I didn’t get a chance to write my usual monthly recap post at the end of April so this one is a 2-fer. I had my Lasik surgery at the very end of April and I may have slightly underestimated the recovery period. I thought I’d be back on the laptop in 2 days. But my (new, improved) eyes had other plans and decided that they didn’t want to look at a screen until a week later. And by then, I got lazy to write a re-cap post and it was almost getting to mid-month anyway.
This post should be real short because I already did my best to summarize what’s been going on. But I would hate to skip over the re-cap for these months, so here goes:
Apr 3 – 17: Taipei, Taiwan
I don’t think any Asian city surprised me as much as Taipei. I went there with zero expectations and quickly fell in love. I’ve already talked about everything I love about Taipei, so I’ll spare it here.
Taipei gets skipped over a lot on the Asia trail, perhaps because it doesn’t have famous tourist attractions. And maybe that is perhaps why we enjoyed it too. We spent our days working in cozy cafes and our evenings eating our way through the night markets. And still, we felt that two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time to soak up the city.
By the time we left, we had already decided that we would come back at the end of this year and spend a lot more time here. Taipei will mark the first place in which we will settle for a while – a testament to how much we both loved the city.
One of the major highlights of our time in Taipei was getting to see where D used to live. These past couple of months have been about dwelling into each other’s histories. We met up with D’s uncle in the city and he took us to the apartment where D’s mom’s family used to live. D was born in the States, but lived in Taipei with his grandparents for a year as a toddler. It was really special to see that.
In case you missed them, here are what I’ve already written about Taipei:
- A photo post of why Taipei is the coolest Asian city I’ve been to yet
- I ate the most expensive bowl of beef noodle soup ever and compared it with a locally famous cheaper on
- I revamped my entire travel wardrobe in Taipei and shot my first outfit post!
- A post of the drool worthy (and sometimes strange) food in Taipei
Apr 18 – May 15: Beijing, China
I had the BEST month in Beijing!
Ever since I moved to the States at the age of 6, I’ve returned to Beijing for a visit about once every 4-5 years. While I’ve enjoyed every single one of them, I was probably too young and immature to fully appreciate them. This visit, however, I really treasured.
We timed this visit with my mom’s annual trip so I was able to spend a lot of time with her. My grandparents are no longer as healthy as a few years ago, so any time spent with them now is precious. I was really happy to be able to introduce D to my Beijing family and show him my childhood home and have him taste the food I grew up eating. It was important for me to show him where I came from.
I already wrote a summary of my month in Beijing so I will keep this brief. I still have so much more I want to share about my time in Beijing. I never kept a written record of my previous trips to China, so even more so, I want to document every moment of this one.
May 15 – Present: Shanghai, China
When we were planning our China trip, we knew Beijing was a must, but we had an entire two months to fill with other destinations. The options seemed endless: Xian to see the clay soldiers! Chengdu to see the pandas! Yunnan for the scenery! But it was too expensive to move around that much so we decided to stick to our preferred slow-travel style and pick one other city only.
D had his heart set on Shanghai. Truth be told, I wasn’t too excited about Shanghai because I’ve visited briefly before and felt generally meh about it. To be fair, I’ve only visited the super touristy sites, which is not often the best representation of a city. So I agreed to give it a real chance and we booked a month.
Guess what? I LOVE Shanghai! I feel slightly guilty that I prefer it over Beijing and I kinda like it even more than Taipei.
We’ve been taking it pretty slow here. There are a lot of small, unique towns to visit around Shanghai, but I think we’ve both reached the point where we’re too tired to do heavy exploring. So we’ve been sleeping in late and focusing more on work than on sightseeing. But the weekends are when we have our fun. I have a cousin my age in the city and we have a lot of fun hanging out together!
There seems to be an endless amount of things to do and eat in Shanghai, everything from dirt cheap to super lux and everything in between. I really think I could spend 10 years here and still not do (and eat) everything there is to do! I’ll have a much better assessment of Shanghai in my next report!
Coming up in June
June will be a big month! We will be finishing our month in Shanghai and then flying to Shantou, China, just for a 2-day pit stop to visit D’s overseas contractors. I’m really excited about it! I know absolutely nothing about this town.
After that, we are headed to Hong Kong for 9 days. D insisted on Hong Kong because of *surprise surprise* the food scene. I confess that I’m not the hugest fan of Cantonese cuisine, but I’m really hoping that these days in Hong Kong will change my mind. Any food rec’s, let me know!
After Hong Kong, we’re completely changing up the game and flying to Europe! I am so excited to be going back to Europe this summer! We will be flying into Warsaw, Poland and spending one week there with D’s Polish family. And that will take us to the end of June.
Okay, in the beginning of this post, I said it will be real short, and I still managed to ramble on. Sigh.