Winter Wonderland: I am a fragile tropical flower.

I assume no one’s surprised that I’m rolling into a post about thanksgiving way after the actual date. That’s because I am a winner.

 

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I celebrated my first thanksgiving in America. This year was even better than last years though, because I was lucky enough to have my family come out and celebrate with them. Thanksgiving is always a special time for me. It mark the point where I can officially start to celebrate christmas in public, instead of just talking about who excited I am about it (see: the entire month of November. My friends must be sick of my gushing. I just really enjoy christmas, ok?)

No, I’m just joking. Thanksgiving has a special connotation for me because in Hong Kong it would be one of the big parties my parents would throw. I have so many memories of being dressed up and stuffing myself with turkey, watching the adults table longingly when members of the kids table would graduate to that hallowed ground.

This thanksgiving I celebrated again in Oregon, only this time I brought along my roommate with me. She bravely embraced the insanity of my family (we are all very loving in a shouting and arms waving way) and spent five days with me in the beautiful town of Bend and then later Portland.

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Unsurprisingly, neither of us were prepared for the winter. We’re talking temperatures that include snow, ice and all those  fun little things about cold weather like frostbite. The second we stepped off the plane it was right into the middle of Antartica (or so it seemed to two SoCal girls). The second I stepped out of the airport I promptly slipped on a patch of ice and bit the dust. We spent a lot of the weekend talking about how cold it was and staying firmly inside. Any movement to go anywhere required the assembling of an outfit with two many layers to count. It turns out we make very cute marshmallow people though.

 

photo 1

 

We also went snowshoeing for the very first time. It’s something that I’m super glad we did, because it was just so beautiful. There’s really nothing like winter, when it goes all quiet in the soft cold light to remind you just how beautiful the world can be. I certainly admired it as much as possible, until I actually couldn’t feel my butt anymore and we slogged home. Poor Mom got a phone call begging for hot chocolate before we’d even reached the door.

 

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COLD COLD COLD.

In any case, this is just going to be a very quick post about how wonderful it was to take a break from college. The reason why i’ve been so late posting is because everything has gone full speed ahead with finals week. Definitely a good reason to relax and completely stuff myself with good food and better company.

It’s going to be a rough week ahead, that’s for sure. Good luck to anyone going through finals, and remember to be thankful for the amazing beauty that the world holds. Just, you know, from inside.

 

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I am the Pumpkin Queen.

Hey wonderful people! Taking a quick break from all the posts about my summer vacation to talk a little about a trip that happened a lot more recently. This past week I just returned from a quick weekend jaunt from Oregon, where I was lucky enough to stay in a sorority, walk around OSU and go to my first pumpkin patch! (Or at least the first one I can remember- no matter what Mom says, things that happen when I’m so young I don’t remember them happening, it doesn’t count).

 

We couldn't figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

We couldn’t figure out why this pumpkin just had this leaf attached.

 

I have to start this post off with a confession – I don’t really get the pumpkin thing. Why is it when it turns to October american’s go bananas for pumpkin? If it’s so popular, then why isn’t it available year round? It just seems strange to me. Whenever I tell my friends I think pumpkin is just alright, they look at me like I’ve personally hurt them. That being said, I found the whole trip out there hilarious and super fun.

The pumpkin patch was definitely nothing like I was expecting. Although in hindsight, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from an event called ‘A Pumpkin Patch’. Seems pretty explanatory, I admit.

 

This post is brought to you by my Dad's oversized 80's sweater.

This post is brought to you by my Dad’s oversized 80’s sweater. Also feat. the corn maze we couldn’t figure a way out of.

 

We pulled up onto a patch of dirt. There are moments in my life where I’m truly struck by how American some things are. That same feeling washed over me as she turned the ignition off and turned to look at me. From my view as we drove by, I’d just seen a whole bunch of hay and a small field stretching out into the distance. This was a far cry from Hong Kong – and also from LA. The first thing we saw was a massively fat turkey. I immediately started laughing – I always laugh whenever I see a turkey. All I can think about is how it could have been the national animal of America, per the wish of Ben Franklin. (To quote: I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character). It makes me giggle to imagine the turkey on any official document. It just also hammered in the fact that I was firmly in America.

 

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

All of my best american moments happen with this girl!

 

We wandered through the pumpkin patch leisurely. It was nice, the feeling of leisure that seemed washed over the patch. It was such a family place. We were almost certainly the only college aged kids I saw wandering around. Little kids everywhere were running around giggling, with parents wandering after.

I discovered something about myself that day. I am terrible at mazes. Just flat out awful. We kept running into dead ends and giggling at how long it was taking us to get through. By the time we’d finished three mazes, it was official: if I was ever forced to run into a maze for safety, I would definitely get murdered). I think one of the funnest things about the mazes was hearing everyone else trying to figure it out. From the know-alls who follow the left turn rule, to the kids giggling about being lost, to the mom’s trying to figure it out. It was just so interesting being a part of such a group activity, while remaining separate.

After we freed ourselves from our corn and hay cages, the next stop was the main attraction – the pumpkin patch itself. Wandering around the field, K inspected pumpkins with the eye of an expert. This one was too lumpy, the other not orange enough. She seemed to know what she was doing, so I wandered happily behind.

 

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

My contribution to the great pumpkin hunt.

 

In a super coincidence, we ran into a family from Hong Kong. It was so wild meeting people from my home town – especially people who haven’t been back in years. It’s always exciting to catch up on what’s changed and listen to their memories. it just goes to show what a small world it actually is. After a few missed chances (the pumpkin below was sadly left behind…) we found two small pumpkins. Well, more like one small pumpkin and an incredibly misshapen gourd that made both of us laugh so hard we had to bring it home. The guys who weighed the pumpkins looked incredibly unimpressed when we put our choices on the scale.

 

Our rejected pumpkin - strange but lovable.

Our rejected pumpkin – strange but lovable.

 

And of course, what would be an american tradition without some form of food? We bought the largest bag of caramel corn I think I’ve seen, and some hot drinks. Sitting on a hay bale, drinking apple cider and looking over a field of pumpkins definitely made me see why american’s love fall. It’s just so wonderful to have opportunities to go out and enjoy something like that. It’s something I know that I am so pleased to have experienced, and can’t wait to go to another pumpkin patch. Hopefully next year I’ll actually get to carve something.

 

XOXO.