A little bit of this and that…

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of “what’ve you been up to lately?,” to which I reply “oh, you know, a little bit of this and that.” To be honest, while big things have been going on the past few months, my creative juices have met the grey behemoth that is Guangzhou’s winter. This dreary, polluted time of year saps the creativity right out of me (seriously USA, never take your clean air for granted!). But luckily the weather has been on an upturn the past few days, compelling me to get my right-side of the brain going again. And thus we have a photo barrage from the past four months…

In November we took Ben’s parents to Beijing. We saw the Forbidden City, took a rickshaw ride around the old part of Beijing and saw the Bird’s Nest and Aquatic Cube at the Olympic park. But the best part was by far hiking the Great Wall. We avoided the touristy, reconstructed parts of the Wall, and instead took a weekend trek along less-inhabited portions with William Lindesay, a British man who has studied and hiked the Wall for decades. The hikes were tough at times, but the views were breathtaking and it was so nice to be out in the middle of nature, without thousands of your closest friends vying for a good photo-op. If you enjoy hiking and the outdoors, I highly recommend doing a trek instead of going to the tourist hotspots on the Wall.

Some parts of the Wall are incredibly steep!
Some parts of the Wall are incredibly steep!
Sunrise at the Wall
Sunrise at the Wall
The front gate to the Forbidden City
The front gate to the Forbidden City
I really hope this shop has a theme song set to the tune of the British anthem
I really hope this shop has a theme song set to the tune of the British anthem
Gettin' kinky at the Bird's Nest in the Love Elevator!
Gettin’ kinky at the Bird’s Nest in the Love Elevator!

After coming back to GZ from Beijing, we threw a Thanksgiving feast for the ages. The menu included not one but TWO turkeys, homemade dressing (Aunt Minnie, you’d be proud…your recipe was a hit!), mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and other classic goodies. I think we came about as close as possible to simulating a true American Thanksgiving. The only thing missing was a football game!

Thanksgiving feast

After the American holidays, we then enjoyed a few days of relaxation for Chinese New Year. Last year we went to the Philippines, but this year, given the extensive traveling we had done the previous few months, we decided to take it easy and enjoy an empty and less-polluted Guangzhou. During CNY millions of people travel back to their hometowns to celebrate the holiday. Since a large number of migrants live in Guangzhou to work at the factories, I think it’s safe to say that way more people left the city than came in to visit family. We thoroughly enjoyed the empty sidewalks, 15 minute commutes, clear(er) skies and other small perks a city void of millions has to offer. We also crossed something off the “we’re in China so we should see it before we leave” list and visited the top of the Canton Tower, the tallest structure in China. Given the sunny weather we were having closer to the ground, we thought this would be a great day to go to the top and catch the sunset. But alas, despite the closed factories and millions out of town on holiday, a nice layer of smog still managed to blanket the city.

The closest we've gotten to an actual sunset in quite awhile.
The closest we’ve gotten to an actual sunset in quite awhile

But perhaps the biggest event that’s been going on here is the bump that’s slowly taking shape around my waistline. Yep, we’re adding a new addition to the family! And we recently received our first baby outfit, courtesy of my mom and sister, embroidered with the cutest name ever bestowed on anything having to do with the government…

IMGP3844
I can’t get over how tiny this onesie is!
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