This year we had a very different Fall, or “Autumn” as I would normally call it, and when thinking back on last year’s festivities, the same season this year seems rather dull and uneventful. Maybe it’s a good thing than that it came and went so quickly. Even though I am writing this at what feels like the end of fall, winter has most definitely started already. According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, winter started on November 7th, and since that very day the temperatures have drastically dropped with each day that has passed!
Last year we did an amazing Fall Bucket List while we were in Texas, and checking off all those activities was so much fun!! We visited the Texas State Fair (hmm, corn dogs and other fried deliciousness), picked pumpkins at a pumpkin patch, roasted s’mores, carved jack-o-lanterns, dressed up and went trick-or-treating, had a picnic at the Arboretum, played in a pile of leaves, went tail-gaiting in Austin, watched the sunset over a lake, made a pie, celebrated my first Thanksgiving, and I even ran a marathon! If you missed all of that excitement, you can click here to see everything that we did for our Texas Fall Bucket List.
Seeing as winter has officially arrived in China, we thought that we would should you a few pictures of what we noticed and enjoyed over here in Qingdao this fall.
The leaves started to fall from the trees a good couple of months ago. One day all the trees were green, and then a week or two later half of them had lost most of their colour. It was a drastic change – and part of me wonders how we missed the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows that we love so much. Could it be that because we were not out and running, we missed it changes? That right there is even more motivation to keep running – regardless of the season.
As the colder air started to move in, so did the ever-faithful sweet potato man who stands outside our apartment complex every evening from around 4pm. He is there just in time to catch everyone heading home from work and school, and knowing how good these babies are, you can’t help but buying a couple of them as you pass by. For two really large sweet potatoes, we pay roughly 10 yuan ($1,60), and they are pipping hot and ready to be eaten straight away. They are cooked inside a barrel of coals, or sometimes the “fancier” looking contraption that you see above. The skin is dirty and black from the coal, so we cut them in half, scoop out the moist insides, add some butter, salt and pepper… and ENJOY! Cheap, healthy, and delicious!
There were a few absolutely gorgeous days in Autumn – where the skies where blue, and there was not an inch of smog hanging in the sky. Those days make me happy, but sadly there are not enough of them. Above you can see the view we have from our bus stop. To the left is our building, and to the right is the building where the Mosby’s live.
There were all kinds of gourds in the grocery store this Autumn, and all of them were dirty cheap. For roughly 7-14 yuan ($1,20 – $2,30) we could get a gourd large enough to make two large pots of soup. We cooked up a few of them to make pumpkin soup, and then froze portions of it for later.
We did get to enjoy one evening around a big fire, chatting with new friends, and making s’mores. It was quite chilly, but the fire was oh so nice! It reminded us of being at home – both Texas and South Africa – and sitting around a fire, watching the flames and having quality time with good people.
“Trick or Treat”. Since Halloween is not celebrated in China, these were the ONLY trick-or-treators that we had come knocking at our door. The only reason that they even came was because they are students of ours who live in the same apartment complex as us. We told them beforehand that if they came to our door dressed up, we would give them candy.
I did a few Fall Art Activities with my kindergarten kids – and of course, as I did, they loved the fun designs with paint and dry leaves. Oh how I would love to be an art teacher. Fall is a good time to get creative with nature!
We have now taken out all of our scarves, hats and gloves – the things that we have not needed for a long time – and we are ready to try and brave the cold winter days. It almost feels like we missed Fall completely this year, and last year feels likes an amazing vacation that we went on. We’ll have to hang onto those memories until we can have another amazing fall somewhere pretty. Of course, if I had it my way, we would live in a tropical zone where we never experience fall because it would always be hot. I can dream!
We hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying the start of the new season.
These two little love birds are aching to fly south for the winter.
It’s time to hibernate or migrate!