Lin and Li turned 3 months yesterday, and our life in Shanghai is really crazy. Everyday we have so much on our plate and we are trying to get things done during the week-long national holiday. JT is back in China for work and we saw him again having dinner at Lost Heaven on the Bund, on National Day (Oct 1st), he then spent the day with Rob, Cheryl and Ella yesterday, we took the boys and met up with them at a traditional soup dumpling place on Nanjing Xi Lu. It was great fun to see him and he wanted to come back next weekend for the expo! Scott is coming to Shanghai today from Beijing, next week Nora and Joe will be here, then Joe Chung will be visiting the day after Nora and Joe leave Shanghai for Beijing, I can’t believe how many visitors we are having but it’s wonderful to be able to see our friends from the US, it sure keeps our life fun, which is what we really need right now.
The boys continue to grow and show interesting abilities everyday. They smile back at us and both of them now hold on to my breast while I feed them and they know how to get more milk by squeezing! They seem to spit up more probably because of the increasing amount of milk they are consuming but they seem to be less fussy. When you lay them down, they turn their heads towards each other and make funny noises as if they were talking, it is the cutest thing. In the past few days, we feed them around 10 at night, and they are able to sleep through the night, waking up around 6am so it’s been great that we are getting more sleep now than ever! They definitely can take more milk too, since we still bottle feed them once a day, we know they are able to take 6~7 ounces each time, and they do last longer for up to 5 hours during the day. Life with twins finally got a little bit easier.
Michael and I decided to go on a small trip during the moon festival holiday in late September, since it’s the busiest season for tourism in China, we chose a small village nearby Hangzhou right on the Liuxi River, the village is called Gaoping, it’s in the Lin’an area deep in the mountains, not a real tourist town, all 60 households were relocated by the government due to the construction of a dam, and it’s a real pretty village, everyone lives right on the water and it is so clean, they grow their own vegetables, raise their own pigs, chicken and ducks. The weekend tourists also bring a lot of wealth into this tiny village, as a matter of fact, we were really surprised to see so many cars parked in the small parking lot. Since we had the boys with us, we chose a Bed & Breakfast type hotel that just opened six months ago. The owners are a young couple from Shanghai who decided to move to the country and expand their hotel business, the guy actually had a lot to talk about with Michael since his major in college was also computer engineering and he’s actually a college classmate of my middle school classmate. They did a wonderful job renovating the house and our “honeymoon suite” was perfect for our situation, there’s a futon on the floor for the babies, it’s everything we wanted minus the romance of being honeymooners (not complaining about the boys by the way). We loved our balcony with a view of the mountain and the river.
To get to this village was not easy, we couldn’t believe that every single train ticket was sold to get to Hangzhou, so we ended up taking a bus, the three hour ride wasn’t too bad but it was a struggle breastfeeding the babies on a bus. After we arrived in Lin’an (临安) we met up with the driver we hired, his little van worked out great since we were able to change diapers 🙂 That was another hour of driving to get to Gaoping Village (高坪村). Once we got there, we fell in love with the place, the water was so green and the mountains were just gorgeous, it sure is a completely different place than Shanghai, no traffic no pollution, pure nature with fresh air and sound of rooster, frogs and dogs. Michael and I pretty much were eating non-stop. Our first lunch was a chicken stew with some bok choy. The family we ate at raise their own chicken, and they go into the mountains, so sometimes they say it’s hard to catch them! Michael and I had never had chicken that is so delicious, the soup was so flavorful, the chicken skin tasted like meat (it’s hard to explain but for someone like me who never touches chicken skin this was amazing). Since it’s a whole chicken we couldn’t eat it all, so the couple offered to add water to the pot and delivered the 2-round chicken soup to our hotel for dinner. Guess what? It was just as delicious!!! Michael and I ate everything but the head and the feet. The house dog Tudou (potato in Chinese) was very sweet he went out with us as if he was showing us where to go! The following day we had a whole fish, that was fantastic too, Michael and I enjoyed watching the owner catch, kill and clean the fish, Michael even got a picture wearing his straw fishing raincoat with a straw hat, which are really hard to find these days. Since the village is in the mountain, there’s absolutely no pollution in the water. They also collect honey from the wild bees, it’s such a wonderful lifestyle they have. Wish we could live like that.
In the afternoon, most tourists were gone since most people had to go back to work that Saturday. Michael and I were pretty one of the few left in the village, we really wanted to get on the water but with Lin and Li, the safety was a concern, we tried to rent the huge dragon boat and we were able to negotiate a good price, but last minute they couldn’t start the boat so the alternative was to get on a speed boat, at the lowest speed. It was a 10 minute ride to get to a small island. Since it’s a man-made lake the water was real calm so we agreed. Lin and Li were sleeping most of the time during the day in their carriers so they did just fine. When we got on the little island, we found out there’s a 15-minute climb to get to a waterfall, so we decided to climb the mountain, I was carrying Li and he woke up once we started climbing, he didn’t close his eyes until the end of the trip, he was so curious looking around it was amazing. There was nobody else other than a couple taking their wedding pictures in front of the waterfall. The waterfall was stunning and we never thought the boat trip would turn out to be such an adventure. Lin woke up when we arrived at the top, where there’s a big suspension bridge, he was looking around as well – they both loved the climb and so did we! When we went back to the hotel, they made egg tart, crepes and dinner, everything was just perfect for our weekend trip. And I had so much milk after we returned home! Lin and Li have taken the plane, boat, bus and car ride, the only thing they haven’t got on is train. China is going through a major upgrade with the train system right now, the newest thing now is the high speed trains that connect all major cities, it cuts the trip between Shanghai and Hangzhou to 38 minutes (used to be 1.5~2 hours), it will take longer for us to get to the train station! I am sure the boys will get on the trains in no time, maybe we can take them on the maglev too.