It’s Thanksgiving! Here’s What I’m Grateful For:

  • a full stomach
  • loving parents, no matter how unbearable they can be at times
  • friends for the rest of my life, who love me for the silly way I am
  • WordPress, because I’ve learned so much, shared so much, and have met so many inspiring people I would never have met otherwise
  • the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and feel
  • my parents, again, for working tirelessly their entire lives so that I may enjoy all that I now have in my life (including the new pair of boots I got today!)
  • mobility–including the privilege of travel which has opened my eyes wider than any book or lecture (and just to take a moment to brag, these are the countries I have visited: Guatemala, Morocco, Portugal, Amsterdam, Spain, Germany, Japan, France, and Italy.)
  • public transportation, though it can be such a hassle
  • my college adviser, June, who I admire so much for her compassion, brilliance and kindness
  • my “almond shaped” eyes and dimples (thanks to mama dearest)
  • being bilingual–my salary is higher because of it
  • a conscience that told me not to accept the job teaching English at a monster corporation (New Oriental, it literally has an office in every corner of China) that robs students of their money and teachers of their sanity.
  • Gmail/gchat because I can keep in touch with my friends across the ocean
  • Time Out Beijing.com because it just informed me that a Hello Kitty themed restaurant is opening up in Beijing (I haven’t had the chance to mention the Hello Kitty store I came across in Chongqing yet). Keeps my life exciting!
  • farmer’s markets (in the US) because their produce is just so fresh and the prices are unbeatable!
  • not just one, but several roofs over my head. I feel like I have a home wherever I go. That’s surely something to be grateful for.

There is infinitely more I am grateful for, but it would be impossible to list them all here.

So, Gobble Gobble to those who celebrate Thanksgiving! And Thank You, to those who make life worth living!


When Blogger’s Block Hits, I Talk About Babies

It’s funny…I find myself constantly thinking about this blog, about what to write, of what I see and what I hear wherever I go. But when I sit my butt down, I suddenly lose that inspiration. The upside is I find myself reading other people’s blogs (which I have come to LOVE doing) and learn tons about lives all over the world. It’s really quite fascinating. The world and its people are something beautiful, and I want to contribute with my stories and photos of life in Beijing, but since I have writer’s block, I guess I’ll start with an easy topic, like babies.

I have a problem with staring and smiling uncontrollably at babies. Personally, I don’t think it’s creepy but I don’t know how other people would react to my gazing. My friends tell me it’s weird. Oh well, they’re cute! Especially Chinese babies! I now understand why that American lady I met in Chinatown, NY frequented the park to watch Chinese babies (she even helped me get bird poop out of my hair while we chatted). Aware that my staring may anger some folks, I decided against taking photos, too, except for one.

They don't have those fat red cheeks, but they've got little tushies poking out of their pants!!

Anyhow, I think some people can agree with me when I say Chinese babies with their beady black eyes, fat red cheeks, and little buttocks poking out of their pants (instead of diapers, they wear pants that are easy-breezy in the crotch area for bathroom convenience) are just adorable.

Alright, enough with babies. How about a brief update on my new job?

Well, my friend Hannah got me a job editing college application essays. It is more tiresome and time-consuming than I thought it would be. First of all, the job requires me to sit in front of a computer 8 hours a day. I am prepared to need glasses and bigger pants by the end of the year. Secondly, I’m reading about students who have dreams they want to pursue, which gets me thinking about my own dreams that I’m not following through with by sitting here reading about other people’s futures. Of course that sounds a bit selfish because it’s a wonderful thing if I can take part in helping these students get into good American colleges (that’s what these applications are for, American universities), but I just graduated college and would like to fulfill some of my own goals.

Gosh, I am such a grouch today. It must be because I slept for 11 hours.

Here is the building I work in, on the 18th floor!

Street lined with delicious restaurants of various regional cuisines!

Sunset. It's already dark by the time I leave the office. Depressing.

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In Boston, my grandma used to wake up at dawn to gather ginkgo that fell from the tree in front of Clear Flour Bakery by our house before the other elderly Chinese neighbors got to them. So when I came across this lady poking at ginkgo trees on the way to work Friday morning, I realized my grandma must’ve done the same while she was living in China. How resourceful and totally stinky (raw ginkgo smell rancid)!

Ginkgos scattered on the street.

Ginkgo leaves, so you can identify the tree if you ever feel the desire to gather ginko.


The Table of Life

The Table of LIfe

Why am I posting such a bleak photo of a mere wooden table?

Well, because the moment I took this photo was the ONLY time I have ever seen this table empty. At all other times, this table provides a space for neighborhood locals to gather. Once in a while, people lay their head for an afternoon nap or enjoy the quiet before the sun goes down. I often find it to be a haven for the elderly who bring playing cards or mahjong, and at night, a table light whose poles clamp onto 2 sides of the table and the light shines directly above the game. How clever! And how the Chinese enjoy their games! And how wonderful to have the constant company of friends and pets who patiently linger!

That’s why I dub this table “The Table of Life.” It really is the center of life for so many locals. Without people surrounding the table, it appears dank and insignificant. But when that light shines overhead (when I first moved to the neighborhood, I thought that light was permanently attached to the table), and the circle of spectators blocks site of the game, I can’t help but smile and think to myself, Nothing like the simple joys of life.

A deck of cards. A table light. A crowd of friends. Infinite happiness.