Happy Children’s Day

Welcome to June and greetings from Shanghai! Thank you to everyone for Christoph’s lovely birthday wishes. We had a quiet weekend in Shanghai and absolutely loved it. June 1 is also International Children’s Day and so there were many parties throughout the city in celebration of all the little ones in the world.

We had a slow start on June 1 and after a leisurely breakfast together, Christoph headed off to the dentist while I made my way to a kid’s birthday party. After our various outings, we circled back home for a much-needed apero of G+T and nibbles. This was followed by a global picnic dinner of some of our favourite things; crackers and dips from Australia, cheese from England, wine from Italy and chocolates from Switzerland. It was luxuriously decadent; Christoph’s perfect birthday meal and a representation of how small our world has become.

Kumihimo: who knew strings could look so fancy? They can be bracelets or necklaces.

Kumihimo: who knew strings could look so fancy? They can be bracelets or necklaces.

So now, what’s with June? Christoph is working full throttle on his factory project shuttling between Shanghai, Jiaxing and Mainburg. I’m quite booked up with kids’ activities, volunteering work and crafts. My newest learning is kumihimo which will be added to my list of ‘Skills I Have But Can Not Earn Any Money From’, hihihi. June will keep me mostly running around but also a little sad as a good friend, VB, will be repatriating back to Australia at the end of the month. There may be some shedding of tears but that is the Shanghai life. People are constantly coming and going and we try to get used to it but that still doesn’t make it any easier. I’ll have to go friend-finding... again. sigh

On with other June news, here’s this month’s challenge if you’re up for it:

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I’m going to try my best to not be a collector of plastic bags. We‘ve already stopped using plastic straws since a few months, instead we use these metal straws we bought in Australia, and I always have my trusty re-usable carry bags with me for those small purchases. Also, I always have my re-fillable water bottle with me so in a way, I‘m almost half-way through the program. Let’s see how much more we can do about reducing our plastic use by the end of the month ;o)

Living And Loving Life

What a week it’s been over here! We had a crazy busy last week of June with Christoph’s boss coming over for an important ceremony, one in which the company has committed to the building of a factory in China! That was a big step for Wolf to take and Christoph has been hard at work laying down the foundation for the project. July then started and I had a milestone week; July 4 was my one year anniversary since becoming a Swiss citizen, July 5 was the first day when I ‘worked’ all three of my jobs and July 6 saw my first small pay check since many many years! (I treated Christoph to breakfast this morning ;o) hehehe)

Top and clockwise: Fan Bingbing publicity at the cardiac hospital, getting crafty and Lifeline Shanghai’s phone lines have been steadily ringing. 

Top and clockwise: Fan Bingbing publicity at the cardiac hospital, getting crafty and Lifeline Shanghai’s phone lines have been steadily ringing. 

If you recognise her, that’s Fan Bingbing in the centre of the group photo. She has since 4 years been a great supporter of Heart to Heart and once a year sponsors the flights of Tibetan children plus their chaperones to come to Shanghai for much needed heart surgery. This year there were 36 children which meant that she kindly sponsored 72 return flight tickets. This is a project that is carefully coordinated with Heart to Heart as we raise the funds for the actual surgeries.

Since the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, Lifeline Shanghai has seen a steady stream of incoming calls. It seems that with the issue of mental health being more frequently publicised, the stigma surrounding mental health has lessened and people are acknowledging their own need to reach out for help. I think this is a good development.

Lastly, I’m having lots of fun being around crafty people! With the three very different ‘jobs’ I do, I love that I get to be a part of three communities that are filled with intelligent, caring and creative individuals from all over the world. And now, after such a busy week, I get to wind down and think about starting to pack for the summer in Berlin. I haven’t had much time to think about Berlin due to my being totally and happily immersed in my daily Shanghai life. But now, I’m good to escape the heat and get back to exploring with friends and family!

Getting Crafty

I was recently in charge of a soap-making class for a corporate team event. The group were from Tiny Tots, the first international preschool/ kindergarten opened in Shanghai 21 years ago. The class that I lead was the last part of their full day’s itinerary and so I had to make sure that everyone had fun and got to go home with at least one fully formed soap; hard to guarantee in such hot weather!

Top left and clockwise: My two wonderful helpers on the day, the venue was a bar/restuarant, that’s me looking like I know what I was talking about and some of the soaps from the day.

Top left and clockwise: My two wonderful helpers on the day, the venue was a bar/restuarant, that’s me looking like I know what I was talking about and some of the soaps from the day.

It started off a little chaotically, which was my fault as I had to instruct 51 teachers in two languages which meant they were all only half listening. The class luckily ended successfully with everyone extremely happy with their ‘home-made’ soaps that smelled divine and had all set on a very hot day. I’m ready for the next big group so bring it on Shanghai!

Spring Is In The Air

It was a lovely 22 degrees today and we have for the past week been slowly shedding our winter woolies and soaking up the sunshine. Crisp air and lovely blue skies make for good times to be had in Shanghai.

Spring blossoms at the park

Spring blossoms at the park

I attended an Indian Block Print workshop run by a good friend of mine today. GA has been living in Shanghai these past 4 years with her family and is a wealth of knowledge about Indian art, history (both Chinese and Indian) and life in general. I love hanging out with her and always learn something new each time... I'm like a sponge!

Top left and clockwise: our classroom, my drawing of my block design, my carved block and finally we printed on a cushion cover also using professionally crafted blocks from India.

Top left and clockwise: our classroom, my drawing of my block design, my carved block and finally we printed on a cushion cover also using professionally crafted blocks from India.

Talking about learning, it's always worthwhile learning something new whether it be a language, craft or interesting facts about a foreign culture. After 10 years in China, I'm still learning about the country and its citizens. Did you know that the average number of annual leave days for an employee (in a city) is 8 days per year? 5 years ago, money was the way to attract good people, whereas today, progressive companies are offering up to 20 annual leave days, which employees are valuing much more.

We have already seen so much change and progress since our first arrival in China but coming back this year has revealed even more. It's still fascinating to be here.