From the Recipe Book: Traditional Red Bean Mooncakes

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Mid-autumn Festival (中秋節) or Moon Festival is the harvest festival. It comes once a year on the night of the full moon from September to early October- the 15th day of the 8th month on the Lunar calendar. It has been celebrated in China and Vietnam for centuries and is one of the four most important Chinese festivals. Everyone has the day off to spend with friends and family, eat mooncakes, and sit outside to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the full moon. The holiday has a spiritual quality that comes from the ancient love story a beautiful woman named Lady Chang’e who ascended to the moon and became a celestial being representing fortune and peace.

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But, mooncakes, though.

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Moving Truck Camping Part 2- The Blue Ridge Parkway and Boone

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks and Boone, North Carolina

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Alas, after our hiking adventures we had to press on towards our new home. Of course, we couldn’t resist picking an exciting route. We chose to travel 99% of the way entirely on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Why, you ask? Because it’s “America’s Favorite Drive,” of course! Well, actually, that and we didn’t want to have to drive more than 45 mph in our moving van, we wanted the road mostly to ourselves, and we wanted to make ample stops- preferably scenic ones.

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Moving Truck Camping Part 1- Shenandoah National Park

Location: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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We had a few weeks to spare, so K and I decided to take the scenic route down to our new abode in North Carolina.

Note: we are both pretty minimal, and we like to make each new home its own. When we realized that we could fit everything we owned into a 10’ moving truck–and that such a truck is actually smaller than most RVs–we designed a week-long trip where we could stop and camp at some of the most beautiful sights along the Blue Ridge Mountains! We knew that we wanted to drive down along the Blue Ridge Parkway and also stop in Boone and Blowing Rock (more about that in our next post!). Since the Northernmost tip of the Parkway runs practically straight into Shenandoah, we couldn’t resist spending a few days there.

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Farewell, Columbus

Location: Columbus, Ohio

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V: Guys, I’m going to be honest with you. This post was hard to write.

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Columbus has been my home for the majority of the last 8 years, so I have an intrinsically complicated relationship with it. This city- the capital of the heart-shaped state- is where K and I met and fell in love, where we both graduated from The Ohio State University, and where we have made so many beautiful friends and connections. Personally, I have moved 6 different times within the city’s limits. Now, we plan to leave it for good and move forward to our next adventure. Naturally, we are both happy and sad to go. We are indescribably grateful for all the things we’ve experienced in this place, and all it has done for us. However, we sense it is the time for new places and new opportunities. This post is written as a farewell tribute and also a bit of a travel guide for those who plan to visit or see a little more of the city’s magic.

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Raleigh/Durham- City of Oaks

Location: Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro and Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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We had less than 2 days, but our mission was to see as much of our little corner of North Carolina as we could. Our plan was to visit Chapel Hill (since I would be attending UNC), Carrboro (known fondly as Chapel Hill’s hippie cousin), Raleigh (the State’s growing capital), and Durham (an entrepreneurial hub for young professionals). Too many flights made our experience a little haggard, a little tiring, but we managed to pull out all the stops. These areas are conveniently located within 30 minutes of each other, so we rented a car and got to seeing the sights.

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Phuket- Life’s A Beach

Location: Patong; Kr’abi; Pranang Island; and Poda Island, Thailand

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As it is the first day of Autumn, I can think of no more perfect a time to reminisce about a place that I can only describe as a kind of perpetual summer paradise. Phuket, Thailand is a location for a specific type of vacation person. In my experience there are at least two different types: those who enjoy a lot of sightseeing and movement and those who just want a little R&R. K and I were skeptical before venturing to the Thai seacoast because we tend to be in the former group. If there aren’t a lot of things to “do” in a place, why go? We were even more skeptical when we heard a lot of people in hostel describe Phuket as the “Cancun of Thailand” (not to knock those who like Cancun). That is to say- Phuket has a bit of a reputation for being the non-authentic Thailand that caters strictly to tourists, has dirty overcrowded beaches, is filled with overpriced resorts, and swarming with scam-artists keen on taking your money.

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China Surprises

Location: Fuzhou and Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China edit3

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This past week was a truly wonderful week for K and I in China. We had the opportunity to travel to Fuzhou, and we were greeted with two marvelous surprises while on our journey. One was the arrival of some of our closest friends to the country. The other was that we were nominated for the Liebster award from another blogger in the WordPress community (wanderinfish.com– check him out!). As we had originally established this blog only as a means of further communication with friends and family back home, we are thrilled at how much positive support and feedback we have received through this platform, and are greatly considering expanding and diversifying our efforts.

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New Year, from the Future

Location: Difu Taoist Temple and Cloud Mountain, Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China

A new year has come and, with it, so have trips to the fringes of the city. To celebrate the coming of 2014, we climbed a mountain with Davi’s family. Of course, as per Chinese tradition, we did not find out that we were going to be doing any special activities for January 1–or even knew we had the day off, for that matter–until the previous afternoon. But, we made the best of the day. We even got to celebrate it a full 13 hours before all of you suckers in the Western Hemisphere, what V and I like to call “the past.”

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Building Stories

Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China

We are surrounded by architecture. See?

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The differences between Western-style buildings and Eastern ones is vast, and can hardly be summarized in one of my pithy blog posts. However, some of the most interesting buildings are those that toe the line between Western and Eastern.

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Home Sweet Jiā

Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China

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Mid-Autumn Festival is coming up this week. We have 3 days off of school! I know that will bring numerous tales to report, so we thought we would get another update out before then. Despite the fact that the harvest is coming, it feels no nearer to fall in China and we have been seeking solace in different forms to escape the heat. The eclectic lifeways we see each day has us snapping photos and taking videos faster than we can even share them with you all. This photo set was almost painful to choose; between the beauteous views from high-rise apartments and mountain tops and the colors springing from the earth and from calligraphy brushes, there was far too much to take in.

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