How I Handle FoMo From My Favorite Season In America

So it is September, which means this time last year I was hanging my head out a drive thru window, handing out three to four hundred pumpkin spice lattes a day.

Now though, I am celebrating the 80 degree weather because at least it’s not 100 degrees. I love fall, and September marks the start of fall. Pumpkins, Halloween, bonfires, changing leaves. I am so excited to see what fall in Beijing looks like, there are five zillion parks here so it’s probably gorgeousssss.

What I am not excited for is missing the silly material things that come when the seasons change. So here is my ridiculous, indulgent, silly list of things I will miss this fall.

  1. Hobby lobby. Okay I don’t actually ever buy any of the things from hobby lobby. Instead I just get a PSL from starbucks, head down the road to the nearest one, and then look at all the stuff. If you have been to a hobby lobby you will know what I mean. It reminds me of being in school when all your crafts from art class were orange themed, or on the weekends your parents would get pumpkins to carve, take you to an apple orchard, make apple cider on the stove top! How I am dealing without it: I started pinteresting. A lot.
  2. Marshall’s/Home Goods. Unlike hobby lobby, where I wouldn’t ever really buy that stuff, I would buy ALL the home decor from Home Goods and Marshall’s. And the candles! The candles guys! I cannot tel you how amazing they are. My friend Ema and I would go and just smell them for 30 minutes. This is kind of embarrassing to write down but it’s true! How I am dealing without it: I’m not. Please, someone tell me where to buy fall scented candles in Beijing. HELP A GIRL OUT!
  3. Bath and body works: Along with the candles from Marshall’s, I LOVE the candles from bath and body works. The thing is, here the scents aren’t just candles. THEY ARE BODY WASHES. Like, my home can smell like rosemary and thyme, my hair can smell like a pumpkin marshmallow, and my skin can smell like leaves! Actually, my skin can smell like a million things because I can use a shower gel, a lotion, and a body mist. I’m obsessed! This is also a place where I do a lot of window shopping before setting on two or three scents and purchasing those during those crazy BUY THREE GET THREE FREE sales. You know the ones, don’t act innocent!
  4. Starbucks fall drinks: yes I know starbucks didn’t invent pumpkins or spices and I know the latte doesn’t taste like pumpkins: but guys, what I want is the ability to customize my perfect fall drink. I want a double tall soy kids temp psl, 1 pump pumpkin spice and 1 pump white mocha, white pumpkin spice topping steamed in the milk and I cannot get that anywhere! I know it’s ridiculous. How am I dealing without it: the cinnamon and nutmeg shakers at the condiment bar of other coffee shops. Give it all to me!
  5. Trader Joe’s pumpkin things. I used to walk to Trader Joe’s. They just had the best pumpkin things ever.
  6. No ABC family oops I mean freeform, 31 days of Halloween marathon. Instead I have to use Netflix and HBO, which is fine but it lacks community. What am I going to do when it’s Christmas and I can’t watch holiday movies on hallmark??

Let me say some thing I do like about the fall here in China!

  1. Seasonal vegetables: the vegetables here in China are amazing. I love them, the other day I made a dish with pumpkin, kale, and garlic. I know I am so excited for all the squash dishes, pumpkin dishes, and BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Like hell yes. These dishes are amazing, and the vegetables here are magic.
  2. The beautiful parks and lakes are changing colors. This happens everywhere, yes but we have to accept that in China the parks are prettier. There are beautiful lakes and pagodas, the symmetry of it all has inspired me the whole time I’ve lived here.
  3. THE PERFECT TEMP. It is the perfect temperature. Finally, no long do I live in 100 degree weather, now we have 70’s and 60’s with a cool wind. Soon it will fall even further and I will wear sweaters! I’m so excited. Also Chinese people, from my experience, don’t crank up the heat so high that you need to wear short sleeves under your coat for when you walk inside. Thankkkkk goodness.

So there we go, some pros and cons to my autumn love in China. It is not too early for this because I woke up this morning and it was 64 degrees ! That is a fall temperature! I am going to go a lil’ fall haul when I go to America and post that up here later! Are you guys missing anything while living abroad?

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Heading home for a bit

So I get the absolute pleasure of going home to New Jersey, Ohio, and Kentucky for three weeks. I leave on September 25th and return on the 15th of October.

I PROMISE I will spend most of the 13 hour flight writing. I have not had a ton of luck recently using WordPress in China. It’s just been so SLOW. What I should do is seek out better WiFi, but it’s very hard.

Some content you can expect from the long hours writing during the flight is a guide to long haul flights (duh), including my preferred Asian airlines, inflight essentials, and what I listen to or watch. I also am excited to write about Shanghai and Xian and to have my amazing friend Kiley write about a crazy solo trip she went on: preview, it involves a yoga mat, hot soup, and a 19 hour train ride.

Expat life is hard and weird. You meet people that you fall in love with because you have only ever see them in this weird Beijing lighting. I’m nervous and excited to one day visit these friends of mine out in the ‘wild’ one day. Mainly in Utah. There is just something about Utah that drives people to China I guess!

I am excited to return home for a bit though. I worry that I’m a different person and I haven’t realized that yet. Maddie, a friend I worked with in Beijing who left the city in May, talked to me a little about her return home. The transition period, where you don’t have a routine yet but everyone around you does. That’s different that moving to a country/job where some one arrived two weeks before you and 100% understand both your jet lag and your discomfort.

In America I wonder if I’ll find that when I just return to visit. I’ll have no routine. Just free time to relax and vacation and go to a million doctors. This free time excites me, but almost limits me. I won’t have a car. I won’t have a bike ready to rent right outside my doorstep. I won’t have street food, I won’t have the ability to constantly stumble upon an underground children’s talent show, complete with an art exhibit, free booze, and a ball pit.

What will I have though? Chipotle. 24 hour Kroger’s. Pumpkin spice lattes! All the friends I have know for years. A nail appointment where I’ll see an old high school friend. A new lil baby to meet (don’t worry Corynne, Eloise is number one, Chipotle is just funnier).

I know this visit is just three weeks, but it’s three weeks where I live in a weird limbo. I’m still excited.

 

 

Side note, Why do ⅓ of the flight attendants in China insist on telling me to take out my headphones when we land. That’s not a thing. It’s never been a thing. Anywhere. Answers anyone???

Antwerpen

I think part of my actual soul was left in Antwerp this last October when I visited there. I showed up with very little idea of what to do, like I think I had one coffee shop and one leather shop I wanted to go to, but that’s it. Some how it became my favorite stop on my small run through Belgium and the Netherlands.

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NYC omg.

So I recently went to New York City. It’s known for Broadway shows, famous people, flashing lights, lots of fashion statements, and the movie Elf. Needless to say, I went in with really high expectations. I did my research, looked up my coffee shops, was really ready to get into the city.

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Coffee in Geneva

I think you can learn a lot about a city from the coffee shops there. Are they rustic and homey, serving the lattes in hodge-podge mugs? Is it cleanly decorated with white walls and prints, or is it filled with wooden accents and plants? In America we often just grab our coffee and go, but since I work in a coffee shop, I find myself spending about 50% of my time seeing what a coffee shop can say and do for a city.

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Marseille & Aix-en-Provence: the fast version

So you might know that I spent November of 2015 in Marseille, France. Since then I’ve done nothing but sing praises for the south of France. Everything there is a little bit brighter–mainly because, unlike in Paris, the sun actually shines there. Instead of my normal post where I ramble forever about how gorgeous everything was, I’m going to hit my hard and fast favs of this little region.  Continue reading Marseille & Aix-en-Provence: the fast version

Budapest

The beautiful and historic city of Budapest. I was able to visit this place for only a day in December when my dad was there on a business trip. I was in extreme panic for about five minutes- What do I do? I know nothing about Hungary. I have never been to eastern Europe before, how do I plan for this trip and get as much as possible out of it in just a mer 24 hours? It was after my initial state of panic that I thought to check my new favorite European travel resource: USE-IT maps. These maps are made by locals for travelers who want to explore like locals. I printed out the one for Hungary before I left, but you can find them in the city for free, and then also have an app available! Seriously guys, check it out.

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