Tag: food

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!

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 fist 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 beautiful 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 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 🙂

Golden Week Travels: USA

Golden Week Travels: USA

My Golden Week was quite different from Thorben’s. Instead of exploring a new part of the world, I flew to the US for the 18th time – I just counted 🙂 My trip can be summed up with 3 words: family, food and shopping. In total, I spent over 30 hours on 5 different flights. It was definitely worth it because I managed to see all members of my American family within 8 days.

Fun Fact: My flight to L.A. arrived 3 hours earlier than it left Shanghai because there is a 15 hour time difference between China and the West Coast.

Utah

From L.A. I hopped straight on to a plane to Salt Lake City to see the Utah side of the family. I spent 3 nights at my American grandparents house and got to hang out with 2 of my host sisters, aunt and uncle, and my host sisters adorable kids. 2 of them got Feiyue shoes, which were promptly used at Show & Tell at school: “Look at my shoes! They’re from China!” 🙂

We also had lunch at In N Out. Biting into their cheeseburger for the first time is always magical, as were the home cooked breakfast and dinners I got!

Arizona

The next stop was Arizona to see my host parents and my remaining 3 host siblings. All we had on the agenda for 3 days was eating – Hello Chipotle and Cold Stone! – shopping and hanging out. And we went on a mission to find cool cacti to take pictures of 🙂

California

With 2 days left, my host mom and I flew back to California to see her mom, brother and his wife. The ocean view is so beautiful and the weather was perfect; it was hard to leave the balcony. The chocolate, almond and ham & cheese croissants we had for breakfast didn’t hurt either 🙂 We did manage to do some more outlet shopping, got another In N Out cheeseburger and saw “A Star is Born”. After a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway back to L.A. it was sadly time to fly back to Shanghai.

Thanks so much to my awesome host family for yet another awesome trip. I can’t wait for my 2019 US visit!

Friends, food and fun – our summer

Friends, food and fun – our summer

According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, summer is already over and fall started on August 7. The weather doesn’t seem to care about that and my app says it will still be above 30 degrees for the foreseeable future. Still, I thought I’d take this opportunity to recap our summer a bit, since we’ve been a bit lazy with the blogging.

This year, the weather was a tiny bit cooler than last year with the hottest day being “only” 38 degrees. It was still really hot and often also really humid. Just walking from the taxi to the office feels like exercise when it’s already 34 degrees at 8am.

So far we’ve had 4 typhoon warnings but mostly we got lucky and Shanghai didn’t get hit very hard. They did bring lots of rain and some wind for a day or two each time, especially during the last one it was pouring like crazy. I wish I could have sent some of that rain to Germany.

Besides sweating, our summer was filled with hanging out with friends, brunches, dinners, movie nights, parties and dinner parties. After we already had German and Swiss night, we enjoyed some home cooked Mexican food in early August. Luxembourg night turned into pizza and home cooked Chinese food night 🙂 Up next: international potluck dinner!

Thorben got the contact of a guy who imports beef which started a little steak obsession in our house. Right now there are still around 3 kilos of beef in our freezer, and that is after 4 steak dinner parties … My role in these dinners: Make appetizers, salad dressing, bake dessert and don’t disturb the chef 🙂 Homemade avocado popsicles were also a big hit this summer.

I went to some more GGI events and shared the wine I brought back from Germany with friends. Thorben did a lot of exercise including running along the bund in this crazy heat and played archery every weekend. We also got celebrated the first birthday of archery in Shanghai with a big party. Just because I don’t play doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy lots of cake, right? Oh and of course we had to go to work here and there 🙂

Random Facts: Hot and Cold Food

Random Facts: Hot and Cold Food

During our department outing to Moganshan, I learned about hot and cold foods from my colleagues. It has nothing to do with the temperature of the food, but the characteristics or energy of it: each food either cools or heats your body.

The conversation started at dinner when I was digging into the delicious lychees. My colleague warned me: “Don’t eat too much, they are hot. Have some watermelon to balance it.” And so began my questioning about the topic and all the different foods we were eating. I could point at pretty much any food and they could tell me if it’s hot or cold. As it is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine most of my colleagues just grew up with that knowledge. Not all of them really believe in it but they still seem to know all the basics.

Here are some examples (to the best of my knowledge):

Cold foods: Apple, banana, watermelon, tofu, most fish, chicken, cheese, green tea

Hot foods: Lychee, cherry, onion, garlic, mustard, walnuts, beef, chocolate, coffee

Overall, it’s all about balance, ying and yang. If you are healthy, you should make sure you eat both hot and cold foods. If you are sick, depending on the illness, this could mean your body has too much heat or coldness, so you can get better by eating the right foods. My coworker told me to let her know next time I’m not feeling well and then she’ll tell me what to eat to help me to get healthy again. I’ll report back once I try 🙂

Another well known fact in China: Cold water is not good for you, or it’s “not good for healthy” as many people say 🙂 Basically, cold drinks should always be avoided. We’ve mostly adapted to only drinking warm/hot water in restaurants, but on a day like today with temperatures of 36 degrees, something from the fridge does sound really good.

5 Great Things About Visiting Germany

5 Great Things About Visiting Germany

With 2 Germany trips within a few weeks from each other I’ve neglected this blog quite a bit, sorry to the 3 people still reading! 🙂

I got back on Monday so it’s time to get on with the blogging. Here is my Top 5 of why visiting Germany was awesome.

1. Seeing Family and Friends

Obviously the best part of visiting. I forgot to take pictures because I was having too much fun. So thanks to my sister for making us take that one 🙂 And yes, that’s a castle in the background. When in Germany …

2. Butterbrezeln, Maultaschen und Käsespätzle

There are 2 Paulaner and a couple other German restaurants and I’ve never been to one of them (with the exception of the Christmas market and a cheese fondue event but that doesn’t really count as German food). I don’t really miss German food in Shanghai that much, there is a lot other great stuff to eat. So far I’ve really craved Maultaschen once, and then we just made them ourselves. However, when I’m home I love eating my way through all the delicious regional food we have and the goodies my mom makes.

3. Driving

Flying down the Autobahn at 100 mph is fun and somehow very relaxing. I wouldn’t want to drive in Shanghai but I love it in Germany. Unless you’re stuck in a massive traffic jam around Stuttgart of course 🙂

4. Drinking the tap water

Back in Germany we almost never bought water, just drank it straight from the tap. It’s super easy, tastes good and is almost free (important for me as a Swabian 😉 ). In Shanghai we don’t even use the tab water for cooking, so it’s just a nice change.

5. Long summer nights

The sun doesn’t set until 9:30, so I never noticed how late it was getting. These extra 2.5 hours of daylight are fantastic and something I miss here. Eating ice cream in the dark is also fine if there’s no other option 🙂

And I guess views like this also don’t hurt:

Though my trip was great, I’m happy to be back in Shanghai now, especially since I was greeted with perfect blue skies and relatively mild temperatures (only 33°!) and low humidity. I’ll back in Germany again a couple more times this year so until then I’ll be eating dumplings, meeting Shanghai friends and enjoying this crazy city that has become our second home.