March Update – Exciting News!!

Hi everyone!

Firstly, I want to thank all of you who replied to my last update with words of support. Wow. You rendered me (nearly) speechless – quite the acheivement! It was a difficult decision and although I was already convinced I had made the right choice, your encouragement means SO much. It’s easy for me to feel isolated at times; your messages remind me that I am not! What has meant the most is the reactions of my kids (both in China and everywhere else) to the news that I am not leaving. They really are the reason for my choice to stay, and their responses remind me just why that’s the case!

Tanya

Exciting News!

Work is underway on my debut album “Sweet Uncertainty” which will be available in June!

I’m really excited about this project! I’m working on 11 songs (all ones I’ve written) and I’m really pleased with how things are sounding so far. The project is a fundraising initiative; selling this album will help give me the financial freedom to live here and work with youth long term. On that note, the BEST thing about the album is that ALL the contributors are TCKs and youth leaders I’ve worked with here in Beijing. It’s hard work but very enjoyable and a great opportunity to work with some of the extremely talented young musicians I know here. I’ll send more information when the album is closer to release….

Birthday Fun

A month ago my good friend Lydia turned 24 and gathered a bunch of awesome people at Lush for open mic – we played/sung a little together and just generally had a fantastic time. A few weeks later Kara gathered a similarly fun group for her birthday so all in all I’ve had some wonderful fun this past month! The pics are all from Lydia’s party cos it’s the only time I pulled my camera out :P

Crazy Weather

After writing about our crazy snow-filled winter, it snowed yet again. FOUR TIMES! I’ve finally seen enough snow now that looking out on a snowscape doesn’t produce a surge of irrational happiness. It’s a little sad, really, like an end-of-childhood moment… That said, I still love snow and think it’s pretty, even if not always convenient. Less than a week after the last snowfall we had a few bad sandstorms – Spring has sprung! It’s actually the coldest time of year indoors – because the central heating is off. I almost need a fourth quilt for my bed! The warmest room of my house is 15 degrees (59 F) when I get home from work. I’ve attached a photo with scenes from the latest snowfall and also a random scene from the highway into Beijing a few weeks ago…

Tree Felling

Recently the street outside my office has been a hive of tree-related activity. First all the trees lining the road were meticulously pruned (pretty standard) and then a process of digging up trees began. Every second tree along both sides of the road have been dug up and taken away. First a bunch of guys digs a hole around the tree, then another team throws a rope around it and pulls it down, then a small crane comes along and puts it on the back of a truck with a bunch of other trees. Now there are big piles of dirt where the trees used to be. I’ve attached some photos for visual reference…

PhotoBox tutorial

Finally, I’ve had so many inquiries regarding my “photo boxes” that I’m just going to tell EVERYONE! I use a software called “PhotoScape” which is available for free download. You can do all sorts of things with it, but the photoboxes are created with the “page” function.

  1. Download the free PhotoScape software here: http://download.cnet.com/PhotoScape/3000-2192_4-10703122.html
  2. Choose the “page” function
  3. Select a format from the menu on the bottom right (scroll down, there a tonnes to choose from!)
  4. Use the menu on the left to find photos you want to use
  5. Drag photos from the left into the spaces of the square-design you chose (you can delete and choose new ones any time you like)
  6. Adjust margin thickness and color (right hand menu)
  7. Choose final image size (the little icon that looks like an acorn)
  8. Save!

Lately I’ve been listening to:

  • Future of Forestry – “Twilight”
  • Oren Lavie – “The Opposite Side of the Sea”
  • Massive Attack – “Mezzanine”
  • Leona Lewis – “Spirit”
  • Lifehouse – “Smoke & Mirrors”
  • Switchfoot – “Hello Hurricane”
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