Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Back, Me!

Hi Friends! Apologies for the long absence; work has been busy and I've been in a bit of a funk. I took a loooong vacation in December and now I feel refreshed and mostly back to my old self. Here's a quick catch-up of what has been going on with me:

I went to China!
Work matters brought me there and I was able to extend my trip by a day to do a little bit of sightseeing! I went to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Hutong District (a traditional Chinese neighborhood). Plus, the amazing office manager of our China office took great care of me while I was in town, going above and beyond the call of duty to stay up late and take me out to various local restaurants pretty much every night!

The food was incredible. My favorite meal by far was a night of Peking Duck (not pictured). The duck was delectable and it was served with the most air-light pancakes I have ever tasted (similar to the pancakes that come with muushuu, but thinner). The Great Wall was probably the highlight of the sightseeing trip. Never in my life did I ever expect to see the Great Wall in person. Plus, did you know you have the option to take a ski lift down from the wall OR A TOBOGGAN? A TOBOGGAN. DOWN FROM THE GREAT WALL. OF CHINA. Who are these people who are opting for the ski lift in that situation????

Plus, I went to the "silk market" where I bought lots of fun stuff, including "Beats Audio" bluetooth speakers for $10, an "Alexander McQueen" scarf for $10, and "Hermes" wallets for $20! (Note the air quotes...)

Silk Market Sale Haul. Note that the bike helmet above HAS EARMUFFS BUILT IN!

I Went on Winter Vacation!
This Jewish Girl experienced her first Christmas in St. Louis, and then I went to Vegas to ring in 2014!

My favorite part of the St. Louis trip was our visit to the City Museum. For those who haven't been, it's this odd collection of stuff inside what is essentially an enormous playground. There are slides everywhere (including a ten-story slide!) and you can climb on basically everything. It's a great place to entertain your inner child.

Our Vegas trip was fun as always. No big wins to report, but I enjoyed staying on both the strip and Old Vegas. We checked out the new "Container Park" that's out in Downtown Vegas, and it is a very cool scene. If you want to get away from the strip and have a chill night outdoors, it's a great place to go! (The giant cricket above sits outside of the park.)

Let's just consider this an early 30th birthday present to myself!

It's a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. I did a lot of research about this car before taking the plunge. It's diesel, so it gets amazing highway gas mileage (50 mpg!) and feels incredibly powerful to drive. Here's hoping the maintenance and repairs are not outrageous! (I read a decent number of horror stories on the internet, but I have a few years of warranty coverage to figure out how much I like the car/how high the costs are, after which I can sell at a small loss if necessary.) Diesel engines can last past 400,000 miles (although everything around the engine may have to be replaced several times over)!

What should I name it?  One of my friends suggested "Shirley," which I like because I secretly/publicly still drink Shirley Temples sometimes.  Another friend suggested I give it a German name, like Brunhilde or Astrid.  Yet another friend suggested "Firecrotch."  Thoughts?

There, you're caught up!  Now, please tell me what I have missed with you! I have not been reading anybody's blogs in my absense so please fill me in on the haps!

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