7.23.2017

Elevation 坐飞机

High, higher than the sun
You shoot me from a gun
I need you to elevate me here,
At the corner of your lips
As the orbit of your hips
Eclipse, you elevate my soul
-U2

The day we leave she woke up happy 
I have heard about those babies. You know the ones that fall asleep in their cribs with minimal fuss then wake up eight to twelve hours later. Or if they do fuss, a few soothing pats and “sshhh” will settle them back to dreamland.

Not my Dumpling. For the most part, she is very content, happy, and personable. That is until she realizes she's tired. The light switch turns off. The clock strikes midnight. Amiable Dr. Jekyll becomes evil Mr. Hyde. My Dumpling’s adorable coos suddenly become inconsolable crying. We don't bedtime story or lullaby,  Dumpling's bedtime and naptime routine is a jaunt in the Ergo around the neighborhood.

So the thought of a 14 hour flight across the Pacific from Beijing to California was daunting. I imagined that we would be walking a screaming --or at least a very tense six month old baby-- up and down the aisles, circumventing the meal cart and sufferers of restless leg syndrome. I hoped beyond hope that my nap resistant Dumpling would nurse/sleep the whole way and I could catch up on six months of movie watching.

Neither case happened. Dumpling neither screamed or slept. OK, she slept a bit. Thankfully, she fell asleep during takeoff and stayed asleep for the following hour and half. Then she woke up. Bright eyed. Curious. Smiling and flapping her arms in excitement. Entertaining the stewards and fellow passengers.

birdMAN and I spent the transpacific flight taking turns amusing Dumpling, walking her up and down the aisles, attempting to rock her to sleep and succeeding in a few fitful naps, and chatting with friendly elderly Chinese ladies. By the time we arrived in Seattle, Dumpling’s time asleep totaled about four hours and her exhausted parents zero. Even so, birdMAN managed to watch a good portion of TV and I sort of watched “Florence Foster Jenkins” and “Lego Batman Movie.”

For Dumpling, the novelty of flying wore thin by the time we started the last leg of our travel. From Seattle to Sacramento, our tense-wide-eyed-sleep-deprived-wild-child threatened total meltdown. Yet, she still managed to smile and flap her arms in excitement at fellow passengers. That's my Little Miss Personality. She just can't turn it off.

Dumpling finally did fall asleep in her first ride ever in a car seat from the airport to Moomoo’s house. She slept the next two days like a corpse (or normal baby?), after which she returned to usual sleep resistant self. Turned out not sleeping for the majority of the plane flight made adjusting to the jet lag a cinch.

So we got one China-to-America flight down. And many, many, many more to go. We'll all be pros soon.

Chinese Word of the Blog: 坐飞机 zuò fēijī (literally, sit airplane)
English translation: to take a plane flight


About to take off. She looks worried.

Made it to Seattle
Let's Ergo her to sleep
First time in a carseat and slept like a baby

Everyone is tired
The next evening we're all smiles


6.18.2017

This Fire 上火

Eyes boring a way through me
Paralyse, controlling completely
Now there is a fire in me
A fire that burns
-Franz Ferdinand


We are just two Americans with a very pink baby surrounded by Chinese people, many of which who are more than happy to offer unsolicited and sometimes scientifically unsound advice. I'm sure Americans also offer unsolicited and scientifically unsound advice, but perhaps because of the cultural gap, I find most of the Chinese advice utterly absurd.

Sometimes the advice is more like commands. When she's wearing her flower headband: “You can't put that headband on that baby! It's too hot and so much trouble!” But that flower headband is sooo cute and girly. Or if she's barefoot: “She needs socks! Her feet will get cold!” But it's 90F. How can her feet get cold? When she's in the Ergo: “That's bad for her back! You should carry her so she lays flat!” Well, Ergo says it's safe sooo…..

Triple offender! Headband, barefoot, and in Ergo. Complete with condemning Ayis.

I usually nod, smile and thank them for their concern. Except perhaps when their concern is about Dumpling's red eyelids.

Oh, I know you have noticed but didn't want to be rude and ask, right?

Just like up to 30% of newborns, Dumpling was born with red patches on her eyelids (aka salmon patch), forehead (aka angel kiss), and nape of the neck (aka stork bite). These are caused by stretched blood vessels below the thin layer of skin. The marks typically fade by one to two years old.

I understand that many people do not know about salmon patches, so the direct and tactless question, “What’s with her red eyes?” (“她的眼睛怎么了?”) doesn't offend me. I typically keep the response short: “It’s nothing. The doctor says it will go away as she grows.” (“没怎么了。医生说她长大没有了。”) If I feel like making conversation, I might explain the scientific reason for her salmon patches. Usually satisfied, the inquirer can move on to other subjects like whether I make a enough milk for Dumpling. (Yes, that is another common question, “Do you breastfeed and do you have enough milk?” The answer is yes and yes.)

But sometimes people skip the question altogether and go straight to the diagnosis and cure.

After delivering a big jug of water, the delivery guy looked Dumpling over as she kicked around in her crib. He quickly surmised that she was too dry and I should give her a bottle of warm water. Surely, she needed to be hydrated. Uh no. She breastfeeds and she doesn’t need to drink water. He was adamant. Everyone in his hometown gives their babies warm water to combat dry skin. Beijing is very dry. Alright, thank you for the concern. You can go now. In case you are as clueless as the water guy, I'll tell you that breastmilk is sufficiently hydrating while providing important nutrition. No warm water necessary for a breastfed small infant.

A couple weeks ago, a self-confessed health junkie told me that I should put sesame oil on her eyelids. I said, "Come again? Did I understand you right? Sesame oil?" She said yes. Dumpling suffers from too much fire (上火了). Mmhh. So maybe sesame oil is a cooling substance? As I was picturing putting sesame oil on Dumpling’s eyelids and how she would smell like an Asian salad, the self-confessed health junkie clarified that it wasn’t Dumpling’s fault--it was mine. Apparently while pregnant, I had too much fire (火力). If that’s true, I should have drank more ice water while pregnant.

Fortunately, Dumpling is blissfully unaware of her rose-tinted eyelids. After all, her eyelids are not the reason she garners so much attention. Her inquisitive eyes and generous smiles tickle pink friends and strangers alike. Soon, next week in fact, she'll be in the land of her citizenship making more friends. She can't wait!

In addition to showing off my little bundle of joy to all our California crew, I will find out if Americans also offer unsolicited and scientifically unsound advice. You know, just for comparison's sake.

Sometimes unsolicited advice is sound... So just in case California's heat wave makes Dumpling’s fire more fiery, perhaps I should pack the sesame oil.

Chinese word of the blog: 上火 (shànghǔo)
English definition: to suffer from excessive body heat

This should put the fire out
Dumpling makes friends easy!

5.08.2017

Bitties in the BK Lounge 汉堡包

Well it was a Wednesday
Me and boss hog was kinda hungry
Like two eggs, and a slop beef slice of lettuce
And a glass of milk and some cookies
Spotted in the mist was a BK logo
What we said well what do you know

-De La Soul



Kyle is openly, unabashedly, and unapologetically picky about his food. He grew up believing that dining exclusively at MacDonald's, Pizza Hut, Taco Tree and a Chevron gas station could satisfy all nutritional needs. That's variety right? American, Italian, Mexican with several fruit flavored kinds of slurpees.

So understandably, Kyle thought that a trip to China, where people eat all sorts of detestable things like seafood and onions, would be out of the question. That was until he and his wife, Coco (birdMan's youngest sister), heard that our little Dumpling would be born in China and would not visit California until the following summer. Ah, the alluring power of a fresh faced, utterly dependent baby.

Uncles are good for Dumpling holding

So Kyle confronted his deepest fears and, along with his mother-in-law, Moomoo, and beloved wife, Coco, made the transpacific flight to the land of culinary unknowns.

And, boy, are we glad they did! There were three sets of extra hands plying for a turn to hold Dumpling, which means I showered everyday and used the bathroom whenever I wanted. They also brought loads of baby clothes, coffee, chocolates and candy, some more baby clothes, baby books, baby toys and some more baby stuff.

Dumpling ate up the attention. She was carried around like a queen, soothed to sleep smooth like butter, and admired as though she donned a peacock's glorious feathers.

But it wasn't all about Dumpling! (Who am I kidding? Of course it was!) We also managed to visit some Beijing hotspots as well as our favorite places to eat. Kyle was thrilled that my favorite places to eat do not have eat-while-still-moving octopus or arthropods.

Kyle, in fact, was pleasantly surprised to find that Beijing abounds with pizza, burgers, French fries, and even mediocre Mexican food. You just gotta hang with the right people, and the right people know to avoid seedy noodle dives and China's Pizza Hut (not the same as America's Pizza Hut!) at all costs.

MMMhhhh mediocre Mexican food
But we couldn't just let these Californians only eat western food. After much discussion, birdMAN and I decided a relatively easy way to expand everybody’s culinary horizons would be Korean BBQ. Korean BBQ is the bunny hill of adventurous eating. Everyone sits around a small coal burning BBQ and watches meat sizzle to desired wellness, then picks pieces of meat off with metal chopsticks at leisure. We can play it safe and avoid the cow tongue and squid and stick to the meaty parts of the cow, pig, and chicken.

This culinary bunny hill, however, is not risk-free. Koreans' greatest love is one of Kyle's greatest disdains.

Koreans absolutely love-I literally cannot emphasize enough-love, love, love pickled vegetables. To those of you who do not know your pickled vegetables, Korean pickled vegetables are called kimchi (kim-chee). Kimchi for Koreans is like salt and pepper for Americans--it goes on everything and with everything. While kimchi comes in variety of vegetables and degrees of spiciness, they are all pickled.

As aforementioned, pickles and pickled things are some of the things that Kyle doesn't eat. No big deal. Hopefully, the meat sizzling on the table top BBQ will distract Kyle from the twenty little dishes with twenty different kinds of pickled stuff also on the table.


So much pickled stuff!
We cook our own food

Kyle admitted, once entering the restaurant, he got worried. He saw the cylinders of burning coal sitting on the centers of tables. He smelled the smoky aromas of scorching meat. He saw little dishes full of unfamiliar vegetables covered with unfamiliar sauces. He saw the servers carrying around trays of raw meat, some of it indiscernible to the untrained eye. Where had his crazy China-living family taken him? Was there even ketchup here? Certainly, there were a lot of onions.

I am glad to say, Kyle successfully mastered the bunny hill. Ignoring the twenty little dishes of twenty different kinds of pickled stuff, he devoured the bibimbap (rice topped with egg and vegetables) and liked the Korean red sauce (gochujiang). Korean red sauce is a spicy paste which happens to be made with fermented soy beans. That's right! Kyle ate fermented soy beans! And you know what? Fermentation is a kind of pickling, that means Kyle liked something that's pickled. The skies are the limit now.

What's next? Kyle savoring a dill pickle? Definitely not tomorrow, or next week, but perhaps, just perhaps, someday.

Kyle is a testimony that anybody with food fears can do alright in Beijing. As for all those three adventurers, Come back real soon, you hear? Dumpling needs someone to hold her.

Chinese Word of the blog: 汉堡包 hànbǎobāo
English translation: Hamburger

Eating Korean BBQ like pros
Kyle missed out on this seafood paella
This isn't very Chinese at all
But this is! Peking duck and everyone used chopsticks great!
That's how to eat a bowlful of noodles
These two have never seen such a white baby before
Dumpling's first trip to Jingshan
We can thank Kyle for Dumpling's toy Tobius Funke #nevernude

3.18.2017

Time Has Come Today 百天

Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can't put it off another day
I don't care what others say
They say we don't listen anyway
Time has come today
-Chambers Brothers


 

Today is March 17. Exactly 100 days ago, Dumpling was born.

Why is this important? Because strangers can no longer scold me for taking Dumpling outside.

Warming weather and blue skies are nice going out weather, so sometimes I'll pack Dumpling up in the Boba wrap and get outside. We'll walk to the post office, buy fruit and vegetables, or just plain enjoy the fresh air. On the weekends, the three of us eat early dinners at family friendly restaurants. Going out requires travel, either by walking on the street, riding the bus/subway, or taking a taxi. Of course, a Western family carrying around a little white baby in such a strange confining wrap at best attracts curious stares and spontaneous picture taking, and at worst, vocal condemnation.

Elderly people in particular will get really close, moving aside any scarves or jacket collar obstructing their view of Dumpling nestled against my chest. Eyes narrowing, they'll ask the question everyone asks, "How many days old is that baby?" Then I'll smile and say two months, or more recently three months. Then they calculate the exact number of days. The response is usually, "That baby is too small! That carrier thing is bad for the baby's back and legs! The baby should be carried flat on its back!" Then they turn to nearby Chinese people with mild looks of exasperation and shock. Poor western mother that doesn't know how to take care of a baby.

Not yet 100 days but ready to go!

Then I say the baby is used to it. She likes it! That's how she was she was in my stomach. It's a feeble defense against staunch thinking. Then I remind myself that the hard and fast rules-like the 100 day rule- other criticisms, and unsolicited advice show how much Chinese people value mothers and children. They aren't condemning me. They are caring for me. Right?

Younger people (meaning my age and younger) are less condemning. While they might point out that babies in China are typically confined to the home for their first 100 days of life, they are much more accepting that Westerners have different habits. They are also fascinated by the Boba wrap. Not only is Dumpling small and white, she folds up like a baby kangaroo in its mama's pouch.

But China is changing fast, and many of the traditions are falling by the wayside. One mother admitted to me that once she finished her Sit One Month, she took her infant out for a walk.

Why 100 days? I don't know, but 100 is a beautiful number. A one followed by two zeroes. The lowest three-digit number. The square of ten, and the square root of 10,000. And the number of days a baby must live before seeing the blue sky (or smoggy sky if you live in Beijing).

Chinese Phrase of the Blog: 百天 bǎi tīan
English translation: 100 days
Example sentence:
小孩满了一百天之后就好养好带了。
Xiǎohái mǎnle yībǎi tiān zhīhòu jiù hǎo yǎng hǎo dàile。
English translation: Once a child has reached 100 days old, everything is good.
Note: This is my very loose translation. Not word for word.


17 days old went outside after leaving hospital
37 days old and made it to Great Leap
63 days and loving the blue sky
Exactly 100 days and taking a sweet ride!

3.10.2017

Talk the Talk 说中文

Talk the talk, start up a conversation
Talk the talk, let me inside your mind
Talk the talk, this could be a revelation
Talk the talk, we're talkin' the talk this time
-Mr. Mister


I was a good Chinese student last week. As my new Chinese tutor recommended, I watched a Chinese sitcom. Once. Twice. Again and once again, pausing the sitcom so I could read the Chinese captions because my hearing and language processing abilities are slower than the dialogue. And what did I learn?

I will never speak real Chinese. Not really.

For an English speaker, the Chinese language presents some major challenges. First, Chinese is tonal. Changing the tone is like exchanging a vowel in an English word. Cat and cot. In and on. Fat and fit. Doing so totally changes the meaning. In Chinese, the word "ma" can mean mother, horse, curse, or be a question particle depending on the tone. Second, English and Chinese speakers use different parts of their mouths and tongues to talk. There are some sounds I just plain cannot make. Getting my tongue and mouth to even remotely say 女 (nǚ girl) and 旅(lǚ travel) correctly feels like my tongue is in a twisting vise. Third, while simple sentences are pretty similar to English like 我给你这个 (I give you this), complex sentence construction and logic is not the same. Constructing a complex sentence in Chinese requires you to rewire your English brain. Not an easy feat for a 36 year old mom.

Let me give you some examples extracted from the popular Chinese sitcom, 家有儿女 (Home With Kids). The following sentences come from Season 1, Episode 1, with word for word English translation:
  1. 我的手被虫子给咬了!My hand by bug give bite.
  2. 人八十天把地球都换游一周。People eighty days take earth all around travel one cycle.
  3. 你们难道不想问点什么吗?比如说,我刚才干吗去了?You really not want ask little what? Example say, I just now do went?
Did you get that? I am sorry, let me put that in better English for you:
  1. A bug bit my hand.
  2. People can travel around the earth in eighty days.
  3. Don't you want to ask me something? Like what I have been doing?
I mulled the first phrase, "我的手被虫子给咬了", over for a few days. This sentence is in passive voice, or "My hand got bitten by a bug." Passive voice is usually a big no no for me. The more simple, concise and direct, the better. So I asked my Chinese friend if I can say, "虫子咬了我的手” (The bug bit my hand). She said sure, but you sound like a foreigner.

Yep, I will always be a foreigner. I cannot undo the thirty plus years I spent exclusively speaking English. My brain is dull and slow, frequently forgetting the tones and unwilling to connect with my old and tired tongue. And I have to train my brain to think in passive voice, I mean, my brain must be trained by me to think in passive voice.

Chinese word of the blog: 说中文 (shūo zhōngwén)
English translation: speak Chinese

Quick! Press pause...My hand by bug give bite ???





3.02.2017

Fabulously Lazy 坐月子

I've hardly seen her likes before
Somewhere else, nowhere else before
The girl in the spotlight evermore
Like no one before, forever more
-Franz Ferdinand



Zuo yuezi (坐月子)literally means “sit one month”. The Sit One Month is the monthlong period immediately following childbirth during which a mommy must stay inside and avoid dangerous activities like drinking cold water (cold is bad), using air conditioning (wind is bad), taking showers (water is bad) or climbing stairs (moving is bad). All the aforementioned activities will further imbalance her body, which childbirth has rendered vulnerable and weak. Mommy's body is out of whack. Don't let the heat out, and don't let the cold in.

She lays on her back only to be disturbed to nurse her baby. Her mother or mother-in-law has moved into her home, not only to enforce the Sit One Month rules (no showers, ugh!), but also to care for the new child (perhaps for as long as three years until the child starts kindergarten). In addition to baby care, Grandma cooks special heat-restorative food, like eggs, rice wine porridge (米酒), and pig feet soup.

Rice wine porridge and eggs is on the menu for postnatal healing!

The above is typical of how the Sit One Month goes according what I've been told. While the Sit One Month rules vary from person to person, this practice is pervasive among all social classes.

China's educated, western influenced, city dwelling women are cutting their mothers and mothers-in-law out--and the inevitable family friction-- and opting for fancy Sit One Month rehabilitation centers. My hospital offers up to one month packages which includes a spacious, comfortable room with queen-size bed, a luxurious bathroom, 24-hour nanny service, massage, stretch mark fading, psychological treatment along with medical care. Month long packages range from 88,800 RMB (12,900 USD) to 138,800 RMB (20,200 USD). Other centers also offer baby care classes, baby acupressure, yoga, craft classes in fancy gated complexes for 27,000 USD per month [1].

Less affluent Chinese stick to traditional Sit One Month rules, strictly enforced by older generations. The dry-cleaning guy told me his wife spent the month laying on her back and drinking special soup. Another young mother told me that childbirth causes you to lose fire (or heat), and so showers are to be avoided because water is too cold. Another friend in her mid-fifties, barely literate and working as a nanny for a well-to-do Chinese family, was completely befuddled when I explained to her that western women do not do the Sit One Month. Another mother of a two-year old reluctantly adhered to the Sit One Month rules under her mother's stern eye. After the one month’s completion, a walk down the block left her out of breath.

I admit, I scoffed a little at the idea of a month long sequester. I am American, and American women pride themselves on rebounding quickly from something as mundane as childbirth. Proud mommies show off their little mini-mes at Starbucks or the mall. Nothing is cuter than a sleepy baby decked out in color coordinating hat and newborn onesie emblazoned with gold lettering, “Hello World” or “Brand New.” And no showering after childbirth? That's disgusting! Furthermore, not drinking cold water, or cold foods like fruit, to avoid getting a cold is scientifically unsound. If I want cold water, I am going to drink it.

As it turns out, I ended up sort of doing a Sit One Month. Because little Dumpling came six weeks early, weighing just under two kilograms, we spent the first two weeks of her life holed up in a hospital room to get her over her jaundice and fatten her up. During this time, I sat and sat only leaving my room to get water from down the hall. While I snoozed through the night, the nurses fed Dumpling expressed breast milk via syringe. The hospital provided breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus afternoon snack to my room, which I ate in bed. Yes, I sat and sat. And sat some more.

The weeks at home following the hospital stay were exhausting. Our lives revolved around getting our sleepy Dumpling’s weight up to 2.5 kg. I functioned on two hour increments between feedings, alternating between breastfeeding and syringe feeding Dumpling fortified expressed breast milk . She was such a sleepy baby, barely awake to eat. Feeding her 20 ml would sometimes take a half hour. Between feedings I--you guessed it--sat and sat. And sat some more.

The weather was also miserably cold and polluted, so staying inside was the attractive option. Dumpling was especially fragile as preemie and getting cold or sick could be dangerous. So I was thankful that because many respect the Sit One Month rules, most people stayed away and came only to drop off meals or fruit.

In retrospect, it would have been really nice to have my mother or mother-in-law around to help cook and clean for a while. Thirty days of Moomoo cooking would have been awesome. I would have been putting on the pounds along with Dumpling. Also, having time to baby bond undistracted by cooking and cleaning would have been nice. For a few weeks, I felt like Dumpling was a stranger that I needed to get to know.

Dumpling is coming up on three months old and gestational age of 1.5 months. I am glad to report that she's a champion breastfeeder, chubbed up and recently started smiling and cooing. We are best buds now.

And all that happened despite me taking showers.

Chinese Word of the blog: 坐月子 Zuò yuè zi
English translation: to convalesce for a month following childbirth, following a special diet, and observing various taboos to protect the body from exposure to the "wind"

[1] China Confinement Care for New Mothers now $27,000 a Month

Dumpling's personal nurse
Daddies are good at the sitting part
Xialian makes good dinner
Chinese friends make good lunch
Good eating during the Sit One Month
Sometimes we sleep instead of sit
Just chillin' at 4 weeks old
Two months old and getting big




2.15.2017

Ya Ya 姥姥

l, I'm sittin' here, la, la
Waiting for my ya ya
-Lee Dorsey




Come January, we usually get out of Beijing. No thanks dreary winter. Catch you later icy winds that cut like a knife. Gotta fly smog. Every winter, at least for the last three years, we beeline a plane to sunny California.

But not this year because...we had a baby! And brand spankin’ new babies don’t travel well. Fortunately, brand spankin’ new babies have an inexplicable power over grandparents. Suddenly, a fourteen hour flight across the Pacific Ocean doesn’t seem so horrible. Worrying about lung disease from breathing in Beijing’s notorious smog falls to the wayside. Morbid fear of squatty potties in poorly ventilated bathrooms turn into a minor nuisance.

Ahhh, the alluring power of a completely dependent, milk fragrant, fresh faced newborn.

So this year, California came to us.

My mom (aka Yaya) arrived the evening of January 20, one day after Dumpling's due date. The bulk of her luggage were goodies for the three of us: pink and white girly girl clothes for our sweet Dumpling, about three pounds of See's chocolates to sate sweet Dumpling's parent's sweet tooth, as well as tortillas, Paul Mitchell mousse, Keen sneakers, and Better Than Bouillon.

Dumpling meets her Yaya!

My parents already had planned to visit in April when our Dumpling would be a cooing, chub cheeked four month old. My mom, however, came as soon as she could upon hearing I had gone into early labor at 34 weeks.

As soon as she could turned out to be a month and half later. Getting a China visa isn't simple like going to the nearest Safeway for a gallon of milk. Obtaining a visa is a process involving hiring an agency or making a couple trips to the China Consulate in San Francisco. Furthermore, tickets using her flight points weren't readily available. So Yaya arrived just as everyone was leaving for the Chinese New Year Festival.

Goody for us. Beijing's cacophony settles to a hum during this time of year. Eerily empty subways. Short waits for a table at our favorite Korean BBQ joint. Stress free crossing the street. Yaya didn't get an opportunity to get suffocated in a sea of people, thus missing out on an authentic China experience.

But she didn't come all the way to Beijing to for an authentic China experience. She came because the grandma in her couldn't stay away. She came to see her brand new spankin’ new grand-Dumpling. She came to cuddle her and spoil her with attention and love.

And Dumpling was in Yaya heaven. She spent the week cradled in Yaya’s arms and snug against a warm body. BirdMAN and I got some Yaya love too: use of the hotel swimming pool, gym, room service, and hotel buffet breakfast (unlimited watermelon in the winter!). On the smoggy days, we hunkered down in our house or Yaya's plush hotel, taking turns holding Dumpling and watching her sleep. On nice days, we took Yaya to some of our favorite places to eat: Yunnan food, Mr. Shi’s Dumplings, Wagas for California fresh cuisine, Starbucks, and of course, a Beijing brew at Great Leap Brewing.

The week was over in a flash. Thankful my mom made the long trip for only a week's visit, I tearfully said goodbye. I liked seeing my mom with her one and only granddaughter. It was really sweet. I never imagined that having a baby around could make you so sentimental!

So Yaya packed her bags and California was gone.

But California will be back! We're looking forward to the next set of visitors heeding the alluring power of a completely dependent, milk fragrant, fresh faced newborn baby. Yes, Dumpling's Moomoo, Aunty Coco and Uncle Kyle will too head our way. We can't wait!

Chinese word of the blog: 姥姥 lǎolao
English translation: maternal grandmother

Yunnan food! Our favorite. Yaya tries stinky tofu.
Mr. Shi's dumplings do not disappoint!
Our Dumpling gets some dumplings
Yeessss! Room service. Thank you Yaya!
No chai tea lattes found in China Starbucks. Hot chocolate will have to do.
Dumpling misses her Yaya