If I were going to name my twelve days in Beijing, I would call them “Sabrina’s Birthday Week” or “How I Hung Out in Beijing With my Daughter and Watched Eleven Episodes of Orange is the New Black.”
One World blogger Sabrina and I are having an ideal combination of hanging out, birthday dinners, being with friends, binge watching Orange is the New Black and biking to get massages.
The first birthday dinner for Sabrina took place at her apartment. Roomie Lauren cooked all day. In the morning Lauren and I shopped for veggies, rice, butter for the brownies, and chickpeas for the Indian mush that went so well with the special rice Lauren made. Fresh coconut whipped cream accompanied the brownies, each topped with a colorful candle.
My visit with Sabrina has included two evening work-related events. One was a movie with her officemates of frightening stages of disaster caused by continued global warming.
The other was the “gala,” not exactly a gala, but an awards TV show celebrating foreign individuals—including Sabrina’s boss—who have brought “Charm to China.” It took place in the Water Cube from the Olympics, in itself a fun experience.
My favorite awardee was an English woman whose NGO cares for terminally ill Chinese children and their parents, a neglected segment of the population here. We talked to her afterwards and I asked how she manages the sadness of it all. She said she cries a lot, but someone needs to care for these kids and their loved ones. The evening ended with a Thai dance performance, whose progressive synchronized arm movements tickled the eyes.
A delightful surprise is how smooth it has been for me to sleep in Sabrina’s room; only once did I create a snoring disturbance.
One of my favorite part of weekdays has been that I get up with my daughter at 7:25 and have coffee, toast with jam, and oranges on her sunny yangtai or enclosed balcony/sunroom
I can’t account for the rest of the morning hours it takes for me to get out on my bike for the half-hour ride to Sabrina’s office for lunch, except that I stream NPR on my laptop, stretch, and do a lot of stuff management.
Since I am sharing Sabrina’s bedroom, I must keep my stuff from the usual way it spreads like goo when I travel. I keep everything in my wheelie and my carry-on. I keep warmies, pretzels, nuts, and oranges in my bike bag, which I hide under a curtain in the living room.
On many days, we eat lunch near the office in this adorable strip of every kind of little restaurant, all with outdoor tables: funky little Guandong, Palestinian, or noodle places.
On the bike ride home, I often stop to read my Kindle or type on my laptop by a canal lined with willow trees. The neighborhood where Sabrina lives abounds with cute little coffee places, so I also try to work a cappuccino into each day.
It is a joy to appear on this inspiring blog! I welcome you to visit me on my blog, Confessions of a Worrywart.
My story of living in Beijing from 1979 to 1981 and of adopting Sabrina there as a newborn in 1986 appears in my memoir, Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others.