Discovering China


I’ve traveled pretty extensively, especially for someone my age.  However, most of those travels have occurred in Europe and the USA.  Never have I experienced China—until now.

While preparing for this trip, I thought about my image of China—what pops into my head when I hear the word “China”, etc.  I knew I wanted my stereotypes to completely shatter, and I’m excited to report that they are obliterated.

From the moment I stepped off the plane I began to love this place.  It grew with each passing moment during which I observed the people, the government (my first communist country), the types of cars driven, the driving culture/etiquette, the manners and mannerisms, the restaurant culture, the food, the work ethic, the architecture, the lights, the living conditions, the pollution, the hotels, the tea and tea culture, and so much more.

I am the first to acknowledge that I am lacking much insight into the Chinese world, as my time has primarily been spent in hotels, taxis, and buildings, but I managed to find some time for exploration and found my thirst for knowledge about this country and culture to be unquenchable.  Oh, and the food is incredible.

I’ve experienced multiple cuisines and have yet to be disappointed.  The question remains: will I be able to even tolerate Chinese buffets after this (especially considering I rarely was in the mood for them before this trip)—even out of politeness, if I’m with someone who wants to eat there?  I will also be researching the best cookbooks for Chinese, Korean, and Japanese foods.  Recommendations are welcome!

I’m currently sipping “Honey Grapefruit Tea.”  It’s delicious and amazing.  However, when I asked for the recipe, there didn’t seem to be actual tea involved.  Perhaps my China-knowledgeable friends can shed some light?

This is a place to which I want to return.  I want to learn more about the people, the poor and the rich, the living conditions, and what it means to be “Chinese.”  I’m fascinated and have experienced a “rupture of the mundane plane.”  My international button has been pushed, causing the juice to flow through my veins…and I don’t want it to stop.

Sheep and Strings

Over the weekend I took a 1,300 mile road trip–longest one by myself yet! (I got 48 mpg on my Tuscaloosa to Virginia stretch!)

It was glorious.  I drove through states I’d never driven myself through (Tennessee and Alabama are beautiful)!  Also, Alabama has the worst roads I’ve ever driven on, and their speed limits in construction zones are bizarre and not really followed (I had a plan in case I got pulled over–head straight to the police station to officially complain about the Bama Craziness).

I held a baby lamb for the first time.  Kristy chased one down that was too young to really run, scooped him/her up, and then the Mama came running.  I was a bit concerned about being bitten–but we all lived to tell about it.

Saturday evening I was reminded why playing tennis barefooted is a bad idea for any length of time, but I don’t regret it in the least.  Then, four of us gathered in the kitchen (where all things good happen) and made homemade pizza!  (Thanks to Lissy I now know how to quickly make pesto!)

Sunday I experienced the lingering hints of prohibition.  Four stops later, I walked out the door with pink champagne in hand!  The reason for the champers?  I got to attend a friend’s graduate violin recital at the University of Alabama (hurrah for having talented friends!)!

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When Playing Librarian

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Photo by K.L.R.

*Written yesterday, while in the clutches of my librarian chair…waiting for the bell to ring*

I spent my day substituting for the high school librarian.

Translated: I had hours to research, play on the Vogue website, and think.

At this point I am ready to:

-enroll in the Conde Nast School of Fashion and Design in London…

-bake Chewy Earl Grey cookies with an orangey glaze…

-someday become the editor of Vogue or British Vogue…

-visit some redone jazz clubs in NYC…

-read Redeployment

-watch (and in some cases rewatch) some great movies

-and, you know, go shopping…

All in a day’s work, right?

Instead, I shall finish this library stint up, head to tennis practice, meet with the pageant ladies, and prepare for a very full weekend of serving pancakes, being a guest on a local radio show, and whatever else may pop up.

Have a fabulous weekend!

P.S. In case you missed it, the other afternoon, Vogue retweeted and favorited me…..I might have gotten a little excited.