I think fall may be my favorite season in Shanghai. While spring will always be my all-time favorite, with flowers blooming and the end of winter, here it seems to take forever to really warm up in the spring, and it's laden with rain and pollution making it hard to really enjoy the outdoors.
But fall? It's beautiful here. Fairly low AQI, more blue sky than other seasons, refreshing breezes a respite from the hot heat of summer, and the ability to spend the whole morning outside again if you want to. So far September has been gorgeous, and we're kind of sad we'll be gone for October, as we remember that being the best month last year. But, we're also excited for other reasons that we'll be gone!
God continues to give much time to get together with friends, so much that I almost don't have any mornings just at home these days! But, we're taking advantage of nice weather and the flexibility of going out with just one child to enjoy it. I noticed a few weeks ago that I haven't had any down, lonely days recently. After a winter where they were pretty common, as I saw almost no friends during the day, I know being blessed with community has contributed to more feeling of joy. God is so good.
Zoo Coffee is a place I hope to go back to. Hadassah smiles hugely whenever she brings it up in a memory, so it is a great indoor place for her to play. I'm thinking especially in the winter when being outside is harder, having a big room upstairs for her to even run a bit in (it was fairly empty and had wide aisles!) and play with fun animal toys is worth paying for a treat for us - and a good excuse to get one too, right? :) We already have friends to take the family of one of Ryan's co-workers to it on Saturday morning. They are always inviting us to go to interesting places with them, so it's fun to have a new place that we know about to show them for once!
Almost every day, Hadassah and I take an 8 minute or so walk to the front gate of our apartment complex and off to the side where Ryan's company has a bus stop. He takes their free bus home at 5 PM each day, and we enjoy walking back home as a family. It's an excuse for us to get outside, too, and usually there is a beautiful breeze at that time of day. If we can get out earlier (if I'm on top of things with pre-supper prep!), Hadassah and I go to this little walking/running path just off of the road. The surface material is absorbent, and Hadassah loves running down it while I walk at a brisk pace behind. Exercise for both of us!
I also am seeing leadership tendencies in Hadassah. She often led the way of where she wanted to go, and told the boy (who is actually a year OLDER than her!) where he should sit, etc. We'll have to make sure it doesn't turn in to too much bossy-ness, but I think it will contribute to her being a good big sister. :) As long as she learns to be flexible and full of grace when others don't follow her wishes. ;)