Sunday, September 27, 2009

One year (+ 2 weeks) later...

(click on pictures to see them full size)

Two weeks ago marked the one year anniversary of our wedding. Seems like just a few months ago that we were all up at Woodloch Pines Resort in northeast Pennsylvania for the wedding, but then when we think of all that has happened since then, it feels it has been years.

We've been told that the first year of marriage is the hardest and it only gets easier from here. I find that hard to believe. First, this year hasn't been too hard in terms of marriage. It definitely has been an adjustment and a period of learning about each other, ourselves and what marriage means, but hard isn't a word that comes to mind. Second, I feel like marriage is going to be a constant learning experience. Our lives will be constantly changing, bringing new situations that we'll need to figure out together. Maybe the figuring out process will be easier because we'll become more adept at working together?

Maybe what they meant to say that marriage only gets BETTER from here. That I can see happening. Unlocking the secrets of marriage and what it was fully intended for is an exciting prospect. At the same time, I think we've both learned that marriage takes a committed effort from both sides to make it work. I don't believe it's supposed to be easy, but I do believe that it is every bit worth it.

Thanks for all of the pr8yers and love that everyone has shown us this past year. They have been vital in our relationship and our transition to living in China. Our friends and family have made it impossible to not know how much we've been blessed. Our hope is that our marriage will reflect the blessings in our lives and bless the lives of those that we love in return, no matter where our address happens to be.

Love, Alan and Daisy

Click here for our wedding pictures: THE WEDDING ALBUM

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Music...and its legal!

posted by Alan
(click on pictures to see them full size)

One of the awesome perks of living in China is Google Music. Because free music is available in China on various websites, Google has gotten into the game in order to compete and as of early this year, launched their free music downloads. It has a catalog of over 1 million songs of artists from China and abroad. The site is all in chinese, but all you have to do is type is what you're looking for in the search bar and the results pop up in english. You can make a playlist right there on your computer and it'll save and play from the web whenever you open it. Great because Pandora doesn't offer service outside of the US. Eat it Pandora. Next to each song is an arrow pointing down(load). Click on the arrow if you're feelin the song and thats it. The MP3 is on your computer 10 seconds later. Easier than Geico. So if you're coming over to China, clear up some space on your hard drive and get ready to gorge on free MP3's.

Don't let the Chinese scare you, just type what you're looking for in the search bar. Double click the song and it's added to your online playlist.

Scroll over the arrow pointing down and click to 'xia zai' the song. Downloads right onto your computer.

But all the free music in the world doesn't make up for the loss of just being able to flick on the TV and catch live American sports. That might have been a good thing this summer, with the ridiculous season the Mets have had. It's like they're trying to think of ways to make each season more unbearable than the last. Although you can't fault them for the injuries. But anyway, there were essentially no sports to watch this summer, but the #5 Penn State Nittany Lions have come calling and with basketball season just around the corner, will become my second best (inanimate) friend. Number 1 being..... SLINGBOXXXXXX(I added five x's.)

Our slingbox setup. Connected the laptop to our TV and speakers. Notice the time on the clock. Thats opposite of NY time. SEC(U of Georgia) Superfan, Rachel, enjoying a game.

Slingbox is truly a sports loving expat's best friend. Hook the box up to any cable back in the US, configure your computer to the box and that's it, you can watch whatever channels that cable gets on your computer wherever you are in the world, LIVE (provided you have internet connection). The fact that it's live does present some time difference problems, but it's fine for noon kickoffs (midnight here) and night games (8AM Sunday morning here). It's just those annoying 3:30PM kickoffs that are a pain. But if you're a sports fan and living overseas for an extended amount of time, invest in a Slingbox for sure.

Janet Jackson re-creating the Scream video at the MTV VMA's was awesome.

Response to comments:
Johnny - Hahaha, dude, I GOT pegs. Not only pegs, but a seat cushion for the back of the bike too. I'll update you guys on my pimped out bike soon...
Gary - Yeah, the BBQ was on the roof of our friends apartment building. There's a hottub up there, kitchen (with utensils) and outdoor BBQ grill set up for whoever lives there to use. And the complex even provides FREE CLEAN UP. Downstairs there's a movie theater/rec room for them to use too. Expats live large over here man.
Lin - We're waiting for you to come back. If these make you miss it out here, just wait until you see the pics we're gonna take in Malaysia.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Worth a thousand words...

posted by Alan
(click on the pictures to see them full size)

Man, time has been going by FAST here. We've managed to busy ourselves with so much here in Shanghai. I guess we should have been ready for it, but the way things work here in the expat community is that the summer is generally a slow time in the city, as many people are travelling or visiting home for the summer and once fall hits, people come back to the city and there are just a ton of activities going on. Couple that with Daisy and I both starting full time jobs during this time and that leaves for very little rest time. Something we're both working on making more of. But busy is a good thing, as long as there's purpose behind the busy-ness.

Today is going to be a photo blog, more than a written one. Photos are the best parts about blogs anyway, aren't they?

One hour bike ride to rooftop BBQ in Hongqiao district of Shanghai with Anna

New Mayfair Hotel rooftop pool. A confident stride can get you anywhere (especially in China with two blondes)

Saturday morning Ultimate Frisbee (that's Daisy in the blue shirt)

Bday party for Jeff at Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse (yes, thats a mechanical bull); street fried chicken. it is GOOD; lunch with my boy Miro(NJ) and his gf Monica(Phillipines)

Finally, here are pictures from our second trip to Jin Shan Beach. This time we knew what to expect, had perfect beach weather and got a group of 17 people to go with us and spent the whole day there. Beach volleyball, frisbee, football, lounging and eating, great time. I heard that summer sprinted away from New York this year and it's already cold back home. Well, I'll let you guys enjoy these pictures of us frolicking in the sunshine on the east coast of China.

Click here for a full album of the beach trip: PICTURES OF JIN SHAN BEACH Part 2

Response to comments:
Gary - Thanks for helping us avoid the first posting to get ZERO comments. I get the hint, no more movie reviews.