The local men…

Cupping, a local therapy to relieve your body of illness.

Cupping, a local therapy to relieve your body of illness.

Sunday lunch...surrounded by a local market.

Sunday lunch…surrounded by a local market.

mother's day 822mother's day 815mother's day 814mother's day 812mother's day 795
So handsome!

So handsome!

mother's day 791mother's day 790mother's day 783
This guy is actually on my phone trying to give directions to drop off a friend to join our group! So helpful!

This guy is actually on my phone trying to give directions to drop off a friend to join our group! So helpful!

mother's day 780mother's day 779mother's day 777mother's day 757mother's day 754mother's day 750mother's day 749mother's day 737mother's day 739


The local lives…

The following pictures were all taken on one street!
mother's day 719mother's day 721mother's day 720mother's day 730mother's day 728href=””>mother's day 715

Flower Market..

Flower Market..

mother's day 694mother's day 695
Bang Bang man taking a break.

Bang Bang man taking a break.

Local street dentist.

Local street dentist.



mother's day 706
local delights!

local delights!

Fruit vendor.

Fruit vendor.

mother's day 708mother's day 712mother's day 713mother's day 714mother's day 715mother's day 716mother's day 717

Ao da li ya 澳大利亚 Cont…

australia 125australia 131australia 137australia 141australia 149australia 153australia 173australia 154australia 145australia 164australia 179australia 208australia 242australia 245australia 248australia 251australia 252australia and more 371australia and more 372australia and more 383australia and more 394australia and more 406

Ao da li ya 澳大利亚 Ah….Australia! Our Chinese New Year get away!

australia 103australia 089australia 085australia 081australia 005australia 061australia 038

The nightly passing of thousands of "flying foxes" fruit bats!

The nightly passing of thousands of “flying foxes” fruit bats!

australia 029australia 016australia 009


Ella’s first modeling shoot..OIC!

Late Saturday night I got a text asking if Ella was available on Sunday from 1-8pm to do a paid modeling shoot for a local company for their new advertising promotion. I trusted the person who contacted me and talked it over with Chip. We decided, why not, another China experience! Well by early the next morning we had more details, a car would be sent for us at 1:00 and she was to bring several changes of clothes from school uniform to a party dress. She was going to be in the shoot with another little boy we know and they were going to be the children of the other models. When we arrived at the development we were brought to the club house and said the wait would be a little over an hour. In this time, Ella, Will and the other little boy waited. Welcome to a model’s life! When it was our turn we were picked up in Rolls Royce looking extended golf cart and driven to the model home where the pictures were to be taken. The new development is near completion of their next round of high end homes, all with five stories, an elevator, gourmet kitchens, a pool, jacuzzi and three hot springs and I’m sure the right asking price! Needless to say the place was gorgeous! We were brought down to the bottom floor where the doors led out to the patio and pool area. This was right beside the wall of wines and game room! Ella was brought to hair and makeup and we got our first glimps at a full blown photography set. There were four other models from a modeling agency in Chengdu and then loads of photographers and organizers.
20130409-151151.jpg We learned that the first shoot would be at another home so we were off again to that location. Of course there was lots of waiting and watching. The first shoot involved Ella and our friends son getting in and out of a BMW going to and from school. Of course the chauffeur was opening the door for the kids (in what world??? 😉
20130409-151501.jpg They did the same shoot at least 30 times! Ella took her work very seriously and when she complained she was bored in the downtime, I just reminded her she was being paid for being bored! Of course her mother and brother were not getting paid for being bored, but I reminded Will that Ella had waited through many baseball and soccer games! It was also very interesting to watch the whole thing take place! After the first shoot we went to dinner. All of the models and crew got a lunch box style meal at the house, but we were taken to dinner. We found out that if you are a western child modeling in this country you have a fully booked schedule and it is near impossible to book children. So by default and someone thinking Ella was cute, she got the job!  After dinner were were headed to the fake cocktail party shoot. One of the other models was a guy from Washington state. He was funny and made it more fun for the kids. He graduated from college and signed up for a three month modeling contract in China. He has traveled to Shanghai, Hong Kong and other cities getting paid to model. He will go home next month hang out with his family for a couple months and come back and do it again! He’s young and never thought he would be traveling the world doing this so he is going to keep it going for a while. Not a bad gig if you ask me! The other models had various levels of English and were oddly, far less extroverted. The female model was from the Ukraine and I didn’t catch where the other two were from. Ella put on her party dress and she was set in the background of the party. I guess they wanted to show that the parents who live here can have great parties and the kids could party too!
20130409-152505.jpg Ella only ended up in the two shoots because of how involved and how long the whole process took. We are hoping to see some of the finished print material, but who knows! They did take our number and ask if Ella was available to model children’s clothing. We’ll see if that happens, but for now we are chalking this day up to another OIC experience!!! Here are some picture of the new homes for sale if you are interested!
20130409-152849.jpgThe hot springs.


I realize that I have a lot of catching up to do with my blog writing so I will start with December. The month was incredibly busy, starting with the International Woman’s Group Chongqing Charity Ball. The group raises money to support very poor local schools. This event happens every year and I currently have friends on the IWGC Board and they spent endless hours putting the event together. Everyone you talked to before December 8th was getting dresses made, shoes bought, nails done! Even Chip and several other husbands had tuxes made. The man who made the tuxes made a lot of house calls in December, and oddly he was late to most appointments and had a different excuse every time. I had gone out shopping early to get find a dress with a couple of friends. We were all lucky and found our dress on the first outing in early November. I had mine made and was told it wouldn’t be ready until two weeks before the ball. There were a lot of women who had problems with their dresses, so I was quite pleased that the only thing wrong with mine was the length. I did try to buy new shoes, but size nine shoes are hard to find in this country so I went with black heals I brought from home! The theme of the ball was “Hollywood” with a full blown red carpet and paparazzi as you were walking into the event! There were auctions, entertainment, dancing, a fashion show and more! We had a great time! It is not often that you go to a black tie affair dressed to the nines and chat all night with great people! We sat with friends from Australia, two couples from America, a friend from Hong Kong and a Chinese business man I did not know or get a chance to talk to. At events like this there is always press from the local news and newspapers. A few weeks later my girlfriend showed up with a local fashion magazine where the ball got a two page spread.


20130126-231239.jpg I guess my two second modeling career is over! The article talks about the how “the Western women put on this big event, they said the event was very Hollywood and that everyone was very glamorous. The article continues to also tell about the charity work that the Western women do and at the end it suggests that the local women should follow the example set by the IWGC! Other friends were in newspapers, other magazines and on the news!

The International women’s groups are in all foreign cities with Expat populations. If you are contemplating an international move make sure to Google them. The Chongqing group supports several local poor schools. The main focus is to provide milk to the schools and the IWGC has a contract with a milk company that delivers milk each week. Some of the schools are so remote the milk company can only deliver the milk to a drop location and the school has to arrange to pick it up. Money is collected and raised in several ways throughout the year, but the largest sum results from the ball.

After expenses were paid the ball raised almost 50,000 dollars. That is 277,000 RMB!
This event was December 8th and in the 23 days left of December we still had Ella’s birthday party, a huge Christmas play at school that both of our kids were involved in, Christmas shopping, our first visitors arriving from the US, a Christmas Eve party at our house, Christmas Day, another trip to Chengdu, a trip to Beijing and the Great Wall!


What I miss (or will miss) East vs. West….

I was recently asked what I missed the most. I thought that might be a good thing to blog about, so THANKS Lois!

10. I miss driving. I miss getting into the car and driving myself to and from anywhere I want to go on my own schedule.

9. I miss my house, the physical surroundings, the street, the patio and the dryer!

8. I miss the stores like Target, CVS, TJ Maxx andHallmark (or these kind of stores). I could always quickly run to one of these stores and grab something I needed for the right price and quality!

7.  I miss the Internet. I miss being able to quickly check something on my phone, laptop or iPad. I will never complain about Internet speed again!

6.  The FDA and being able to read food labels.

5.  Our schools.

4. I miss the grocery stores. I miss the bunny free, meat hanging free, pig head free, turtle free grocery stores!

3. Our pets!


1. And what I miss the most…friends and family. I miss picking up the phone and calling them in the same time zone and the ease of getting together or just dropping in.

Something from home I do not miss is TV. We have two beautiful flat screen TVs in this house, but we don’t have cable and they are never turned on. We of course download a few shows from home on our iPad and we may watch a movie on the weekend, but that is a few hours a week at most.

Interesting, as I thought about what I miss at home I started to think about what I will miss from here! The lists have interesting similarities.

10. The fresh dumpling wrappers that I can get anytime I want to make homemade dumplings. I need to find some Asian grocery stores near home!

9. I will miss meeting people from all over the world and learning about their cultures and lives.

8. Being successful using a new language.

7.  The extra travel/ vacations we have been able to take.

6. Walking everywhere. Especially to the bakery across the street to buy fresh bread!

5. The school, although there are some things about the schools at home that I miss, there will be very cool things about the kid’s school here that they won’t get exposure to anymore.

4. The food. We love the local Sichuan spicy food!

3. The Ayi. Let’s face it, I am the maid at home and having a break from laundry and the floors has been great!

2. My husband having breakfast with us every morning and his shorter commute.

1. I will miss the people. Our new friends are wonderful; we are so lucky to have a group of fantastic people in Chongqing.

So it confirms that in life it all comes down to the people, not “things.” I am always happy spending time with good friends and now we just have a longer list of them!

Previous Older Entries