Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Year in Unpublished Pictures - 2011: Part 3

Part 3 brings us to Beijing, China, where we are now. This season was probably packed with more fiascos than any other time of my life.  
July in China:
We flew to China on our 9th anniversary. Magnolia did pretty well but Kaleia struggled and therefore Mama was a wreck by the end of the 11 hour flight. We were met at the airport and dropped off at the school dormitory in the middle of the night with little direction. The next few weeks we found ourselves on a steep learning curve while we settled into an apartment and Shannon started the school year. There was much culture shock, especially on the part of Shannon. The girls got used to celebrity status. Brian realized just how tough it was going to be to set up an office in China. Make sure to click read more. 
Magnolia pretending to sleep with her new neck pillow.
Brian getting to know our new, and now good, friend Park. 
All our belongings crammed into student housing. 
Kaleia-snuggles and Maggie-time are the best cures for culture shock.
Dorm rooms are not designed for toddlers.
But the girls found ways to entertain themselves. 
Smog and humidity.
One of August's biggest challenges was figuring out what and where to eat.
Kaleia was the most adventurous. Wiener lollipop, anyone?
We also had to figure out transportation: subways, buses, taxis, walking...
Kaleia figured out how to hail taxis right away.
Figuring out how to communicate with the driver was another issue.
The students seemed very different here. 
A lot of things seemed different. Chickens eating walls?

We started to feel more settled and began to venture out. The girls started preschool at Ivy Bilingual, which is located in our apartment complex. We still felt like we didn't have a clue, but we were also starting to figure out a few things for basic survival. 
We think there is a celebration happening in our complex?
The girls heading to school

The month started with a week long national holiday. Beijing emptied as people went back to their hometowns. I enjoyed exploring our "neighborhood" on my bike and getting more settled. Brian loved learning Chinese characters. The girls love their school. 

The rest of October was fiasco after fiasco. Sickness, no insurance, ruptured ear drum, sickness, thesis writing, job struggles, Chinese communication issues...But that's another post.

I went with our friend Park to this dress shop.
I literally got barracaded behind a wall of dresses when a pile toppled next to me.
I did find a few good ones for my work wardrobe.
Brian heard about a character writing class. After arriving he found out it was an unofficial women's club.
He stayed anyway.
The pollution was really bad during October and November. This is an average day. 
The chaos continued. The weather turned cold. The girls teachers were never satisfied with how they were dressed. But about the time the government turned our heat on, things started to lighten up. Brian finished his thesis. Most of our confusion about the Chinese system for utilities was figured out. Thanksgiving even brought a date for Brian and Shannon. 
Dressing themselves for school
We have a routine for the most part now. Brian and I are pretty tired. It is freezing still, but our apartment is warmish. Magnolia and Shannon are pretty homesick, and struggles with Shannon's school make going home at the semester a real temptation.
Spending time with my girls at bedtime
2011, while there was much missing in our blog posts, it was definitely full of Rushcapades. Here's to fewer fiascos--I'd even be okay with fewer feats--in 2012!

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