One kale plant died (the one on the right), and I've been too busy/lazy to do anything with the dirt. The other kale plant is very close to dying. Most of its leaves are dead, but a few are still green, so I'm still watering it. Doubt we will ever get to eat any kale from it though.
I still have a tiny carnivorous plant left, but we haven't had any gnats since our friend put some stuff in the soil to kill the gnats. (We left him in charge of the plants while we were home this summer, and he said the DE was not cutting it, so he tried some pellet things he had used on his own plants in the past. Definitely worked to destroy our gnat population, but probably not very organic. The search for effective organic methods to destroy gnats continues...maybe we'll have better luck next season.)
So, for now, the success story of my garden is definitely the basil, which we've been able to enjoy in basil chicken and on pizza. And it's looking like it will last through the winter.
Matt has been busy with schoolwork, but so far, he's been able to earn As in all of his classes. He has been taking 2 classes at a time from Harvard's extension (online) program. He still has another year and a half left, but he has made it halfway through the program. There's light at the end of the tunnel!
I have been busy at work developing a new intensive English program for our middle school ESL students. It's been a lot of long days and nights, but rewarding to see it paying off through the students learning and growing more confident each day.
This Thanksgiving, we started off our celebration by eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal for lunch at work. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes...all the trimmings! It was catered by Hank's, a Western restaurant in Tianjin and tasted very authentic. Best part, we were able to leave work early because of the holiday!
So, Matt and I went downtown in the afternoon and met our friends from Chicago who were visiting Tianjin for a couple of days. It was fun catching up with them and seeing their smiley baby (still smiley even jet lagging...wow!)
We spotted a new YYs Thai restaurant (very famous in Tianjin) that had opened up right next door to where we met our friends for coffee, so we spontaneously decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner Thai-style. Delicious! We had yellow lamb curry and pumpkin custard for dessert (just to make it more Thanksgivingy).
Yesterday, to celebrate Black Friday, we went to Beijing and got extra pages added to our passports. Yeah! Best Black Friday ever! (Haha, not really, though it did save us money to add the pages now instead of waiting until next year, when the prices go up.)
It was our first time visiting the US embassy, and we were a little underwhelmed. I don't know why, but I had been picturing some beautiful white colonial-style building, but it was in an ugly brown industrial building. Inside, it was set up like a typical bank or government building. Lots of windows, sterile decor, and uncomfortable metal seats. What did stand out to us is how many Chinese people were in line for visa appointments. As we came to the entrance of the building, there were a bunch of Chinese sales people shouting at us to ask what time our appointment was and if we wanted to pay to get a better appointment time. We were like...um...no thanks, pretty sure that's not going to work. It made me glad Matt planned ahead and got us an official appointment. We were able to walk right in with no problems, no lines. The embassy was very efficient in getting our passport pages put in; we didn't have to wait long, which was good since they didn't let us take any tech devices inside the building. Also, the bathrooms were very American - smelled like fresh bleach, had toilet paper you could flush, and soap. Yay!
After we left the embassy, we stopped by Haidian district (the university district in Beijing) on our way home and had lunch with our friend, Matthew. We had even more lamb (lamb for Thanksgiving is way better than turkey, btw) and had a fun time talking with Matthew and seeing his university's campus.
We finally arrived home about 13 hours after we left that morning, ready for a good night's rest.
Today, we have just been relaxing and getting some work done. A nice ending to a long holiday weekend!
We hope everyone back home had a great Thanksgiving weekend! We are thankful for all of you!