Friday, June 27, 2008

Ryan versus Spiderman

A chinese friend made this for me over in Shanghai. I was never able to upload it until now. So, ask yourself first. In a match between me and Spidey, who wins? Click play to find out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6 + 1

Whoa. So, Rachel Grace turned one on June 16. Anna turned 6 on Saturday, June 21. Unbelievable how fast those came around. Here are some pictures from the festivities.

Joy and the boys made the trip from Williamston. Clockwise, from bottom left. This is Austin, Peter, and Larry Bird.
Austin and Elijah are going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
I didn't know whether this was a hug or sleeper hold until Anna passed out a couple seconds after this picture was taken.
Joy took a shot at pinning the tail on the donkey. Aimee had set up lots of fun games to play. Heather, background, also got a turn.
Up next were sack, er, pillow case races. That's Heather's husband Dave.

Rachel got a new oven/stove and kitchen set.

The 2 sisters partying down.
Check y'all later!!!

Katie got hitched.

What's up party people? Sorry we haven't been blogging much. Things have been a little busy finding our place back in West Michigan. Things are going pretty well overall. Katie is Aimee's youngest sibling and got hitched on June 14.

Family shot at the reception. It was an outdoor reception at Aimee's folks farm. It was a beautiful day and setting.
Anna and her cuz, Jacob participated in the ceremony. There were no flower petals thrown around. Anna provided moral support and added cuteness. Jacob bore the rings. Austin also helped out (not pictured).
Lance and Katie helped me out by looking my way rather than at the professional photographer in this instance. Thanks.
Aimee was a bridesmaid. I held Rachel during the service and worked security detail.
Uh, ever have one of those days where you intended to take thousands of pics and only took a couple dozen. That would be my situation on Katie's wedding day. Actually, the professional photographer threatened me.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Lupu Bridge

I have been wanting to climb the gigantic arch bridge, called Lupu bridge, since we arrived. Shanghai has 5 distinctly different bridges. If you like structures or appreciate civil engineering, you'd enjoy seeing the bridges of Shanghai.
I was fortunate to have a mostly blue-sky day. Those are not frequent in Shanghai. The river splits Shanghai into 2 pieces. Puxi is the older area of the Shanghai, on the left/west of the river. Pudong is the fast-growing right/east side of the river that includes the famous structures that you see on the global Citibank commercials in the US.
Pudong's development into a "big city" feel has happened in the last 10 years. In 1998, it was farmland. 367 steps total to get to the apex of the arch.
We crossed this bridge each time we visited Puxi which included church, our friends Joab/Emily, Ikea and other shopping.
There is always a lot of boat activity on the river. It is a very industrial waterway. That is a shipyard on the left bank that is over 100 years old.
The 2 big scrapers in Shanghai are the Jinmao (on the left) and the World Financial Tower (or something like that....). I went up to the top of the Jinmao but the WFT is still finishing construction.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Farewell Tour

It was a busy weekend of eating lots of food and saying goodbye. Friday night was a dinner with collegues at a "Hot Pot" restaurant which is very popular in China. Dinner was followed up with some kareoke. Lots of fun was had by all. Enjoy the pictures.

It's typical of most establishments to bring the workers out at the beginning of their shift. They line up military style and normally conduct some sort of exercise or even a song. Their manager/corporal also uses the attention to provide instruction for their shift. In this picture, can you find the new chef that forgot to wear his uniform?

So, as you might have guessed, "hot pot" involves a pot of boiling water. This particular pot was split into 2 halves. A spicy half and a non-spicy half. All the material ordered is raw and you cook it in your pot. We had lots of meats inluding pork, lamb, and beef. Tons of vegetables were also thrown into the cauldron.
Ok, so this picture definitely needs some explanation. That would be Adam on the right. Adam is one of 5 total expats at our factory. He arrived about 6 months after me and we have become good friends. We have completely different interests but share similar senses of humor. And when you've got someone that likes to laugh sharing your china experience, it makes for lots of fun. Anyway, Adam's singing kareoke to a Led Zepplin song of which I had no clue how to sing. So, I "contributed" by playing my air guitar. I love this picture because you can tell how seriously Adam was about giving a good performance. On a side note, Adam is the same guy that provided me the "fishing with dynamite" video that was posted here in the past.
Adam and Xiaona. Xiaona has been the biggest help to us in Shanghai. From the original pickup at the airport to grocery shopping to cell phone service start-up, Xiaona has always been there to help us. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She has a tender heart and a desire to help. She also has a twinge of sarcastic humor in her which I had a lot of fun with. She visited our home for dinner a few times.
Notice that I'm flashing my gang symbol from the northside of Holland. Fortunately, there were no Holland southsiders at dinner that night. There would have been trouble. From left to right: Charlie, Maggie, yours truly, Luo Aicheng, Jiao Qingmei, Ma Xifang, Zhao Jianqing.

And that was Friday night. It was very loud and lots of fun.