My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion

They tell us autumn's a-comin'
And soon everything around us will die
Only a fool believes that he is
Different from the birds in the sky
-Flaming Lips

Every morning when I wake up, cozy under my down comforter, I use my droid to log onto the Wifi and check Instagram for newly uploaded photos. During the night while I sleep, all my friends and family are awake enjoying their lives. What may seem mundane to them—taking the kids to the store, walking the dog, making a pumpkin pie—is not ordinary to me. I get to enjoy a piece of the life I left at home.

Last week, my mom posted a picture on Instagram of my 5-year old nephew swimming. My sister also posted a picture of him eating frozen yogurt. Another friend posted a picture of herself outside wearing a strapless dress. Ahhh, Autumn in the Sacramento Valley, California. According to, the high in Sacramento is 76˚F and the low is 51˚F. Shorts for the day and a sweater for later. Swimming (albeit, a little chilly) when the sun is out and pumpkin pie in the evening.

What! Swimming in California?
For comparison, the Beijing high is 58˚F and the low is 34˚F. I leave the apartment bundled up in my down jacket, hat, and gloves.

We arrived in Beijing with our lives packed into two suitcases. Those suitcases were woefully lacking space for winter clothes. As the weather grew colder, I layered more clothes on, and I began feeling like the hobo lady. Not only did I totally mismatch (I didn’t care, I was cold), but three layers of summer clothes does not equal a winter outfit.

Fortunately, Beijing has loads of shopping malls, from the super nice and expensive (Esprit, Zara, and Uni-qlo) to the cheap and fake brand names (outdoor street market or on the sidewalk). In preparation for the winter, I have bought one thick sweatshirt, one sweater, two knitted scarves, gloves, two winter hats, and two sets of fleece lined tights. I purchased most of these garments from the hodge-podge stalls at the underground clothes market.  Last week, I bought fleece lined athletic pants for the sole purpose of not freezing in my apartment. Xialian gave me full length black down coat (formerly belonging to Bai Milan). My winter wardrobe will be complete once I find good deal on warm boots.  Mentally and wardrobe-wise, I am nearly ready for winter.

Chinese word of the blog: 秋天 qiū tiān (literally, harvest time day)
                                           English translation: Autumn

Autumn is here!