Jon and I, along with Dan, spoke to the SDARL group Wednesday morning. We talked about Daktronics and our move and lives in China. It was really nice to see 37 people from our home state! My dad was part of the class before them, and mom and dad have hosted the whole group before, so everyone knew me as John’s daughter. Being South Dakotans, we all had some type of tie to each other. My dad fed cattle for Erik, Anita lived in Belle Fouche and happened to be someone Jon’s dad had thought about calling to AI cattle, one man’s mom lived a few miles from my house, etc. etc. It’s a small world, even from South Dakota to Shanghai.

Rachel and Lura were good friends of ours since high school. We were all in FFA together. It was pretty amazing to see them in Shanghai! Luckily, they had their only free night that night! We took them to supper at Simply Thai and then had a drink at their hotel bar. We also showed them our apartment.

Rachel said she’d wished that she had brought some jeans – they didn’t have very many chances to wear them so she didn’t bring any. I happened to have a couple pairs that are now too big for me, and they happened to fit her perfectly. She has my favorite pink corduroy pants too – I am so happy they went to a good home! Lura got a few shirts too. We had a good trade though. Earlier we had discussed how I bring back Western “feminine products” from the US since stores only have maxi pads, so they left me some western products. :-)

Rachel, me and Lura on our balcony. They agreed that the view was great!

Lura works for the Tri-State Neighbor and was keeping a blog about the whole trip. Jon and I were mentioned several times and have photos of us (and our kitchen) in it. We really hope they can come back and visit personally!

Thursday, I escorted two of the group members to a clinic here. One of them had been sick for several days, vomiting and with diarrhea. The doctor got her hydrated again with six bags of a saline IV. They were worried about her kidneys and blood pressure but luckily she improved enough to fly to Hong Kong with the rest of the group the next day. She was a trooper – she had me take photos of her with the IV and with her nice nurse Amy!

Office set up

Yesterday Jon and I went to Best Buy to finally get a monitor for our home computer. The screen on our Vaio doesn’t go to a large enough resolution for me to easily use Photoshop, so I’d been using my work computer a lot. We got a 22-inch widescreen ViewSonic monitor, which is just perfect. So our office is finally getting used! We also got a free Best Buy China mug (is there any way to tell if it’s been painted with lead paint?)

South Dakota

Jon and I left for the the US January 11th. We visited a few friends in Sioux Falls Friday night, stayed with my parents a couple days (mom took the above photo), went to Dak in Brookings for a day, and then went to Nisland to visit Jon’s family. Monday his grandmother was put in the hospital and got out a week later. We decided to extend our stay four days more. Then, our boss asked us to come back to Brookings for a few meetings so we are staying even longer. I’ll post some more photos when I have time.

postal service

Our friend Inge (from Rotterdam, the Netherlands) sent us a nice box with Christmas goodies. It is pretty funny that it was clearly marked FRAGILE everywhere, but arrived smashed. Luckily it was only cookies that were slightly crumbled!

Inge is coming to visit for 2 weeks in July and already has her tickets booked!


A month or two after we moved here, we finally got around to buying something for our walls.

About 2 weeks ago, we got around to getting them framed.

Now, we finally have them up!

It is really nice to have something on the bare white walls.

Sunrise over Shanghai

Since returning from the US, I’ve been pretty jetlagged. I went to bed early last night, but woke up at 5 AM this morning. It was a good opportunity to see the sunrise and take some photos though.

Boots enjoyed the sunrise too!

Back in the USA

Jon and I were back in South Dakota for about a week. We managed to squeeze in a wedding (not ours!) and seeing both of our parents. Dad grilled juicy T-bone steaks for us – yummy!

It is starting to get cold there. What a change from Shanghai! I took quite a few photos of our family and farms specifically for our friends here in China. I made a separate page for them, as it would take a long time to upload here.

We found 13 Geocaches around Nisland and Belle Fourche too. That was really fun! A lot of them were micro caches that were very cleverly disguised. My best friends Chad and Kendra had their 3rd baby, a little girl named Emma Elizabeth, about a week ago. She was born four weeks early due to Kendra’s high blood pressure, but both mom and baby are doing great. It was a wonderful surprise for me! Emma has a full head of dark hair, just like her little brother Gavin did.


September 11th

A show called “The Flight That Fought Back” was on tonight on the Discovery Channel, about Flight 93, the fourth hijacked plane on September 11th. It’s been six years. SIX YEARS. That hardly seems possible. When I think about it, all of the emotions and memories of that time come back very quickly.

At that time, everyone said we’d remember exactly what we were doing when we heard, like our parents recalled the moment they heard JFK was shot. It’s true. I was driving down 6th Street, in my red ’88 Oldsmobile, going to my first class that day which was Mass Media Law. It really sunk in what was happening when I was turning left on to Medary Avenue. In class, our professor talked about how that day would affect the media. My next class was Spanish, and the advanced class before us had been watching the news in Spanish. That teacher turned it to English for us and we watched the screen in silence, shocked. Our teacher came in and said it was sad but class had to go on. I wanted to walk out then and I still wish I would have.

The next few days were spent glued to CNN, trying to make sense of what happened. Friends skipped work, class, and going out to watch the replay of the second plane smashing into the tower over and over. Cars lined up for hours to fill their tanks with a gas; people were afraid there’d be a shortage. It was impossible to buy a flag anywhere. The newspaper printed flags and I believe there are probably still some of those up in Brookings yet today. On Sept 12th, Megan and I drove to every convenience and grocery store trying to find a national newspaper. We were finally successful at one of the hotels across the interstate. I still have it.

Exactly three months later, I flew back from a weekend in Florida with Jon. I wondered why my flight was so empty, but Jon didn’t tell me that it was because it was December 11th until I arrived home again.

We’re flying home on September 12th for Brad and Niki’s wedding. Now, I’m kind of glad that it’s not on Sept 11th. It’s not something I’d really care to think about for hours over the ocean. I wonder if plane ticket sales still decrease on that date now. I bet they do.

Stalking her prey

We finally saw a pigeon! It landed on our balcony and sat there for well over an hour. It had a band on it’s leg. Boots was freaking out. She really really really wanted out to go after it, but we were afraid in her excitement she might go over the railing! So she had to just watch it from behind the glass.

new photo

Harriet Swedlund, the former international program head at SDSU, asked if she could write a story about Jon and I for a Global Studies brochure. We needed a recent photo so we tried this. We don’t really think it says “China” though.

Maybe we will become the poster children of SDSU’s “You Can Go Anywhere From Here” campaign. :-)

More balcony photos….

I am going to have millions of photos from our balcony. The view changes so much when the weather changes though!

This week the sky has been blue! We’re not sure what happened, but we’re glad. Taken August 17th.

During a storm – August 11th.

Storms in Shanghai

We’ve had some storms that have scared the crap out of me (just the lightning, actually.) It cracks so loud sometimes – we’re sure it hits things all of the time. Yvonne and I were going downstairs at work when a huge bolt hit. It sounded like it was on the building next to us and I swear I saw a yellow flash come in the window. We both actually screamed because it scared us so much!! I normally don’t mind storms at all, but for some reason it is really different in a big city.

Sometime maybe I’ll get some cool lightning photos. It rolls in so quickly and then the skies just open and buckets of rain pour down. Every time it happens, I think of how thankful our parents would be if they got rain like that right now. I wish I could send it to you!


Sunday was a clear day. Pollution is less on the weekend due to less commuters! The pool at the apartment is surrounded by an outside pool (non-swimming!!) with fountations in it. The fountains don’t run very often, so I had to take a photo when they actually were. Streams of water also shoot up behind these bubblers.

Night shots

Here are a couple of shots I took using a long exposure and my new tripod.

Peering down below

These were taken from our balcony today using my 300mm lens. These are the bits of old Shanghai between the new skyscrapers. Soon there won’t be any old stuff left, at the rate construction is going now.

The houses straight below us – I actually put my camera over the balcony and leaned over to take this!

Balcony Views

We overlook a girls’ school – the only one in Shangahi and probably in China. (according to Gina, an engineer here who attended this school.) They do excercises every morning.

Closer view of the most interesting buildings we overlook.

Balcony View

Taken from our apartment on an unusally clear day. Usually the pollution hangs in a gray cloud over everything.


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