Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guangzhou

Photo from my office window, today. It is hard to get a sunset like this in Shanghai (mostly because there are no forest hills there).

Moving to Guangzhou back in September last year, after more than 7 years in Shanghai and its surroundings, was a big step. With the logical vertigo of leaving the known behind and walking towards the unknown, our settling down was sweet: we found a nice garden house, with three floors and 4 bathrooms, inside a wonderful compound known as the biggest of its kind in Asia, Clifford Estates (祈福新村 if my keyboard doesn't fail me). No pollution, green lanes, palm and mango trees along the walkways, plenty of green places for the kids to play safely… With its own international school and hospital, seriously, I wouldn't have ever dreamt of finding a place like this in China.

Even more, my working place was inside the compound, i.e. less than one song's ride on my electric scooter (yes, the same bike that my Asturian friend Toñu gave me, before his leaving China – I have spent time and money in fixing it, so I decided to bring it along down south). We found a nice school for the kids, Jenny and her mum are also very happy here, and I even found a bar nearby where we play darts on Tuesdays. Hong Kong is less than 3 hours away, either by bus or by ferry, and in fact in 10 days I will be flying to Spain with the twins, via the HK airport (the tickets were way cheaper than from Guangzhou airport).

However, this was a hard bet. The company I joined was very small, casual and unstable. We relied on one big account to sustain the business, and little financial margin for risks. We had one big project in India, which was fuelling the growth that brought me here. But it all hung from these two things: the big key account, and the India project. Well, sh*t happens, as Murphy said. The India project seems to be at a dead end, and this pushed the key account to retreat. Both events unrelated to my performance, but the company needs now to restructure, and in such a small structure, I am the one to let go. I have no hard feelings towards the bosses, they are nice people and I knew the risks before joining. I will make a better assessment before joining my next company, because next time I really want it to be long term – I want some stability, if not for me (those of you who know me, y'all know I adapt easily) for the kids. And now this means I will have to put off my Filipino diving holidays until further notice…

Now in 10 days, we go to Spain for three weeks, and it's time to enjoy seeing the family, friends, good food, and watch some crap TV J



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Cantonese adventure begins…


(en español, más abajo)

It’s been an interesting time. Over 7 years in Shanghai, two awesome kids, many new friends, new sports and hobbies, four jobs, two lawsuits –one ongoing-… Two bicycles, three scooters (two of them stolen), one car, countless typhoons, 8 more kilos of wisdom, a Gibson SG, an MBA, a business, the Casa de España en Shanghai, five 180’s (two in official competition), quite a few kegs of Tiger and San Miguel, several dozens of bottles of tequila and Captain Morgan, and enough baijiu to fuel my car from here to Guangzhou…

That’s my next destination. Canton, land of green, the Five-Goat City, the City of Spike, the City of Flowers… With a milder weather and greener landscapes, it will surely be better for my aging, and if not, Hong Kong is just 90 minutes away, and the Philippines’ scuba diving paradise is a stone’s throw.

I have been appointed Head of Sales for Asia for a leading Spanish kitchen and decoration furniture group, with open business in India, China, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand, and my task will be to follow up those deals, and open new ones in markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines… Challenging but immensely fulfilling task, to which I will endeavor all my time, less that spent with my kids. Farewell Spanish association, au revoir Shanghai Darts League, goodbye Kangaroo, adios amigos!

Our Cantonese adventure begins…

PS. I am not arranging a proper farewell party, since the family will remain in Shanghai for the first month or so while I find a house and so on, but to those who would like to say goodbye, I am easy to find: next Tuesday, @ Kangaroo Bar (Yongjia Lu 35, near Maoming Nan lu – metro Shaanxi Nan lu). From 19:30 onwards.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Busy Family weekend


So Saturday was Jenny's birthday, and she decided we went for a family outing to discover our new neighborhood. We didn't get any further than this inflatable castle though...



Next to the castle there was also this water attraction, which at first was hard for them to operate, but soon they managed to handle the boats


Sunday we had one of the popular Spanish families outings to the Century Park. The weather was awesome after several days of rain and grey skies. Therefore the grass was puddly, and virtually every kid ended up muddy. Nico was the first one, I failed to take a shot of him right after he fell - with the Stones shirt, he looked just like one of those Woodstock kids...


He also fell twice more, after these pics were taken of them feeding the fish...








On our way out, we stopped by the nice bonsai garden by the #3 gate of the Century Park, and the kids started posing in funny ways. I didn't wuite understand why they were doing these figures, I guess it comes from some of the cartoons they watch...






So this was our weekend! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Home-learning

We recently moved houses from our 7-year Pudong side of town, to one of the busiest districts in Shanghai, Xujiahui. This meant we needed to look for a new school for the twins, and decided that for the month left of school we could skip it - losing one month of plasticine, and paper cutting is not likely to influence their curricula much...

Therefore these days I am playing with them in a more educational way: drawing, and learning to add and subtract. This latter seems to be grabbing their attention, as long as we do it as a game, and I allow them to use their fingers to do the maths.

Some pictures of their home education:

 Nico "writing"
 He likes to do as I do, so he developed a technique. It really looks as if he is writing stuff.
 This is what he wrote :) If you ask him about the meaning, he even reads it out loud!
 Julito is more about maths
 There I was teaching him how to properly write 1 + 2. He nails it.
And this is the final pose for posterity. Two respectful scholars.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Merengue en casa de los Serrano



Tras una impresionante paella, vermuts y demás, los críos se liaron a pringarse con los bollos de merengue que trajimos de postre... Hay algún plan mejor para un domingo?

Monday, March 26, 2012

180!


Tras cinco años jugando en la Liga de Dardos de Shanghai, finalmente el martes pasado conseguí el ansiado 180, la máxima puntuación que se puede conseguir con tres dardos (3 tiros al triple 20). No era la primera vez, pero sí la primera en partido oficial, lo cual hace que se refleje en el acta, y pasaré a formar parte del "exclusivo" club 180. 

Nuestro equipo, Los Otros, perdió un partido a priori imposible (jugábamos contra el segundo mejor equipo de la división), pero hicimos 7 puntos fantásticos, y yo gané un individual (abriendo con un nada desdeñable 150), y el doble con Miki que es cuando conseguí el tiro perfecto. 

En resumen, que el que se aburre en Shanghai es porque quiere...


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

There's No Tomorrow


This cartoon documentary is a must-see for those interested in the Apocalypsis, it is coming sooner than we expect. And it encourages me to take the family to an island in the Philippines, and start growing coconuts...