Timo's first ever school photo, Nursery 2016, arrived just in time for this post.

First Day of School

Much earlier than we would have preferred to send him but later than originally planned, T started school in January. He began school on the first day of the second semester. It was a sudden and difficult adjustment but Timo handled it very well.

After a few weeks we’re able to report that he has adapted quite well. He initially had a bit of difficulty with the departing bus each morning but is doing better and T seems to enjoy Library, the ball-pit, the tricycles and recess. He has started to eat better and nap regularly. Additionally, it seems he is learning the norms and routines of the class. Most importantly T likes his teacher and the assistants in the room and he has started to make some friends.

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Taking a picture with Mama before she leaves for work.

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Anxiously waiting to go to school, T’s dressed early and wearing his backpack in the house.

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Selfie at the bus stop.

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Posing like a big boy on a cold day at the bus stop before his first day of school.

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Off and running, excitement and envy come over T as the bus pulls up and other children begin to board.

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Seated, buckled in and waving goodbye before he realizes Baba is not getting on the bus.

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Talking with a teacher upon his arrival at school.

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Saying hello to teachers and administrators as he enters the building.

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He’s certainly a modern child, after a long first day of school it’s time to relax with a snack and some screen time.

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T’s first ever school photo, Nursery 2016, arrived just in time for this post.

Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Connecticut

We departed Shanghai a week before Christmas. It gave us just enough time to play in New York City while adjusting to the time change and then head out to visit family in Connecticut. Going home is always a whirlwind of a trip, so much to do in such a short time. We often stock up on six months worth of items that are hard to obtain in China, run errands that we haven’t done in half a year and of course visit both sides of the family and a variety of friends. Adding T to the mix has only doubled the challenge of accomplishing everything but somehow we always seem to get everything done. Below is a series of pictures capturing our Christmas in Connecticut.

1. Chicago

First stop on our trip home a layover in Chicago (here’s a view of downtown).

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Ornaments in Manhattan.

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Saturday, here in the park (Central Park, NYC).

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Mama and T sitting on the rocks in CP.

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The big Christmas Tree at the Rock.

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T waiting in Grand Central Station for our train to Connecticut.

7. Family XE

Christmas Eve.

8. Kirsten XE

T hanging in his aunt, KBPSS.

9. Dad XE

T and Yeye, making their respective “Santa Faces.”

10. Tim XE

T with uncle T.

11. X

Excitement on Christmas morning.

12. X santa face

Buttons, check, noise, check, lights up, check.

13. X umbrella

A happy boy with a few essentials; shoes, backpack and umbrella.

14. X cubs

Sporting his new Cubs jacket, illusive World Series we are coming for you.

15. Family X

Christmas Day.

16. Cathy XE

T with Aunt C.

17. Meghan XE

T with Aunt M.

18. X IU

Sporting his new t-shirt over the dress shirt.

19. Spencer XE

Cousins and apparently colleagues once a year on Santa’s sleigh.

20. Sam XE

T with Aunt S.

21. spencer

Cousins with Yeye.

22. Spencer 2

Cousins hanging out.

23. Spencer Snack

Cousins eating snack.

24. Baba hoops

Baba and T watching the Hoosiers.

25. Tim

T and T.

26. Sam

Departing smiles.

27. Dad Walking

Walking with Yeye.

28. cleaning

No free stay, T is helping move furniture.

29. Jim

Showing Papa how to use the iPad.

30. Mom

Smiles with Nainai.

31. Buckets

Birthday party in LI. Buckets!

32. Pullup

Showing off the upper body strength. Pullups!

33. hoops

Playing some defense in the gym.

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Dribbling down court.

35. Mom Hoops

Pass, catch and throw (but also shoot happy).

36. Meghan-Brad

Aunt M and Uncle B. (Cousin B not yet born but kind of pictured).

37. Cathy-Brian

Aunt C and Uncle B.

38. Mom-Jim

Papa and Nainai

39. Dad Catch

Playing catch.

40. Mor Mor-Seeya

Mor Mor and Seeya

41. Seeya Paper

Reading the paper with Seeya.

42. Seeya

Playing with Seeya.

43. Sleeping Car

Sleeping in the car after a long vacation.

44. North Pole

Sunrise over the North Pole.

45. Sleeping Plane

In flight nap after a long vacation.

46. Scootcase

Back in Shanghai, riding his new Christmas gift; the Scootcase.

 

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December in Shanghai 上海

In an effort to once again catch up, we’re retroactively going to complete a number of posts. Our first is a series of photos from December fun in Shanghai. We traveled home for the holidays (that post to come soon) but prior to seeing our family and friends in the United States we spent time together in our own city. Here’s a quick summary of our month.

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T with a proud smile assisting Baba and Mama put the tree together.

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Testing the durability of the ornaments.

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Checking the lights.

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Standing near the completed tree (pre-ornaments).

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Day 2: putting on the ornaments. 

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Our 2015 family ornament. 

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Relaxing in the morning. 

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Proving that he has not gotten too big. 

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Trying out his new gear. 

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Warm noodles on a cold evening. 

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All smiles out in Hongqiao. 

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Practice makes perfect. 

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Weekend getaway, checking out a much bigger tree. 

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Rooftop laughter with the Shanghai skyline in the background.

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Antlers at the night market. 

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View from our hotel during a weekend staycation before the holidays. 

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Famous Yuyuan Garden all lit up at night. 

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Noticing that the hotel trees are a lot bigger than ours. 

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A busy December left some of us tired and sick. 

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Lujiazui Park

With family in town and a toddler who wakes up early, we decided to take advantage of a sunny Saturday filled with a bright blue sky. We jumped on the metro (or as T says, choochoo) and headed for LJZ (Better known as Lujiazui). It’s home to the Jetson’s looking skyline that is one of Shanghai’s trademarks. The feature building for many is the Pearl Tower but just down the street on Century Ave., you will find the three tallest buildings in the city, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and Jin Mao (the worlds 2nd, 6th and 17t tallest buildings respectively). Adjacent to the four way intersection that these giant skyscrapers are located on you will find Lujiazui Park. A green area with rocks, trees, a decent sized pond and a pavilion that sits below the shadows of the ever growing skyline in Pudong. Below are a series of pictures we took as T and our guests visited the park for the first time.

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T trying to pose tall like the Pearl Tower behind him.

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Admiring the Pearl Tower en route to LJZ Park.

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Group shot.

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T running into Lujiazui Park.

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A house made out of CDs, part of an art display in the park.

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The sun glaring through the SWFC, Jin Mao and Shanghai Tower as seen from LJZ Park.

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A green view in LJZ park.

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LJZ Park.

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A glimpse of the Pearl Tower that can be seen from certain angles in LZJ Park.

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T noting the statue in the park.

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Hello!

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Like many trips we’ve made to LJZ in the past, we elected to go up into the SWFC for a view of the park from above. We spent time relaxing in a lounge and taking in the expansive site that is Shanghai. Then it was back down to the ground level to head out to other neighborhoods for the afternoon.

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Looking down at LJZ Park from atop the SWFC.

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Snack time.

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Looking across the Huangpu River into Puxi.

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Group shot with both the Jin Mao and Pearl Tower in the background.

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LJZ Park.

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Pointing to the skyscrapers out the window.

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3 of the top 20 tallest buildings in the world. From left to right, SWFC (6th tallest), Jin Mao (17th tallest) and Shanghai Tower (2nd Tallest)

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T posing from below the Pudong skyline in LJZ.

Hong Kong

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T enjoying noodles in the lounge.

As a new family we are hesitant to be apart from each other. So when B learned he had a conference to attend in Hong Kong, A & T decided to join him. It didn’t hurt that the conference was in Hong Kong. As one of our favorite cities we did not hesitate to tag along. We had a great time seeing the city, visiting friends and just relaxing at the hotel.

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T and B swimming at the hotel after a long day at the conference.

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Taking in the morning view.

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Who has the better splash?

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Selfie on the way up to Victoria’s Peak.

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View from Victoria’s Peak.

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T is not afraid of heights.

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The best out of many.

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T posing.

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Now those are big fish.

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A&B: “Panda” T: “Dog”

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Getting a good look at the red panda.

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View from the Star Ferry, Hong Kong side.

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View from the Star Ferry, Kowloon side.

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Someone missed the entire Star Ferry ride.

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Family photo opp.

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Ready to head home to Shanghai!

 

Xujiahui Park

On Saturday we decided to explore Xujiahui Park. A newer park, it was completed in 2002 on the location of a former brick factory. The park has a man-made brook modeled on the Huangpu River, basketball courts and a great children’s playground. When we were there the Shanghai Conservatory of Music was offering a free opera performance. We fell in love with Xujiahui Park and we will no doubt be returning many times.

Let's go! I want to run!

Let’s go! I want to run!

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Interactive art.

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“Look at the black swan!” says Mama. “No thanks, I think I’ll look at my feet” thinks T.

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Enjoying the opera singer’s beautiful voice.

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Finally play time!

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“Don’t mess with me. I rule this playground.”

People’s Park

People’s Park is a part of People’s Square. The park sits on the former colonial racetrack, which was established in 1862 by the British. For a while it was the most popular track in East Asia. When the People’s Republic of China was founded horse racing and gambling were banned and the racecourse was converted into People’s Park.

We love to explore parks in China. In the U.S. when we think of a park, we think about baseball fields and open grassy areas. In China, it is very possible to have a park where you are not allowed on the grass. Instead, parks are gathering places to play cards, practice tai chi, and dance. People’s Park is no exception.

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Folks gathering to play various cards and dice games.

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The marriage market takes place in People’s Park on the weekend. Grandparents and parents gather together to try and find matches for their grandchildren and children. I’ve heard it best described as match.com meets farmer’s market.

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B & T taking a stroll in the park.

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T showing off his best “don’t mess with me” face.

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The park has many museums nearby, including the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Shanghai Art Museum.

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The park also has a huge children’s section. T freaked out when he saw the bumper cars.

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The excitement only grew when he saw the merry-go-round.

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Many of the rides were not quite T friendly.

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He was so excited to find a ride where he met the height requirements.

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As typical, T had no smiles to give during the ride, but he begged to do it again when it was all over.

The Bund

Last weekend we woke up to a beautiful day (meaning not too hot, blue skies and a good AQI) and decided to head over to The Bund. The Bund is a very famous waterfront on the Puxi (west) side of the Huangpu River. In the past, it was a major financial hub of East Asia. The buildings older brick style buildings influenced by European architecture are magnificent, though often overlooked by the soaring skyscrapers on the Pudong (east) side of the river (which are also magnificent).

While we have been there many times, it was fun to take T for the first time. However, he may have been a little more impressed by the boats, statues and room to run than the architecture. We will have to return another time for an evening trip (beyond bedtime) to see all the lights.

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China’s National Day

Yesterday, October 1, was China’s National Day. It also marks the beginning of Golden Week when many Chinese take advantage of their week off and travel. It is estimated that this year almost 500 million people will travel domestically in China during the holiday week. It is also an amazing time to stay in Shanghai. The weather has just started to cool off and the pollution levels are still very low. This year we have even more to celebrate with the addition of our proud Chinese American son to our family. A nearby typhoon brought a week of rain to Shanghai, but luckily it cleared yesterday afternoon. We took advantage of the weather and headed to Jing’an Temple and park with T. He sported some traditional Chinese attire in the national colors to show his pride.

Whoa does anyone see this crazy statue?

No worries, I can balance it on my head.

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生日快乐中国 Happy Birthday China!

Fountains and Fun Times

Last Sunday we had to run some errands in Pudong and decided to take T to a mall we used to frequent. The most impressive part of this mall is the fountain. The fountain is set to music and at times shoots up close to 3 stories high! We were disappointed to see that the fountain has been roped off.

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However that didn’t stop T from doing what so many children used to do before the ropes.

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Even though he wasn’t allowed to go back under the ropes, he still managed to get plenty wet and have lots of fun. 

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