holiday chocolate oranges

Howdy there! It’s been a while! Last I posted, I was on my way to Columbus, Ohio, in order to spend Thanksgiving in West Virginia. Then I spent Christmas in New York. And then New Year’s in Montreal. And let me tell you: Montreal was freakin’ cold. But I did learn that “Christmas oranges” are a thing in Canada. Basically they’re those little mandarin/clementine oranges … but it’s a traditionally Christmas thing in Canada. I learned this because A) I was traveling with a Canadian who was super excited when B) our Airbnb host left us a tray of Christmas oranges.

But this is not a post about a tray full of random oranges that were devoured while we huddled together in the warmth of a very cute apartment, away from the crazily negative temperatures out in Montreal. Why were we in Montreal in the dead of winter? Long story. Anyhow, I never knew Christmas oranges were a thing until a few weeks ago, but what I look forward to every time the holidays roll around are chocolate oranges. Yum.

Smash ’em against a wall, which breaks the ‘orange’ segments from the center piece. Then enjoy the taste of orange-y flavored chocolate, which is surprisingly delicious. And somehow these things are only found at Christmas. No idea why. Maybe it’s related to the Canadian orange + Christmas combo? I don’t know. What I do know is that I bought two and ate them in two days (I really should stop eating chocolate for breakfast, but those are the perks of living alone, right?) so now I need to buy more.

Hope you had a good holiday!

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way behind the holiday schedule

Seriously, what holiday season is it now? Apparently I completely missed out on St. Patrick’s Day yesterday. Easter is coming up on April 5th, so ostensibly it should be Easter season, but that’s not celebrated in China and the next Chinese holiday, Qingming Jie (Tomb-Sweeping Day) is more of an observance than celebration.

But whatevs, it’s been almost four months since Christmas, three and a half months since the New Year, a month since the Chinese New Year, and two weeks since the end of the Chinese New Year (Lantern Festival). And you know what? All my Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year decorations are still up. Why? Because I’ve been busy. Can I just get that phrase made into a stamp already?

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Oh well. Maybe I should just turn the tree into a year-round holiday tree because I have nowhere to store it anyhow. And the little ram is pretty adorable, so he can stay too!

merry christmas! poinsettias

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What is it about poinsettias that just screams “IT’S CHRISTMAS!”? It’s one of those weird flowers that you never ever see. And then in the lead-up to Christmas, they’re suddenly everywhere. They appear for the season, and then promptly disappear for the rest of the year until the next Christmas rolls around. So you can imagine my surprise at seeing a whole lotta poinsettias in Hong Kong’s Hollywood Road Park, gathered in a giant cluster, waiting to be spread around. Seeing those poinsettiaas – more than all the gaudy lights along Nanjing Road – that made it truly feel like Christmas.

Merry Christmas! I wish you and your families all the happiness and joy your hearts can handle.

christmas season? begin!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well, not really. But some decorations have started to go up! Christmas isn’t really celebrated in China because there’s not much of a history of Christianity in China. Most people don’t adhere to any religion due to the impact of communism, and though some people follow Buddhist philosophies, organized religions aren’t well accepted in the culture. But I LOVE Christmas.

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And every evening when I walk out of the subway, I get greeted by a tree! And reindeer! Aw, how nice. It’s a little gaudy and it looks out of place in the basement of a mall, next to a supermarket, at a subway exit. Eh. But it’s Christmas! Well, I guess Thanksgiving has to come first, but that’s an American-only deal so there’s no sign of turkeys anywhere. Sigh … Happy Turkey Day!

beginning to look a lot like xmas …

As much as I would like to get all Christmas-y and go to town on decorating this apartment, it just ain’t really worth it since most of us are going home for the holidays. Also, it’s finals time so I need to be focusing on school stuff. But … I did manage to hang my stocking on my door. Yay!

111206 stocking

For scale, the stocking’s only about six inches tall. And those weird shadows are due to the weird configuration of lighting fixtures in my room. There’s a little Christmas tree in our living room, so I guess that counts. Oh well, it ain’t much but it’s in the right spirit.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

starting on xmas cards

I like to make my own cards for Christmas because I feel like there are very few good ones out there that are unique but simple enough for my taste. And cheap enough for my budget. I’m currently experimenting, so I’m not sure what I’m going to end up with, but it’ll probably just be black ink on white card stock, with maybe some added ribbon … maybe.

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I really want it to have a modern, simple look, where the typography takes precedence. Hm … I’ll have to play around more with it. I don’t want it to be too boring, but if I’m making a whole buncha cards, I couldn’t go too complicated either. Any suggestions?

I’ll just shelve this for a while until I figure out something I’m completely satisfied with. After all, I still have over a month to make and write these cards!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

merry xmas!

It is finally Christmas! Just past midnight over here! Kind of a sorry Christmas, but whatever. Had a nice dinner with some family. They didn’t do the whole Christmas thing, which I understand (because this is China) but it still made me kind of sad. I still have lots to do between my applications, schoolwork, and work work, but today was nice. Below picture is from one of the islands at Qiandao.

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is it xmas yet?

No real post today. A few days until Christmas … yay! Unfortunately, I will be attending class on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve! No holiday here. Below are three photos of Christmas trees from around Shanghai … and they’re doozies.

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1. From the department store next to the Jing’an Temple. Gaudy yet fairly normal. But Santa Dwarves? And what’s with the fleur de lys instead of a star/angel? And there were SIX of these trees right near each other – overkill.

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2. Right by the Jing’an Temple. I don’t understand. It looks like it’s made out of paper … maybe it is. And why did thy turn it into a house? The thing has a door and windows … I just don’t get it.

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3. In front of Plaza 66, a high-end department store on Nanjing Xi Lu. The building was designed by KPF, so it’s all glass and modern. The tree is whitish and furry with some shiny things on it. I guess it’s fitting?

red green

Only about a week left for my applications. OH MY GOSH. Lots of stuff going on there. On the other hand, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, actually it’s not. There are some rather ostentatious Christmas displays out that I’ll have to take pictures of. But for the most part it’s pretty much non-Christmas.

Picture is from Hangzhou. And lookie, it’s green and red … wow, almost like I planned it. In Chinese, the phrase 红红绿绿的 literally translates to “red red green green” but translates more closely to “colorful.” Interesting, eh?

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xmas cards

Christmas is coming up in a week and a half and I have yet to send out Christmas cards … oops! Well I finally got around to making the cards, so that’s progress, right? Now I just need to write out all the cards, make sure the addresses I have are still current, buy stamps, et cetera.

091217 01 stamps

It took me a few trips to Michael’s to figure out what I wanted to do, but I found these letter stamps and they seemed pretty nifty, so I grabbed those (along with a black inkpad) and that was pretty much it. The rest of what I used I had on hand.

091217 02 cards

I ended up with three versions of Christmas cards for this year. I’ve never been fond of giving everyone the same exact card, so I try to make different variations. After stamping each card with “Happy Holidays”, I drew a tree, ornament, or present with a black marker. Then I hot glued a little something for color and dimension. The tree got a blue gem as a star, the ornament a red ribbon, and the present a green bow. Cute, eh?

091217 03 gift

My roommate left today, so I wrapped up the first part of her present and gave it to her. I used the rough draft of my essay (with red marks and all) and tied it with a bow. I go through so much paper in school so I try to recycle the best I can. Anyway, she thought it was hilarious because she recognized it as the essay I had been complaining about. As for other Christmas presents, well they’re proving a bit trickier. I went to the mall the other day and after almost two hours, didn’t buy a single thing. To be honest, I was shopping more for myself, but I kept having trouble finding the right size for things … very disappointing.

Most of my friends have already left for home, but I’m going to be hanging around here for a bit longer to work and do some shopping. Christmas is coming up way too fast.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]