Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Look Back at 2013

If 2012 was about learning to survive in Shanghai, 2013 was all about thriving. Here's a look back at a year that was filled with more friends, fun, and adventure than I ever thought possible.

After a relaxing holiday in the US, we arrived back in Shanghai just in time to celebrate New Year's Eve. We went to our friends' Stag and Hens parties (those photos are not approved for this blog). We steered clear of overpriced imported food and instead let you all in on our favorite not so secret shopping spot.

February brought our first Chinese New Year celebration which included fireworks, yuán zi, and fried nerves for the the cat and me. We also feasted on Hunan food and late night eats while learning about proper laundry techniques and Chinese cooking.

This month brought about warmer weather, we declared our love for delivery, and witnessed midnight marketing. We also had a visit from long time friends which had me conquering (or at least trying to) my fear of heights as well as jetting off to Hong Kong for a few days.

Our friend K came to visit and despite a delayed flight, we made our way to Sichuan Province where we visited the Leshan Giant Buddah, saw a Sichuan Opera, and climbed Mount Emei. We also learned more about rabies than I ever hoped I would have to.

More importantly, I held a panda at the Chengdu Panda Research Base and we rounded out the month with a visit to Zhujiajiao which was rather anticlimactic after HOLDING A PANDA.

April brought another round of visitors and we ventured to Guangxi Province to visit the Longji Rice Terraces, boated down the Li River, went mountain biking in rural China, saw a cheesy light show, and floated along the Yulong River in the rain.

May was my birthday month which we celebrated with a joint birthday for me and my friend S at a local tapas restaurant. We ran a 5k and competed in a BBQ cook-off. We also witnessed some uncomfortable sittingnapping, and cat wrangling. I finished out the month by reliving my middle school years at a Backstreet Boys concert.

I got a new pair of kicks which I wore on a visit to the Old City Wall. I developed a profound love for sesame paste noodles and we were privileged to take part in the 30 day birthday of our dear friend's adorable little one.

July was hot. Thankfully, we escaped the heat for a few weeks to the USA after I ate my weight in dumplings. Sadly, I also ate stinky tofu for the first time. Not a fan. But I am a fan of foot rubs and indulged in quite a few over the summer.

August was still hot. In fact, the hottest day ever recorded in Shanghai happened. I learned about eating baked goods, shared my favorite pet suppliers, spent a weekend running around Shanghai with Bean, and learned that even my iPhone is adapting to life in China. I also sang karaoke. A lot.

September was spent figuring out what "real China" meant, eating Yunnan food, taking creepy photos of people, and buying insane amounts of cheese. I also indulged in juice during the much too fast pomegranate season. We once again competed in the Chili Cookoff and even found time for a few games of laser tag.

October was a fabulous month. My parents arrived from the States and we headed on a family vacation to Thailand. We took a cooking class, sailed around Phang Nga bay, went sightseeing in Karon, and indulged in some rainy day activities. We also cheered our way through a Muay Thai match and ate copious amount of Thai food.

My mom declared xiaolongbao her favorite Chinese food, so I shared some tips on how and where to eat this delicious treat.

November was a busy month. We spent a lot of time running outdoors which meant I could indulge in egg tarts on a regular basis. We feasted on three (yes three) Thanksgiving dinners, celebrated a few birthdays, and laughed our way through Urban Aphrodite's production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

We ran the Shanghai half marathon, battled with poor air quality, and rode around in a few nice rides. We also gave you some holiday shopping tips before jetting off to the US for Christmas.

2013 was a phenomenal year and I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to share it with all of you. I hope you have enjoyed watching our adventures and will continue to come along for the fun in 2014.

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