Where did October go?!

In what seems like the blink of an eye, October has come and gone. There were many things, both personal and professional, to keep us busy during the last few weeks. The month brought us a week’s holiday (see this blog post), Mid-Semester exams at school, 2 half marathons and a 5k for Alison, overcoming stage fright, Halloween in China, Halloween get together with our friends, climbing a famous Chinese mountain and eating our way through a slightly smaller mountain of tacos. Oh, where does the time go?

Here are some photos and details about what we’ve been up in the last few weeks.

In Chinese culture, when someone is having a child, they give all of their colleagues a little gift. These little boxes are often filled with cookies and sweets and are placed on your desk with ninja-like stealth, leaving you scratching your head and having to ask around your office, “So, who’s pregnant?” 
Alison accepts House Meng-Zi’s medal for the 4×100 relay race from sports day (previous posting).
Little weekend trip to the Qingdao Beer Museum, the oldest brewery in China.
“Ok, you’re cut off now…”
We spent a weekend day just wandering around, looking in the little shops and building up quite an appetite. We ordered two plates of dumplings and, by this time, I was getting a little “hangry.” The waitress came over with these two delicious plates, and slid them between us. I got my chopsticks ready to dive right in, only to hear Alison say, “Wait, I need to take a photo first.” #you’rejokingright? #you’renotjoking #@#$%^&*!!!!!
Redstar is a monthly magazine here in Qingdao and it’s really geared towards foreigners. What to do, what to be on the lookout for, places to eat, etc. Alison entered a photo she took from one of her morning runs and it won Photo of the Month! We were supposed to get a gift certificate to a local burger place; only we haven’t gotten it yet. We’ve called, emailed to no avail. Next step: steal hamburgers.
It’s a beautiful day for beer and french fries at 1907; China’s first cinema.
Between all the 1/2 marathons Alison is running, she found time to win a local 5k! Turns out the prize for first was pretty sweet; including a smart watch/fitbit kind of thing, a gift certificate, and a free night’s stay at a fancy local hotel. Guess I’m getting treated! #soproud
The ladies of our business department go out together pretty regularly. Our HOD decided that the men needed to do the same. What do you think happens when you get two South Africans, a Brit, and an American together for beer and Korean BBQ? You end up spending most of the time trying to impersonate each others accents! So much fun!
A close up of this magnificent feast! Chicken, cheese, rice rolls, veggies, and spicy sauce all get mixed together at a hotplate in the center of your table. Once it’s done, everyone dives in!
This was one of the scariest things I’ve done in recent memory. Alison, after weeks of asking, finally wore me down and, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to play and sing a song during our whole school assembly on Monday mornings. It went quite well despite the fact that we were both very nervous. 
The students at CISQD really seemed to enjoy Halloween. Most dressed up which was really cool to see. Alison’s Biology class took a moment to pose for a photo during a lesson.
Another one of Alison’s classes on Halloween. Please note the “White Blood Cell” in white in front. WBC is a Japanese comic character, but this outfit was quite fitting for Biology.
Grant and his business colleagues on Halloween. 
It was hard to take our lesson seriously when every time I looked up Winnie the Pooh was staring me in the face. Oh bother.
During special event days, like Halloween, the school photographers are out in full storm! You never know when you’re getting your photo taken. I’m supposed to be the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride, but the dye I bought for my white shirt only turned it gray, not black 😦 At least I didn’t have to wear a tie today!
Alison’s custom made Princess Buttercup dress. Unfortunately, we were both quite busy that day and didn’t get a photo with each other, but we had a good time dressing up with our students and colleagues nonetheless.
This past weekend we climbed Laoshan Mountain with some of our colleauges. This is the mountain where Confucianism is said to have been born.
Very interesting rock formations along the way.
Can you find the lion’s head? 
Along the trail/path to the top.
#howtotakeaselfie #yourselfiegameisstrong
At times, the trail felt like a US mall at Christmas time. So many people and so much noise. But the further you go, the less people you come across and can even find some moments of serenity. This was one of mine along the way.
Very cool sculptures and architecture along the path.
We were stopping for a little break when a group of teenage girls took one look at my tattoos and lost their minds. It was insane and very awkward to have a group of teenage girls literally screaming and gawking at me. It assured me that, under no circumstances ever, do I want to be a celebrity. Alison and our friends had a very good laugh about it. 
This is our hiking crew. However, the Asian gentlemen in the black longsleeve is not with us. He will, in my mind, go down in infamy forever for pulling off the most perfect photo-bomb. None of us saw him before or after this photo was taken, and his existence is only known to me in this photo. Well done, sir, well done.
We made it to the top!
After hiking a mountain all day, it only seemed right, with a tremendous appetite, to conquer a mountain of tacos! This was the first round. We did order more. 


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