10 on 10: February 2017

This last month been full. We have grown more comfortable in our new home of Shanghai and are settling into some routines. On the other side, we are actively trying to see everything we can, so we can fully experience this fantastic and quite different location.

Pollution is something new we're learning to deal with. It hasn't been as horrible as I thought it would be, but there have been several days where we've woken up to toxic levels of smog and a sun you can look right at all day and never have it burn your eyes.

Scarlett is settling in so well to her new school, but there have been some challenges. The bus has been a big one. They had her by herself, not allowed to color (because she could poke her eye out, apparently) or move seats. She also had to deal with some mean girls, but she continues to press forward with the most positive attitude of anyone I've ever met.

We took a weekend trip to Suzhou and 2 hours in Scarlett threw up EVERYWHERE! It is at that point that we learned AirBNBs in China do not provide towels, so we (mainly Nathan), did our best with what we had to clean the mess and take care of our little girl.

Fortunately, her bug was short lived and we went to the Leaning Pagoda of Suzhou the next morning. Pisa has got NOTHING on this beauty. The kids were constantly surrounded by people taking their pictures, or taking pictures with them, and Atticus even fell face first off a bench trying to get out of a photo.

My new favorite spot in town. The Bird, Insect and Flower Market. There were so many insects being sold as pets it was insane! Cricket fighting is popular here, so there were a ton of old men carefully inspecting their crickets, seeing which ones would be the best warriors.

I feel like I go about my days, comfortable in what I'm doing, and then bam! We run into something completely unexpected, like this pigeons and Chickens waiting to be Chinese New Year Dinner. They were just on the side of an alley outside a park, tucked between trash cans.

This is the spot where Scarlett found real treasure. While walking through the park she found a sign written on a rock. I was sure it said "No Swimming. No Fishing" in beautiful Chinese Script. But Scarlett told me it said, "Congratulations. You've found the secret treasure". In case someone is listening in, when we talk about it now, we talk about how we found "the dirty laundry", so as to keep our secret a secret.

I've always been a little afraid of crowds. I don't like being in a crowded building, in Italy, when there were strikes and marches daily, I steered clear. My reason is that I know how little it takes for a spark to ignite and for panic, violence, whatever, to breakout in a crowd. I probably need to get over that fear because China is crowded. We went to the aquarium over Chinese New Years and we crushed into this tunnel with thousands of people. It was pretty tough for me to not think, "If even the slightest thing goes wrong, this is how we all die".

Everything looks so beautiful during CNY, with all the lanterns and lights. Even our building is decorated.

Once again, Scarlett had to say goodbye to a true soul sister. If there is one thing I could remove from all this, it's the having to say goodbye to incredible friends. That's not real life, though, so instead we are grateful for the time we have with those we love, and grateful for the heartache, because it shows how much love we have in our lives .

Now please continue the circle on to the wonderful Breanna Peterson. I love her and her work so much and cannot wait to see what she has in store.