Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Holiday Season

One New Year celebration down, one to go.  I spent two weeks back in the states in Chicago and Colorado.  Stateside was good, saw my whole family and a few friends in Chicago.  Whirlwind trips are hard though and I always leave wishing i could have done more, seen more friends, spent more "quality time" with everyone, but in the end, the only ones i really saw that much of were the rents. Don't mistake me, i love them infinity, they are wonderful parents in every way, but they already visited me in China for a month last year.  My siblings all have in-law families to whom they have obligations, so we all have approximately 10 hours together on whatever day we celebrate Christmas, which this year was the 23rd.

For Christmas, i once again came home with loads of presents, a whole separate bagful, for my nieces and nephews.  I like to think of myself as Santa-ish nowadays, and the similarities are many:
  1. I have a fluffy beard.
  2. I am jolly, or at least optimistic.
  3. I travel from across the world and arrive an hour before i left.
  4. I arrive with a whole bag of presents built by little people.
I earned the honor of being Santa this year, passing out the presents.  However, since i was dressed in a panda suit, i was known as Panda Claus.

Colorado was wonderful as always.  I spent two nights with my sister's family in Evergreen, a night in boulder with my college friends Will and Andrea, and the remaining three nights with Larkin in his mountain house of awesome, wonderful people.  Highlights include eating and drinking at the Great Divide, Mountain Sun, and Avery breweries, breakfast and a morning hike with Larkin, strolling pearl street, ultimate frisbee in Boulder, and, of course, New Years Eve. Those same panda pajamas were my costume for the "Black and White" party we attended.  

I would have gone snowboarding as a panda also, but, well, snowboarding wasn't worthwhile. Cuz pandas don't like cold. Also Colorado had one of the worst early ski seasons on record, so i didn't even bother with the $108 lift tickets.  Breckenridge was pretty wonderful anyway, even though none of the people i hoped would come, came. I had rented a place for anyone who could make it. I thought to myself, "if you rent it, they will come"... but in the end, i chilled by myself and a few random people i met along the way.  Fortunately, Breck is a really, really nice little town.  I didn't mind having some quiet time.  

So now i'm back in Beijing, just finishing up two weeks of work. We just got over one of the worst bouts of pollution in recent memory. Fortunately, i'm headed to Hangzhou for Chinese New Year (Jan 23rd) for a week with Esther.  It'll be my first CNY with a Chinese family, which should be, well, i don't know yet.  I'll... let you know?  Anyway, i cannot wait to see her, so it won't be anything but fantastic.

Oh, and here's a picture of the boarding gate, leaving San Francisco for Beijing.

"Now boarding seating area 1" sounds a lot like "Quick! Everybody run! There's only room for half of you on board!" in Chinese.


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