Imagine the fashionista


Imagine someone with long flowing black hair cascading down her back, walking along the sidewalk.

Imagine her wearing these super fuzzy pink pjs (imagine them with maroon polka dots)(photo not of actual person mentioned in story).

Then imagine the pink polka dotted pjs tucked into tall brown high heeled boots, with a bit of lumpiness sticking out around the edges.

Then imagine a brown poodle cradled in the crook of her arm.

I did my own bit of rubbernecking while I decided if it would be too awkward to screech to a halt on my bike and snap a photo.


Afloat and smiling


We have survived 3 months of American wanderings and now 10 days back in China.

The 14 suitcases that exploded in our apartment have all been put away empty.

Kids are sleeping until 6 am and jet lag is once again a distant concept.

We felt so welcomed back by our teammates, coworkers and neighbors .

I opened the door to a knock this morning to find my upstairs neighbor, grandma to triplet 10 year old boys, lugging 3 boxes of milk and yogurt for the children.

She sat down and we chatted about the grandparents, the children, and the usual neighbor stuff.

She even offered to help me clean our apartment.  I said no need.

I was really warmed deep inside that my neighbor would be so thoughtful.

That’s all. Now back to cleaning 3 months of dust.


Year in review: our broader life


January:  delivery of some of the hundreds of footie pajamas we transported from generous donors in the US.


February: I love the red associated with Chinese New Year!


March:  3 wheeled cart transporting a sign


April: early morning run in Shanghaiimg_2557

May: Our occupational therapist visitor has a message from KFC “It’s not that bad” as we embark on an outreach to children with autism; we begin our English class outreach to minority children.

June: We tried to to go North Korea, but the door was closed and the boat was leaky, so we had to be satisfied with the view across the river.

July: our local dancing grannies, puppies on a ride, and two fathers helping their children during the talent show at the weekend camp for kids with disabilities.

August: Reindeer wedding.  Enough said.


September:  Chinese history and culture–Big Z’s favorite page in his brother’s 3rd grade reader.  This scene is from a story about a teacher who sacrifice his life so that his students could have books during wartime. We also had another visit from an expert in children with cerebral palsy giving pointers on positioning.



October: dried vegetables hang everywhere in anticipation of a long winter. Plus, it’s time for a cut and shave.



November: Thanksgiving came to the minority neighborhood as an awesome group of volunteers put on a feast and entertainment.


December: Foster parents, their kids and friends watching talent show performances of fellow foster kids. Plus, even on a blustery Christmas Day, it’s never too cold for a cut and shave.




Year in review: family version

Year in review: family version

January:  I’m going to cheat and add in two very important moments from December of 2015-saying goodbye to our moms/grandmas before departing to China for another long time.  That is one of the toughest moments for me.

We returned and visited Z’s orphanage before the Chinese New Year because they all wanted to see how he had done after his big heart surgery.  Some tears were shed.  On a side note, the little sweetie in the background passed away from his heart condition later in the year.

February:  Feburary 29th ought to be memorable in some way, so we joined our neighbors in donning our swimsuits and heading out into subzero conditions for a few minutes.  Our neighbors of course, thought we were as crazy as usual.  Chinese New Year was a highlight, as usual with a pizza-and taco-deep fried dumpling feast as we enjoyed the fireworks.

March:  We went back to school for the spring semester, including Z’s first experience with preschool.  The other picture is kids packing the elevator for our Easter egg hunt in the courtyard.

April: Our newest family member joined us:  Bjørn the schnoodle. img_2909

May: The seasonal migration of expats, with our bestie neighbors leaving for 3 months, and celebrating 1 year since Z’s adoption day!


June: Somebody got her driver’s license!  Watch out, China, for the blonde Chinese woman on the streets.  The license I’m holding had a misprint and stated my nationality as Chinese-as I took the selfie I realized it and ran back inside to have it fixed to avoid the risk of having my license deemed invalid or fake in the future.

IMG_3789 (1).jpg

July: Carefree summer days

August: Kindergarten graduation, one of many airport runs to pick up or drop off friends, and our first appearance as “parents of the groom.”

September: back to school, running 5k for foster care, and another tearful goodbye.

October:  autumn sports days, wedding boys, and in the mouth of the golden dragon.

November: thanksgiving of course, with my language teacher and friends in attendance, kids made a cake for “Wolf Appreciation Day” and hotpot at a coworker’s home.

December: Advent and joy throughout.




While there was heavy action in Rio and we watched the Chinese get gold on national tv here, our kids got inspired.

I was reminiscing about creating our own Olympics during the 1980s in my Norwegian childhood.

Along with a couple of other families they designed their own events, made flags and medals.

The neighbors sure hadn’t seen that before!