This weekend I joined the Chinese masses and went outside, stared at the moon, and thought about my family while I scarfed down some yue bing (moon cakes). Johnson and Sunny invited me out to enjoy the Autumn Festival with them at the famous Summer Palace. This was the first time I got to celebrate it and- appropriately- I did think about my family as I stared at the burnished moon as it rose over Beijing. I thought about my mom who is now on Skype 24/7, either because she’s always waiting for me or because she just hasn’t figured out how to sign off. I thought about my dad who works tirelessly and was probably just waking up to start his 6am day as I was out eating dinner. I thought about my amazing sister who exceeds me in maturity any day. I thought about my unique brother whom I could probably write novels about– whom I think about while on the bus or train and start laughing uncontrollably while onlookers ponder my sanity. Of course, I thought of Jason who was probably scarfing down the same moon cakes (and avoiding the yolk, which I actually don’t mind) and all of my extended family and friends back home. So I guess you could say this was my first real Autumn Festival… in every sense of the word.
The Summer Palace is HUGE. According to Johnson (who printed out a 10-page guide to the Summer Palace for me, complete with a map and info on each landmark), it is 700 hetacres large and about five-sixths of it is water. It was really crowded when we went because everyone had gathered to look at the moon, but was still lovely and a welcome escape from the metropolitan landscapes we’ve all grown accustomed to.
They were great and patient tour guides and taught me a few more phrases of Chinese and I tried to teach them how to pronounce “hetacres.”
In any case, here are some of the highlighted photos from our outing. Enjoy, and Happy Autumn Festival!