Monthly Archives: May 2013

No. 1 and No. 6 – a Double Tooth Fairy Visit

Sunday was an eventful day!  Over breakfast, Oliver suddenly yelled, “My tooth has come out!”  His middle 2 teeth on the bottom have obviously been wobbly for a while, but he didn’t notice until Thursday or Friday.  So, it was a bit of a shock when one came out so quickly.  His other tooth is very close to falling out.  I believe the tooth fairy will be back again this week for that one.

First tooth to fall out.

First tooth to fall out.

The other bottom tooth is ready.......

The other bottom tooth is ready…….

I can already predict braces for my lovely little boy as the 2 adult teeth that are very visible, are growing so crooked 😦

Isabelle has had 2 wobbly teeth for a while.  At dinner time, she was busy chewing her meat and then cried, “oh no, I think I have eaten my tooth”.  A quick examination of the contents of her mouth (:-)) and we recovered tooth number 6 ready to go under her pillow.

What a busy and expensive night for the Tooth Fairy in the Jones House!

The gaps are looking more even now.

The gaps are looking more even now.

Sunday Brunches at Le Royal Meridian and Westin

 

We have had a couple of lovely Sunday Brunches out recently.  We had an extremely leisurely, drawn out, stuff-your-face-full, drink-lots-of-champagne, eat-too-much brunch at the Le Royal Meridian with our friends Earoel & Graham.  This brunch location has a fantastic children’s area set up with face painting, movies, balloon animals, clowns, a separate children’s buffet area and awesome desserts!

Isabelle's body art at brunch

Isabelle’s body art at brunch – Butterfly and Dolphin

Scorpion and web for Oliver

Scorpion (on his cheek) and Angry Bird for Oliver

There is a prominent pink theme at this location, pink chairs, pink table clothes, pink champagne and pink uniform on the Margherita Nurses!!  They have nurses who come around with big syringes filled with the Margherita mix.  Of course, Owen had to partake!!

"It had to be done!"

“It had to be done!”

The Pink Champagne lounge

The Pink Champagne lounge

"Check out this Champagne Tower, Mum"

“Check out this Champagne Tower, Mum”  “What happens if I pull this bottle out…..??”

The restaurant is located on the 3rd floor of the hotel and has a lovely terrace with great views across the city.  After our very long brunch where we made way too many rounds around the stations, we enjoyed the sunshine outside.

Oliver, Earoel and Isabelle

Oliver, Earoel and Isabelle

Sara & Owen enjoying the sunshine (while feeling rather stuffed!)

Sara & Owen enjoying the sunshine (while feeling rather stuffed!)

The food was very good: a great seafood station that was stacked high with sushi, lobster, crab and prawns.  The noodle station was one of the best I have seen and I enjoyed a delicious soup with lots of different herbs and fillings.  The carvery had plenty of lamb, chicken and pork.  The salad bar was one of the most varied I had seen and then the desserts were out of this world.  I went back for 4, yes 4, of the salted caramel chocolate mousse!

Another Sunday and another Brunch!  This time we were back at the Westin with our friends from Emerald.  Table for 25 please!  We all like the Westin because the entertainment there is first class.   They have opera singers, an orchestra, gymnastics display and face changing display.

The Emerald Girls: Jane, Marie, Sara, Suzanne, Emma and Jenny

The Emerald Girls: Jane, Marie, Sara, Suzanne, Emma and Jenny

Brien, Marie, Matt, Emma and Kevin

Brien, Marie, Matt, Emma and Kevin

The Emerald Minis: Seren, Isabelle, Lia, Siobhan, Ava and

The Emerald Minis: Seren, Isabelle, Lia, Siobhan, Ava and Amelie

The kids had so much fun with so many friends to play with after the food!  They all had balloon animals or swords made.  They loved the margarita machine that made non-alcoholic slushy drinks.

Playing on the balcony and pretending to be singers (after the Opera).

Playing on the balcony and pretending to be singers (after the Opera).

Oliver and Ethan

Oliver and Ethan with their slushies!

You caught us!

You caught us after we raided the Popcorn machine!

Fantastic Gymnastic Display

Fantastic Gymnastic Display

I love this photo of me and Owen.  The sunshine is streaming in through the windows and we are caught mid-laugh.

I love this photo of me and Owen. The sunshine is streaming in through the windows and we are caught mid-laugh.

The Sunday Brunch (especially the Champagne Brunches!!) are a strong part of Shanghai weekends.  It is not just for Ex-pats – many Chinese enjoy this too!

囍 Double Happiness – a beautiful Chinese Wedding

On Saturday we went to a Chinese wedding.  Hui Zhi (a colleague at work) was getting married to Johnson.  As this was my first Chinese wedding, I was very excited to get an invitation.  The wedding started at 5:00pm and upon arrival, we were greeted like the guest of honour.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the guests were milling around outside.  Meanwhile the bride and groom were having photos with all the guests.  First tradition we learned about!

Hui and Johnson's wedding

Hui and Johnson’s wedding

We were given “tickets” for later, after the ceremony.  They had numbers written inside.  Isabelle’s was 520 written in red – this was a special ticket!!   The children both got given red envelopes.  When we got home, we were very surprised to see that they had money in for each child:

The lucky red ticket, flowers and red envelope.

The lucky red ticket, flowers and red envelope.  520 sounds like “I love you” in Chinese and is often followed by 1314 which sounds like “forever”

We sat outside waiting for the ceremony to begin.  Hui was escorted by her father to the start of the red carpet and then Johnson took over to walk her up to the gazebo to exchange vows and rings.  The actual legal ceremony had already taken place and this was the celebration with friends, family and work colleagues.  Hui had chosen a more western style of wedding. Her first dress was a western traditional white wedding dress.

Showing off the rings.

Showing off the rings.

The cage that is hanging on the right of the picture held the rings and the audience was asked to check their tickets to see who had the red 520.  Of course it was Isabelle!!  She had previously been selected to open the cage so that the rings could be exchanged!  As the whole ceremony is taking place in Chinese and no-one had said anything to me, I could not prep Isabelle for this, so she did not want to go up!  Another little girl eventually opened the cage for Hui and Johnson.  The white and pink balloons behind Hui and Johnson were released into the air after the exchange of rings and vows.  To our great surprise, the General Manager where I work gave the speech toasting the happy couple.  Work is such an important part of the culture here and great importance is placed on the attendance of Senior Managers at events like this.  I had this speech simultaneously translated by another work colleague.  He gave a great speech, placing emphasis on the importance of the Groom always listening and paying attention to his wife!!  I guess some things are Universal……. 🙂

After the sunshine ceremony, it was inside for the lengthy feast and games.  On the way in, we all signed the guest book.  Each of the tables also had a movie theme, so we discovered that we would be sitting on the “Love Actually” table.

Signing the book.  Owen and I were amazed that Isabelle signed with her Chinese name (accurate characters) and then added the Pin Yin - Bei La.

Signing the book. Owen and I were amazed that Isabelle signed with her Chinese name (accurate characters) and then added the Pin Yin – Bei La, underneath (bottom right).  Oliver attempted his Chinese name in Characters and then got carried away!!

The table assignments - Love Actually for us!

The table assignments – Love Actually for us!

The wedding dinner was a traditional Chinese dinner with many courses – the food kept coming and coming.  Poor Owen was struggling to use his chopsticks with his hand still in a cast, but he refused to use silverware!

Our table - sitting with several work colleagues.

Our table – sitting with several work colleagues.  (Notice the cigarettes!!)

We both tried traditional Shanghainese wine.  It has a very rich, yeasty taste that is a little like Port.

Shanghainese wine.

Shanghainese wine.

As is the case with many Chinese dinners that I attend, I do not always know what I am eating.  I try almost everything and have been pleasantly surprised many times when I do this.  I don’t really want to know what I am eating if I cannot recognize it!!!! We did, however, recognize Turtle when it was placed on the table.  Owen and I had seen these for sale in the supermarkets but this was the first time I had seen it prepared and presented.  This, I could not eat.  Neither could anyone else on our table.

Turtle.  Cooked for so long that the shell is like jelly.

Turtle. Cooked for so long that the shell is like jelly.

There were many delicious dishes to try and I was so proud of Isabelle and Oliver who were also very adventurous and tried lots of things.  There was a perfectly cooked huge lobster, dressed crab, salads, whole fish, fried rice, vegetables, pumpkin soup and a chicken broth.  Each place setting had a box with 2 ferrero rocher chocolates in.  The strangest thing on each table were 2 packets of cigarettes!  (A lot of smokers in China and you can still smoke almost everywhere.)

Food, glorious food.

Food, glorious food.

While the dinner was going on, there were many other activities, games and speeches taking place.  Hui and Johnson made the rounds to every table where they were toasted.  As I did not see them sit down, or eat anything, I am quite sure that they must have rolled out by the end of the evening!!  Lots of drinks and “Ganbei” going on.  If you are sitting at a large round table that has the glass lazy susan (most Chinese restaurants are set up in this way) then you do not have to stand and stretch across for each toast, you simply clink the glass table a couple of times instead.

The first game was for all the children.  It took a little bit of persuasion, but eventually Isabelle and Oliver went up on the stage.  I don’t know what was going on, but they came back with cuddly toys.  All the children at the wedding were clutching various lovies!!

Hui had a couple of dress changes.  Right after the outdoor ceremony, she changed into a beautiful blues dress:

2nd dress of the night.

2nd dress of the night.

Her last change was into a beautiful traditional Chinese wedding dress.  As red is a very lucky colour in China, brides always wear red at their weddings.  In fact, it is considered the height of rudeness for any guest to wear a red outfit at a wedding.

A gorgeous traditional Chinese wedding dress.

A gorgeous traditional Chinese wedding dress.

One of the games (selected by the ticket numbers!) was to go up on the stage and see how many lollipops you could squeeze into your mouth while still be able to say “Congratulations” (in Chinese).  Frank, a colleague from work who was sitting on our table, won this game by getting 7 lollipops in!!

The lollipop game!

Frank winning the lollipop game!

Instead of throwing the brides bouquet of flowers to all the single ladies, the bride choses who is to receive her good wishes and flowers.  In this case, it was Monica – another colleague at work.

Monica receiving the brides bouquet.

Monica receiving the brides bouquet.

Most people were leaving right after the dinner – it was almost 9.00pm by this time anyway!  Isabelle and Oliver had enjoyed themselves – all Chinese people love children, and especially love western children!  They were both very good and were taking all the actions, activities, food and traditions in their stride.  It was a wonderful event and I hope that Hui and Johnson will be very happy together!

Sports Days and Dragons Rule!!

It is Sports Day season at BISS.  The school groups the competition days into groups and Tuesday May 7th was Isabelle’s sports day at BISS as part of the Year 3 and Year 4 grouping.  There are 4 Houses at BISS: Dragons, Monkeys, Panda’s and Tigers.  Siblings are always placed in the same house – Isabelle and Oliver are both Dragons who are represented by Red T-shirts.  There are many “House” events during the year and all the students take great pride in earning house points for their respective allegiance.  Both children also have the opportunity to earn points throughout the year for excelling in the school values and outstanding efforts.  This is a great motivator!!

The Athletic Field was set up with different stations that each team rotated through.  The parents walked around the outside of this area to cheer on their child.  They spent 5 minutes on each activity as a team to try to earn as many points as possible on each one.

The Dragons: Ava and Ethan are also Dragons!

The Dragons: Ava and Ethan are also Dragons!  Lined up ready to win as many House Points as possible.

Action shot over the hurdles.

Action shot over the hurdles.

Running and balancing the ball on the tennis racket.

Running and balancing the ball on the tennis racket.

Relay time!

Relay time!  Run, Isabelle, Run!

Long jump - she had several go's at this one and got better with each attempt.

Long jump – she had several go’s at this one and got better with each attempt.

Isabelle was very fast at this one.  Plus her teacher, Mrs Scrymgeour, was running this activity so she worked extra hard at this one!!

Isabelle was very fast at this one. Plus her teacher, Mrs Scrymgeour, was running this activity so she worked extra hard at this one!!

Potato and spoon

Potato and spoon

Shotput

Shotput

The event included many different activities: relay, balancing the ball on the tennis racket, hurdles, bean bag balance on heads, long jump, potato and spoon, balance bars, sack race, shot put, running and a water transfer race.  Isabelle said that she enjoyed the water race the most, but the rest station was her favourite part of Sports Day!!  All of the children were out playing competitively from 9:00 – 12:00 so it was a long morning of sports.  Monkeys came first for this year grouping, but the Dragons second place was only by 3 points!  (Not bad when you are in the 1000’s of points……)

"I am so happy to do Sports Day with my best friend"

Cheering each other on.  “I am so happy to do Sports Day with my best friend”

Wednesday May 8th  was Nursery and Reception Sports Day.  This event was only for 1 hour as they do 2 minutes on each activity.  It is set up in the same way with different stations on the Athletic field that the parents walk around to cheer.  Oliver had 3 team mates in his class that are Dragons: Seren, Ben and Emma.  All of whom he really likes and plays well with.  This little team displayed fantastic team spirit throughout the entire event.  They were continually cheering each other on, helping with the transitions and generally wanting to win.  They all displayed huge competitive spirit, and the parents of these children were just as competitive as we were very loudly shouting and cheering for the Dragons!!

Hurdles

Hurdles (it was a little chilly to start off)  Very unseasonable for Shanghai!

The hurdles was one of Oliver’s favourites.  We were so proud of him because he very obviously put his heart and soul into every single event and tried his very best at each one.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and you could clearly see when he was happy with his performance and when he was disappointed in himself.  We were also very proud of his team spirit as he was so supportive and encouraging of his team mates.

Run along the balance bar and then jump into the hoop passing it over your head, then run very fast back!

Run along the balance bar and then jump into the hoop passing it over your head, then run very fast back!  This was another favourite of Oliver’s

Over the head!

Over the head!

Throwing the bean bags in the hoop (point for each).  Oliver is delighted with his efforts!

Throwing the bean bags in the hoop (point for each). Oliver is delighted with his efforts!

The Dragons team here have just found out that they won the last round which was bean bags in the hoop!

The Dragons team here have just found out that they won the last round which was bean bags in the hoop!

Balancing the ball on the tennis racket.

Balancing the ball on the tennis racket.

Oliver was very creative with this one as he discovered that it would go further if he kicked it rather than push it!

Oliver was very creative with this one as he discovered that it would go further if he kicked it rather than push it!

Balancing the hoop on his head.

Balancing the hoop on his head.

Excellent result for Dragons today as the combined scores for the Dragons in Nursery and Reception meant that they had won the trophy.  Oliver, Ben, Seren and Emma were over the moon with excitement and delight!

Dragons won!

Dragons won!

Dads and Lads plus a Girlie night out

Saturday night was the Annual Dad’s and Lad’s campout at BISS.  Owen was not looking forward to this as his arm is still in a cast and he definitely does not like sleeping on the ground anymore!  However, Oliver was very excited to be camping out, in a tent, with his Dad.

They certainly looked like they were packing for a week and not just 1 night!  Tent, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, sleep mats….. plus a change of clothes and toiletries!

Matt and Ethan arrived at 2.45pm to collect them.  Then they met all the “Emerald Dads and Lads” at our Clubhouse so they could travel to the school together.  Once they arrived, they were directed to a place on the athletic field ready to pitch their tents and settle in for the night.

Chilling with Daddy

Chilling with Daddy

After an  afternoon of activities, food and fun, it was time to go to sleep.  Oliver and Ethan watched a movie on Owen’s iPad and once Ethan had fallen asleep, it was lights out for Oliver too!!  Once he was fast asleep, it was time for Owen to chill with the rest of the Dads.

Bedtime in the tent

Bedtime in the tent

While the boys were away, it was girlie time!  Emma and Ava came to collect us very soon after the boys had left.  We had appointments for pedicures together!  We were early enough to enjoy a leisurely coffee and enjoy the wine celebration going on at the Kerry Parkside.

We all had a fantastic experience at Dragonfly:

Pedicure time!

Pedicure time!

Nails, nails, nails.  Isabelle (Flower) and Ava (Rose), Emma (Red) and Sara (Pink)

Nails, nails, nails. Isabelle (Flower) and Ava (Rose), Emma (Red) and Sara (Pink)

After all the pampering it was off to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner!  Back to our house for a girlie movie and to wrap up a lovely afternoon and evening with just the girls.