I’m happy to report that things are MUCH better since my last post! We now have internet in our apartment, I figured out how to turn the A/C into a minimal-heat producing machine, my roommate kindly taught me that we should be using the fridge in the living room instead of the kitchen because it actually works (how silly of me to think we should use the one in the kitchen) and my various positions here are going great. I am doing marketing for a western bakery, charity events for a chinese cultural center and teaching English at an international school on saturdays! So far I have worked 7 days a week for the past two weeks, but it beats the heck out of sitting around the apartment or going to an endless amount of interviews and networking events. David has been in the US on a business trip for almost a week now, and apparently is doing a great job getting new partners for his high school study abroad organization.

We still don’t have a light in our bathroom which is a bit of a challenge, but overall I’m actually enjoying Beijing. I also just spent a lot of time touring and eating dinners with the Jacobs, and I think their Beijing portion of the trip was practically ideal. Per usual I’m a little behind with posting…but today I wanted to share some photos from various food spots around the city. We ate in the Wudaokou (university) area with our friend Caroline, who I owe greatly for introducing me to the owner of the bakery. (BTW, did I mention I got a macbook as part of my new position?! My old computer couldn’t even open documents, so I am relishing this thing like a newborn baby. It’s so beautiful, and fast and helpful…thank you Lin!!!) OK, back to food. Caroline picked a Korean BBQ place, where they bring out a huge platter of fresh food on a large skillet and cook it all in the middle of the table. We had major ordering problems because they literally would not serve any dishes without meat because they said it wouldn’t cook right…and when the food arrived it looked NOTHING like the photo in the menu. The oh-so-understanding waiters pointed us to the disclaimer on the menu which stated, “Actual food may be different than pictured.” Considering exactly HOW different the photo was, David asked if they thought it appropriate to bring a plate of meat even if we had pointed to a plate of veggies. They were not amused.

We had a more successful dinner with another new friend, Betsy, on Gui Jie or “Ghost Street.” The street looks awesome at night, filled with lanterns and bright lights. They also do a lot of bbq and seafood here, but we opted for a more traditional Chinese location. Below you can also find many photos of our neighborhood in Shuangjing. We live in a foreign-friendly but still very Chinese part of the city, about a 20-minute walk from Guomao and the Central Business Distracit (CBD), so there are lots of skyscrapers and overall congestion. The view out the window is actually from our old apartment, sigh. The other place was more updated and had a great bathroom with marble and a western tub, but our new place is still pretty good. We are located across the street from the Viva mall which has a big food court and movie theater, and are around the corner from an almost western grocery. The square in front of the mall is very lively, often filled with Chinese line-dancing women, salsa classes, in-line skating, men’s singing groups and various other events. We don’t have a good, cheap, food street nearby which David especially misses, but I’m happy that most food is very convenient.

OK, I’m crossing my fingers that uploading these photos works, as the internet has been super-slow tonight, but here goes nothing. Oh, and I almost forgot, I wanted to give major shout-outs to my tough and caring friends who all recently completed the longest fundraising endurance events of their lives. They each raised thousands to fight cancer AND all managed a major wipe-out before or during their events. Um, is that a requirement to compete or something?! Allie Bouton finished her first marathon in Chicago to benefit Fred’s Team, Lisa Galik walked a marathon and a half to benefit the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and Amy Anselmo also finished her first marathon in Seattle to benefit Team in Training. I’m so lucky to have awesomely caring friends! AND…coming up, Jenny Lou has signed up for her first-ever marathon with Team in Training; I could not be more proud of her! I will be updating you on her progress as I live vicariously through her efforts. Yeah Jenny!!!