Tag: friends

April

April

I’m a bit behind with my blogging, so I thought I’d do just a post about the whole month of April. Due to the current situation we didn’t leave the country or even the city, so it was a month full of Shanghai adventures.

Qingming Festival Weekend

The month started with a long weekend due to Qingming festival. Our friends Ling and Hutch had us over for dinner at their place. Ling first did a Chinese tea ceremony with us and then we ate lots and lots of food they had made. Friends who can make great food are the best friends πŸ™‚

The next day, we had an early birthday brunch for Thorben at the W hotel. As always, the food and views were awesome. We had fun taking pictures on the terrace. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing the skyline.

On the final day of the 3 day weekend, we had a little GrΓΌnkohl party at our house. Originally, we had planned it for 12 people the day Thorben got back from Germany. Due to the rules at the time, we couldn’t have anyone over and it all went into the freezer. Half of it has been completely demolished now and hopefully round 2 will happen soon πŸ™‚

Thorben’s Birthday

We extended the long weekend by another day to celebrate Thorben’s birthday a bit more. We had some cake at home and then dinner with friends at our favorite Chinese place, Lotus Eatery.

Easter

Easter Sunday was exciting for Thorben and many of our friends because that’s when archery finally started again. To properly celebrate the occasion, Thorben brought Brezeln to archery – it was a big success. Overall, Thorben was on a Brezel mission and made some 4 times in April … Someone is trying to steal my title of baking queen of the household πŸ™‚

I had a great, sunny Easter brunch with friends, ate some ice cream, went pack to Jing’An Sculpture Park and then stopped by to watch some archery. It’s fun to watch but I’m definitely sticking with not playing and staying bruise free on the side lines. Also, we had a family Easter WeChat Video conference πŸ™‚

3 More Birthdays

Besides Thorben’s birthday, we went to 3 more celebrations. 2 belated ones, now that everyone is back in town and places are open again, and 1 on the actual birthday.

For Boramy’s belated birthday we had brunch, which turned into drinks, which turned into ordering pizza at her place and binge watching Hulu πŸ™‚ Sadly, I neglected to take pictures of any people. I guess I was too busy eating and having fun!

For Lars’ birthday, we had dinner at a Sichuan restaurant and then there was cake, which means, my all time favorite birthday tradition. Not just eating the cake (which is pretty great, too), but cutting the head of the man, who is drawn onto the cake while everyone screams. Gotta love Denmark.

And finally, for Kate’s very belated birthday, we went for drinks and dinner at Heritage. It was my third time there this year – the food is so good! Also, there was cake (but no killed cake men) and a photographer, so there are actually more pictures of people than of food.

More Lunches and Dinners

Besides supporting the local economy and going out to eat, we also cooked and baked. I tried out some new recipes as my weekly meal prep continues. I stopped going to the canteen because it was operating on a very limited scale for a while due to Covid-19. And now I don’t want to go back, so cooking it is.

Boramy had us over for amazing lasagna, veggies, dips and salad, plus she made her version of Disney’s Dole whip. It was super good and I managed to sneak another piece of lasagna for lunch (Yes, that’s Thorben in the background finishing up a call while we had Prosecco).

Freddy made us a Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern lunch plus his grandma’s lemon pie. Yum. His compound is a crazy urban jungle, I think it’s the largest in Shanghai. Also, it’s right by the river and you have a great view of the “1000 trees”, a cool building on Suzhou creek, which is still under construction.

Tiger King

The final weekend of the month was really only a Saturday for me, because Sunday was a make up working day, due to the upcoming May holiday.

We made the most of the one free day … by first having lunch with Freddy (see above) and going to another birthday, that’s number 5 for April. To celebrate his birthday a couple of days early, Hutch had a Tiger King viewing party. Which meant we watched 4 episodes of Tiger King while dressed up in questionable outfits, and then went out for dinner.

So that was April. Looking back, quite a lot of things happened. I guess Shanghai just never gets boring. πŸ™‚

Not pictured: A couple of girls’ nights, more dinners, WeChat video workouts with my sisters, trying to plan a trip for May, game nights, a Zoom call to Rich in Paris, still wearing a mask everyday … and we also went to work (with masks on).

Staycation

Staycation

After most of our friends returned to Shanghai and finished their home quarantine, we decided to do a Staycation together. We hadn’t seen each other much this year, no one is allowed to really go anywhere plus many places are running specials, so it was the perfect opportunity. Two weeks ago our destination was the W Hotel located on the North Bund. This is the whole crew during Happy Hour and again after breakfast:

We booked a special package with happy hour, massages and breakfast the next day and it was amazing. The hotel was not full , so we had the spa to ourselves and we all got upgraded into incredible rooms with an even more incredible view! Being on the Bund, we set an alarm for 5:30 to watch the sunrise … me mostly from the comfort of our bed. I only got up a couple times to take a picture πŸ™‚

Those are all phone pictures, and here is one that Thorben took with the pro equipment. Looking at the Skyline never gets old and seeing it in the morning light was really cool.

It was a great weekend and it was really nice to get “away”, even if only a 15 min taxi ride away. If things stay the way they are and we cannot travel, I think we will be due for another Staycation soon πŸ™‚

Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming

I was just about to title this post “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” and then I realized that my Christmas post last year had that exact same title. Looks like I haven’t gotten any more creative with my blogging this year πŸ™‚

Anyway, back to the actual topic: I started the Christmas season early and finished my Christmas cookies in November already because I wanted to have them ready for our US trip. It took me 2 full weekends plus a few weeknights of baking, but I’m quite proud of the result. 8 different kind is a new record for me! I still have a long way to go to reach my mom’s 17 kinds, but I’m slowly improving πŸ˜‰

Thorben went on a business trip to Germany in November and brought back some Gingerbread, Spekulatius and goodies from my mom, so we were ready to get festive. When we came back home on December 1st, all that was left to do was get some Christmas decoration and start eating all the cookies.

… which is exactly what we did on our first weekend back. We had little Advent tea at our place on December 7 and ate our way through a few plates of cookies.

Since then, there were quite a few Christmas parties or holiday themed events here: A GGI gift exchange, an Italian aperetivo, a trip to the Christmas market that turned into a Raclette and mulled wine night because there was a massive queue to get into the market, a small Christmas dinner with friends, a very big Christmas dinner with a Secret Santa and drinks afterwards, another Christmas get together with hot chocolate, games and movies and then we hosted a dinner at our place followed by cookies on Sunday.

The Christmas season in Shanghai was really fun and festive and definitely got me in the mood for more. Tonight, we’re flying to Germany for some more holiday spirit and of course to celebrate Christmas with our families!

See you in 2020, Shanghai!

Shanghai Summer 2019

Shanghai Summer 2019

I haven’t posted anything in a while but that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening over here πŸ™‚

Both Thorben and I started new jobs. We’re still at the same company and same location but in different roles. I stayed in the same department but started a new project in May. Thorben changed to a different role and division in July.

Summer is in full swing and it’s hot hot hot. We already had a week filled with 36 and 37 degree weather, see the obligatory screenshot below. Now it’s “cooled down” to 33 degrees with a balmy 27 at night, so it’s still quite sweaty. I’m loving the inventor of the air conditioner more than ever.

Typhoon Lekima got a lot of coverage here as it got pretty close to Shanghai last weekend. We had a couple of days with a lot of wind and rain but thankfully, we were not affected a lot. There was some flooding and lots of leaves and little branches in the street but otherwise Shanghai got lucky. I just used the days inside to catch up with Harry Potter, which I’ve been re-reading (for the 8th time probably) since July.

On the travel front, we went to Kuching in June and each had to go on a business trip to Germany. We’re lucky we can usually combine business with seeing friends and family, so it still feels like fun trips, even without vacation time.

Other than that, there were birthday parties, a few GGI events for me, archery for Thorben, and we helped a couple of people move. Sadly, a few friends left Shanghai this summer, so we went to some farewells as well.

Of course there is always a lot going on food-wise: Marlyn cooked some Indonesian food for us  – or mostly instructed Thorben what to do ;). We had a nice dinner with yummy things of which I forgot all the names.

Also, we cooked, had people over for dinner and went out to eat a bunch. As always, I’ve neglected to take pictures of people because I’m too focused on the food πŸ™‚ So here’s a little, okay a big, food picture selection.

Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Celebrating Eid in Kuching

Last week, it was Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, the fasting month many Muslims observe. Syuke, a friend of ours, invited us to celebrate the holiday with him in his hometown Kuching. We’d been talking about going to Kuching for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity to visit.

Dressing in style

Syuke explained to us that typically you buy something new to wear for the first day of Eid. He mostly wears the traditional clothes during festivities like Eid and weddings. His family chose to wear green for the first day. During our visit, we saw that many families were wearing matching colors.

He lent some clothes to Thorben to wear as well, see the efforts it took to properly put them on below and the final result πŸ™‚ I didn’t have any special outfit, I just tried to dress modestly and cover up to be respectful.

Open Houses

Over the course of 2 1/2 days, Syuke took us to 7 open houses hosted by various family members and friends. At each open house, people come together to enjoy lots of good food and cakes. Our first open house was right after getting off the plane. Everyone was super friendly and welcoming, it was really a pleasure to meet so many nice people and enjoy this special holiday with them.

One of Syuke’s friends is a baker and has been baking non-stop for the past 2 months to make all the beautiful cakes for Eid. They looked too pretty to eat but she insisted, so what could we do? πŸ™‚ Understandably, all cakes were completely sold out, so I couldn’t bring any back.

Here is a little selection of pictures from 6 of the open houses and all the amazing Malay food and cakes.

Our first Eid was so much fun and it was so interesting to try all the food and talk to so many of Syuke’s relatives and friends. We’re very lucky to have such a diverse group of friends and be able to make these experiences with them!

In case anyone was wondering, I have not stepped on the scale since coming back – but whatever it says, it was worth it πŸ˜‰

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland

One of the endless entertainment possibilities in Shanghai is Disneyland! The newest Disney park is located an hour away from us and we finally went at the end of May.

Disney castle

I never wanted to go on a weekend because I heard the queues are horrible (2+ hours everywhere) but who says no to a free ticket? Our company had their family day here so we each got 2 tickets – which meant a Family Disney Day with our “kids” Marlyn and Freddy πŸ˜‰

With the help of our Disney-expert Boramy, the Disney app and some German planning, we managed to go on 6 rides:

  • Tron: Fun roller coaster where you sit on a motorcycle! Thorben and I got lucky and sat in the first row which was really cool.
  • Peter Pan: Super well made but we were a bit cranky from the 90 min wait when the app said 45. At least it was the only time we waited over 1 hour.
  • Woody’s round up: We went 2 x because the queue was only 5 min and it’s super fun. Who doesn’t like cowboy music and getting thrown around in a carriage?
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: I think this was everyone’s favorite, the visual effects are so cool! The wait was only 20-30 min so we went twice.
  • Snow White and the 7 dwarfs: The wait was really long but we used a fastpass for it and it was a cute ride combined with a slower rollercoaster.
  • Buzz Lightyear: Lots of shooting at target with a laser gun. I got the least points. Oh well.

We also saw the parade pass by and went to the Tarzan show and of course, there was also time to take silly queue selfies and some with the Disney castle … and all of that before 4 πŸ™‚

Next to Disneyland, in Disney Town, there is a Cheesecake Factory, where we went for a very late lunch/early dinner. The food was just like I remember it from the US and the cake was so good! After dinner, the plan was to go to Pirates again, ride Tron again at night and then stroll over to the castle gardens and see the light show and fireworks.

Even the best plan can fail … we got stuck on the Tron motorcycles because the ride broke down just as we were supposed to get accelerated. After 20 minutes on the motorcycles we got rescued and got a fastpass of our choice as compensation. So in the end, getting stuck was pretty cool because we managed to run over to Soaring Over the Horizon and go without waiting 2-3 hours πŸ™‚ We were cutting it a bit close for the fireworks but still managed to see 90% of it from the side of the castle. We really got the maximum out if our Disney day.

It was a lot of fun, so I’m glad we finally went! Now I’ve been to 3 different ones, Yay for Disney!