24 Hours in Beijing and A Book

So I went to Beijing for 24 hours to meet Cass and have some fun before she went back to the States! I miss her already. We had the best time. Between Shanghai and Beijing, she went back to her hometown and had a profound and beautiful experience. It was great to meet her post her trip, talk about it and just have fun running around Beijing. I loved going to the wall with all the verdant and luscious greenery compared to the cold temperatures I experienced in February. Ps. I used “verdant” because it was one of classes vocabulary words. We can all expand our vocabulary!

We got to Beijing around 2, dropped our stuff at our hotel and hiked up to the park. It’s such a nice view up at the park to look down at!

A beautiful way to spend an afternoon in Beijing.

We dropped by Wangfujing Snack Street. Unfortunately half of the vendors were closed because they are doing remodeling.

My favorite snack! Duck pancakes. The street usually is crowded with scorpions, fried bugs and so much more food. Thank goodness the duck wraps weren’t on hold for the remodeling.

After this we went for manicures then attempted to go see the Olympic Birds Nest Stadium lit up at night. However, there was a huge event going on and we couldn’t get in vicinity of the Olympic Park area. Next time!

This is how you do the Great Wall with no one else crowding you. We had our hotel arrange us a driver, got up at 5:30am and drove 1.5 hours to the Mutianyu section for the opening at 7:30. This is the less crowded section and by the time we made it down at 10, there were all ready swarms of groups heading up.

I highly recommend taking the gondola up. That way you can walk downhill (mostly) on the walk to the area where you can either take the chairlift or toboggan down. Obviously I recommend the toboggan because it’s so fun! We headed back to Beijing and went straight to the Forbidden City which was 2 minutes walk away from our hotel!

We both were here together with our families in 2004 and are back together in 2019. Cass said that the two times she has been back to China has been with me! So special.

Last time I was in Beijing I didn’t have tickets to go inside the palace. They limit the daily amount of people to 80,000 and you can buy them in advance online 10 days before. We had tickets for the prior day but didn’t make it in time and fortunately were able to snag some tickets on the spot.

Best 20rmb I’ve spent! I got these two headbands for us and we became quite the attraction.

We also met some Spanish guys, traded hats around and spent the rest of the day exploring the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Beijing before I dashed off to catch my train and head back to Shanghai.

AND I also finally read the book “Shanghai Girls” by Lisa See and loved it. I couldn’t put it down and finished it on the train. SO GOOD. It gave me such perspective on Shanghai and it is a beautiful story of family, love, tragedy and immigration. Mostly it is a story about people and trying to do what’s right in the moment.

I’ve started another one of her books, “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.”

Dating in Shanghai

I gave thought about writing this post for a while and there is no better time than the present! When I moved to Shanghai I was in a relationship and had confidence that it would work out long-distance and I had viewed my move as not forever. However, after only a few weeks it ended in what was a very unfortunate way as I was cheated on. I definitely did not see it coming and it was a huge shock to me. I don’t write this to shame anyone in the situation, but as a way to share my experience and let’s face it all we’ve all had breakups and unfortunately cheating is not an uncommon in relationships. People can say what they want about long distance relationships, but I think they can really work if both people are committed to making it work with a plan to eventually live in the same area again. That’s not my story but this is!

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First Few Days of 2019: Shanghai Edition

Ni Hao 2019! 2019 is here and the holidays have had me in a state of sentimental reflection thinking about the past year and immensely looking forward to this one! There are so many moments in life, and even more now, that I pause and think “is this real life.” So many funny moments that are absurd, magical, wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking. I spent New Years Eve with my favorite British gals, Stacey and Fran eating delicious food, watching Taylor Swift on Netflix and popping some Proseco to ring in 2019. I was also introduced to the show the Inbetweeners, had a proper cup of British tea and danced around in a circle singing some old English song.

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Falling in Love with Shanghai

I’ve only truly fallen in love once before. Love is the most inexplicable emotion that doesn’t quite make sense but is like nothing else and perhaps the purest of all the emotions. When it is real and lasting, there is nothing better. There are so many variations and types of love. I fell in love with school from a young age, have a true love for food and love traveling. I have also received the most pure and unwavering love from my family that as I get older continue to be so grateful for. I know how fortunate I have to have a lot of love in my life from my family and friends. There is a great quote from the movie The Fault in Our Stars that perfectly summarizes love for me.

“Falling in love is like falling asleep, it happens slowly then all at once.” 

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Book Review: Carry On, Warrior

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“Life is Brutiful.”

I am not sure how I stumbled across the brilliant human that is Glennon Doyle Melton, however I know that my life has changed because of the words of this wise and wonderful woman. I know that I first watched her TED talk titled “Lessons from the Mental Hospital” and absolutely loved it. She is honest, real, hilarious and is one of those people you know that the world is better because of. She talks about being honest, leaving our shame at the door and how sharing our secrets and stories to the world is what possibly may change it forever. She is perhaps known best for starting her blog, momestary, which turned into a book Carry On, Warrior and it’s sequel that is on my list, Love Warrior. #IWantToBeGlennonWhenIGrowUp

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Looking Back: Living in Malaysia

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My wonderful Ramadan host Ibu (grandmother) teaching me how to make ketupat 

This trip was one of the primary reasons that I started this blog turned website. After returning to Malaysia and traveling Southeast Asia with my mom two summers ago..I wanted to start reflection on the past and looking towards the future.

Some of our biggest tests are often our greatest learning experiences and help define us. 

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Xia A.D.R.

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The first thing you should know about Xia (Chi-a) that you would never know unless you were fortunate enough to spend time in her enlightening presence is that this girl has style and pizazz beyond your wildest dreams. She is a cluster of energy, intelligence and whimsical fun that we often think we have to lose as we stop playing in the leaves and dressing up as princesses. Somehow she has bypassed this false ideology in the world that we have to grow up in order to show as an intelligent being and has merged all sides.

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