Monday, January 7, 2013

A Year in Review

Apparently all the cool kids are composing year in review blog posts, looking back at 2012. And just like in high school, I'm still trying way too hard to be one of those cool kids. So here's an overly wordy look back at 2012.

During the first month of the year, we started this little ole blog and rang in the New Year on a plane to Shanghai for our house hunting trip.


I had an epic case of food poisoning on the return flight and after vomiting in a plane bathroom for eight hours, found myself in a Detroit Emergency Room (side note: It's not a good idea to return extremely sick from a foreign country. Homeland Security, the Center for Disease Control, and Customs officials will all interrogate you while holding a bag of your barf.).

See, totally cool even in a hospital gown

Also during January, I quit my job and we embarked upon the East Coast Farewell tour, ie. seeing as many friends and family members as possible before our departure.

In February, we invited our friends over to drink all our alcohol (ok fine, I'll call it a going away party).We also sold our adorable house along with our cars and a large amount of our personal possessions, packed up what was left and officially became residents of Shanghai, China.

In March, we finally started to settle into our new home. We tried out a Chinese gym, spent a lot of time dodging rain puddles, and learned to cook with local ingredients. With another trip to the Emergency Room, China tried to kill me for the second time (see above for the first).

In April, we celebrated our first holiday in China, took a trip to Hangzhou, enjoyed the Qingming Festival, found a Penn State bar, and saw the emergence of summer pants. I also discovered exactly what it meant to be a Shanghai tai tai (translation: housewife).

So this is what people with spare time do

My birthday month consisted of a trip to the Shanghai Acrobats, an appreciation for napping, and my first attempt at making dumplings. We also ventured to Beijing where I lived like a celebrity for the day (or at least the paparazzi part). Matthew began his quest for likable Chinese ice cream and we spent a weekend in Tokyo with new friends.

June brought us an anniversary trip to Moganshan, visits to various markets, and stifling heat that kept us indoors most of the month.

The month of July was all about food as we ordered copious amounts of Sherpa's, discovered a Cantonese diner in our basement, and attended a grilled cheese cook-off. We ended the month with a trip back to the US to take part in the wedding of our dear friends.

Gorgeous couple, right? And yes, I'm talking about the bride and groom. I may be narcissistic but even I know the newlyweds outshine that insanely attractive couple to the left of them.

A typhoon hit Shanghai in August, I started a battle with pork floss (that I still have yet to win), and we toured the Liu Bolin exhibit at MD gallery.

In September, our lives once again revolved around food (notice a pattern here?). We competed in a Chili Cook-off, developed a strong dislike for mooncakes (unless they were filled with ice cream), had high tea at the Peace Hotel, and tried out new foods during Shanghai's Restaurant Week. We also spent countless hours watching college football, witnessed more napping, and had our very first KTV experience.

We started October on a beach in Vietnam. The month sadly went downhill from there when I realized all that time spent running in the local park had been hazardous to my health. At least Matthew discovered some passable ice cream.

The temperatures finally dropped in November, bringing less sweat and more importantly, less skin. We voted in the US Presidential Election and my parents came for a two week visit. We showed them around Shanghai and then toured through Beijing and Xi'An.


We capped off the month with a lovely Thanksgiving with friends, an Elton John concert, a Swedish Christmas celebration, and a visit from a college friend.


Matthew's birthday falls in December and we celebrated with an insanely delicious dinner at Jean Georges' Mercato. We quickly switched gears into holiday mode by attending our apartment complex's holiday party, visiting a Christkindl Market, and watching our friends' daughter in her Nativity play before jetting back to the USA for Christmas with our families.


Funny enough, we landed back in Shanghai on New Year's Eve, meaning that we started and ended 2012 in the exact same place. As I look back over the past year, I'm both in awe of and humbled by our experiences here. It's been a wild ride, one that I have enjoyed immensely and one that I hope you have enjoyed following along. Good luck 2013, you have a lot to live up to.


  1. ...And you have touched the hearts of many people along the way :)

  2. Aw, thanks Corey! You're too sweet. xoxo

  3. Hahaha I feel like it's a right-of-passage to get super sick when you first move to Shanghai. I ended up in the emergency room twice too! But I think my body toughened up and now... Shanghai and I are on good terms. ;)

    Can't wait to see you Friday!!! We'll eat some delicious food! :D


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