Tag Archives: quarter updates

The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth quarter review

22 Oct

I am trying to play catch up with my blog after such a long hiatus, so the content posted in the last nine months was not up to previous standards.  That said – I was reminded by my friend Carissa at Everyday Adventures in Asia that it is not a competition and I should continue to blog for the pleasure of it.

The eleventh quarter (like the last 12 months) was one of lots of travel – I had just finished six months at my new job and was definitely in the swing of things.  Unfortunately, that meant that the time I had to blog was reduced quite dramatically – meaning that I had to cut my post schedule, but I did manage to continue, which is more than I could say for June, July and August!

Even with the reduction in posts there were some fun elements and wanted to take the time to relive a couple of my favorites.  Do you remember either of these?

  • I posted on part of our trip to Greece and taking wedding photos in front of a certain church in “Do you speak English? (A Santorini photo shoot).”  Every time I walk into my apartment I am reminded of that wonderful trip because our “money shot” has been blown up and framed on the wall above our couch.  Believe it or not, I have even more photos from Greece that never made it onto the blog – but at least I was able to give you a sense of the wonder of that honeymoon.  I would go back again in a minute!
The church and the two of us - a perfect pairing - the money shot

The church and the two of us – a perfect pairing – the money shot

  • Replacing things in the new year (part 2) – My saga regarding the main air conditioner in our apartment where I narrowly missed an electrical fire thanks to the circuit breaker flipping.
    Would you use this plug?

    Would you use this plug?

    We have continued to have to replace things in this apartment, but did decide to stay another year when our lease came up in September.  The price is right, the location good and the landlord very responsive.  That said – I will predict now that this is our last year in this place (but I’ve been known to be wrong before.)  The most recent change was we got a new refrigerator at the end of August which we used as part of our negotiations.  It is larger than our old one and does not frost over every other week, so both of us consider it a good trade-up.

The eleventh quarter also contained Chinese New Year – introducing the Year of the Horse and after the official holiday we did slip off for a lovely vacation, so I’ll see if I have the energy to post on that one.  Any guesses where we went?

The twelfth quarter I also managed to get a handful of posts together – though this is when my work travel really started to pick up.  I’ll be posting retroactively on some of my trips (like the Hong Kong post earlier this month) to give you a sense of where I was and what happened – so more to come, but I did want to call out this post on living in Shanghai that I posted in May:

  • Door to door service – talked about the convenience of a big city – the good and the bad.  I’ve had even more things delivered since this post – not having to carry them and getting lower prices is a strong incentive, but luckily I have not had any more visits from the police recently.

I also thought I would leave a teaser – not all my travel in the twelfth quarter was for work.  Li and I managed to slip in a trip to Bali at the end of April that was absolutely phenomenal.  Here are a couple of photos.

A temple - and beautiful blue sky

A temple – and beautiful blue sky

Exotic Indonesian fare

Exotic Indonesian fare

Finally – the thirteenth quarter when I started posting again.

My most popular post was on Taxi Roulette – trying to figure out the best way to get a taxi and get around this city.  I have downloaded a new taxi app recently and am trying it out as well.  We’ll see how the taxi situation continues to evolve here in Shanghai.  Also – as per one of the comments – I have finally seen the new gold taxis on the streets.  They look like London Black Cabs, but they are gold – and since I was in London in June, I have a pretty recent comparison.  I haven’t ridden in one yet and don’t know if they are more expensive or have any special features, so more to come.

There are a couple of posts that continue to rack up the page views – even when I wasn’t posting which I find very interesting and thought I would call them up here as well.

1) Buying a jade bangle – which I did in Hong Kong two years ago AND

2) The pineapple cake wars – my descriptions of the two main competing pineapple cakes in Taipei in the summer of 2013.

I am guessing that somehow these two posts have gotten picked up by one or more search engines and they provide a steady stream of visitors to my blog.  It was definitely strange when I came back to see that traffic had not dropped all that significantly – which could be a good thing or a bad thing!  Folks don’t tend to leave comments on those posts now though – so I really appreciate those of you who stayed with me during the hiatus and your support as I share about my jumbled life.

Now I am (kind of) up to date, so hope to be back here soon with more stories in Shanghai and looking back over the last year.

Did I miss any posts you would have put at the top of your list?


The tenth quarter review

25 Jan

Wow – ten quarters later I am still keeping it up.  This review is slightly delayed, but I wanted to take the time to call out some of my favorites from the last three months.

I was able to share many posts from our trip to Greece – and the post that got the most views was looking out at the Horizons of Chania, Crete.  Even though not as popular as Santorini, Crete really made a strong impression on me and I would go back there in an instant.

Sunset in Chania

I started my new job and made a couple of trips to Beijing which I enjoyed.  Sometimes you need something new to remind you of what’s just around the corner.

Posing with Chairman Mao - note the gray sky

Posing with Chairman Mao

Finally – my new mini-series that I kicked off with posts from my cousin Matt – the I’m ready to move to China series.  His fresh set of eyes were a favorite of readers and mine too – now I just need to convince him to come back so he can write a follow-up series!

Did I miss a post you particularly enjoyed?  Let me know!  Looking forward to the upcoming year of the horse and lots more travel in February.  Come along for the ride!

2013 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.  I will follow with my own comments for the year, but wanted to let you all see what I have been up to.

Following site stats is one of the fun parts of blogging.  I always wonder why certain posts strike a chord – or where my readers call home.  If you click below for the full report, you can see for yourself.

Surprisingly, some of my most popular posts in 2013 were written in 2012.  Who knew that buying a jade bangle and the Kunming airport would have such staying power?

Best wishes to you all for 2014!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The 9th quarter review

17 Oct

The last quarter has flown by – it seems like just last week I wrote my last post celebrating Zhongguo Jumble’s two year anniversary.  Even though there was only one major trip in the last quarter (our trip to Greece) – I feel like I have been all over.

The posts show that as it was in the last quarter that I published many of my travels from the previous quarter as I got caught up with such a busy summer.  Travel posts were very popular and the following especially so:

Posing over 50 floors up

Posing over 50 floors up

1) Roppongi Hills & Tokyo City View – a post on my visit to Tokyo in May and getting swallowed by a spider (not quite)

Ready to dig in!

Ready to dig in!

2) The Pineapple Cake Wars – tasting two competing pineapple cakes in Taipei, Taiwan and hearing which kind others will choose.  The food in Taiwan was so good.  I would like to go back just so I can eat.  Taiwanese sausage has now become a staple in my kitchen.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

3) And We’re Back… – the initial post on our trip to Greece with just enough of a taste to keep people coming back to see what will happen.  I’ve only had time to get through the first day so far.

There were also two posts that sparked a lot of comments based on their topics which were more philosophical –

My mandarin accent – where I thought back to how I got my mandarin accent prompted by a taxi driver in Taipei, Taiwan

The Chinese dream – looking at the propaganda campaign that the Chinese government has been pressing lately and talking about what your dreams are.  Make sure you check out the comments on this post if you haven’t before, lots of good commentary that made me think even more.

And finally – two posts that I especially liked with some great photos to share.

The pavilion perched on the river with a tall building in the background

The pavilion perched on the river with a tall building in the background

A walk in Hefei – where I saw the possibility of a beautiful park over the Mid-Autumn Festival

Hammock with feet

Without a care in the world – photos from our trip earlier this year to Michigan, the place where I can put up my hair and dance crazy circles on the lawn.

It was a wonderful quarter and I look forward to the next one.  Did I miss your favorite post?  I’m still debating about the book possibility, so maybe more to come on that front.

More changes to come, so stick around and keep reading!  I anticipate more trips and of course, more views of Shanghai.  Autumn is my favorite season.  Happy Fall!

Two years later – the 8th quarter review

21 Jul

Two years ago I started Zhongguo Jumble.  My goal was simple – notice what was going on around me – the wonderful and weird, the sad and thoughtful – the jumble of experiences that happen to me.

I am proud to say that two years later I am still capturing those moments both in China and during my travels.

Over the last two years I have published nearly 300 posts and covered topics from food to language to random shopping experiences.  For my most recent quarter I took some time off in the middle due to my punishing travel schedule, but still wanted to share some favorites.

I have noticed that my food posts tend to get a lot of comments and this quarter was no different.  I have started to share occasional home cooking adventures that I have and Expanding my Chinese cooking repertoire – the story of going to cooking school with my colleagues was one of my favorites.  Since I just returned to Shanghai I haven’t had the opportunity to cook much lately but am looking forward to cooking more soon.

Here's a dish I think I could do - bitter melon with bacon.  I've already tried bitter melon with fried egg so I'm on my way!

Here’s a dish I think I could do – bitter melon with bacon. I’ve already tried bitter melon with fried egg so I’m on my way!

Another post that I wanted to call out was team building trip to Wuzhen, one of the water villages around Shanghai.  Finding peace outside the city is always important and Wuzhen was a pleasant surprise during a very busy time.

Peaceful water with reflection of the trees

Peaceful water with reflection of the trees

Finally – I posted the rest of my Cambodia photos and stories.  It was a great trip and one that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a unique vacation spot.

Angkor Wat - an aerial view

Angkor Wat – an aerial view

In addition to some favorites from the last quarter, I also wanted to give an update on two of my resolutions for this year.

One I can check off the list – I’ve completed it with plenty of time to spare.  That resolution is traveling to two new countries this year.  Between our trip to Cambodia (just mentioned) and my trip to Japan – I am covered.  In addition, depending on who you speak to, my visits to Taiwan also may or may not count as a third country.  We are debating if we will try to get to another country this year – if we do, I’m sure you’ll hear about it!

My search for Mt. Fuji in Japan - I finally found it - on the panel in the apartment we stayed in!

My search for Mt. Fuji in Japan – I finally found it – on the panel in the apartment we stayed in!

Another that I am still experimenting with is the different hair styles.  Here is one that I had for a special occasion recently.

A lovely up-do only possible with longer hair

A lovely up-do only possible with longer hair

How are you doing with any resolutions you’ve made?

Thank you to my loyal followers.  I know that there are some of you out there who have been following along since the very beginning.  Which type of posts do you like the best?  Any ideas for new things that you’d like to hear from me?  Please share so that I can make the third year even better.  Your comments and emails are what keep me going.  Please continue!

The seventh quarter review

21 Apr

Hard to believe that in a few months I will hit the two year mark with Zhongguo Jumble.  The time continues to speed by, days blurring together.  I feel very lucky that I have the blog to look back at to remind myself what I was doing and where I have been.  For some reason my following has tailed off over the last month – so if you’re out there, please give me a shout out!

The seventh quarter has been a busy one – lots of travel and visitors which has meant that finding the time to blog has been a bit of a challenge.  Even with that pressure though, I remained fairly consistent and had some great comments on my posts from the last three months.

Here are three of my favorites.

  • Chinese Voicemail – Weixin – this post about this app on my phone sparked a lot of comments as well as plenty of views.  Weixin has been in the news lately as the largest mobile phone company (China Mobile) is contemplating banning it because it is free.  They claim to have lost money from text messages, especially over the Chinese New Year season.  I’m not sure how it will turn out – but for the moment I am enjoying the photo sharing.  At a training I went to recently we even made our own Weixin group where we are doing follow-up actions.

Weixin logo

  • Musk cat coffee – this post got lots of interesting reactions to the fact that this restaurant was in my office.  Musk cat coffee is coffee that has gone through the digestive track of an animal that is based in Indonesia.  A couple of months after the store has opened, it seems to be doing a brisk business, but I don’t know of anyone who has tried their specialty.
And what exactly is a musk cat?

And what exactly is a musk cat?

  • My adventures in Cambodia – I have posted on the first three days of our adventures in Cambodia and all of these posts have gotten great feedback.  Continue to be patient with me as I go through the last two days of photos.  More great shots to come!  The entry that received the most feedback was the one I did on Angkor Wat – the most famous temple in Siem Reap.
View from the very top of Angkor Wat - think 1000 years ago how high this was - even taller than the tallest trees

View from the very top of Angkor Wat – think 1000 years ago how high this was – even taller than the tallest trees

I’ve got more travel and some great adventures coming up in the next quarter, so keep tuned.  Your comments inspire me to keep sharing about my daily adventures and occasional travels.

Did I miss one of your favorite posts?  If so – let me know which should have been at the top of my list.

The sixth quarter update

15 Jan

Zhongguo Jumble has been in existence just over a year and a half now.  Even though I recently published my 2012 Year in Review post, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out some of my favorite posts from the last quarter.

What to write next?  Who knows?

My own favorites?  What to write next? Who knows?

I’d characterize last quarter as being the “quarter of comments.”  I got lots and lots of great feedback from readers and in my opinion that feedback made the posts themselves better and more thought provoking.  I also realized that people feel connected to me and my family and friends via the photos and stories that I publish.  That has been a powerful learning and motivation as well.

Posts that generated a discussion through the comments last quarter were:

Sweet treats and Christmas wishes – this was a post where I noticed the globalization in my local bread store with Christmas specials of different types of bread.

TCKs – putting people into boxes – here I talked about TCKs (Third Culture Kids) and how difficult it can be to grow up in a different culture than your parents.  This was a thought provoking post about slang and language and how it can change.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in Shanghai – my first ever Thanksgiving dinner (as hostess) was a resounding success and my readers enjoyed it as well.

In addition I participated in a couple of photo challenges, though fewer than the previous quarter.  The post that was “liked” the most was a photo taken by a good friend during my first Chinese New Year in Shanghai about being foreign.

If you missed any of the above posts, I suggest that you check them out.  Or if I missed one of your favorite posts, please leave me a comment about which post you enjoyed the most.

Over the last 18 months I have published over 230 posts.  Sometimes I get questions from my family as to where I come up with ideas for my posts and whether I ever feel I will run out of ideas.  Ideas come from all kinds of places – some are from blogs or topics posted by others, sometimes it is something crazy that happens at work, or something a colleague or friend says.

To answer the second question – “Yes!  I often feel that I will run out of ideas.”  The last quarter especially has been a tough one.  I didn’t travel at all for work and it felt like my life was getting predictable.  I can’t be sure where the next post will come from, but I do know at least that living in Shanghai isn’t boring as long as  I keep my eyes (and ears and nose) open.

Keep tuned in for 2013 and beyond.

How do you keep your motivation on a long term project?

2012 in review

3 Jan

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  As I have just returned to China after wonderful Christmas holidays, it may take me a few days to get my act together, so please enjoy this summary.

Thank you for your support, comments and likes over the past year!  Keep posted for 2013!!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The fifth quarter update

16 Oct

The last quarter has been an exciting one from a blogging perspective – I pushed through some personal goals including over 300 clicks in one day and over 1500 clicks for a month (August)!  Even more than that though are the comments and stories that I hear from all of my readers.  Next week I’ll have made it to my 200th post.  Thank you for giving me the support and confidence to keep going on this journey.

Over the last quarter I also started participating in different weekly themes and challenges which have been very warmly received.  I feel like I am connecting to the greater blogging community and I even volunteered for a guest post on a popular blog – Third Eye Mom – and it was accepted for the author’s  (Nicole) Feature Friday series which just came out on last Friday, October 12th.

Personally I wasn’t sitting around much.  I had trips to Singapore, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Korea as well as moving office space, finding and moving to a new apartment, celebrating my birthday, lots of Notre Dame alumni events and luckily a nice vacation (staycation) for October holidays to decompress.  Fall is my favorite season in Shanghai and I continue to enjoy each day – especially the blue sky days.

View from my old apartment

View from my old apartment -2

Below is a look back of some of the highlights over the last quarter.

Travel Themes – Travel themes are put forward each week by Ailsa of Where’s my Backpack and they are a spark of inspiration for posting ideas and lead to beautiful photos.  I don’t have the time or patience to find perfect photos each week, but when I have – it’s been incredible.

Travel Theme – Leading Lines was the first time I participated and the photo of the moon over Lake Huron remains one of my favorite shots of all time.

Moon over Lake Huron

Travel Theme – Signs was another contribution and it merited the most comments on a post that I had this month.  So much so that I posted a follow-up to the theme several weeks later.  If you didn’t comment so far – please click this link and let me know which sign is your personal favorite.

Most popular – the post which received the most clicks that I wrote this month was my post on Buying a jade bangle in Hong Kong.  I guess there must be many others looking to do the same thing.  An update – the bruise on my hand from getting it off the first day did heal, but each time I put it on I soap up my hand and the bracelet to ensure that does not happen again.  I think it is the cleanest piece of jewelry I own!

Weekly photo challenge – I participated in a couple of the WordPress challenges as well and the post with the most feedback was on the topic – Solitary.  The combination of beautiful photos from my travels (and my office) struck a chord with readers.  What is solitary for you?

Travel post – I’ve posted on several different aspects of my visit to South Korea and my post on the Seoul Tower and the displays of locks there was my personal favorite over the last month.  Gotta love a dust bin with sweet words on it!

Changing Shanghai – I noted several different conflicts that I expect will continue as Shanghai continues to urbanize.  Two to call out here include – when I ran into my office cleaning lady washing her hair in the sink – in Two Different Worlds and when I snapped photos of the abandonment of buildings near a very popular street I live on in Urban Shanghai.  These posts make me think and hopefully remember a specific point in time in this changing city.

Which was your favorite over the last quarter?  If I missed it – let me know which post and why.  Happy fall and hope to hear from you soon.

The fourth quarter update

15 Jul

A year ago I wrote my first post for Zhongguo Jumble – time certainly goes quickly!  I’ve had around 5700 page views in that time and been blessed with lots of comments and friends following my experiences. I’ve stuck to a pretty strict posting schedule of three times a week and used my blog to notice some things that may have slipped past me before.

The last quarter has been a very busy time – lots of travel including Tengchong, Hong Kong, multiple places in the US and my trip to Mt. Tai.

I’d like to call out a few posts from the last quarter.  If you missed them the first time around, please check them out and also let me know if I missed your favorite.

The most popular posts that I had last quarter were:

1) Exploring Shanghai – Red Town Sculpture Garden – This was one of my walking tours in the Shanghai area of a really interesting part of town.  It was a beautiful spring day and I’d highly recommend it if you’re in Shanghai – though you may want to wait until it cools down.

2) Layover at Kunming Airport – Before I went to Tengchong I had a long layover in Kunming.  This post keeps popping up as a search term for my blog and so I’m guessing that lots of other folks also have had a long layover there as well.

3) The Bund At and After Sunset – These beautiful photos taken by my friend David capture Shanghai from truly a special angle.  They are well worth a second look.  I’ve put one of them here again to inspire all of you to visit Shanghai.

The post that merited the most comments over the last quarter was my post about the gala dinner that I attended in Hong Kong. That dinner was a look at a side of China that on the mainland I don’t see very often and it was a global affair with folks from lots of different countries all enjoying the evening.

I also had two recent posts that were more serious and thought provoking than my typical travel posts.  I posted on manners in China, wondering about respect for others and I also posted about my friend who had a second baby (a little sister) in the shadow of the one child policy.

Which post was your favorite?  Did I miss one that you especially liked?  Let me know, your feedback will help Zhongguo Jumble move into its second year.  Thanks again for your support.

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