Back in VPN Land

The joys of living with censorship. Yes, I’m now back in China and since we’ve been back we’ve been having a little argument with the government about whether we should be able to see whatever we want on the internet. I’m happy to say that we have won–for the moment at least.

When we got back to Shanghai we found that our vpn, which allows us to get to forbidden sites, had been shut down and things like gmail and google had been added to the list of sites being blocked, joining wordpress (my blog host), Facebook, the NyTimes. Ben fixed it for us, but it was shut down again immediately. So we decided to buy in to a different vpn entirely so we wouldn’t have to keep bothering Ben. It only shuts off occasionally, but it will restart immediately. As a bonus we can now get Hulu! No more buying tv shows off of iTumes!

While we were back in the State’s for Mark’s mom’s funeral:

Joan's wedding portrait with flowers from my family.

Joan’s wedding portrait with flowers from my family.

we also managed, with the help of all the King’s horses and all the King’s men (also known as Joan at Dimon and Bacorn, and Kelly), to get delivery of about a 1/3 of our stuff to Mark’s apartment in Denver.

Sunrise out the window on the 34th floor, looking towards the mountains and downtown (the tall buildings at the edge on the right).

Sunrise out the window on the 34th floor, looking towards the mountains and downtown (the tall buildings at the edge on the right).

We spent a day scurrying around unpacking and buying things like lights for the apartment, as we had only brought our one lamp. Our house had lights in the ceilings and on the walls (as does our apartment here), so we’d forgotten that most apartments are lightless!

We did take time out for breakfast and lunch at two restaurants next door to the apartment.

Baja Fresh--the one mexican restaurant we like, and Syrup, what turned out to be a fabulous breakfast place.

Baja Fresh–the one mexican restaurant we like, and Syrup, what turned out to be a fabulous breakfast place.

Coming back to the States right before Thanksgiving as we did was a great boon to our Thanksgiving dinner. No, I did not bring a turkey back in my suitcase! But I did bring pecans (hard to find, and crazy expensive), Stove Top Stuffing (because I was lazy and City Shop didn’t stock it this year), and fresh cranberries (only canned are available here).

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday night so that we could invite people who had to work on Thursday. Surprisingly, Thanksgiving is not an international holiday! As happened last year, I was faced with the problem of our tee tiny oven. We can get a small turkey in but no side dishes and once the turkey is out, only one pan fits in anyway. We were going to have 9 for dinner, so we were going to need more oven space!

Mark came up with the brilliant idea of asking to use the oven in the empty apartment across the hall. I was sure we’d be told no, but they agreed to let us use it (for a price of course.)

The Feast

The Feast

Our Chinese friends quite liked the turkey and carrot souffle but I don’t think they were too keen on the cranberries or pecan pie!

I’m a bit behind on showing you our mail envelopes, so here’s the last few–kind of out of date, but still beautiful:


And here’s the current flowers by the elevators. I imagine they will be replaced soon with a Christmas tree. 😦

Elevator Flowers

Elevator Flowers



About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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5 Responses to Back in VPN Land

  1. Jean says:

    I feel your pain on the lightless apartment. It took us days to figure out that the light switches on the walls operated the wall sockets in our first apartment here. We lived by the lights in the closets and the kitchen – the only room with an overhead!!!

  2. ruellene says:

    The picture of Mark’s mother is beautiful. I think Meredith, and especially Andy have a lot of her facial features. Is Denver where you will be settling down the road?

  3. Kaye and Nick says:

    You have an extraordinary life together. No matter where you land, what sadness you may have, or what momentary inconvenience you experience, you’re up and running. All good wishes!

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