Tuesday, December 6, 2011


posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

Gongs in America
Dec 17 - 20: San Fransisco
Dec 21 - Jan 6: NYC

It seems like the Shanghai calendar runs based on events. Out here it's not a matter of having nothing to do, it's deciding which things you can actually make it to. And in the close knit community of expats in Shanghai, you're always bound to know someone who is involved with each thing, if it's not you yourself. Three weeks ago, I was the event manager for the Shanghai 2011 Global Leadership Summit, a worldwide conference that takes place in over 200 cities and 80 countries all over the world. Built on the vision of Pastor Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Church in Chicago, it has grown into the premier leadership event of it's kind, welcoming over 150,000 attendees worldwide. Last year was my first as an attendee and I was blown away by how inspiring and impressive it was. This was the third year the Summit was held in Shanghai and we had over 600 attendees. I absolutely recommend attending one if you can in your city. They take place at a few sites in and around NYC. You will learn and grow as a leader whether you're in ministry, business, education or even just socially. Click here for more info.

The weekend after, the NFL Experience came to Shanghai. The NFL is constantly promoting American football to the Chinese market and they set up a weekend event to promote the sport and the brand. Lots of interactive stations and American football teams competing. It was Daddy and Janie day as I begin her education of American sports. Sadly, her Jose Reyes T-shirt will only educate her on the heartache of being a Mets fan. And yes, her Daddy also went to Penn State. (sigh)

Janie doing the Heisman

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 3x (+ Uncle Steven)

posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

Almost a month since the last entry. Ouch. I'll try harder. For those of you who miss talking to me, if you call (516)360-3375, it comes right to my phone here in China. Just remember there's a time difference. Oh, and does anyone use WhatsApp?

Thanksgiving came early in Shanghai for us this year. In order to bring a little bit of home to China, Americans all over Shanghai put on huge Thanksgiving dinners. Turkey is hard to come by over here, but for the holiday, dozens of hotels and caterers ship them in and prepare Thanksgiving packages to order. We were invited to about six different dinners and had to whittle it down to just three during the week. See below:



Just prior to that was my 30-something-th birthday, which my brother Steven flew halfway around the world for. For someone not big into celebrating his birthday and not a fan of cake, I'd say the 4 different cakes were a bit overkill. I don't even know how anyone knew it was my birthday. But one cake stood out above the rest. Our favorite Canadian chef, Andrew, was cooking dinner for us and he asked Daisy what my favorite kind of cake was. Knowing me better than anyone else, Daisy jokingly said "uh...a meat cake?" Not fully getting the joke, the most delicious cake I've ever tasted was born.

Thanks Steven for visiting, Daisy for the Doritos, Mint Choc Chip ice cream and being my wife, and mom for the Video Baby Monitor(must see TV in Janie's room) and all of Janie's new clothes.

Janie turns 1 on Friday! (whoa...)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Play Date

*posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

Please stay Jose!

Janie has an abundance of friends (although she doesn't know they're friends yet) around her age here. And that's just within the expat community. She also has plenty of local friends in our neighborhood that she sees on a regular basis too. Since Daisy is full time momming it now, she's been organizing playgroups with a bunch of the other new moms throughout the week. With such a diverse community, it's like a baby United Nations. I also went to my first children's birthday party the other week. Over here, the Chinese have their own special brand of children's entertainment. By special I mean impossibly high-pitched voices and awkward clappy dancing. But I don't think it matters where you go, one thing remains true: cute babies will never fail to make grown ups act like fools to entertain them (myself included). Janie is still at the stage where she just stares with a blank look at them. That's my girl.

Daisy and I also recently attended the wedding of our friends Sandro and Stella. It was probably the highest wedding we'll ever go to, on the 96th floor of the Shanghai IFC Tower in the Park Hyatt Hotel. I was unexpectedly asked to semi-officiate the ceremony which was a first, as I have no powers vested in me, but it was nice to be able to pray for their marriage at the wedding. Sandro is Italian and Stella is Korean-American, which combines to form an awesome dinner menu. Congrats guys, have some really good looking mixed babies!

Still 70 degrees and sunny in Shanghai. Sorry New York!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Apartment 3

posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

2.5 years, 3 apartments, 1 corner. Those are our stats so far. I guess it doesn't sound so strange to expats in Shanghai, where things are constantly changing, but that's alot of moving. Where we live is just so convenient that we can't bring ourselves to leave the intersection of Hengshan Rd and Gao An Rd.

With Janie being much more mobile now (she's a bumper car in her walker. Pretty lazy when it comes to crawling, although she can) we needed more space. We found it across the street. It's still two bedrooms, but the bedrooms are much bigger and the living area has it's own door (crucial for sleeping babies) and is also much bigger. More space for Uncle Steven to sprawl out when he comes to visit in November.

Check it out:
Living Room View from Living Room
Kitchen; Janie's Room Our Bedroom Living Room at Night

We're still accepting all visitors! But more likely, we'll see you in December.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moganshan & Singapore

posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

About once a year, our Bble study group takes a retreat somewhere out of the city to get away for a few days, spend time with each other and spend more time with G0d. This year, we went to the famed Mogan Mountain (shan means mountain in mandarin). We came to Moganshan about one month after Daisy and I first arrived in Shanghai. You can check out that post here: Moganshan 2009

About 3 hours outside of Shanghai, Moganshan is a mountain covered in bamboo forest, like in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. There are numerous little houses and hotels dotted around the peak and makes for a great getaway with its fresh air and quietness.

Click here to see more pictures from our retreat to Moganshan: Moganshan retreat

Two days before the retreat, I flew down to Singapore for leadership training. For the third time, Shanghai will be one of the many hosts worldwide of The Global Leadership Summit, where I'm serving as event manager. I'll write more about the actual Summit when it happens in November, but it was an inspiring and awesome three days and I'm excited to be a part of it. Singapore is just so....nice. Everything there is nice and clean and orderly and nice. Not sure how else to describe it. Even the airport feels like a 5 star hotel, not like an airport. And the food. Singaporeans take great pride in their food. I can understand why.

Click here to see more pictures from Singapore: Singapore 2011