It’s my favorite time of year, and I am glad to be back in a place where leaves change color and gourds grow (can you believe it? For the first time in Asia I found and purchased gourds!). We’ve had some opportunities to enjoy the changing of seasons in this chilly place as well as spend some quality time with family and good friends.
The week-long October National Holiday was just the right combination of traveling, staying at home, and spending time with family. At my urging, we took a trip to a town I’ve never visited in Qinghai and went to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery there. It was a very nice time with loud joyful singing in the mini bus, interesting conversations with monks, and my personal favorite, the paintings on the walls of the temples that went back hundreds and hundreds of years. (No photos though!) I’m always energized and rejuvenated by travel to interesting places so it really put a spring in my step.
We also spent some meaningful time with several of K’s family members. They came to Xining to enjoy brother and sister in law’s new apartment that they recently finished decorating and furnishing. The plan is to have his parents live there during the cold winters, and that plan has already been put into action. It will definitely be a big change for them. One nice thing is that our apartment is only a 10 minute walk away, so we can keep each other company and KL can stay with them when it is time for second baby to come.
A niece of K’s got married a couple of weeks ago and KL and I had the opportunity to attend the wedding. I still haven’t ever attended a traditional Tibetan village wedding but this one that took place in the county town, was a bit more traditional than most “city style” weddings (of which I’ve attended many).
It was held in a beautiful hotel. Men and Women+Children sat at separate tables. How close to the front you sat depended on how close your relationship was to the bride or groom. The bride has many aunts, and we all sat together and ate happily at one of the raised side tables while we watched colorfully dressed children (including my own) run around all afternoon.
Things have again settled themselves into a routine. The weather is very cold in the mornings and evenings. KL enjoys her kindergarten and is always happy to go in the mornings. K is settling into his job and makes good use of his free time, measuring, cutting and building things out of wood.
I’m busy at home working for our blanket business. Now that it’s getting colder, its the perfect time to order our custom Tibetan robe-inspired blankets.
I’m also taking the chance to meet up with my friends here. Soon I will be stuck in my apartment with a newborn, so I know how important it is to get out and be social now! And of course I have been nesting, collecting more baby clothes and items, and trying to get things finished so that I won’t have to worry about them after next month. I’ve been seeing the foreign doctor this time too, a very different pregnancy experience from last time. A much better experience than last time.
Very soon we will be welcoming a new member to our family. KL insists that it is a girl, and is very happy to have a younger sister to play with. Recently she has been telling me how she is a big sister and she will be a big help after the baby comes. I really hope so!