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December 2006


Christmas in Shanghai 2006

What a great year this has been for all of us (and for all of you too, we hope).

It started with Yanti and I and the kids in Bali. Me teaching English from home on the internet to students all over the world. Our kids were going to a good international school, learning how to use computers, and learning English. Yanti was busy trying to decide which university in Bali to go to and exactly what to study.

Then a bit of bad news. The school (which shall remain nameless for legal reasons) had many problems and several teachers (including me) were given 2 months notice :-( But, never being one to be satisfied with a lemon, I turned it into another opportunity. I started looking for work in Bali; then Indonesia; then Singapore; Japan; Korea; and finally, China. In China, I contacted the CEO of Wall Street where I had happily worked until our return to Bali in June 2005. He was very happy to hear from me and forwarded my email on to the HR folks there. I was hired back at a nice increase and so, I headed to Shanghai, once again, in late June 2006.

I found a cute apartment and started working for Wall Street Institute again. Since I had left only one year earlier, Wall Street had opened 3 more Shanghai centers and 5 more in China! Since Yanti and kids wouldn't be joining me for a few months And I had no internet access at the apartment, I spent many hours at the school. As a result of my efforts, I was made "Star of the Month" in September!! I think this is the very first honor like this I have ever received from my work :-)  As it turns out this was the first of TWO awards I was to receive in 2006.  At the Wall Street 'Corporate' Christmas party, I was named "Best Teacher"!  I could not have been more surprised :-)  At that same party several of us participated in a very funny skit and we won 1st prize for that!!!!!  Then for our center Christmas party, yours truly played Santa and had a great time!!

We shopped for Christmas gifts and decorations here in Shanghai.  It's kinda funny.  Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to remember that you're in the largest communist city in the world (20Mil).  The many shopping malls all look like ones in the states with all their Christmas decorations.  The kids had a really big load of gifts.  They're 'into' Barbie this year.  They wrote letters to Santa (and received replies).  They awoke at 7AM on Christmas morning and were so excited to wake us up with the news that Santa had been there.

For Christmas Dinner we really did it this year!  I searched for all-you-can-eat Christmas dinner place and they were all pretty expensive.  But, I did discover Bubba's!  A Texan BBQ place that smokes their meat and for Christmas were smoking a bunch of turkeys!   So we ordered one.  I took a taxi there and picked it up - 18LBS!  With gravy!  All for about $65!  We made our own mashed potatoes; peas; and found some good canned cranberry sauce.  Just add some fresh rolls and butter and you've got yourself a delicious Traditional American Christmas Dinner!

Yanti and the kids came in late September, just in time for my birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary! The kids have sure learned a lot. Learning some Chinese; flying on a plane for the first time; being out of Indonesia for the first time; being in a HUGE city (20Million); and seeing a strange culture. They have really taken to the adventure. They can say "hi" in Chinese and use chopsticks like pros. They have seen the trees lose their leaves (this never happens in Bali); have experienced real cold (they love seeing the 'smoke' come out of their mouths on a cold day; and much more.

But, as I have been saying since leaving San Francisco in 2001 - "nature keeps opening doors and I keep stepping thru"! Two months ago, a new teacher joined us from Thailand. In the course of our conversations I mentioned I was from Indonesia and he mentioned that the company that owned the Thailand franchise of Wall Street was opening a center in Jakarta (about a 2 hour plane ride from Bali). He gave me the name of the CEO, etc., and I began a correspondence that has led to a job offer. So, it looks like Yanti and the kids are back to Bali (mid-January): and I'll be returning in early Feb and then after some light household packing, I'll be off to Jakarta and start teaching at Wall Street there.

Yanti and the kids will stay in Bali - she's starting her college courses and the kids will continue at the same school as before. We have a great house there that is pretty cheap. I'll come back to Bali once a month or so; and they'll visit me when they can!

I hope this new job will lead quickly to a Service Manager position at the next school they open in Jakarta and then in a year or so, I'll open the first Bali Wall Street - so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Stay tuned for more news.......



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