So this is stupendously long and mostly for me so that I can remember my fantastic trip home and to the guo. You've been warned.
Wednesday: arrive home!!! Oh man. As I was waiting for Caltrain to take me back to my parent's place, I couldn't help but notice ... the people here talk like I do, say phrases I find myself saying, talk about the types of things I'd talk about. Yes, the pace of life is noticeably slower than the East Coast, but who cares?!?! Home, baby.
Thursday: BART/Caltrain up to the East Bay to hang out with the e. twin ~ we crafted, CAFT'd, chatted and I love-love-LOVED seeing her new place. It is so Berkeley. She is so Berkeley. I miss that. I miss her. Then we had dinner with Jenni and Jordan, and Jenni and I BART/Muni'd to her boyfriend's place in the Cow Hill/Marina place. It was really nice to see my 'little sister' again and have a proper catch-up chat, plus I've heard so much about Karl and was happy to meet him for the first time :-).
Friday: Jenni and I wandered Union Street, where we spent a ridiculous amount of time in Ambiance and I spent an even more ridiculous amount of time trying to decide whether or not to get a peacock feathered headband. It looked so glamorous on Jenni, I couldn't help but wish some of that glamor would rub off on me if I bought it, and so I fell prey to wishful thinking. Then I met Anna and Jamie for lunch at Lee's, which we took back to Anna's place. Then Anna went back to work and Jamie and I had a nice stroll by the Marina and a long chat in a cafe, and then Rudy drove over from Oakland and we had gooooooood food and a really nice chat in our impromptu 'cafe' - a.k.a. the kids section of Kinokuniya! That was some blockade of the children's aisle we had going on there, us three big monsters crouching on the tiny stools meant for people a third our height. Ahem. And then we played card games at Anna and Henry's and laughed at all the random silly inside jokes we've collected through the years.
Anna: I can't believe you're 25. That means we have a history together.
Saturday: Wake up late, finally straggle off for dim sum [yum! Henry read my mind EXACTLY], a bit of wandering along Baker Beach, they drop me off for home, I drag the parents out for sushi, some light packing and drowsing off to the TV.
Sunday: fly to Beijing.
Monday: Michael picks me up at the airport.
Tuesday-Wednesday: Reacquaint myself with the city I am obsessed with in all realms of China Meets America Meets Jessica's Life. Throughout my stay here, various interactions with the public health system in China proves that China is more on top of its game than I gave it credit for, and that I am possibly slightly less compliant with public health quarantine efforts than a public health grad student should be.
Thursday-Tuesday: In Yunnan [southwest China] with the brother and the parents. 14 hours on the bus, plus another 4-5 in a taxi, in less than 2 day period, affords us food poisoning, spectacular views, and several close shaves with car sickness. Also, way too much goofiness to be confined to one family, but there you go. Also, I can't tell what draws more attention: our English, our various Chinese accents, or outrageous inside jokes and the laughter that ensues, or the fact that we are a family of 4 in a nation with a one-child policy.
Haha. I think my favorite are the 2 on the bottom right. You'll notice the intergenerational difference in the interpretation of the word 'fierce.' My brother and I were going for 'Channel your inner Korean superstar' fierce, and my parents were going for ... 'We are Korean royalty you will now be beheaded' fierce. Of note, there is no actual Korean blood in the family, Korean TV/movies is just all over the Chinese-speaking world so this is our faint interpretation [and probably misinterpretation] of the phenomenon.
Wednesday: fly back to the US.
Thursday: putz around, see my high school friends for a nice dinner and to celebrate Derek's birthday. J-S, Ted, Amy, Jeff, Rachel, Sarah, Emie, Derek, Adam + Jamie. We get gelato, yum.
Friday: Mumble goodbye to the parents as they head off for Toronto at the crack of dawn. Drive myself up to Berkeley to hang out with Alex in Peet's Coffee [and crack up the woman sitting next to us:
Jessica: Ooooh! You're the Love Doctor.
Jessica: The Dating Consultant?
Woman: *Looks over at us but says nothing.*
Alex: It's the type of love that is defined by ... what do you call it ... there's a word for it ...
Woman: *bursts out laughing* I think the word you're looking for is 'prostitution.'
Then we ramble around Berkeley and find me new parking and chill in my parked car with the seats back and the windows rolled down as the meter maid rolls by about 5 times without stopping, until Rita calls and says she's back from work. Then I hang out with Rita and she shows me all the amazing stuff she's been up to. Like I get to see this and this and this and this in person, and it is even more beautiful than on the computer screen. And she bowls me over by giving me this and this as well. Rita!!! You're were supposed to keep these for yourself!!! And I meekly hand over my postcard and a very small amount of blue and green fabric, for variety, after which I pour through her scrap pile and haul away hordes myself [I am terrible with large pieces of fabric]. And then we get dinner and I am very sleepy and slightly jetlagged but make it back to Palo Alto in one piece.
Saturday: Drag myself out of bed but am late anyways for a morning hike with Amy and J-S at the Dish. Meet Rachael and Trip for lunch - vegan Indian, sooooooooo good. There's a Japanese market in the plaza as well, which should be perfect for my parents: she shops, he eats.
Food count: Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, dim sum, Japanese, Indian, more Thai ... I am ONE HAPPY GIRL.
China fooding count: jian bing, jin yin man tou, donkey meat, turtle, pearl tea, fried goat cheese with tomato, a ton of bottled green tea which I love, that chocolate-covered taro popsicle I love, the carrot and egg fried dumplings at that dumpling place I adore, zha jiang mian, and of course, several rounds of BREAKFAST. Oh, the breakfast.
OK. I'm good for the next 6 months. I think.
And finally, I snapped this photo before I uploaded my pictures. It's my "fabric combination inspiration" for the Spring Blooms swap:
Rita dear, notice anything familiar? The mini-quilt has since been sent and opened [and she's even uploaded a photo already!] but I am being a tad bit lazy and will get around to it soon, I promise you! Probably with more '11th hour sewing' stories to share.
It's good to be back!