We've been pretty busy, and the last 6 months have been pretty adventure packed.
Chinese New Year came and went with a visit from my mum and sister. That was really fun! I even managed to produce a pretty good attempt at a Chinese celebratory meal for Chinese New Year's Eve.
I made a poached fish, Cantonese style, red cooked pork, stir fried bok choy with garlic, blanched gai lan on ice with chilli soy sauce, fried egg and peanut (a favourite from my time in China), and steamed some dumplings (which I bought from the supermarket). It was all really good, if I do say so myself.
During their trip we also checked out the Ping Shan heritage trail, Stanley, high tea at the Peninsula Hotel, Temple St, and of course a bit of shopping. The weather wasn't the greatest, in fact it was the coldest Chinese New Year in 16 years. But I think it was a good trip!
After that, it was back to work for us until easter. We had open days, parent teacher days and sports days to get through, but we made it eventually. For easter we went to Macau for a few days.
I've been to Macau before, and I liked it then, but it's been through a few changes since then. There's a lot more casinos and hotels than before, and the Cotai strip is new too. Thankfully Taipa old village is still there, and that was my favourite part last time. The highlight of the trip was seeing The House of Dancing Water, which is an acrobatic show, in a huge pool that holds the volume of 5 Olympic swimming pools. The show was fantastic, and I'm really glad that we got to see it.
In May, we celebrated our first wedding anniversay. We have had a ridiculously busy first year, and we're hoping for an equally adventurous second year, but perhaps a little bit more settled!
I have a lot to look forward to now. I have decided to leave my job at the end of June, so I am looking forward to that. The long term plan is to return to university to start an MPhil in January 2013, but I'm going to take a few months off before that starts. The job was good for the short term, and allowed me to pay a decent chunk off my student loan, but in the long term it wasn't going to work out. I don't have much interest in becoming a secondary school teacher, which is what a lot of the EAs get out of the job, so the job just doesn't challenge me enough, and I want a chance to push myself further, so off to further study I go! I want to do a PhD eventually, but I'll just get through the MPhil first I think.
I finish at the end of June, then I have a few weeks of quiet while Craig's finishing up. Then we're off on a two week holiday in China. We're going to Beijing for 4 days first, where we'll do all the usual things there like climb the Great Wall, visit the Forbidden City, eat Peking duck, a little shopping, and a few museums. We are NOT going to line up to see dead Mao. I've done it before, but once is enough for me, and Craig says he doesn't have much interest in viewing the body of a very ex communist.
After Beijing, we're taking the overnight train to Xi'an, where we'll spend six nights. I absolutely can't wait for this bit. Xi'an has been on my bucket list for a long time, and the Terracotta Warriors from the tomb of Qin Shi Huang are sure to be a highlight. Aside from that though, Xi'an has a cornucopia of historic, archaeological and cultural sites that I'm really excited to see. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the food on the trip too. Northern Chinese food, and Hui Chinese food are some of my favourites. It's really tasty food, and quite unlikely to have hidden shrimp, which is a problem I run into with Cantonese food quite often.
A few weeks after our trip, we have two friends from New Zealand coming to visit, so we can play tour guide for them. I just hope the weather behaves, because August is bang in the middle of typhoon season! Craig will go back to work at the end of August, and then I am heading back to Australia for a few weeks to see my family. I'm looking forward to the trip back, because it means a few weeks of hanging out in the quiet of my mum's place with her and the dogs. I'll probably be feeling the cold a little, coming out of our summer, but it will still be nice. After that...hopefully it's just a downhill run to stating uni again. Here's hoping all goes well!