Tuesday, October 13, 2015

thanksgiving 2015.

We used 3 ovens and 2 hot plates. 

Oh the noises and faces this guy makes—so funny. 


Carving like a boss.

Our spread.

The Zhangs ;)

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple and I was so excited to host!

"How do you feel about me wearing your shoes?"

While out on our weekly date last Wednesday night, Melissa and I decided we would have a Thanksgiving dinner this year. We even ordered a turkey! (I've had some kind of Thanksgiving dinner every year since I've been in Beijing, but none of them have felt fully authentic or traditional and only one included turkey.) 

We decided to keep it really small and family-like, so it was just me, Tony, Melissa, and Ken. On Saturday afternoon (the only day we were all free), we went grocery shopping and that evening, Melissa and I cooked while the boys played the Wii and drank beer. 

Along with our 600RMB ($123 CAD!!!) turkey—now you know why I've only had one Thanksgiving dinner that included turkey—we had dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, green beans, and dill pickles. For dessert, apple pie with ice cream! Well, three of us had apple pie; Tony had chicken feet :) #crossculturalcouple

Melissa and I enjoyed kicking back afterwards and watching the boys do dishes. And then I kicked their butts at Mario Kart. And then I kicked their butts at Monopoly ;) 

Maybe the best part... hot turkey sandwiches a couple days later! It was Tony's first; he asked, "Do I toast the bread?"

China is really starting to feel like home. 

Monday, October 12, 2015


// These temporary tattoo-inspired Halloween costumes are awesome. The street vendor and beekeeper are my favourites.

// An interactive self-care guide. Now I just gotta remember I have this bookmarked.

// How People Treat Mental Illness vs. How They Treat Physical Illness

// 30 things you need in your apartment by the time you turn 30

// This post on marriage.

// "Swedes even have a special word to describe curling up indoors on a Friday night: fredagsmys." I think I'd like to live in Sweden.

// Soup for a friend. Genius.

(Image by Emily McDowell)

Friday, October 09, 2015

happy friday!

Right after Melissa called me a Student Loan Rockstar. 

So lucky to have these two in my life.

Classy ladies. 

I love this photo so much. Him, the ring, the fact that I had just hit him in the eye with a napkin and he was over exaggerating how bad it was and we were all laughing so much. 

Probably the happiest thing this week was receiving the letter saying, "Congratulations! Your student loan is paid in full."

I was excited, but Tony was even more excited than me! It was so sweet. He showed the envelope to a coworker and said, "Look!" He even wanted to open the letter and read it first, but I wouldn't let him ;) It didn't stop him from reading the letter out loud after I had already read it though, haha.

We immediately made plans to celebrate that night. Burgers and beer at Great Leap! It was so much fun. I haven't felt that free and happy in a long time.

Other happiness included:

+ Tony surprised me with a new iPhone! I'm a very hard person to surprise and he almost pulled it off. I guessed it while we were at Great Leap—even though there had been no hints—and Melissa pulled it out of her purse!

+ I cooked dinner for T and I! Salmon with a lemon dill sauce, roasted broccoli, and rice! (Okay, he cooked the rice, but that just means he poured it into the rice cooker and plugged it in.) I can't even begin to tell you how happy I was about this. I came home on Tuesday, turned on Songza, grabbed a beer, and started cooking. This is a HUGE deal for me because I don't cook. I mean, I might chop some vegetables now and then, and I can throw things in a slow cooker, but that's about it. I just don't like to cook. But lately, it's like something's clicked and I find myself wanting to cook. Yay! (Plus, I told Tony—and I know this sounds sexist—"I finally feel like a wife! My husband worked all day and I was able to let him relax on the couch and drink a beer while I cooked a delicious meal for him.") I was really proud of myself.

+ Date night with Melissa! T plays basketball Wednesday nights, so Melissa and I have started hanging out after work each week. We eat, talk, blog—whatever we feel like doing.

+ I received compliments from a few people about my blog. That really made me happy because I could tell they were genuine.

The days felt long, but the week went by fast. I felt balanced, which is perhaps the best feeling of all.

What made you happy this week?

Edit: I just looked at Melissa and said, "Shit! I forgot your curry!" She assured me I didn't have to add it, but I said, "It was so fucking delicious! I do have to!" So another happy thing: Melissa made green curry and shared it with me. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

october break recap.






cribbage at Moka Bros

Moka Bros

bear blanet at Oysho

Twosome Coffee

IKEA dishes

IKEA beer

Moka Bros



churros in Houhai

churros in Houhai

boating in Houhai


boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

boating in Houhai

jing-a brewing

jing-a brewing

bath shelf

sunflower seeds

Canadian election

Last week I posted our—rather unambitious—goals for October break. Here's a recap of what we did and didn't do: 

Massage: Done. In fact, it was done before I wrote the list but hey, who hasn't written something down just so they can cross it off? 

Manicure + pedicure: Grey on my fingers and wine on my toes. It's silly how happy this combo is making me. 

IKEA: Do you see those dishes up there? And the beer? Success. 

Update résumé: I'm not getting a new job, but I am getting a new passport to go with my new name(!), so HR needs an updated résumé to switch my visa. P.S. Did I tell you guys that I signed a 3-year contract? I don't think I did. I signed a 3-year contract which includes benefits like maternity leave, and insurance for spouse and dependents, and a pension of sorts, which all feels very grown-up and a little scary. (Before you get all, Ooh! Maternity leave???, read this tweet.)

Seal windows: Tony handled this like a boss, so yay, less pollution for us this year! Just in time for the hazardous air quality we've had the last few days. 

Vote: Voted! Delivered to the embassy! #oustHarper (I think this is the first time I've mentioned politics on the blog. Will I get hate comments? ;)

Slow Boat: Didn't happen, but we'll be going for brunch soon. A French toast tower and beermosa? Yes, please. 

京A (Jing-A): I had the grilled cheese and it was delicious. When in doubt, add the bacon. 

Sneakers: Tony has wanted new basketball sneakers for awhile now, and although he is usually one of the least picky people I know, this he is picky about. Alas, no new sneakers for him. 

Take a bath: So simple and yet so hard to make time for. (But somehow I have time to lay on the couch and watch multiple episodes of Criminal Minds. Hmm...) I did have a bath though and like every time, I immediately resolved to do it more often. 

Watch Forrest Gump: We've both seen it multiple times but Tony really wanted to watch it again. So one rainy afternoon, we did just that.

Read a book (at least part of one): I read the first few chapters of The Royal We and have stayed up too late every night this week to read more. 

Blog (read + write): 4+ posts were written and 23828 posts (slight exaggeration) were read. 

Other highlights included: The return of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder; I bought bunny slippers; T and I played crib (I won); a Mexican Fiesta dinner party hosted by Melissa; Cards Against Humanity and magic tricks; a lunch date at Modo; dinner at Annie's; a sale on dill pickles (a big deal in China!); brunch at Twosome Coffee; an afternoon at Houhai; dinner at Taco Bar; a new food processor; many episodes of Criminal Minds; so much relaxing and laughing. 

All in all, a great vacation. 

P.S. My very first staycation in Beijing + dirty feet.
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