We had a really good time today.  We slept in for the first time so far and despite another episode with the shower of horror (not just freezing water, but alternated to skin-scaldingly hot, too.  Neither a usable temperature, woo!) had a relaxing morning.  We met our managers (Eddie and Sally) and the other teacher (David A) at school and headed off to lunch with Eddie’s business partners.  We went to a traditional “hot pot” restaurant, which is a tradition started in Mongolian and is now popular in many parts of China.  The style is similar to American Fondue in that there are tons of small dishes that are cooked in a pot of boiling water and spices.  This hot pot restaurant was pretty fancy, as we got our own private room and personal hot pots.  The food was awesome; a variety of tofu, thin slices of meat, vegetables and other interesting items.  The most unique dish was probably thin slices of cow stomach.  We also tried bamboo meats and I tried the raw beef, and really liked both.  We also had sugar-glazed sweet potato for dessert (although it’s just a main dish in China) which had the texture of candied apples and was also delectable!  Eddie’s associates were so generous and half of the table was drunk off of bijou (traditional rice wine) by the end of lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Giant (same bike brand as in American) bike store to buy bikes!  Eddie offers his new teachers the opportunity to buy bikes, and we gladly accepted.  David and I now both have brand-new Giant bikes, which we rode right out of the store.  It was an exhilirating and exciting experience to ride our bikes on the streets of China for the first time, especially when Eddie yelled out from his motorbike, “WE ARE THE ASTON GANG!!!”  Oh yes, and it was also snowing, but you probably figured that, since it apparently snows wherever we go!  As Little Miss Warmy McWarmerson, I never thought I would be riding a bike in the snow.

I also would like to share a few updates:

1.  We both have Skype and would love to chat, so look us up! *David: davidjacobs85  *Erin: erin.henshaw

We are usually on Skype/gchat between 8-10am (US) every day and can be available during the evenings most Mon-Wed.

2. Our blog has had over 1,000 views as of yesterday, cool!  Just FYI, you can subscribe to the blog through WordPress and then you will be updated each time we make a new post. Also, it seems that we are starting to be come a little bit of a resource on world travel, so if you have friends with questions/concerns about visiting China or anywhere else we have visited, please send them along! Between David and I we have visited: Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Alaska, England, France, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and have particularly good/recent knowledge of Spain, China and South Africa.

3. I’m thinking about trying to create a China/US book club that would meet on Skype/post to the blog.  It would happen at a relatively slow pace (one book every month or two) and would be focused on both Chinese cultural books/novels and current fiction.  If you would be interested, please post a comment or email me…anyone is welcome!

4. All is well; we are healthy and happy and our apartment is warmer than the Jacobs’ house!