Well, hello, you all!
I went a little blog-MIA for a while, which turns out to have been a very good choice. My administrative role at Soochow University turned into a major project management role, which turned into a traveling and cat herding position. I got back in mid-December from a 2 1/2 week concert/ audition/ recruiting tour to Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. And within 1/2 a day of my return, I went back to the airport to pop over to Ohio to shop, visit family, and make the final arrangements to bring my critters to China.
It was my first time to many of these places, so for that reason, managing the recruitment tour was awesome. And I've done a lot of planning and organizing in many of my past career incarnations, so I know I was a good point person for handling and planning a lot of the logistics and press materials. But, wow, was it exhausting, and completed on a way-too-abbreviated timeline. Never again.
|Gangnam Street Vendors in Seoul. So many fruits and dried fish.|
|Singapore views. There's a pool and casino on the top of that boat shaped thing.|
|View of Hong Kong from up on the Peak. I was so glad for a relative day off during the trip with Rob to show off my sister and brother-in-law's ex-city of residence.|
|Hong Kong's Peel Street. It's steeper than it looks.|
|Beijing Bell Tower near the hutongs where we bought a bunch of great little percussion instruments.|
As soon as I got done with the tour, I hopped on a plane to go to Ohio for a preplanned pick up trip for the animals. Really sucky turn of events was that my grandmother passed away the day before I was due to leave. Really wonderful turn of events was that the memorial brought ALL of my dad's side of the family together, including all four of us siblings and cousins minus one. The family time was beyond a gift, and exactly the kind of joyful reunion my grandmother would have treasured. We won't talk about the inappropriate high-five I gave my cousin in the funeral home on accident.
|Four siblings and a Dad photobomb. I couldn't love it more.|
|One of many Euchre games in the hotel lobby. My cousins were all learning at a second game going on behind me.|
Rob has been finding balance between school administrative work, creative work, personal projects, and time with new friends. It's been a heck of a year and, in true Rob Fashion, he broke down the year's highlights with a soundtrack and top 10 list. It's a pretty good one. Check it out HERE! (Actually, if you're in the mood to music-nerd out, do yourself a favor and keep track of his blog in general. Good creative stuff and lots of geek-talk)
I returned to China with the dog in baggage and the cat as cargo, so, as of Christmas, my critter kids are finally here and home for good. I'm still working full days until Soochow's Holiday Break (which centers around the Chinese New Year) in mid-January. And Rob is heading back to America for a few weeks to visit with friends and family, but I'm staying in China! A quiet house, no real responsibilities, a schedule that is really all my own. I can't wait! Most of our friends on faculty are leaving to go elsewhere for all or most of the Holiday, but at least one of my Office colleagues is a Suzhou native, so we're here together. Oh. My. Gosh. Girl Time. And loving on my critters.
|My babies in their new apartment. The adjustment is slow, but going okay.|
The whole fall season of blogging was also relatively piddled away due to a few things-
1. My computer is getting scary slow and can't hack photo editing and uploads very well anymore. I'm grateful it's lasted our family for 4 years of intense use (Rob's DMA studies and music writing software, then on to me this past winter and all my literally thousands of photos), but it's time to say hello to a new computer instead.
And the big (well, still relatively little) 2. There's a kid on the way. I was keeping it pretty quiet from colleagues through December so I didn't get the wilting flower treatment during the Tour, because there's really nothing more degrading for a capable person than to be babied when you're conscious about not hoisting heavy crap and wearing sensible shoes during early pregnancy. Aside from a little help lifting my suitcase and avoiding sushi and wine, I didn't want to detract from what had to get accomplished during our travels.
|A Mid-May kid! We are both so happy and I'm pleased as anything that this bump finally looks like more than a big lunch.|
So, joining the crew in the middle of May, there's now a little 20-week dumpling that has made my pants tight and my bathroom runs frequent. And aaaanyone who's known me for longer than a minute knows I've been impatiently waiting for mommyhood, so I'm so thrilled about the opportunity to experience this crazy journey in our new international home! 2014 is, somehow, going to kick 2013's ass in the big, cool, exciting life changes department.
Bonus, we're not finding out the gender- how many huge, awesome surprises do you really get in a lifetime?!- but Rob is still really pumped about a gender-neutral dinosaur theme. It's the most lovely thing.
Dear friends, Happiest New Year to you all. All best to each and every one of you as we step into this fresh start and the new year.