The moon is bright and I’ve eaten more mooncakes in the past week than I can count (and still have quite the stash left)!
Happy Mooncake Day! Er … Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
One thing I love about living in China is that I get introduced to all these new traditions. Last Thursday, September 19, was the Mid-Autumn Festival, otherwise known as the Moon Festival because of all the yummy mooncakes you traditionally consume. Well, there’s also this whole legend behind the festival, but I always associate the festival with mooncakes. Anyhow, apparently it’s also customary to eat taro, at least in Shanghai … something about how the name (芋头 / yù tóu) is pronounced in the dialect. Who knew?
Taro is not the most delicious looking thing in the world. In fact, it looks rather disgusting and unappetizing. Although I’m Chinese, the first time I actually saw/ate a real taro was approximately two weeks ago. I’ve had taro puffs many times before (they’re deep-fried pastries with mashed taro and ground pork filling) because they’re common fare for dim sum, but I can’t really say that by eating those I’d experienced real taro.
I’ve never prepared it myself because I’ve heard it’s a bit of a hassle. When it’s raw, the outside can be really irritating to your skin. But after you wash it really well, you boil it.
Let them cool off a bit, then peel them. The outside comes off fairly easy, and then the little things look like naked mole rats (IMHO).
Get a bowl of sugar, and while the taro root is still warm, dip and eat. Yum. It’s not my favorite snack in the world (I’m still a Cheetos and chips kinda girl) but it’s by far one of the healthier snacks even taking into account the sugar. Then again … I use a lot of sugar.
This fine Sunday morning I went to class. I had class on a Sunday. Sunday, I woke up early and went to class. It’s still blowing my mind. This Wednesday is the Mid-Autumn Festival aka Moon Festival, so I don’t have school Wednesday through Friday. And in China, when there’s a holiday, you make up for it on the weekend. THE WEEKEND. So, I went to class today, which is a Sunday. I woke up at 6:30 AM on a Sunday. I can’t remember the last time I woke up that early on a Sunday. Therefore, it feels like a Monday because it’s essentially the beginning of the school week. It’s weird. And if you’re a bit confused, this is a national thing. People go to school or work today – it’s considered an actual business day. Now that’s just confusing. It’s technically the weekend, but what’s the weekend if business days occur during the weekend?
Registration for the new semester of school? Check. Only took me three and a half hours. Get a part-time job to avoid boredom? Check. Now I need to refresh my very rusty vocab skills. Starting Monday, I’ll be on a regular schedule of classes. Then we’ll see how much work I end up getting. And I might have a language partner lined up as well. And I need to visit the grocery store. And … you get the idea.
About grocery shopping, I’ve been to many a foreign grocery store (Freshmart, Carrefour, and City Shop) and the small street-side fruit markets, but not Lianhua, which is the standard Chinese grocery store around here. I need to buy flour and baking powder. Because I want pancakes. Still battling with myself about whether to buy cheese or not. On the one hand, I would really like to make a grilled cheese sandwich. On the other hand, including the price of bread and butter (both rather expensive), a single grilled cheese sandwich will end up costing about 2 USD. Hm … decisions, decisions.
Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Moon Festival) takes place September 22. What does that mean? MOONCAKES! Some of my favorite things in the world. Below is a picture of mooncakes that have meat inside and a flaky pastry outside. These are delicious. We also have the more common kind of mooncake here, my favorite being the lotus seed paste with an egg yolk. YUM. So much variety!
I ADORE holidays, even the random ones. A lot of blogs out there are talking about Halloween, but over here, I’m getting ready for the Mid-Autumn Festival aka Moon Festival tomorrow, Saturday, October 3rd. Its date changes every year because it’s calculated on the lunar calendar, but it’s a great cultural holiday that involves the eating of moon cakes, which are delicious. Currently my moon cakes are hanging out in my fridge, just begging to be consumed, but I will resist until Saturday!
The main reason I love holidays is gifting. I love giving gifts, and I love receiving gifts. Just the small things make me happy. This post is about gifts I’ve received recently, from people around the blog world. Giveaways just make everything warm and fuzzy, don’t you agree? Now I just need to make something worthy of being given away to keep the happiness flowing.
This beautiful pair of earrings (called “Pure Kindness”) from Jane at She Greets the Day arrived in the mail, really nicely packaged. Jane has a lovely little etsy shop with cute pieces of jewelry that you should check out. It’s always nice to find someone in blogger land who isn’t a mother. No offense to all of you out there, but sometimes I feel weird reading all these posts about children and families.
Then there was this Callie Cat from Debra at Creative Ramblings. Precious! Currently I have her chilling out on my crafting table, sitting next to my sewing machine, chiding me for not being more productive. I feel bad because Debra spent a fair amount just on the shipping, but I do love the fact that my room now feels more homey because of its new addition.
Last, but not least, Lisa from The Davis Dialogues sent me this bracelet with panels of lavender … on dominoes! Nifty, eh? It’s a nice, chunky bracelet. I’ll probably wear it when I go out tonight.
Oh, and I stopped by Michael’s the other day and bought some snaps, so there starts my October total. First thing on this weekend’s list is grocery shopping, because I am out of food. Seriously out of food, as in I was starving and ended up driving to McDonald’s (the closest food source) to buy dinner. I feel pretty disgusted with myself. But I have moon cakes to look forward to and happy thoughts. Yeah, let’s not think about that essay … or that test … or the real world. But thanks to all of you! Yay Jane, Debra, and Lisa!
[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]