Sunday, August 22, 2010

Backlog Blog

Hi all, I sent this out about 10 days ago, but I'm sure not everyone got to see it:

Hello one and all,--some of the following is old but most is just general info.

Just a quick update to let you know we are alive and kickin’. If you get this message it’s because I’m jackin’-as Joey would say-some Wifi between meetings and presentations. I’ll be looking for anyone to be on-line when I can connect. Anne and I will attempt to get to school between 7-8 a.m our time, 4-5 p.m. yours. Or 9:30-11 p.m. our time, 6:30 a.m.-8:a.m. your time. We’re “supposed” to get Internet on Thursday, Wednesday afternoon for you. Can’t wait to get back on-line.

Shanghai has been exciting, complicated, enlightening, welcoming, and very surprising in many ways. It’s amazing how much conversational Chinese you can learn when you’re immersed in it. We’ve learned enough to order some food, take a cab to just about anywhere-or use the subway, greet people in the morning, excuse ourselves, and plead for forgiveness as we butcher their language daily.

The people at SCIS (Shanghai Community International School) have been fabulous. The staff and new teachers are here right now. The school is at the end of some major renovations, so we’ve been a part of lots of changes. We’ve met folks that are brand new to the whole international teaching scene and many that have been world travelers for upto 15 years. Some have kids Joey and Hailey’s age, some young enough to keep J and H busy babysitting, and some are living away from their grown children. The obvious common threads are a love for travel, teaching, and adventure. It’s been fun listening to the various accents: South African, British, Aussie, Kiwi, Canadians, Tennessee vs. Texas drawls, and all the while working with Washingtonians, folks from Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Minnesota, and many others. Can’t wait to meet the school vets.

So much has happened since we’ve arrived—just to highlight: After landing we drove across the middle of the World Expo with all the buildings lit up. Late at night, some of the daily 400,000 are still milling around. Anne and I have found local Starbucks, walking malls-absolutely gorgeous-with little French bakeries, produce shops, massage, restaurants etc., all usually adjacent to the rhythmic sounds and seemingly nonstop activity in the streets. Our apartment is very nice. There are about 10-15 other teachers at our school that live in the same complex. Virtually all apartment complexes are gated with security. One day Anne and I walked and ate traditional egg, bread pancakes and meat dim sum and got lost just taking an exploratory turn or two. Thankfully, you’re never more than a quick hand wave away from hopping in a cab. Outside the inner city, there are lots of cars, but seemingly just as many mopeds and electric bicycles…not many independent peddlers out there. We ventured onto the subway on the weekend-not recommended-and just road in to the Bund, a gorgeous riverside walking mall that parallels endless grand French architecture that are now occupied by Rolex, Prada and the like. We walked 3 blocks to get to the Bund from the subway-a little street called East Nanjing. It was interesting crossing the street with 7-1200 others at one time.

Every day is a new adventure. If Joey isn’t jailbreaking new iPhone 4G’s, Hailey’s up front in the cab directing the drivers where to go. Anne and I have received instruction on banking in China, wiring money, and have visited the local western hospitals to see what great care we might receive if need be.

We’ll Skype when possible and try to get a new blog up so you can track us visually as well.

Bye for now-we miss you all already, and wish we could share each day with you.

The Gribbles

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