Congratulations Mr and Mrs Sleeth!

December 20, 2016 at 3:28 pm (Australia, China)

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Mum, my uncle and his partner Paula

Since my last post I have flown to Australia, been back to China and now I am back in Melbourne for the Christmas holidays.  It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The most expensive weekend of my life was also happily one of the best.  I feel extremely lucky that I was able to attend my brother Bob’s wedding.  Living overseas, does not make it easy to attend these events and I am eternally grateful to my school for allowing the visit to happen.  I flew out Friday morning just after 12am arriving in Melbourne around 2pm on the Friday.  Two full days, two dinners with my besties and a wedding later, I was back on the plane Monday morning.

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James, my youngest brother

I think I can truly say, that everybody at the wedding had a blast.  Bob and Sharne had thought of everything, right down to the personalised bottles of Sriracha and the ‘travellers’ for getting between the ceremony and the reception.  They looked so happy and the actual ceremony was personal and had both of their wonderful, infectious personalities written all over it.  My surprise reading inspired from Winnie the Pooh went well and it was lovely getting to catch up with so many of their friends and family.

Mrs Sleeth, thank you for making my brother so happy and for being a wonderful mother to my gorgeous niece Mya.  I am so excited you have joined our family and can’t wait to share many more amazing Sleeth family memories.

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Congratulations Mr and Mrs Sleeth!

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A visit from Santa at the school Christmas party

Back to China and report writing!  It was a busy time and I am not exactly sure how I managed to get through it.  Perhaps it was the knowledge of being home again so soon?  Perhaps it was coming back to a class that had obviously missed me while I was away?  Perhaps it was the Christmas cheer that many of you have worked with me will remember?  Christmas carols are fantastic report writing help and my various Christmas outfits were a big hit with students, parents and teachers alike.

I did pull myself together to go on the last Suzhou hash of the year.  The 10km route ended up being closer to 15km and I had very sore legs the next day.  The run around Jinji Lake was absolutely beautiful and I met some wonderful people.  Looks like I am hooked!  I’ve also got organised with some running events.  I have a 7km race the weekend I get back, Suzhou half marathon in March and Tough Mudder in May!

For the moment I am happy to be back in Melbourne.  I’m lucky to have such a beautiful city as my home town.

xoxo

P.s  More photos here and here?

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My First Visitor!

December 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm (China)

img_2968I was ultra excited to welcome my first guest here in China.  I think she has now managed to see more of Suzhou than I have though.  Verena and I became friends through an old housemate of mine in Stuttgart and she came to China specifically to see me.  🙂  She enjoyed cruising around on my e-bike and it was a lot of fun introducing her to my new city.

Long work days meant that we didn’t have much time do anything in the evenings (except watch movies and chat) but we did make the most of our weekend together.

img_2971On Saturday we visited my first water town Mudu.  The town was easily accessible from Suzhou and we managed to get there just using public transport.  We started by walking up Lingyin Mountain and admiring the Buddhist temple.  Afterwards we wandered down the main street and visited different gardens.  The town was very beautiful and the gardens quite peaceful… when you managed a quiet moment away from the tour groups.

The next day we visited Nanjing.  This involved my first ever train ride here in China.  We got there alright but had some troubles on the way back.  We managed to miss out stop in Suzhou and ended up in Shanghai!  In our defense, there were no English announcements and signs.  Furthermore the announcements had been mixed up and they announced Wuxi, the station before Suzhou, when we were at Suzhou.  Quite funny really.

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img_2999In Nanjing we decided to concentrate our time visiting Mïng Xiào Líng which is the burial place for the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty.  The mausoleum structure became the burial trend for all of the emperors of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  It was huge!  We particularly liked ‘The Sacred Way’ which is a 1800 meter long road winding up to the tomb.  The Elephant Road, which is part of the Sacred Way, had twelve pairs of six different kinds of animals.  The statues were magnificent.

Afterwards we walked along Nanjing’s city wall.  This was one of the largest walls built in China and it is humongous.  The wall originally took 21 years to build and is over 600 years old.  On top it is wide enough for a horse and cart!

img_2931I decided to be  risk taker and went on my first ever hash run.  I’ve been meaning to try it out for a while and now finally in Suzhou I managed to go.  This is basically a running group with a drinking problem.  We went to the outskirts of Suzhou for the run and I absolutely loved it.  It was great to meet new people, get out and see a different part of the city and have both a run and beer while I’m doing it.  I’ve already signed up for the next Suzhou hash next week and am very much looking forward to it.

Two of my closest friends here in Suzhou are American so it was pretty clear that I would be involved with Thanksgiving celebrations again this year.  A group of us Newbies decided to go to the local pub who where doing a special dinner.  The food was lovely, but I’m still not sure about sweet potato and marshmallows though!  It was a really fun evening and I am glad that my friends could still celebrate with their Suzhou friends.  🙂

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img_3037I went exploring Suzhou with two of my work colleagues last weekend.  I saw the spice market, the commodities market and ate at their favourite restaurant.  We even managed to come across a small antique market which was lots of fun.  I really enjoyed having them show me around and even managed to pick up a wedding present.

 

I’m writing this as I wait for my transfer to take me to the airport.  I am so excited!

xoxo

P.s  More photos?

 

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