I’m thinking this series will be a monthly round-up of 5 things culled from life, the web, and whatever else I happen to stumble across. So let’s get into it!
1. 5-day Xi’An holiday
Possibly the most spontaneous trip I’ve ever taken in my life, in that we booked airplane tickets Wednesday morning and left Wednesday evening, and definitely the first extended trip I’ve taken with just friends and no adult supervision (Well. Technically we’re all adults, and some of us are, like, 26, but the point stands! No worried hovering, is what I mean.), which feels like a milestone to me, as well as – hopefully – the first of many such adventures.
We did Xi’An and Pingyao, a nearby city which G’s Lonely Planet guidebook touts as the most well-preserved ancient city in China, and it was all really, so very nice. The air was too smoggy to see any hints of blue skies, let alone stars, and the coal dust of the region made for a bit of a cruel departure from the clear Kunming weather that we’ve become accustomed to, but we ate good food, bought overpriced souvenirs, and did a fair amount of aimless wandering through parks and alleyways. Our Xi’An hostel gave us free beer (ShuYuan hostel near the South gate, if anyone’s in the market for that) and graciously allowed me to spend every morning cooing and fawning over their cat, Cotta – as in, terracotta – and we met up with 3 more friends to turn our little squad into 6 on the last couple days. There were stray dogs around every corner in Pingyao, most notably a tiny shivering puppy sitting on top of a trashcan (I had to be forcibly restrained from trying to adopt it; G insisted that the threat of rabies was very real), and the museums in Xi’An were full of the kind of history that made you bask in the air of centuries past, feeling all at once like nothing and everything under the sun. We had to run to catch our flight back to Kunming, and I’m still having a little trouble adjusting back to the daily grind – it’s crazy being at the Terracotta Warriors one day, and then having a spelling test the next.
I very stupidly forgot to bring my d-SLR camera with me, but I’ve done my best with my iPhone camera on VSCO here, so if you feel so inclined, more pictures thataway!
2. newly in
So, I love shopping, and I absolutely fall prey to the consumerism that, depending on how you feel, may or may not be a horrid facet of today’s society. But let’s not derail into pondering the benefits and pitfalls of materialism; let’s just look at all the new shit I’ve acquired!
Not much to say about these, because you can kind of just see for yourself what’s going on. All the commentary I have to offer is just a bunch of heart-eye and money flying away emojis. (Although the shoes were only, like, $12, so if we think about the money I would’ve spent in the US buying a similar pair of shoes, it’s kiiiiind of like saving money, right?!)
3. reading list
The real-life locations that inspired Disney movies; Um. Holy shit, is all I can say. Frantically adding these to my Evernotes page of places to visit ASAICAI (as soon as I can afford it). The first one in particular made me squint and mutter to myself “That has to be Photoshopped…”
They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist; Jenny Zhang’s writing never fails to strike a chord with me, in part because she was the first Chinese American writer I happened across while being a young Chinese American girl who desperately wanted to make a living off writing, but more importantly because it’s just that damn good. This piece for BuzzFeed, on a white poet’s use of a Chinese pseudonym, was published a couple months ago, but as I just read it recently, I’ll still put it here. It touches on the myriad of reasons white voices often drown out voices of colour in the literary world, and makes me ache for all the spurned black, Asian, Latino, brown, anything-not-white writers out there in the world.
Having a baby vs. having a cat; The past month has been filled with an inordinate amount of conversations themed around the question “Wait, you don’t like babies?!” Yes, I don’t like babies. Yes, I am a functioning human female. Yes, I am also not an axe-murderer. This comic perfectly sums up my feelings regarding those small human beings some of us really love to coo over, and makes me feel a little less weird about my motherly instincts (or lack thereof).
Song Sisters x The Coveteur; Oh, Aimee Song, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! No, but seriously. Aimee Song will probably forever be the girl whose life I just want to have, and this little peek into her and her sister’s lives, courtesy of The Coveteur (who may well be as nosy as me), was sooooo good.
4. wishlist of things that I will never be able to afford
So, we talked about things that I did buy; now let’s talk about things that I didn’t buy but spent hours staring at on the screen of my laptop and moaning and groaning over not being able to have.
1 ; anthropologie tesora jewelry storage collection, $48 – 2 ; topshop unique mayall crushed velvet mini skirt, $160 – 3 ; bobbi brown marilyn cat-eye sunglasses, $159 – 4 ; silence + noise lulu dress, $79 – 5 ; and other stories velvet pumps, $125 – 6 ; madewell palm tree baseball hat, $25 – 7 ; catbirdnyc lovecats ring, $32 – 8 ; colourpop cosmetics matte lip in bumble, $6 – 9 ; seoul little earrings, $58
5. a departing thought re: the end-of-year holiday season
Christmas is less than thirty days away, and this year will be the first time I’m not spending the holiday with my family. It’s my favourite holiday, even though I’m not Christian, and, simply put, I love it. I love the Mariah Carey Christmas songs blaring out of shopfronts, I love the red and green tinsel strung haphazardly across our fireplace at home, I love the Christmas lights put up on houses that blur into bokeh when I take my glasses off, I love gorging ourselves on mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, and I love, love, love putting everything on pause in favour of spending time with family and friends and taking some time to appreciate how #blessed we have the privilege to be.
So, it feels strange to be in a place that doesn’t celebrate the trifecta of Western winter holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, respectively). Before coming here, I’d thought there would be a certain novelty factor in being in a place that doesn’t celebrate what I celebrate – I thought maybe I would bring the holiday spirit with me, leaving behind a trail of Santa-shaped glitter wherever I went and infecting people with my own excitement for gift-giving and merrymaking. Alas, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and, much to my dismay, I’ve discovered that I do not actually produce turkey-shaped confetti out of my ass. The Christmas spirit, it seems, will have to stay firmly in my head, and not manifest itself externally (save for my ugly Christmas sweater, which I will wear for probably 60% of December). Sad face emojis.