All the way to New York
I can feel the distance getting close
You're right next to me
But I need an airplane
-Tori Amos

Contrary to what many of our friends and family feared, living in Beijing is not like living in the dark ages. Starbucks, KFC, and McDonald’s are easily accessible. Grocery stores are stocked with Dove dark chocolate, Loreal make-up, and Doritos. Last week we ordered a vacuum cleaner online. The vacuum was delivered the next day, at which time we paid cash on delivery. Shopping for clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture and electronics is not a problem. Nonetheless, Beijing does not satisfy every desire for a native Californian.

Checking out the wine selection at the BHG
I am super excited that my younger sister and her husband will be staying with us for three weeks during February. Having family come all the way from California—what does that mean? It means I make a comprehensive list of all the things I want from my home country, and my sister will dutifully gather these items and bring them to us.


  1. Chili powder
  2. Corn tortillas (100-count preferable)
  3. Tabasco sauce
  4. Taco seasoning
  5. Italian seasoning
  6. Ghirardelli or Trader’s Joes Hot Cocoa Mix
  7. Anything from Trader Joes
  8. Dijon mustard
  9. Stain remover stick
  10. A box of See’s candy
  11. A Costco-sized block of parmesan cheese 
  12. Cowboy cookies (made by B’s Mom)
  13. Granola (made by my older sister)
  14. Paul Mitchell Extra Body Sculpting Foam (large bottle)
  15. Paul Mitchell Hair Gel
  16. Ladies’ shaving razor
  17. Tylenol PM
  18. Deodorant 

Other items we would like but not transportable include:

  1. Lagunitas IPA 
  2. Tamales Bay oysters
  3. Point Reyes blue cheese
  4. Howell Mountain Wine
  5. Red wine spaghetti sauce with artichoke hearts (from the Nugget)
  6. Hot Italian sausage
  7. Olives
  8. Fresh salsa
  9. Avocados
  10. Fresh basil

Some of the listed items can be found in Beijing. I heard that Jenny Lu’s has cheese, spices, and tortillas. But these items are more difficult to find and limited in selection—plus expensive for a person trying to live frugally.  So I eagerly anticipate to things coming from home. And of course, spending time with one of my best friends in the whole world – my sister!

Chinese word of the Blog: 玉米饼 yù mǐ bǐng 
English translation: corn cake / Mexican tortilla

I had to come all the way to Beijing to eat my first Big Mac ever.