Tag Archives: moon cakes

Happy Mid Autumn Festival!

13 Sep

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What a difference a year makes!  Last year at this time I was finishing up at my previous employer, looking forward to our upcoming delayed honeymoon to Greece and going to visit my sister-in-law who had just had a new baby.  In the spirit of full disclosure, the holiday was actually at the beginning of the week, but I figured after not posting for four months I should just take the plunge again and not worry about being a few days late.

This year I am almost a year into a great new job and waiting for more big changes of our own before the end of the year.  We celebrated in Shanghai in a very muted fashion as I had a terrible cold, but had to have some moon cakes and of course take a walk to look at the full moon.

The moon cakes this time were the traditional Hong Kong style with the egg yolk in the center – we tried two variations, one the classic and the other with bean paste and egg yolk.  I still prefer the classic one – though the ice cream moon cakes that some companies provide are also pretty yummy.

After an absolutely crazy travel schedule through the end of August, I should be in one place for a while now and will try once again to share my findings and stories of the jumbled life that I live here in Shanghai.  Over the last couple of weeks as I have been walking through the city I’ve noticed things that automatically I’ve thought – that would be a great post!

Now, I’ve taken the time to reactive my account, start transferring some photos and getting myself into that blog mindset.

I hope that once again you will agree and follow me on my journey.

Cheers!

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

19 Sep

Today is the full moon, so the official mid-Autumn festival day.  Shortly we will be heading out to Li’s hometown (wedding still TBD).

The weather in Shanghai lately has been absolutely gorgeous – blue skies and cooler nights with some killer sunsets from my office window.  I haven’t been able to stop from snapping photos as I see a blue sky or a building highlighted against it.  Here are several that I have taken in the last week.

The first shots are from an afternoon excursion to Yu Yuan Garden with a friend of my sister.  He happened to be in town for less than 24 hours and said he had already seen the Bund, so I swept him along through Yu Yuan Garden and Xintiandi and we had a grand time.  The blue skies that day made me stand up and notice.

The classic dragon at Yu Yuan Garden

The classic dragon at Yu Yuan Garden

Traditional architecture in the garden highlighted by the sunny sky

Traditional architecture in the garden highlighted by the sunny sky

The second cluster are shots taken while either at work or on my way to a meeting.  I especially paid attention to the Pearl Tower (the TV tower, the round ball thing) which is a symbol of Shanghai because I saw in the paper that after October holidays they are going to renovate it.  I wonder how long it will be under construction and whether this symbol of the city will be dark for a while.

The others – my view will change soon at work and I continue to be amazed at the beauty I see each day.

A snap out of a cab window - the pearl tower with a couple puffy clouds behind

A snap out of a cab window – the pearl tower with a couple puffy clouds behind

Clouds gathering to the north of my office - skies of promise

Clouds gathering to the north of my office – skies of promise

A stunning sunset over Yan An elevated road

A stunning sunset over Yan An elevated road

The final shots are of moon cakes – couldn’t avoid them!  This is a beautiful package that Li’s company gave him with 12 moon cakes in it.  Since I received some as well, this box is currently in transit with us to his hometown.  I like moon cakes, but after two or three, that’s enough.  This package is even more special because from the pictures it looks like the moon cakes are made with precious materials like abalone.  Even more of a reason to share with his family.

Moon cakes in a gold box from the Shanghai Postal service

Moon cakes in a gold box from the Shanghai Postal service

Moon cakes with precious fillings ready to be shared

Moon cakes with precious fillings ready to be shared

I wish all of you a happy, healthy mid-Autumn festival.  May you be surrounded by family and friends during this beautiful time of year to celebrate how you see fit!

On a technical note I may not be able to keep up a regular posting schedule over the next couple of weeks with the different trips we have planned.  Will do my best, but if I miss a post here and there, consider yourselves warned!

Finding peace in Hangzhou

5 Sep
View from my balcony

View from my balcony

This is the third week in a row I have had a long road trip to a second tier city for work.  Two weeks ago it was Yangzhou, last week Changshu and this week Hangzhou.    Hangzhou was an overnight stay and to tell you the truth, not something I was really looking forward to.

Shame on me!  It was an incredible experience and just what I needed to get out of my funk.

The hotel and conference center was enormous in the Qixi wetland park resort.  Each room had a balcony overlooking water and bamboo.  There was even a comfortable sofa outside with a place to put up my feet.

Cleverly the conference organizers allocated enough time at lunch to go back to my room and rest.  I curled up on the sofa and let the peacefulness wash over me.  Nothing disturbed the quiet save an occasional bird.  It was wonderful.

At peace

At peace

I think that is the amazing part of China – even a business trip can turn into a mini-respite as long as I have eyes to see.

Before we left the hotel gave each guest a box of moon cakes.  I haven’t opened mine yet, but it seems an appropriate gift.  I could see myself returning to take a walk under the full moon and enjoy the autumn weather.

How do you celebrate fall?  Where is your escape?  Have you ever found peace in an unexpected place?

Mooncakes and Autumn Holidays

2 Oct

Sunday evening was the celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival – 中秋节 which this year backs up against the Chinese National Day holidays.  This means that I have eight days off – Sunday through Sunday to do what I will.

The moon has been visible each night last week as I walked home from work – waxing to its zenith on Sunday.  If I were a professional photographer I would take a photo, but I’m not so I try to mentally remember the full moon rising over the new/old mixture that is Shanghai.  There is one place on my walk home where on a clear evening I can see the lights of the skyscrapers of Pudong along with the moon beams.  What the moon has seen over the last forty years…

The “golden weeks” are a lovely gift – a part of the Chinese culture that I very much appreciate because during those holidays people really stop working.  Offices are closed, out of office responses are common and most of the world goes traveling, enjoying the lovely fall weather that seems to coat the country.

That is, most people except me are going traveling.

With the move a couple of week ago and the apartment search before that I never got around to booking tickets and by the time I started researching everything was very, very expensive.  No matter – a week off is a week off and we’ll see how I spend this luxurious week in such an intriguing city.

Prior to the holidays though there is a wonderful time with lots of gifts and good cheer and mooncakes!  I wrote about mooncakes last year as I was just starting my blog.  This year the vendor community has been even more innovative in their gifts.  In the last two weeks I’ve had gifts of cheese cakes, fruit, ice cream, small tarts and of course the traditional mooncakes.  There were so many sweets in the office that people started turning them down and we shared our bounty with other departments who were not so happily situated.

Chinese/French/Japanese tarts – yum!

I didn’t take a photo of the traditional cakes this year, but this lovely assortment of small tarts brightened my day.  The giver in this case was an insurance company – the bakery was Japanese and the technique appears to me to be French.  Globalization at its best.

My second favorite Mid-Autumn Festival tradition is truly an employee benefit (included in our company policy).  HR provides each employee with a Haagen Daz gift voucher which includes a chocolate ice cream mooncake and several other ice cream goods.  Localization of an international product – and truly a yummy gift!

If you had a week off when work would not call on you – where would you go?  If you had to give a gift to celebrate Moon Festival – what would you give?

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day!

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