Tuesday, July 22


Here are some Google products I use and that I would strongly recommend!

* Google Search: obviously

* Gmail: I have tested more than 40 different free web-based email services, and while I found that fastmail.fm was better than all the rest, Gmail far surpasses even the latter!

* Picasa: an excellent picture editor I used to keep the visual records of my life organized. User-friendly, posts albums to the internet, etc.

* Google Reader: my trick to keeping up with all my friends' weblos! I can read all their new entries just as I would read an email, plus I can take it offline!

* Google Earth: The best way to explore the Earth. The number of features recently added to Shanghai is great - go visit my current home!

* Google Talk: my favorite instant messaging service

* Google Documents: I've used this at work to coordinate student lists with the English teachers team. You can put text documents, spreadsheets, etc. online, and people you invite can edit it.

* Google Calendar: There a Chinese holidays calendar, my work calendar, my activities calendar, my theatre group's calendar, all of which can be turned on or off for ease of reference and quick browsing.

* Google Sketch-Up: a 3D modeling software I'm using to design the interior of the condo we recently bought. I've put up all the walls, doors, balcony, and have started to put in some furniture.

* Google Sets: works like a search engine - you put in a few words and it creates a longer list. I used once, for instance, when trying to buy healthy, good quality shoes. I knew the names of a few good brands, plugged them in, and Google Sets expanded the list so I could look up others on the web. I used it once for teaching English. My theme was the ranch, so I put some ranch-related words, and it gave me a bunch more!

* Hello: only used it a couple of times, but really fun - you can use it to have a dialog exchange of photos with a friend.

Yay! Google updater is cool too, and I used Google Desktop for a while, but it slowed down my computer too much. When we get a new one in a couple years I might use it again.

Tuesday, July 15

My Family & Friends

I'm so moved right now because of the immense loved I have received from my family and friends in Korla. Here, by marrying Lillian, I have been included in a circle of love and unity that I could never have imagined. I was expressing that to my parents-in-law today, and through my perspective, they gained new insight into the beauty of their friendships here.

My mother-in-law July, has three younger sisters.
* One of them who comes over every day is always bringing things for us, like a humidifying/cooling unit, her juicer, almonds, etc.
* Another treated us to the best lamb kabob! (some of you may not yet know that I've been less strict about my vegetarianism: I eat fish and sometimes lamb, mostly because it's a local specialty, and criminal to pass up on, not to mention it's free-roaming!)
* The other aunt who lives here (the second eldest lives in Shanghai) opened her home and her fridge to us anytime we want to use the internet (I've mostly been coming to this internet cafe with a privet room for 3RMB/min)
* Our cousin on my father-in-law's side offered to pick up my folks from the airport as soon as he learned of their coming (most of the family has no car)
* The midwife and caretaker for our baby, and head of the maternity dpt at the hospital is a friend of the family, and is following Lillian's progress closely (we're not really supposed to know if the baby's a boy or a girl, actually...)
* Her husband is teaching me the basics of Chinese medicine - I'm visiting him for a few hours at his doctor's office three times a week
* Another common friend just offered to give me a wooden human bust with holes at the acupoints for me to practice acupuncture's!
* The head of the boxing company my parents-in-law work with (they kind of freelance as Xinjiang fruit distributors around China) took us out to lunch

and we've only been here for two weeks!

Our baby is a girl! 我们的宝贝是一个女的!

We just found out today, so I thought I'd let you know!
我们今天才知道, 就想告诉你们!

I didn't realize how much find out would bring me joy!

We're focusing on Lillian and the growing life within.

Sunday, July 6


It's been great getting opportunities for leadership:

- Coordinator for the primary school English teacher team
- At the forefront of theatrical activities for the German and French Schools of Shanghai and their collaboration
- Meeting with the Director of the French school to further the progress of the school, its internal workings and relationships with partner schools
- And I might be offering a teacher training at a local school here in Korla this summer!

Below are some pictures from a theatre workshop I lead during the Rencontres Theatrales d'Asie:

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Friday, July 4


Starting our seventh month of pregnancy. Everything is all about the baby - for now, and forever!

We've been in Korla, Xinjiang for a few days,

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and I'll be here until the end of August. Lillian will stay until the delivery some time around the end of September, at which point I will be back here to be with the family again. In the meantime, I will have started my second year teaching English at the French School of Shanghai, which has been absolutely fabulous so far. My mom will also start teaching there this Fall, so my parents will both move in with me/us.

My spiritual brother Robbie's getting married in September.

so I'm really excited about that too.