love whether they are surrounded by a whole slew of friends or just one other girl.  Claire is in a primary class with all the 8, 9 and 10 year olds (it’s just her and three boys) and Lu is in a class with the 5, 6 and 7 year olds all combined.

I’m so mad we didn’t get a picture with the wonderful family who invited us to dinner.  My kids eyes gleamed with delight that they made us so much wonderful, familiar food and insisted that we couldn’t bring a thing.  At that point in our journey we still had a lot to figure out with food so it meant so much to us!  So great to get to know that great family of six who has been here for a year and lived in Germany for two years before that.  So many things to learn from them!

Here we are walking back to the metro.

And trying to figure out how to navigate it.

Lucy took holding on tight very seriously and insisted she needed to hold the top handle.

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