China Summer 2015 (I)

Last summer, I went on a month long trip to China. I never actually got around to posting about my adventures there, so I decided since I still have the pictures on my computer, why not now?

I’ll probably split into several posts as I have so many images and so many experiences that I want to share. The first part of my trip was spent in Shangtou, located in Guangdong, China, where my dad grew up. Its a rather undeveloped city located in the South near the ocean. The people there still hold onto seemingly conservative or old-fashioned views to outsiders, but are fiercely family oriented and so welcoming to visitors.

The most important purpose of our trip was visiting relatives and family members that we had not seen in at least three years.

IMG_1429

This picture is taken at a relative’s house whose sons owned the apartment building. These are my grandparents on my dad’s side.

IMG_1360

We are picking lychee from lychee trees with my father’s side of the family. One of my grandmother’s good friends owns the place.

IMG_1367

My grandfather’s brother, so my great uncle, owns a farm that grows these special type of beans. If you see the little circular items, those are the beans! they have to be taken out of these large fuzzy pods individually before they can be sold.

Another really important aspect of visiting China is of course the food! Because Shangtou is near the ocean, we ate a ton of seafood. Also, as per custom in China, our relatives took turns taking us out to eat. We ate out almost every day!  One of my favorite places to go is a bamboo restaurant in a bamboo forest. They incorporate bamboo in almost every dish, bamboo from their forest, and everything else there is also locally sourced!

IMG_1378

This is the place behind the bamboo restaurant I was talking about! Another one of its perks is going from inside the bamboo forest to the outside beautiful lake and its surroundings.

IMG_1433

Lots of seafood – one of my favorites is squid!

IMG_1419

Crazy dimsum!

IMG_1346

Lychee is everywhere in the South!

IMG_1404

some random exotic frui

And I can never forget the sights and views! Because of the humidity, you see very stereotypical plants common to tropical places, lotus buds and lily pads, palm trees, beautiful lakes, sandy beaches. Everything is just so so so beautiful.

IMG_1392

more behind-the-bamboo restaurant pictures

IMG_1355

IMG_1348

backyard palm trees ❤

IMG_1369
IMG_1354

black and white

Food Adventures in China

One of my favorite things about going back to China is FOOD. Here in the U.S., you’re pretty limited by the hamburgers, fries, and the occasional freedom of different assortments of pizza. China, however, has had NO qualms about experimenting with the sketchy and the dangerous. As a result, they have very much a hit-and-miss sort of relationship with food, which in my case is always a hit 😉

I took these pictures of random meals that we had – when my uncle took us out to eat, the final dinner in China, a large lunch on the mountain, etc. Obviously, it’s just a sample, but I would say a good representative of my three week food adventure.

IMG_7687

I believe that this above picture was taken when my uncle took us out to eat. The main bowl in the middle is some kind of shrimp stew (absolutely delicious) and the one on top is rice cakes covered in tomato sauce, which is definitely a new yet equally delicious combination.

IMG_7747part2

On my last dinner in China, I believe we had these tiny shrimp stir-fried with green peppers and other vegetables and tofu.

IMG_7733part2

My fave – LYCHEE ❤

IMG_7688part2

The famous and delicious “tanchupaigu” (sugar vinegar pork) They look absolutely divine do they not?

IMG_7685part2

A casual pic before our meal 🙂 We all look pretty excited clearly.

IMG_7594part2

Lunch on a mountain! We drove up to a mountain where villagers have a small restaurant that’s notoriously good. Almost all of the food is made out of organic ingredients – the chicken they raised themselves, the yams they grew, the eggs, etc. Also, if you notice the foil covered items, one of the ways they cooked the food was wrapping everything in foil and sticking it in a hole with dirt and covering it up with really hot bricks (or something like that), and then the food cooks just like that. It apparently gives it a very earthy rich tone to the food. I am afraid not a food critic extraordinaire, so I could not tell the difference, but overall such an authentic and once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure 🙂

IMG_7686

This does not look super promising, but was actually one of my absolute favorite meals I have ever had in China. What it is is warm, soft baked bread in the shape of a box topped with ice cream. The bread inside is cut into squares and cubes, so you add a little ice cream to your bread slice and eat it together for a scrumptious heavenly experience.

Back from Hiatus? … Hopefully?

Goodness… it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. Yikes.  BUT I’M BACK. And I’m going to try to be better. Better about keeping this blog updated and better in general regards towards the quality of this blog. I’ve actually been a little bit more active on Tumblr, so if you want to step over there to take a look at the things that I’ve been up to in great detail, go for it! In the three months that I’ve been gone though, a lot has happened! Tons and tons of stuff. Here is some of that stuff.

  1. I got into Yale! Not sure if this is already acknowledged, but YES, I am going off to college in a couple days actually. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog about things that I have learned and maybe share some insights, tips, happenings, and interests that occur. Boola boola!

    College Decision Day

    College Decision Day

  2. I went to China! And Vancouver! And Hong Kong! These will probably be in a separate post, but some snapshots from those vacations…                                                                                                                              Statues LycheeStreets Islands
  3. My mother and my neighbor started a garden! I helped! (somewhat) Anyway, we grew tons of Chinese green beans, Chinese furry melon, grape tomatoes, empty heart vegetable, ahhhhh so good. It was such a successful run. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the actual garden … accidentally deleted all those, but here is some ornamental peppers that are in someone else’s garden!                                                                  Ornamental Pepper
  4. I got an iPhone! This means 1) lots and lots of pictures for the blog and 2) an Instagram! (It means some other useful things to me, but are probably irrelevant for you.) Anyways, I have an Instagram – a preview of some things on my Insta down below – and my username is meibinios if you want to follow me! I am private, though, so I don’t think I can show it on the side of my blog or anything, because of my own security reasons.  Insta
  5. I went to Project Brother Love for the second time! Project Brother Love is a religious service organization that centers at Chinese Gospel Church in Chinatown Philly. It is focused on serving many of the nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia such as Manna and cleaning of churches to improve their outreach programs such as C4. PBL!

30 Days of Thanks – Day 3

Hehe Kristi… I’m going to share on here because I’m too private of a person to post on Facebook lolz

I am thankful for all of my frands 🙂

Some of my friends have stuck by me day after day for so many years of my life, back when I was young and prepubescent. They have embraced me without question and are some of the people that I feel so so so comfortable with. You need those type of people in your life. Last week, I think, I skyped one of my friends who lives in China and we talked on the phone for maybe 2 hours… and it’s crazy how even though distance can separate us physically, they can’t separate us in the heart ❤ I am so thankful and so blessed by all the people that I have had the pleasure of meeting