A Quiet (Caffeinated) Toast

2011 went out with a bang, or rather a blaze of pulsing lasers synchronized to pounding music in a warehouse in 798. Our group filtered out into the bitter new year’s night and packed Brett, huge suitcase and all, into a black cab and bade him goodbye.

We ate hot pot, largely due to the Chinese contingent’s clamoring. It seems western and eastern drunk food ideals differ vastly. Mike and I spoke wistfully about the virtues of diner food while we fished lotus root and wilted cabbage out of the burbling spicy liquid.

In the spirit of contrast, the first day of the year was quiet and lovely. I went into town and had the garish yellow tiger stripes in my hair dyed over with a modest light brown. I ate hummus topped with warm mushroom, and tabbouleh. I read Maxine Hong Kingston in Fish Eye, over a warm latte. To cap off the luxury, I saw a film…a rather overwrought murder mystery starring Elijah Wood. The dialogue was sometimes cringe-worthy, but the experience of the plush theater seats, my own popcorn box, a smuggled chocolate cowtail and a can of cream soda was so worth the 80 kuai ticket.

I’ll feel Brett’s absence in the next couple of weeks, but I like solitude. I’ll get some writing done and muse over the possibilities brimming in 2012.

Last year was a good one. A few highlights were:

-The move to the gritty burbs with Daniel. Occasionally I miss the convenience of Tuanjiehu but overall an excellent decision. I love our little cozy apartment, even with its aqua galley kitchen.
-The whirlwind two weeks in Tennessee with family and friends. Finally got to see the French Mansion!
-The Irish contingent descending on Beijing. Such fun rowdy and relaxed times–McDonalds ordered, the Great Wall scaled, roast duck carved and consumed. So much fun!
-My first Thanksgiving dinner in China. 2010 was spent in Thailand, so this year was the first time I hosted and pulled it off with the Chinese fam.
-All the mundane and lovely moments with the gang. Dancing, cooking, debating, laughing with Kurt, D., Valena, Ileana, Mike, Ashley, Josh, and many more.

In 2012, I can’t wait for:

-My spring festival vacation in a few weeks. We haven’t picked a location yet, but contenders are: Yunnan, the Philippines, and Sanya.
-My trip home this summer. It’s gonna be jam-packed full of beautiful people and places.
-The birth of my nephew in May!!!!!!!!!!!
-Rachelle’s wedding
-Chandler’s wedding
-Visiting California after a five-year absence (In-n-Out Burger, I’m dreamin’ of you!)
-Exploring Beijing in the rest of my time here, and scheming what’s next!

Here’s to 2012. I raise my Starbucks double tall latte to what’s coming.

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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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