Monday, April 21, 2014

Returned from China

I'm back from Suzhou, China with 2 weeks of cultural experiences and stories to share. 2 weeks with students from Hosford Middle School who came with a load of field study work and a chance to have a unique experience in the country they have been studying for the past 9 years. I'm honored to have shared the trip with them and appreciate the hard work that went into orchestrating this trip. I'm also very lucky to have been chosen to come. I had to turn in an application that was reviewed by the students and go through an interview before being accepted. I applied the year before and this year I had a sudden job change that could have effected the trip.

I came as a chaperone by day, a watchful eye and protector while they kept me from getting lost or finding trouble. Students guided each other to many sights and historic places including old towns, museums, shopping, religious sights from Islam to Buddhism, modern structures, and did I mention shopping? The students enjoyed haggling at the markets and finding knockoff Dr Dre Beat headphones. "After school" I had the opportunity to spend time with my host family (Chen) and we got a whole weekend to go out and visit places only locals go. Such as the Lianhua island in Qing Jian Lake. Everywhere you could see Rape Flowers known for harvesting canola seeds. We went to a man made beach where I pretended to drive a Ferrari with my host family student Cherry (Xiao Man). Cherry is studying English and its actually really good. Her parents work at a hospital. Her father, Jen, is a neuro-surgeon and mother, Rung, a nurse. While together I shared a cultural activity we know as Hacky-Sack. We played under a Chinese Pagoda near the lake one day and really hit it off.

While in China I shot pictures and video (until my camera lens broke). My plan was to organize an epic video journal of each day. That turned into compiling a couple days into one video and then it turned into hoping we could get a couple great movies and trailers put together. I'm now on the quest to gather more video and pictures from our trip to finalize the piece for families and friends. Luckily Karlan, a parent/chaperone, did a great job shooting video and we collaborated on getting footage together. I'm only bummed that I didn't have more video of my Wei group adventures. With clever editing though we can turn our trip into something special for everyone.

Ok I can't forget the food. My favorite was the traditional Suzhou noodles and second was the Muslim pulled noodles from the family operated restaurants. The food is usually inexpensive. In comparison to Portland, you would get more delicious food (and quantity) for your money in Suzhou. I enjoyed breakfast everyday which usually included jellyfish and rice porridge. The street food was amazing. The only places I didn't seem to care for was the "famous" or well-known locations. I tried KFC and Pizza Hut while there and didn't find it appetizing. Portland has so many great places to eat I almost never eat fastfood so it wasn't surprising I didn't like KFC anyways. I did notice KFC didn't have the much touted chicken bucket we are so proud of in America. Anyways my host family taught me how to make Wontons and also a traditional soup called Yan Du Xian which has pork and bamboo carried in a tasty broth.

I have a ton of pictures and a couple videos posted online. You can find them here Be sure to read the captions for more on our story in China. See if you can figure out this delicious rich stuffed dish below.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NE Portland Garden Workshop (playing with Vine)

I've been playing with Vine. I have no followers yet! Its fun to create the short clips. I was trying to share it with someone who doesn't have vine though. Where is the link? This is the best I could do on short notice. Follow me on Vine for other...stuff.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Snowball 8

This weekend was full of something completly different than what it was like 3 years ago. Snowball # is an annual event hosted by our friends created to bring the group together and have a good time. Its both a relaxing and adventurous weekend up on the mountain. Let's just say the rules of relaxing/adventurous dramatically change when most your friends now have kids. Despite the change we endured the luxuries of Government Camp and Mount Hood including the local watering holes. We proved that we can be ourselves. This is especially important to me because of how our relationships change with our friends.
Click Photo for Full Gallery - PSW: derek
I have to give my appreciation and love out to the fellow parents who I felt had an awesome connection with both in parenting style and passion for adventure. You will find some past Snowball pictures in this gallery soon to see the difference we have made. I wish I had taken more pictures of our pub crawl and game nights but there is always next year. I hope to everyone sooner than that though!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday breakthroughs and goodbyes

I spent a few days this Holiday break building a ski trailer to avoid the costly REI $275 conversion kit. Some manual labor and thirty dollars later my dad and I built our own conversion kit. Pictured below is my partner pulling the weight (she volunteered! I'm not making her do the work). Check out the cool reindeer headband! This was a fun and quick project. We got the inspiration from which I recommend following if you are an outdoorsy family type. They have instructions on how to build your own I took some of there suggestions like using PVC pipe instead of metal. So build your own!

Check out the full details at my web album.
Google+ Web Photos Bike to Ski Trailer

We reluctantly had to say goodbye to our second exchange student Ichitaru. He went back to Japan mid December. We wish him luck with his voice acting career and hope to see a movie with his voice over! Ichi made an impression on our kid who would constantly yell his name, "ICHI!" and he would reply, "Nani" which means 'what' in Japanese. This was the most hilarious thing for about the 100th time and sort of wore off with everyone except our kid.
Click photo to view the web album via Smugmug
We have gone into a new social world this month when trying to get inspiration for wedding stuff. Of course I've turned our Pinterest account into a project idea account for stuff not pertaining to our wedding. Check out how clearly I want my egress window built if you so desire. We love pinterest though. I feel like this tool is very handy when talking to contractors or engineers so they know what I'm interested in. I otherwise do the drawings myself but use pinterest to build a catalog of my inspiration.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A few trips to share...

Click picture to see the gallery. Rocky Butte Portland, OR
Monique and I take on a small adventure to Rocky Butte just a few miles from our house. Mirabella partakes and gets to feel her first moss.

Fire, light drawings, and awesome sandwiches filled our weekend out to Nahalem Bay Oregon. Sophie, Monique, Tracy, Mirabella and myself hike out to camp for a couple nights.