...and other misconceptions I made 08-01-20
2008 Jan 20

Archive for June, 2010

June 30th 2010
Here’s an email from K2

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I love getting email and pictures from home when I’m traveling. Sometimes they are happy, sometimes cute, sometimes they are telling a story on many levels. Like this one. The girls are reacting much more to me being gone than they used to. And they express themselves in various ways.

H2's picture

H2 Drew These So That She
Wouldn’t Miss Us

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June 29th 2010
Back in Beijing

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air quality and trafficComing here will always be special to me. Not that this is the greatest place on earth. There are way too many problems with Beijing for that. From air pollution to traffic to some of the politics. But it’s a place that holds many amazing memories for me. Including of course the start of our adoption trip almost five years ago.

The beginning of summer is usually not a good place to visit Beijing. It’s getting hot (temperatures in the mid 90s), the air is getting really bad (notice how you can barely see the buildings in the background which are about three blocks away from me) and the drivers are getting more frustrated. Not a good combination. Especially not when walking through the streets.

bicycle repair shopBut of course summer also brings out interesting sights. Like this “bicycle repair shop” just half a block from the previous picture on the side of the road. The proprietor sound asleep in his lawn chair, his tools strewn around the street corner. Maybe not the most aggressive entrepreneur around – but most likely one of the happiest people.

Lots and lots of vendors on the streets – especially at night. From food to jewelery, clothing and most commonly bootleg DVDs and “Rolex” watches.

dinner restaurantAfter giving my presentation I had a couple hours off and of course went to a mall to buy some gifts for the girls. And I noted that the ratio of sales associates who were able to hackle me in English was way up compared to past visits…

After that shopping trip of course we had to have food; and once again I managed to convince a couple of my coworkers to take me to an obscure small side street restaurant. A place that they would take good friends – not American guests. I was the only non-Chinese person in there. And the food was fabulous. Oh I love being in Beijing.

It was just three of us for dinner, so my coworkers ordered only five dishes. But every single one was just “Good Eats”.

Sorry, can’t give you a lot of details on the dishes… something like sliced rice flower dumplings with pork on the left, then a spicy beef carrot stew in a creamy sauce, spicy fried tofu, a soy bean side dish and a vegetable soup…

Good Eats

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June 27th 2010
A first that I really didn’t need

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I have flown about 2.5 million miles (give or take a couple hundred thousand – I sort of lost track). But in all these trips I have never once been stranded over night at an airport that wasn’t my destination. Lots of missed connections, lots of last minute dashes. But I never had to take an airline up on the offer to get me a hotel room.

Until yesterday.

My Portland – Tokyo flight was delayed for mechanical reasons, and when it finally arrived at Narita all outbound flights to China were gone. So I had to spend the night – and since I couldn’t get on a morning flight to Shanghai I even had to cancel a bunch of meetings and skip my visit to Shanghai and go straight to Beijing instead.

Even worse, through some miscommunication I missed the fact that I could have stayed back in Portland and could have spent an extra day with my family and gone to Beijing on Sunday. Delta told me on the phone that I had to take the outbound flight on Saturday – but it turns out that wasn’t the case. Which really really frustrates me. I miss the girls so much when I travel, and the bigger they get, the more they appear to miss me.

At least K2 and the girls had a fun day – they even sent me pictures when they were picking strawberries at a farm.

Oh well – no point in lamenting. As a consolation price I got to watch the Germany-England game in Tokyo. Sorry to my English readers – but that was a great game. Lousy refereeing, but a great game.

I got an ok night of sleep and then ran in the fitness center in the morning; it’s incredibly hot and humid here – over 80 degrees and 80% humidity at 6am, and no A/C in the fitness center… good but rather sweaty workout.

In a little while I’ll make my way back to the airport to wait for my flight to Beijing.

At least I get to be in China again after quite some time (haven’t been there in over two years).

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June 25th 2010
Belt testing

Posted under family & taekwondo | 3 comments | |

Today was the big day – the first real belt test in Tae-Kwon-Do. Ok, there was one major concession – Master Kim (apparently for the first time ever) decided to do a special “out of cycle” belt test for our girls and one other tiny tiger. This is quite a big deal for the kids and already rather overwhelming – and it gets much much harder in a large group with older kids and adults. Which also makes the belt test take much longer – more time for the little ones to stay focused.

Instead we had two five year olds and one six year old and things moved swiftly. The whole belt test took under 20 minutes. And the girls did awesome. Master Kim told them afterwards just how proud he was of them.

Here you see them show first there self defense move (I love the “give me your candy”) – and then you see them break their pine boards. Perspective on the second part is odd – I just propped the camera on the floor. But I wanted to have this on video!

Anyway – super-proud parents, happy children. To celebrate we went out to their favorite restaurant and they had mac and cheese and ice cream for dessert.

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