Good bye Germany – Hello again Shanghai!

Good bye Germany – Hello again Shanghai!

After 5 weeks in Germany, I got back to Shanghai on Saturday. It was a crazy mix of work, vacation, friends & family visits and more work.

Let’s start at the beginning: The day I landed, I hosted a mini bachelorette party for my sister, we attended her wedding the next day and then 5 days later Thorben’s sister got married. We visited 2 new babies, had the first snow of the season, went to the office for a week, had 2 birthdays in our families, met friends for dinner, at the Christmas Market or for brunch, got out of an Escape room (my team was a minute faster then Thorben’s … just saying), had awesome breakfasts and meals with our families, celebrated Christmas, went to see Bohemian Rhapsody and a musical … and that was only during the 2 weeks in December.

In January, Thorben drove up to the North Sea to visit family for a few days, while I went to the office and hung out more with friends and family in the evenings. After catching up with some work at the office, I started an 8 day training course. We escaped from a Harry Potter themed escape room, just in time for Thorben to catch his flight to Shanghai the next day. Actually, we escaped after only 37 minutes, like the amazing wizards and witches we are 😉 LUMOS!

In the evenings, I took it a little easier in my final 2 weeks: My sister and I had a spa day and went to an ice hockey game (Mannheim won!), I met a few friends and former colleagues and finally had a good bye dinner with my family followed with a good bye Brezel breakfast with my mom.

And this is the trip in pictures. As always, I didn’t take enough because I was too busy having fun … and eating … and somehow acquiring so much stuff I needed 3 suitcases to fit everything. Oops.

See you soon, Germany!

Grünkohlessen in Shanghai!

Grünkohlessen in Shanghai!

An important activity on our weekends is hosting dinner parties. In January, I brought some special ingredients from Germany to cook a traditional dish mostly known in the North of Germany. Grünkohl!

It’s kale, but not in it’s currently preferred healthy, almost raw form. It’s kale cooked for hours with cured pork belly (Bauchspeck), cured pork neck (Kassler), pork sausages (Kochwurst) and a special oat-pork-sausage (Pinkel). I think I brought around 5kg of meat to make the dish.

As a dessert we had ‘Rote Grütze mit Vanille Soße’, red fruit jelly with vanilla sauce.


A little 2018 review

A little 2018 review

Happy New Year! Before kicking off the 2019 adventures, I thought I’d look back on 2018 a little.

The start of last year’s review also fits here really well: 2018, it’s been a crazy year!

January

We started the year in Germany with our first home trip. Back in Shanghai, I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of strawberry season. We also experienced our first Shanghai winter and Thorben volunteered for a crochet charity. Our first trip of 2018 took us to cold and beautiful Harbin, where we almost froze but were amazed by the incredible snow and ice sculptures.

February

For our first Chinese New Year we took a much anticipated trip to Australia! It was a fantastic vacation, I can’t really decide which part was my favorite: Snuggling a koala, exploring Kangaroo Island or maybe the outback?

March

At the beginning of March we returned from Australia, me with a little souvenir: pneumonia. I spent most of the month at home on the couch recovering.

April

Thankfully, I recovered in time for spring and got to see many beautiful flowers and blossoms in Shanghai. For Thorben’s birthday, we took a trip to Tokyo. We’d missed most of the cherry blossoms there but took comfort in the awesome food. The eating continued throughout the month at our first Shanghai Restaurant Week. I also got a little crafty at a screen printing class hosted by GGI, while Thorben visited Vietnam for his department outing.

May

Our second trip within China that year was to Nanjing over Labor day. In May, we also celebrated my birthday together with our first visitors, Thorben’s parents, with whom we also took a bike tour around Shanghai. Thorben started a new hobby in 2018 – archery tag – and played in a league in May.

June

In June, my parents came to visit and we checked out a few of the Shanghai sights: M50, Jing’An Temple, Yu Garden and some parks. I also visited another new place in China, Moganshan, with my department for our team outing. My sisters had a joint birthday party in the middle of the month, so I took a trip to Germany to surprise them.

July

The next trip to Germany, this time a business trip, was just a few weeks later. 10 days for me, 2 weeks for Thorben, who also went to Inner Mongolia for work that month.

August

Our summer 2018 was filled with friends and food. The China explorations continued with a group trip to Moganshan, where Thorben and many of our friends competed in an obstacle race (I was only along for the ride).

September

Basically, the whole month of September was about food and travel. It started with a weekend in Taipei, where Jana, Ellie and I ate our way through the city. Back in Shanghai, it was restaurant week again and we got 2 more visitors, my little sister and her boyfriend. Together, we went to Luoyang, Xi’An, Chengdu and Leshan. Besides two great food tours, seeing the pandas was definitely a highlight of the trip!

October

In October, we used Golden Week to travel some more: Thorben went to Tibet and hiked all the way to the Everest base camp, while I went to visit my American family in Utah, Arizona and California. The US marked my 4th continent visited that year (and gave me gold status for flying way too much). After a few weeks back in Shanghai, I took another trip to Taipei to celebrate Pride.

November

After my third Germany trip at the beginning of the month, the rest of the month was spent in Shanghai. I got a beautiful view of Shanghai from above, we went to a great event called Chi Fan for Charity and celebrated Thanksgiving. Thorben grew a (truly terrible) mustache for Movember and played in another archery league.

December

Ellie came to visit from Taipei for a long weekend at the end of November/beginning of December and helped me finish baking the final batch of Christmas Cookies. To get even more into the Christmas spirit, a friend and I made our own Christmas sweaters! Finally, Thorben and I spent the last 2 weeks of 2018 in Germany and were pretty busy with 2 weddings, 2 birthdays, visiting friends and family and celebrating Christmas!

And that was 2018! I can’t wait for more trips, Shanghai adventures, visitors and dinner parties in 2019 🙂

Boozy Craft Club: Christmas Sweaters

Boozy Craft Club: Christmas Sweaters

In case anyone is wondering how the Boozy Christmas Sweater making went: It was great! A few weeks ago, Boramy and I signed up for the class at Craft’d (where I also did Screen Printing). They had so many fun ones for Christmas like Sew a Christmas Stocking, Christmas Candles, Making a Bauble Wreath or Christmas Calligraphy. We decided on the Christmas Sweater one, which was part of their Boozy Craft Club – that means we drank mulled wine while crafting 🙂

Since I’m not at all talented at drawing and we didn’t have any stencils, I decided on a Christmas tree with presents underneath. It was really fun and pretty simple once you’d decided on a design. All I had to do was cut out felt pieces and then stick them together with a hot glue gun. Those things are dangerous, but I managed not to burn myself too much. After Boramy finished her adorable reindeer sweater she made all the cute bows for my presents 🙂

And here is the final result after around an hour and a half. I think we did pretty well 🙂 I can’t wait for December 24th!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

On Sunday it was the first of advent and I was ready! Over the course of 3 weekends, I managed to make 6 types of Christmas cookies. A big thanks to my little elves Tim and Ellie, who made the baking even more fun!

Before going to Chifan for Charity a couple weeks ago, Tim and I made Nugatstangen and Orangenplätzchen. I finished the glazing and chocolate dipping on Sunday and also made Walnussbusserl.

The weekend after, I didn’t just bake pumpkin pies and pumpkin cookies for Thanksgiving, but also made Kokosmakronen on Saturday and Nuss-Marzipantaler on Sunday :).

Last week Ellie visited us for 4 days and we had a busy itinerary: Getting jianbing (repeatedly), enjoying her homemade scones, going to brunch, dinners and a comedy show. We also got to work and made a big batch of doppelt gefüllte Mürbchen with my mom’s amazing jam.

We finished them Saturday morning, so just in time for December and the first of advent! There is also a little advent decoration in our living room, so lots of holiday spirit all around. And of course the advent calendar my mom made me helps with that, too!

On Sunday, Boramy hosted a crafting afternoon, including Christmas tree decorating, Christmas music and hot chocolate. I supplied the cookies of course! We got very into the crafting and made some pretty awesome Christmas cards and gift labels, if I may say so myself 🙂

So that was Part I of the Christmas season in Shanghai. Up next: A “Boozy Christmas Sweater Making” class with Boramy tonight! Can’t wait!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year, we spent Thanksgiving in Cambodia and Singapore, but this year was not too bad either. I even got to celebrate and EAT twice. Last Thursday, on the actual day, I had a great dinner with a friend at a restaurant. They served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner plate with turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and green bean casserole. Yum!

The festivities continued in our kitchen on Saturday morning. Thorben gave making stuffing a try and I tried out my host mom’s pumpkin pie recipe. Based on the feedback, and my personal, totally unbiased opinion, both turned out great. We took the goodies to our friends Friendsgiving party where we had enough food to feed at least 26 people, not only the 16 of us 🙂 Besides the food, other highlights included a mulled wine competition and testing (the UK beat China!), playing “Disturbed Friends”, a screensaver of Nick Offerman drinking Whiskey for 10 hours, and wearing Disney ears … Just because they’re festive!