Summer Palace, Beijing

A few weeks ago, I had my two-week vacation of the year. As residents, we get a healthy amount of vacation time a year, but the crux is we don't get to decide when we get it. We request holidays, weddings and important events ahead of time, but you can only predict so much a year ahead of time. I was lucky that I had Christmas and New Year's off my intern year to go home to Maryland, but for my two weeker I split it up between Beijing and Denver.

For most people, Beijing is an exotic locale, but for me it's where my extended family live. I rarely go out into the city and have already done all of the touristy sights (see my last visit here), so mainly just chill at home with my grandparents and aunts. This time, two of my cousins had babies! JJ and I are no longer the youngest kids in our families. Make way for the great-great grandchildren!
Niece #1
My extended family

The one fun thing I did this time (other than doing enough shopping to last me the rest of the year) was go to the Summer Palace with my mom. As a California girl now, I wanted to get my urban hike on, and where better to do it than one of Beijing's biggest parks?

 Mom's first sefie

 Acting out my "huan zhu ge ge" fantasies....where is my Wu A Ge?

Other activities in Beijing included shopping (my relatives would literally drop me off at the mall every day) and eating, mainly by myself. Not complaining, especially when I'm showered with so much money (exchange rate is 6 RMB=1USD) I don't even feel like I'm spending real money. 

 Bubble tea qday...this one was cranberry and rose! 
 Chinese spin on ramen 
 Traditional Beijing restaurant
 Jia jiang mian
 Pretty seafood, but inedible
 Rainbow sushi (also not very good)
 Japanese tofu
 Foil fish

I didn't have big plans for this trip other than spend some time with my mom (we flew out of opposite coasts to meet up across the world) and my grandparents. I accomplished that goal and came out with some good meals, good family time, and a whole new shoe closet!
I filled up an empty briefcase with 10 pairs of shoes (to be fair 2 were for my sister ;)


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