I guess it's normal that we should have so many guests in our first year in Shanghai. My own family is now less than 6 hours away by air, many friends and colleagues would have an occasion or 2 to visit Shanghai at least for work (and many have other friends here), others drop by when they are touring other parts of Asia, and MIL would want to spend time with her grandchildren plus visit China at the same time.
Outside Lu Xun's house in Hongkou (that we visited)
I have therefore been too busy to return to the old routine of experimenting in the kitchen, being involved at school, learning music etc. 10 months in Shanghai have gone by in a flash and sometimes I get the feeling that I've not done much since I moved here. I have been meaning to go back to school, pick up a skill, visit other parts of China, visit friends in other parts of the world, work part-time, lose weight - but only managed to put everything off.
Checking out old stuff at the Dongtai Lu market
In addition to that I've started to worry about the Teenager's future (or lack of), wondering if he'll manage to wake up in time to work for and succeed in his IB (looks bleak at the moment), what he'll do at 18 if he fails to get it, how he's going to get on in the next few decades. Should I return to work just so as to be able to help him out financially for the rest of my life?
Exciting moment : 2-yuan bus trip to the Bund from Changle Lu, being surrounded by the locals
If I started working though it would be difficult to find the time to entertain guests who turn up at various moments in the year. It may also be difficult to make time for the various demands that the children's schools make on our person. Yet there are mothers at the schools who have careers, businesses and still time for their children (though maybe not guests).
A French mammie in Hangzhou
Anyway this is a brief view (5 pictures) of MIL's visit (3 weeks) in Shanghai. She had spent many hours reading books in our garden (all these Europeans like to stay outside when the weather is good), we have been to a few museums, old gardens, temples (both Buddhist and Taoist), water towns, longtangs, to Hangzhou, lots of restaurants, took our first public bus in the city together, shopped for souvenirs and tea...Unfortunately with the kids at school we couldn't manage trips to Beijing or Xi'an so hopefully that'll be for another time.
Meanwhile you can go ahead and mention it. MIL doesn't look her age. And she still has almost all her teeth.