I’m at home listening to Weathervanes and sipping what Brett and I last night dubbed a “Hard Apple Pie.”  It’s a simple, autumnal cocktail comprised of ice-cold vodka, apple juice, and a cinnamon stick twist.  It’s refreshing, crisp, and lightly spiced.  It’s nice having the hint of cinnamon in a cold drink.  I love wassail, cider (spiked or no), and mulled wine as much as the next autumn/winter beverage-lover, but I like the chill, too.

a Hard Apple Pie

Today is the perfect day for a crisp fall cocktail.  It was so warm, I stripped off my cardigan and polka-dot windbreaker coming back from the market, and donned a grey t-shirt I had just purchased from a shop in the vast labyrinth of an underground women’s clothing market.  I bought a few new items, actually, and I was quite pleased with myself because I bargained for them.  Bargaining isn’t my strong suit–I’m not ruthless.  I’m not shrewd.  But bargain for these, I did, even if I only did knock off about 100 quai.  Hey, that’s 15 USD.

I couldn’t resist modeling before pitching them in the washing machine:

new threads, and blue sky! finally, a real fall day.

I went running then, and loved the warmth, loved wearing a t-shirt and shorts.  My legs got a little red from the chill, but it was still barely there.  Fall was barely there, today, in the best kind of way: sharp blue sky, warm sun, a few yellow leaves drifting in the oily water lapping at the walkway’s edge.

The roadside snack stands are selling roasted sweet potatoes now, and sweet potato chips.  I especially want to try the latter.  Maybe tomorrow, when Brett and I set out on another daytrip outside the city, we’ll stop at a stand and buy some.  The roasting sweet potatoes smell so good, and look good, too–bright orange, soft flesh inside dry, cracking skin.

Tonight I’m glad to be in my cozy apartment–I might leave soon, for a lazy stroll to somewhere, or to meet friends–but in this moment it’s nice to have a home, to sit in and sip seasonal cocktails.  It’s a nice apartment, this.  It’s not what I pictured when I was in Paris, longing for a place of my own.  I don’t know what I pictured, exactly.  Not a studio, probably…and I really did want an open balcony.

Still, our enclosed dome makes for a passable substitution, even though the view is lacking.  I glimpsed some pretty sunset clouds, barely, out the left side of the rather spaceship-esque curving windows.  There’s a bonsai tree in the window ledge, and an orchid.  And a mint plant.  Soon there will be a table, and a cozy rug, and then we can sit out there and sip our cocktails whilst craning our necks for a corner of the sunset.

No, it’s not perfect.  But I like it.  I even have grown fond of the picture belonging to the former owner (though I shouldn’t grow too fond–she’ll reclaim it in February when she returns from Sweden.)  It’s an odd painting, and stark: an Asian schoolgirl with a severe bob stands rigid, knife in hand, staring down a saucy pig, who raises its head in a defiant dare, exposing its throat.

Of course I want more–of course I enter into a materialistic frenzy the moment I step into IKEA’s display rooms, a frenzy which leaves me ready to flop down into a display bed next to whatever Chinese person is snoring there.  They really do pan out in the displays at IKEA.  Now I understand, though.  Materialistic scheming is taxing.

We’ve bought a few lamps, and odds and ends.  We need rugs, we need much more.  But we’re OK right now, without them.

The bonsai, the orchid, and the laundry. I can't wait to fulfill my schemes for this space.

This is roughly half of the apt.

Analyzing the swine showdown.

Cheers to fall!  May your Octobers be mild and sunny and crisp–or whichever way you like them.  In my view, Octobers are for skies of vivid blue, red-and-yellow tinged trees, and mild weather with a hint of crisp.  Novembers are melancholy, for crunchy brown leaves, branches rapidly baring, and grey drizzles and chilly winds.  I love both months.  In November you aren’t sick of bare branches and autumn-cold drizzles.  February, though, and oftentimes March–those months can be rough.  Rough, I say.  Let’s soak up fleeting fall, and not think of the coming winter too much.


About dumplingdaze

I moved to Beijing from Paris a year and a half ago. I'm originally from the green hills of Tennessee, and although I miss bluegrass and good biscuits like I miss croissants and a good piece of St. Felicien, I'm enjoying my new home in the Far East. Chinese food is delicious! Dumplings, or jiaozi, are some of my favorite things on earth to eat. As you might have surmised, I love food. I also love words, and this blog is a space for me to ramble about food and life and experiences in Asia and beyond.
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