Beijing- The Forbidden City

Location: Peking, Beijing Municipality, China

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How can you describe a city that’s–by all accounts–the face of one of the largest countries in the world and one of the oldest continuous capitals? Beijing is a place of many paradoxes, of rapid growth and intense political power, but also reminders of the way things used to be. It’s three thousand years old and has seen all kinds of changes, both backwards and forwards. It has opulent palaces and historical edifices that are legendary across the world, but also is one of the most modern cities in China.

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Harbin-City of Ice

Location: Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China

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Despite being the first city in our series of travels, we knew the least about Harbin. I added it to our itinerary after reading an article claiming the city as a can’t-miss spot for winter tourism in China and the host of the greatest winter festival in the entire world. Those are such bold words, it was just too tempting not to see it with my own eyes. After looking at photographs online, and discovering that this life-size frozen playground was only available from January 5-February 5 annually, I became obsessed. This would be our only chance. You can judge by our pictures below, but it’s safe to say, the city did not disappoint.

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Year of the Horse 2014

Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China

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Spring Festival has begun in China. As you know, the commencement of this is marked by a celebration of the lunar New Year- beginning on the 31st of January and ending of the 18th of February, 2015. According to the Chinese Zodiac or Shēngxiào (“birth likeness”), we are ending the Year of the Snake and entering the Year of the Horse. The twelve year cycle of animals is said to influence the lives of the individuals born under the various signs. I myself was born in a Horse year. Now, I’m not superstitious, but for others in a similar position (1966, 1978, 1990, or 2002) who may be curious, it is said that our fortune will be mixed. Financial independence is fairly certain (so we should say goodbye to student loan debt! huzzah!) and we will form a great many new relationships (hopefully quality ones), but we should be wary of health problems. We also should strive to work on time management and stave off unproductiveness and impatience. Honestly, I could see these predictions being fairly accurate.

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