#aphotoaday Sunset in Tianjin

Our city gets a bad wrap because it’s known for being polluted…and it’s true. We do have alot of pollution. But over the Christmas break, in the midst of some pretty low pollution days, I realized that our city is a nice place to live. It really has all we could want. Historical stuff, Western stuff, relatively low traffic congestion, and lots of places to hang out. And on some days, when the blue of the sky can be seen, we see it really is a beautiful place.


Getting to Know the Team

Coming in late to a working environment that is based entirely on the school calendar means we have a lot of making up to do. One of the ways that I’ve been trying to do this make-up work is by creating some flashcards to study.

Flashcards almost never let you down. They’ve worked well for me for learning Chinese. So, why not give them a try with people’s names and faces?


One of the harder things about the process was compiling all the names into a format that would be easy to print off and cut up. I actually tried before we came to TJ, but I had a really hard time with the meet the staff website page loading and the copying and pasting of the names and pictures.

But upon my arrival, I was given a printed directory of all the staff, which I promptly cut up into flash cards. With over 200 staff, that sure made my life easier!

But now comes the hard part…actually learning all the names!

Things We See in Tianjin

These past weeks we have experienced many firsts as a family here in our new city.

Since everything we’re seeing is rather new to us, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things that we see around us.

Our landlord is fond of floral print.


Our housing complex has some play areas between the buildings.


The bus ride to a grocery store – the girls.


The bus ride to a grocery store – the boys.


Yogurt sampling at a grocery store. They love their yogurt here!


Playing video games.


Movie night.


Getting on the school bus!


Eloise getting some attention at the school.


Micah getting ready for class!


“China Day” at the kids’ school.


Eloise getting some attention at “China Day”.


More silliness at “China Day”.


Eating “Longyan”


Eating at a local Korean Restaurant.


Eloise in a box.


Cute girls with their pollution masks.


It’s a bit staticky in Tianjin.


Our first team meeting.


Our first fellowship meeting.


Kids connecting on FaceTime with family.


Our first trip to China McDonalds!


Getting Adjusted…

…to the time

It’s been a full week since we’ve arrived in China and we’re getting adjusted nicely. Plus, we’ve got a great team of people here that welcomed us. When people arrive on the team they are each assigned a family to help them get acquainted to the apartment and local area. They also help us in getting adjusted to the local time by making sure we have dinner plans with them, another family, or by providing a meal. This has given us goals to stay up a bit later each night and get out of the house a little. Nonetheless, we have had a few nights where we have just crashed. And since everyone’s been waking up at about 4am, I’m sure our new neighbours below us are not happy about the fact that we have moved in.


…to the food

One of the first things we did with our host family was to get some food at a nearby restaurant. Jacquelyn and I just about died and went to heaven when we got to eat some “real” Chinese food. Spicy green beans, lamb on a stick, and some other things that I don’t really know how to translate brought us right back to when we used to live in China. The kids, on the other hand, don’t have such positive memories of the food here…or any, for that matter, so we have been introducing them (sometimes through tears) to the local fare.


…to the apartment

Our apartment is really great. It’s 4 bedrooms and has a large living area. On arrival, Anna quickly located her room and was pleasantly surprised by it. She even said, “I think I can used to living here.” The boys are sharing a room and a bed for the time being. We hope to locate some bunk beds soon. The master bedroom is a good size with a king size bed. Our kitchen, though not big, is really nice. The table isn’t really designed for a family of 6, but we’ve enjoyed figuring out how to best make use of the space. We’re still hoping to get a few items for the house.


…to school

Anna and Micah started school this week. Lucas will start on Thursday when his teacher gets back from a conference out of town. Anna has done really great with everything. She was so anxious to get started and join the class that she could hardly contain herself. On the first day her teacher said she could eat lunch with me if she wanted or she could join the class. She chose the class. Micah has never been in school, so this is completely brand new to him. He’s baffled by the Chinese language. At one point He said, “What are those sounds people are making?” But he’s going to do great with time. Right now we have him enrolled in the half day program.


…to work

Today I had my first meeting with the team I’ll be working with. It was great to hear about what’s going on in the immediate future and how I will get to be involved. Other than that, I’ve just been focused on learning peoples names getting my office set up.