For Amy, Mon Amie

I have made many incredible friendships out here, just as you prayed for me. But a select few have brought me tremendous joy and happiness and made my life in Shanghai happy. I know you realize this in no way diminishes our own special friendship and I long for you to be here, too. [I think of you often, especially when I am cooking.] But know that I have good friends who watch over me.
Nancy B. I love this wonderful lady. She made a tremendous difference in my life here when I first arrived and provided comfort, friendship and wisdom. She returned to Utah in September, but I think of her often.
Helen from the U.K. She is truly delightful. And proper. The Brit in me is ecstatic.
Cub Scout besties: Mrs. J, my crazy Australian friend (love her!) and Mr. D from the US. Every other Wednesday and once a month on Saturday, we suffer together. Heh.
Becky & Alan. VT and HT to our family. I love them.
SC, my beautiful friend who inspires people to do good works.
LL from NorCal and V from Italy, my peeps!
Kia from SoCal and Alison, a fellow Utahn. Love these ladies.
Alison again. Just because she makes me laugh! [Pu is in the background. Of course he and J are on this list, too.]

All of these people watch over and support me. I feel truly blessed to be here with them. They have made Shanghai worth it.

Now get your hiney out here! xoxo.

8:57 PM

Hitting the sack before nine. That’s a little bit sad. I’ve just had way too much fun this weekend with ten nine-year-olds at Cub Scout camp, hanging with eleven three-year-olds for two hours at Church and a partridge in a pear…zzzz…

Prepping for Camp

I am prepping (emotionally, let me tell you, heh.) for tomorrow’s Cub Scout Camp. Wish me luck. I’ve been told it’s completely disorganized chaos, every single year. Who knew I’d be leading a den of mostly Asian boys in an American institution out here in Shanghai? Photos of “disorganized chaos” on Monday!

Canon EOS 60D

Photo taken by FF.

I have a new body… (and baby.) After his 10-day trip, the Hubs surprised me with a gift, a new camera body, which his exceptionally kind boss hauled over from the U.S. Yes. I am spoiled. No more excuses. Time to take a class…

Trick-or-Treating, Expat Style

It’s November 2nd and I’m still posting Halloween photos. Oh yes, I am one of those people… you know, the kind who leave Christmas decorations up until February. Just because they bring me good cheer. But, I digress…

So how does one “trick-or-treat” in Shanghai, with it’s high-rise apartments and big city dwelling? Fortunately, many of the exorbitantly overpriced expat communities are comprised of single homes, which average around 50,000RMB/$7900USD per month. These communities have been labeled as “bubbles,” but I find them beautiful and quite remarkable. Many of the homes have front and back yards, cul-de-sacs and even a sense of community. You feel as if you’ve stepped outside of China, back into America…for a small moment. A good friend invited us to her compound, which closed the gates at 5 pm. No cars were allowed through the avenues and children walked freely from house to house.
Walking by light of jack-o’-lantern.
In the pale mooonlight…

My peep SC and clan. Her house was the talk of Concordia the day after Halloween.
Star Wars music greeted us…
We finished the evening with a visit to our church friend, Tami, who had wanted to see the Circus’ costumes.

After a full weekend of sugar highs and crashes, mood swings, crying, fighting and fussiness, I put my foot down. The Circus was allowed to each keep ten pieces of candy. I paid them for the rest of the loot and am donating/tossing/trying not to eat it.

More Tricks & Treats

The church party was FUNtastic. Games, food, friends, what more can one ask for? Since my internet is loading unbearably slowly, I’ll post a few photos tonight and more tomorrow.
Monstrous buffet.
Jack Skellington cupcakes.
Baby C looks like she belongs to me! But, alas, not so. The red-headed man in the back is one of her adoptive parents.
PS’s buddy: Boy Wonder.
Pu got some time in with Chewie.
Miss M.
PS with her sugar.
The Kid, collecting more loot.
More tomorrow…

Happy Halloween from Shanghai!

Dongjiao Villas, Pudong. All photos in this post taken by V’s husband FF.
On Saturday, our church hosted its annual “Trunk-or-Treat” party for children. V was in charge of food, decorations and games. It was a fantastic event. LL helped decorate and she and I ran a game station. The kids really enjoyed it. After all the partying, we walked from car to car, collecting more sugar.
My peeps, LL and V. Love these ladies.
Miss M and The Kid.
Princess Pinky Stinky.
Laughing with my friend Alison.
Thanks to FF for these fantastic photos. He is a stellar photographer. I’ll post some of my photos tomorrow…

“More Than Aware” Part 2

Moroni Chapter 7, Verse 37: “For it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men…”

Yesterday, over two hundred women (and two extremely supportive men) came together for my friend’s event, “More Than Aware.” But let me start further back…
Twenty-nine days ago, my friend Suzanne’s mom passed away from breast cancer, ending her valiant fifteen-year battle with the disease. Last Tuesday evening, Suzanne awoke from a midnight dream, where she saw many people congregated to learn, celebrate and fellowship. On Wednesday, she sent out an email, inviting her friends to spread the word. She started selling tickets, with the luncheon (at a discounted price) to be hosted by the posh and expensive Kerry Parkside Hotel. On Friday, she received the approval from the Hotel. A few days later, they approved the cost of the luncheon, which Suzanne had already advertised.
When Suzanne envisioned many people joining together, her goal was to gather 150 women. On Friday, we had collectively sold maybe fifty tickets. On the following Wednesday, over two hundred of us came together.

This event came together from vision to reality in seven days. Tickets were sold prior to venue approval. Speakers, including nurses and doctors, were approached. At every moment, Suzanne’s faith preceded her miracles. I weep and marvel at the strength, courage and faith of my friend. It was a beautiful event, with amazing items donated by vendors for a charitable cause. People were generous in their bidding. The silent auctions exceeded goals in raising funds of over 20,000RMB for breast cancer awareness. In fact, we more than doubled it.

[My friend Mo.]
[One of the "Mormon Tables" with LDS people from California, Texas, Hong Kong, Italy, Argentina, Utah and Japan. We're everywhere. Now bonded together as Shanghai Sisters.]
[Honk if you love me. Mo, Suzanne and K, practicing an exam. Please try this at home.]
We were enlightened, empowered, strengthened and uplifted.
All for a beautiful cause.

“More Than Aware”

“More Than Aware” Breast Cancer awareness luncheon. Pudong, Shanghai.
My sweet Shanghai friend Suzanne’s beautiful mother passed away 28 days ago from a fifteen year battle with breast cancer. This week, my friends and I had the honor of helping Suzanne as she created an “awareness” luncheon, which included informative speakers, silent auctions and a wonderful lunch in the Grand Ballroom at Kerry Parkside Hotel. I sat with six friends from Church, including two of my besties V and LL.
More photos to come…

A Perfect Faith

Tonight, I’ve been contemplating a great deal about Faith, particularly the verses in James, Chapter 2:
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac is cited, extolling Abraham’s full and complete faith:
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

During the summer, I received a special Priesthood blessing from a dear friend. In his prayer, he mentioned that I had a purpose here in China. Nearly every day since my return, I have clung to his words. Tonight, I realized that having faith in these promises is not enough; additionally, to receive a fullness of these promises, work is required. In my case, it means practicing patience, having charity, compassion and forgivness for those who wound me and cause me heartache, serving all of God’s children and finding JOY in my daily life.

Despite the loogies. Yep.