Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Beautiful Day

While Mother's Day is not widely celebrated in China, Steve, Julie, and Z did not let that stop them from making my day special! It all started with a new twist on breakfast in bed. Since usual breakfast products are a bit of a challenge to come by, pancakes with fresh mango, orange nectar, and a hard-boiled egg carried in on a contraption designed by Z and resembling the vehicle that ancients used to transport the Emperor, were on the menu.

After enjoying this scrumptious meal befitting no less than the Empress Dowager herself, it was off to the hutongs for a little exploration (affectionately known as the "hutong hustle"). First walking, then bicycling on rented tandems, we covered a lot of ground weaving in and out of some of Beijing's most interesting housing units. While many are crumbling, a nice selection still remain. Some are in fine condition, some have even been renovated, and all provide a glimpse into the courtyard lifestyle popular in Beijing before the introduction of the high rise. Alive and bustling, the community aspect of this type of living is refreshing. People talk to each other, spend time helping one another, and enjoy leisurely activities together. I find it especially positive when considering the elderly who can continue to partake in the past times that they have grown to know and love with the people they have grown to know and love.

In the midst of our travels, a delicious lunch and some people-watching at a restaurant in Houhai was a perfect way to spend the afternoon. Then off to the Northern Cathedral for a wonderful evening mass and some spiritual renewal.

I am truly blessed! For me, Mother's Day is everywhere, every day!



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