Updates and the New Year

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Well, hello, you all!

I went a little blog-MIA for a while, which turns out to have been a very good choice. My administrative role at Soochow University turned into a major project management role, which turned into a traveling and cat herding position. I got back in mid-December from a 2 1/2 week concert/ audition/ recruiting tour to Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. And within 1/2 a day of my return, I went back to the airport to pop over to Ohio to shop, visit family, and make the final arrangements to bring my critters to China. 

It was my first time to many of these places, so for that reason, managing the recruitment tour was awesome. And I've done a lot of planning and organizing in many of my past career incarnations, so I know I was a good point person for handling and planning a lot of the logistics and press materials. But, wow, was it exhausting, and completed on a way-too-abbreviated timeline. Never again.

Gangnam  Street Vendors in Seoul. So many fruits and dried fish. 
Singapore views. There's a pool and casino on the top of that boat shaped thing.
View of Hong Kong from up on the Peak. I was so glad for a relative day off during the trip with Rob to show off my sister and brother-in-law's ex-city of residence.
Hong Kong's Peel Street. It's steeper than it looks.
Beijing Bell Tower near the hutongs where we bought a bunch of great little percussion instruments.

As soon as I got done with the tour, I hopped on a plane to go to Ohio for a preplanned pick up trip for the animals. Really sucky turn of events was that my grandmother passed away the day before I was due to leave. Really wonderful turn of events was that the memorial brought ALL of my dad's side of the family together, including all four of us siblings and cousins minus one. The family time was beyond a gift, and exactly the kind of joyful reunion my grandmother would have treasured. We won't talk about the inappropriate high-five I gave my cousin in the funeral home on accident. 
Four siblings and a Dad photobomb. I couldn't love it more.
One of many Euchre games in the hotel lobby. My cousins were all learning at a second game going on behind me.

I returned to China with the dog in baggage and the cat as cargo, so, as of Christmas, my critter kids are finally here and home for good. I'm still working full days until Soochow's Holiday Break (which centers around the Chinese New Year) in mid-January. And Rob is heading back to America for a few weeks to visit with friends and family, but I'm staying in China! A quiet house, no real responsibilities, a schedule that is really all my own. I can't wait! Most of our friends on faculty are leaving to go elsewhere for all or most of the Holiday, but at least one of my Office colleagues is a Suzhou native, so we're here together. Oh. My. Gosh. Girl Time. And loving on my critters. 

My babies in their new apartment. The adjustment is slow, but going okay.

The whole fall season of blogging was also relatively piddled away due to three things- 

1. My computer is getting scary slow and can't hack photo editing and uploads very well anymore. I'm grateful it's lasted our family for 4 years of intense use (Rob's DMA studies and music writing software, then on to me this past winter and all my literally thousands of photos), but it's time to say hello to a new computer instead. 

2. My daily looks in the office are dictated by what can be layered like crazy for warmth and simplicity. Whole-building heating systems aren't a "thing" over here, so between having to be long-john compatible for travel on public transit and a more walking-lifestyle (something I really love about living here), it has to be a good balance of warmth and appropriate layers for wearing inside in the office all day, too. Which is tricky. A lot of my really great winter layering outfits from years past are now total crap because 3/4 or J Crew-esque rolled sleeves in any capacity are going to make my fingers purple all day. Ditto for a single undershirt layer. Lots of black pants and black sweaters- boring as hell, but you can pack tons of layers under a black sweater and somehow still look like you aren't the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Boring? A little. Perfectly professional looking? For sure. Allows me to be lazy as sin in the mornings? Oh, my gosh, yes. Fool-proof.

And the big (well, still relatively little) 3. There's a kid on the way. I was keeping it pretty quiet from colleagues through December so I didn't get the wilting flower treatment during the Tour, because there's really nothing more degrading for a capable person than to be babied when you're conscious about not hoisting heavy crap and wearing sensible shoes during early pregnancy. Aside from a little help lifting my suitcase and avoiding sushi and wine, I didn't want to detract from what had to get accomplished during our travels.

A Mid-May kid! We are  both so happy and I'm pleased as anything that this kid finally looks like more than a big lunch. 

So, joining the crew in the middle of May, there's now a little 20-week dumpling that has made my pants tight and my bathroom runs frequent. And aaaanyone who's read this blog for longer than a minute knows I've been impatiently waiting for mommyhood, so I'm so thrilled about the opportunity to experience this crazy journey in our new international home! 2014 is, somehow, going to kick 2013's ass in the big, cool, exciting life changes department. 

Bonus, we're not finding out the gender- how many huge, awesome surprises do you really get in a lifetime?!- but Rob is still really pumped about a gender-neutral dinosaur theme. It's the most lovely thing.

Dear friends, Happiest New Year to you all. I may have disappeared from the community of blogging for a little while, but I've been reading up on what everyone's been up to, keeping tabs on all the Thanksgiving and Christmas fun, and enjoying the heck out of the joy that's been so present across the fashion blogging realm lately. All best to each and every one of you as we step into this fresh start and the new year.


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