Category Archives: Food

Weddings with Chinese characteristics 


Our kids are becoming old hats regarding Chinese wedding receptions.

They know the drill: early morning departure, smoky room, cigarettes, dried peas and candy at the tables, and mounds of unidentifiable food.

Our oldest has become the designated taste tester of the unknown at the kids table.

With a bottle of soda nearby she willingly risks taste buds and Chopstix to reassure the others whether they ought to try it.

Or not.

They see the bride dressed in several outfits during the reception, watch a very secularized version of lip syncing, rings, vows, bottle of wine, and lots of jokes from the MC in between everything.

The actual marriage has taken place at the city registrar weeks in advance, so this is really just the party to celebrate.

I appreciate the deep bows to honor the parents, and the group photos they do with everyone.

Once the couple comes to your table to greet you, receive the gift (red envelope with cash) and toast or light your cigarette, people often clear out pretty quickly.

Church weddings are rare here although we have attended a few of those as well.

I’m hoping our kids can attend a western style wedding for comparison sometime-this is all they know about weddings and receptions.

In the meantime, there’s always something interesting to see on our way out of the lobby where half a dozen other happy couples are also announcing their big day.

We really don’t get the reindeer thing.

My week in photos


Accidental shot mid-market run (mangoes and grapes on the handlebars, going to buy vegetables)


Special time with my girl, painting very breakable stuff (this is our 4th)


Lecture one morning at college class for students studying to be Chinese teachers for foreigners


Song lyrics at Sunday morning church


Junior colleagues and a grandma discussing the kid’s development.  Today was a fascinating observation in cultural issues in (grand) parenting.


Apricots in season!


Hungry yet?


These are all over the city lately: 
The sign claims “1 egg” (in huge letters) , with vigor and oatmeal.  Doesn’t it just scream ice cream bar advertisement?
One of our favorite hole in the wall Korean bbq with Chinese characteristics  
Tastes suspiciously like my favorite US cereal Krave…yay!    

Buy a pound of beef ground while you watch. The lamb is even fresher (live in the am, pools of blood by noon).  

Silkworms from the back of a truck, still live and wriggly.  Highly recommended in pregnancy for protein and who knows what else.  (for more details, read here)


I’m going to learn to make this soon–got my Korean bibimbap red pepper paste today!


Street sightings


I went to the market for the first time since back in China yesterday, and saw one of the usual sights that still always turns my stomach.

Then the strange thing happened as I thought with a nostalgic twist, oh, it’s been so long since I saw that.  

And so I was feeling strangely satisfied to be grossed out, and savored the moment of fond old memories.  

Or something like that.

I even turned around on my bike and went back to snap a picture.

Yep, piles of raw pork and chicken parts that the vendor scoops up with their hands.  And this time of year, with a layer of ice glistening on the surface. 

Then I was rewarded with one of my favorite sights a moment later. 

Candied haw and other fruits.  

As I reflected on this tangled web of emotions,  I almost got hit by a car. 

Welcome back.  

Jet lag for seven


After 7 months and a 27 hour journey around the world we finally arrived greeted by huge grins at the airport 9:30 pm local time on Jan 1.

They cheerfully hauled our 30+ pieces of luggage (ok that includes carry on) and dropped us at our real home that is only ours, and we had a party.  

Like only 6 and 8 year olds can. 

At 130 am these two had a joyful reunion with their workbooks. 


Now 4 days later we look like a house of hoarders.  Piles everywhere of random stuff. 

A towel and things drying that got drowned in bubble bath that I forgot to put in a ziplock bag. 


And the schedule, oh the schedule.  Yesterday people went to bed anywhere between 3 and 8 pm (I was last), and by 11 pm the first ones started waking up asking for food. We were all up for the day by 3 am.    


Hard boiled eggs for lunch.

Kids went to a conveniently scheduled weeklong tck camp for the afternoon, while I entered the local police station (aka nicotine chamber) to register our return.  

Goodbye land of imagined privacy, hello land where your business is everybody’s. 

Takeout for dinner. Again.  

But we are home.