Saturday, June 19, 2010

Socko!

This post is for all the iCarly/Spencer/Socko fans in the world. On the hit TV show, iCarly, Spencer, Carly's brother, has a friend named Socko. He owns his own sock company and designs all crazy socks. Some of you may have noticed how his name and job are related. As many iCarly fans know, Socko and all of his relatives have names related to their occupations. For example...

Socko...He owns a sock company.
Tyler...He owns a tie company.
Otto (pronounced "auto")...He owns a car dealership.
Isaac...He is an optometrist.

For the past few days, Julie, Mom, and I have been thinking up other possible "Socko" names. We've become quite serious and creative on the topic. Here are a few of the names we have come up with...

Carlos...A car dealership owner.
Piper...A plumber.
Steward...A flight attendant.
Potter...A gardener.
Christian..A priest.
Ace...A tennis player.
Cookie...A baker.
Page...A librarian.
Waldo...A painter.
Clay...A sculptor.
Percy...A money changer.

Now that you know the format for Socko names, it is your turn to come up with some of your own. Any names you can think of, post in the comments section for us to read. And for those of you who don't know what iCarly is, check it out for more background. In the episode, "iPromote Techfoots," you get to hear Spencer talk about Socko and Tyler. Check it out!

~Z

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homeless In Beijing, The Sequel

Two years ago, you may recall, when we were getting set to move to China, our housing situation was unsettled until fairly late in the process. Well, here we are, days away from flying around the world, and once again we have no place to stay.

This time, though, things are a little bit different. Although I will be spending the summer as a visiting scholar at the Leo Koguan Institute for Business and Government at the Peking University School of Government, we do not have the Fulbright program behind us essentially mandating that our housing be arranged and paid for.

This is not to say that we are on our own, though. Plenty of Americans, both inside and outside of the government, have been going to bat for us, steering leads in our direction. And we have been contacting many of our Chinese friends, in the hope of finding a gem of an apartment like we had last year in Yan Bei Yuan.

But here's the dilemma that's emerged. There seem to be plenty of summer sublets available on the expat side of things, as many foreigners go home to their countries for the summer. These houses, however, tend to be pretty expensive and are located over on the east side of town, far away from Peking University in the northwest corner. As for apartments in our old neck of the woods, these accommodations don't seem to be designed for short term rentals, as there are relatively few Chinese residents of Saoziying and similar neighborhoods heading overseas for the summer months.

As Desi has been saying throughout...There's always sleeping bags on my office floor!

~Steve

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jennette McCurdy

For those of you who watch iCarly, you may know Jennette McCurdy as Sam Puckett, the delinquent friend and co-host of Carly Shay. You may also know her as Pinky from True Jackson VP and various other guest characters in TV shows. For those of you who are Harrison Ford fanatics, you might have even seen Jennette in the movie Hollywood Homicide, screaming and crying in the back seat of a stolen minivan.

What you all may not know is that Jennette is an amazing singer who has spent months in Nashville working on a brand new album with Capitol Records Nashville. Over the last two years she has released three singles...So Close, Homeless Heart, and Not That Far Away. Not That Far Away is actually the single for her new album and it was released on June 1st. It is all about her experiences song writing in Nashville and being away from her home in California.

Jennette is mainly a country singer but according to a recent interview, her new album is filled with a little bit of everything...rock, pop, and jazz included! I am really excited to hear what she has worked so hard on. Make sure you keep your eyes and ears open for the release of the album!

~Julie

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

School’s Out!

Two and a half weeks ago I finished up my last exams and dove right into summer. Although Z and Mommy had not yet reached relaxation, we went to New Jersey that next weekend since I am normally the one holding us up with all of my homework. It felt so great to be able to enjoy time with my grandparents without stressing about a test or a huge load of work. I told Mommy that I felt like she must have when we were in China; Z and I were at school while Daddy was at work, but Mommy was completely clear.

Just because I am excited about summer does not mean that I did not thoroughly enjoy my freshman year of high school. I learned so much in the last several months that it is impossible to summarize in one blog entry. From my challenging but amazing English class to fun discussions in Hebrew Scriptures class, the whole year was full of new experiences and adventures in learning. It took a little time to adjust but I was ready for high school.

Everyone says that high school is so much fun and I can’t help but agree. I have made so many fantastic friends who are similar to me in completely unexpected ways. One of my best friends is a huge "24" fan, just like me. Another loves China because her dad does a lot of business there and she is going there this summer on vacation for the second time. Everyone is wonderful and I thank all of my sisters for such a fun year!

One of my favorite parts of this year was participating in the musical Sweet Charity. I wouldn’t say that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being on stage, but it was even better than I expected. I loved singing and dancing, but I especially loved acting my part as "woman with hat." It didn’t matter that I only had a few lines, it was just fun to be part of a larger effort to put on a great show. I will definitely participate even more in the performing arts department next year.

I truly cannot believe how quickly the year has passed. It doesn’t fell like that long ago we were eating at Bertucci’s for our first meal out after returning from China! I am loving summer, and while I don’t want it to go by too quickly, I am excited for my sophomore year!

But first, China, here I come...

~Julie