You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘travel’ tag.

Last week I had one of the most delicious lunches in a very long time: half of a toasted French baguette sandwich, a small mixed greens salad, a small cup of smoked paprika flavored potato chips, & a bottle of lemon sparkling water. That lunch really made me feel so satisfied. It put me in a really good mood that day. Eh, but that’s beside the point. The main point of this blog post is that Jian & I took our little bean on her first vacation-slash-road trip.

Jian took a week off of work during the Memorial Day holiday, & we planned a trip to Los Angeles to visit my extended family down there. Yes, I know the Memorial Day holiday was quite a bit of time ago, but with this little bean taking up so much of my life, & Jian occupying our one & only shared desktop computer, I haven’t had much free time for myself other than to play a quick level of an app game on my tablet whilst sitting on the toilet. (I don’t dare stay in the bathroom for too long, lest my mother scream bloody hell that she can no longer carry or distract her grandchild for another minute. My mother has just as short an attention span as my little bean, & even less stamina to keep up with her.) This is all completely frivolous information & totally beside the point. Let’s get on with the main topic, shall we?

Jian & I had carefully planned a road trip down to Los Angeles to visit extended family whom have never seen our little bean in person up until now. Our little bean has only seen aunts, uncles, cousins & the like through a tiny little screen on mommy’s smartphone. Jian & I of course made sure that the both of us were fully Covid-19 vaccinated before we decided to travel anywhere outside our city bubble. Luckily for our little bean, she got to get her vaccine through me & my delicious breast milk. Yes, you heard me right. My breast milk contains antibodies, which can transfer to the babe through breast feeding, which shares with the babe the benefits of mommy’s vaccine.

Both Jian & I were a little worried (me more so than him) that our little bean would not be too happy being confined in her makes-the-baby-too-hot car seat for several hours. So we made plans to take frequent breaks to let the little bean stretch her legs & get some fresh air outside of the car. It turns out that we didn’t really need to take so many breaks. We only stopped for gas, one extra diaper change, & a quick lunch break at a designated rest area. Otherwise, the little bean slept in the car for most of the drive down the interstate. She did complain a little bit about being too hot in the car, but once we blasted the air conditioning, she went back to her regularly scheduled napping.

This is little bean & me after eating lunch.

Originally, Jian & I had planned on staying at one of the super hipster boutique hotels that we’ve heard so much about through Instagram. There was one hotel in particular that we were excited about staying at, but it was a little bit out of the way from where our family lives, so we ended up taking the practical route & stayed at a hotel close to family. That hotel ended up being the best decision & made our trip so effortless & enjoyable. We were close to craft coffee shops, restaurants, & a huge shopping mall, yet also close by to family. Also, having a mini kitchenette in our hotel room made it so much more convenient to take care of a little babe who is still bottle feeding.

Our little bean instantly acclimated to hotel living & fell in love with our hotel room the moment we stepped through the door. She made herself right at home on the king-sized hotel bed, rolling around & playing with her blanket from home. We just plopped her down in the middle of the bed, & she was making all sorts of happy cooing sounds & playing all by herself while the two of us casually unpacked all of our travel gear. Normally at home, our little bean would’ve been whining as soon as we put her down on the bed. At home she won’t even give us two minutes to change out of our pajamas in the morning before she starts crying to have us pick her up from the bed. At the hotel, she immediately would entertain & amuse herself while Jian & I would do our own things like taking a bathroom break or grabbing a drink from the fridge in the kitchenette.

This is little bean & Jian in our hotel room.

Over all, we had a great time visiting family. The two of us were quite pleasantly surprised that our little bean allowed us to do all of the usual things we do when we visit Los Angeles, like hang out at coffee shops, go shopping at our favorite trendy neighborhoods, & eat at various types of busy/crowded/loud food places. This little girl was super chill the entire duration of our trip, except for when she was feeling hot & restless. We thought the weather in Los Angeles was going to be raging hell fire hot, since it is…well…Los Angeles in early summer after all. I even bought the little bean a portable stroller fan, but it turned out that I didn’t really need to use it on most days. The weather was very warm, but not unbearably hot like we were assuming it would be. It turns out that I’ve been using the stroller fan more at home than I ever did on our travels.

Our little bean had a great time with all of the grown-ups (aunts, uncles, and grandparents). I thought she’d see little kids in our family & immediately warm up to them, since they are small like her, but she was actually nervous around the other little kids in our family, her first cousins. Also, as it turns out, our little bean isn’t really afraid of dogs (as long as they’re not the size of Great Danes or German Shepherds). She’ll tolerate them running around the house or sniffing her, but she won’t put her hands close to them or pet them at all. A few of my cousins each have a dog of their own, & our little bean was just fine around them. I thought she would be a little freaked out by them since she’s never really been around animals before, but she took on the situations like a champ!

Well, we’ve been home for a couple of weeks now, & we just realized that we spent most of our time in Los Angeles hunting down the next craft coffee shop to quench our caffeine addiction. Along the way, we unintentionally hauled a bunch of coffee beans to make drip coffee at home. Jian & I are already extremely familiar with all of the local coffee roasters in our region, so finding a new & interesting bag of beans while traveling outside of our area is always something we enjoy doing. When we first started our journey into frequenting craft coffee spots, there weren’t more than just a small handful of roasters based in Los Angeles; a lot of the beans we tried were all imported from Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, or Santa Cruz, CA. Now there’s a lot of local coffee bean roasters based out of Los Angeles, & we were excited to try these new beans at home.

Our coffee bean haul

Wow, I can’t believe my little bean has been napping for nearly 2 hours, giving me time to sit down & properly write this post. I better wrap this up before she wakes & demands all of my attention. I am currently snacking on French Comté cheese & listening to lo-fi music on Spotify. (Check out my playlists & send me a follow if you’re there.) Now it’s time to cook dinner & send my brother off to the airport. Oh, did I forget to tell you that my brother has been in town this past weekend? Oops! Well, I gotta go now, but until next time… santé!

Today’s song of the day:

explosion of things blog banner.png

Well, a lot has happened in the past couple of months that I haven’t had the time to talk about in this blog. It has taken me nearly three months to finally pull myself together & sit down to write. I have quite a few things to tell you all. I don’t even know where to begin, & I don’t want to ramble on & on. So here I go.

I guess I will start at the top of my list of topics, which will be last year’s Christmas holiday. It was a very jam-packed holiday break, most likely the busiest Christmas break I have ever experienced. My grand-uncle (grandmother’s youngest brother) celebrated his 90th birthday with a grand banquet celebration. Nearly every single family member from my mom’s side of my family all descended upon the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time in decades. Being surrounded by all of my relatives, & especially my first cousins whom I’m becoming even closer to, was a blast. It was just a shame that my niece & nephew couldn’t be there & get to know their own cousins from their generation.

Christmas itself was pretty much the same as every other year, with the exception of my niece & nephew (yet again). Things between this side of the family & their side of the family have become extremely tense in the recent months. It’s not something I want to open up about at this time, but I will say that that particular situation is what caused me to make a firm New Year’s resolution about being mindful, patient, & careful of what comes out of my mouth.

Then right after Christmas, Jian & I celebrated the new year together. We got tickets to see Portugal. The Man in concert on New Year’s Eve, & we had the best time celebrating together even though we both were recovering from severe colds. Oh man, it was a real huge bummer when everybody in our household got a cold right before the new year. We were all sniffling, sneezing, & trying to relieve our runny, drippy noses as well as fighting off a nasty coughing spell.

Nevertheless, Jian & I had a great time at the concert. We were super excited to finally be able to watch Portugal. The Man live in concert for the first time, & were even more excited that another one of the bands we liked, Chicano Batman, was going to be the opening act that night. Though we were bummed that Chicano Batman didn’t end up performing our favorite song & their most popular song on the radio “Friendship Is A Small Boat In The Storm“.

When P.TM came on stage to perform, we were already in the dancing mood. We were each wearing our free paper party hats (courtesy of the venue) & getting super pumped up to sing along to our favorite songs. We loved that this band invited a local American First Nations tribe to perform a ceremonial chant before their set performance (as they do before every one of their concerts). However, we did not love the smoke machine they used on stage. That smoke machine was incredibly annoying, & whoever decided to place the smoke machine directly in front of the lead singer(s) wasn’t thinking practically, or even thinking at all! That stupid smoke machine created so much smoke that it completely engulfed the main band members at the front of the stage & you could hardly see anything happening on the stage because of that stupid machine. It was both annoying & distracting. In between songs, when the smoke machine was turned off, that’s about the only time you could actually see the lead singer John Gourley.

It was weird that the smoke machine was only directed towards the front corner of the stage where the main microphones were staged. The smoke did not even reach the rest of the stage, so the smoke was very concentrated to only one side of the stage. The funny thing that happened at the concert though, was when it came time to count down to the new year & the venue was preparing to drop a ton of balloons from the ceiling. Because the band had this crazy laser light show background, the laser lights would pop the balloons as they fell from the ceiling, making an extremely loud popping noise. People were also purposely throwing balloons into the laser lights just to pop the other balloons. By the time the concert was over, the 300+ balloons were whittled down to approximately 10 or so.

There was one couple sitting next to us where the wife slept through the entire concert. As soon as she sat down in her seat, she made herself comfortable & proceeded to take a nap. The husband went out to get drinks, which the woman never touched, & sat in his seat the entire time just bobbing his head once in a while.  Then right before the countdown to the new year, the husband woke the wife up & they both walked out of the venue. Neither of them seemed happy, nor happy to be there. We still had a memorable concert experience that night.

Shortly after ringing in the new year, one of my cousins hosted her 21st birthday party in Las Vegas. All of the aunts, uncles, & cousins gathered to celebrate our cousin’s milestone birthday, & boy was it a memorable weekend celebration! We all had such a blast spending time together as one big happy family, & I was especially happy to spend time with a cousin I consider to be like my little sister. Oh, I think now would be a good time to let you in on a little secret about my extended family. They love going to Las Vegas, & they love to gamble…but mostly they love to eat, drink & be merry.  My relatives go to Las Vegas at least 4 or 5 times a year, & they really know how to show you a good time when you visit there.

Here comes the final part of this post. This is the real reason why I have been M.I.A. from this blog for the past couple of months. I have been seeing a fertility doctor for a majority of the past two months. I’ve been going through a complicated medication routine/schedule, getting blood tests nearly every other day, getting exams from my doctor. It’s been a very busy time for me personally. All of this back-&-forth to & from the doctor’s clinic has been wearing me out, & on top of that, I recently had to be put on another strict medication regimen where I have to get a long needle shot in my butt. Yes, I said butt! But this is all worth it because I just found out some exciting & positive news that I have successfully procreated (with the help of medical science). I don’t want to talk about it too much in this blog post, but let’s just say that I am both elated & scared shitless (which is totally normal), & that’s all I’m going to say on this subject. I do not want to turn this site into another mommy blog.

I hope all of this reading hasn’t worn you out. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

get campy wordpress cover.jpg

This past summer I was extremely excited that I got to relive a favorite childhood experience with Jian. When I was growing up, my dad would take our whole family to go camping at Lake Tahoe. We always went camping with my dad’s childhood friends & their respective families. My dad would plan everything down to the last detail.

My dad would always book a camping site at one of the fancy-schmancy state-run campgrounds in Lake Tahoe, & when I say “fancy”, I mean the campground had public water spigots (for washing your cookout utensils, etc.) as well as proper locker room style showers & toilet stalls. Most outdoorsmen/women & true adventurists would say that’s considered cheating or glamping, but it was one modern comfort we had to have in order for all the moms to agree to go camping with our group.

90s camping1.jpg

My dad & me at Lake Tahoe

My mom hated camping, but my dad loved it, ever since he learned to camp while being in the Eagle Scouts. When my dad was growing up in Japan, he joined one of the first International Boy Scouts troops, & his troop would often times hike up Mount Fuji & learn how to do outdoorsy survivalist things at the base camp there. That’s where my dad built up his passion for nature, camping, & the great outdoors. My mom, on the other hand, grew up in the heart of the big city in Taiwan & never developed a fondness for the wild outdoors. So in order for my dad to convince my mom to go camping every year, he’d have to find a campground with a few extra creature comforts (like proper toilets & coin-operated showers) so my mom wouldn’t be completely “roughing it”.

90s camping2.jpg

My dad even took my cousins camping with our family friends.

In the very beginning when my dad first started taking our whole family camping, I hated it. I was too little (a.k.a. young) to do any of the things the older kids were doing, so I had to stay back at the campsite with my mom. On top of that, I was scared of getting bitten by bugs, & I hated being/getting dirty. Then, once I joined the Girl Scouts, I learned how to take care of myself & how to do lots of fun camping things with my Girl Scout troop. That’s when I truly started appreciating how much fun camping could be. Every summer after that I looked forward to my dad’s pre-planned camping trips.

90s camping3.jpg

We always camped with the same family. All 3 dads were in the same Boy Scouts troop back in Japan.

Years later, after all of us kids had grown up & gone off to college, my parents stopped camping. Little-by-little my mom donated & gave away all of our deluxe camping gear (which have now become trendy collector’s items), & our yearly camping excursion became a long ago memory. My dad was disappointed that we stopped this yearly summer tradition, but everyone else lost interest in camping, even going to Lake Tahoe where we used to own a vacation cabin in the South Lake Tahoe area. We have since sold our vacation property, since it had become to difficult & complicated for my mom to manage after my dad had passed.

From the first time I had met Jian, I had been mentioning wanting to go on a camping trip, possibly with a big group of friends, or even going with just him. I annoyed regaled him with colorful stories about vacationing in Lake Tahoe & going camping in the great outdoors (managed by park rangers & run by the state of California’s Recs & Parks department). We occasionally talked about going camping with our friends, but we never actually planned it.

I would bring up the subject with Jian every so often during our conversations in our relationship, & we would often talk about making plans but never actually follow through. It wasn’t until this year when I finally was able to convince Jian to go camping with me. Jian was originally born in Canton, China & eventually immigrated to Midtown Manhattan in New York City before ultimately settling down in the California Bay Area. Needless to say he never had any opportunity to explore & camp in the great outdoors.

tahoe 2019

One of the biggest mistakes we made was booking our campsite so late in the camping season, but we were still able to grab a sweet spot at the Tahoe State Recreation Area in Lake Tahoe. Ok, once you hear where this state-run campground is located, you’re going to laugh & call us “cheaters” & not authentic campers because our campground was located about a couple of hundred feet away from a shopping strip mall with a grocery store & a CVS Pharmacy as well as local shops & restaurants. Basically, we were located right on the outskirts of the city center, but hey, at least our campground was also right next to the lake with its own dock access.

IMG_7903.jpg

Despite not being at a real rugged campground, we both had a great time. The campground we stayed at was a perfect starter campsite for a beginner like Jian. I had the best time teaching Jian all about the ways of camping. I helped him pitch our tent & set up our camping gear. (To this day, Jian still doesn’t know hot to fold up our outdoor lawn chairs.) During the day, we took long hikes around the trails & had a relaxing time hanging out by the lake. In the evenings, we would have simple cookouts, though I wouldn’t call oxtail stew simple. We ate, explored the surrounding trails & popular attractions like Vikingsholm at the Emerald Bay State Park. We even tried our hand at making a campfire, though it didn’t turn out well because our logs kept smoking too much, & I am severely allergic to any kind of smoke (eg. cigarettes, fire, cigars, marijuana, etc.).

 

Overall, we had such an amazing time at our modest little campsite. Jian had such a wonderful first-time experience that he wished we could have stayed at least one more day. He vowed that when we go camping again next year, we will definitely plan much earlier in advance & book more days at the campground. My only gripe about camping this year was that I got mosquito bites all over my arms despite practically drenching myself in extra strength bug repellent. Jian barely sprayed any bug repellent on himself, & he didn’t get any mosquito bites whatsoever. (So unfair!) Then again, a few bug bites won’t deter me from camping again. Next time I hope we can go camping with our friends. It turns out a lot of our friends have never been camping before, & they are eager for me to show them the ropes. How exciting! Until next time, cheers…& I shall leave you with some photos of our camping excursion down below.


Today’s song of the day:

Calendar

July 2021
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Enter your email address to follow this blog & receive notifications.

Join 222 other followers

Member of The Internet Defense League

%d bloggers like this: