Beijing in December

Our Honeymoon Part I

Country: China
City: Beijing

Back in December 2014, we took our honeymoon. It was my husband’s first trip China! Our itinerary:

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This was our view from our room at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing.

It was definitely a nice contrast between where we stayed and the hustle and bustle of the city. Beijing is one of those cities which is so rich in its history and culture. It’s absolutely beautiful during the winter season. Cold, yes! But, so magical.

In Beijing, we visited the Great Wall of China. Initially I wanted to explore a section of the wall I had never seen before, but we ended up getting swindled by a tour agency we came across right next to our hotel. They piled us onto a bus full of Chinese tourists heading to the Badaling entrance (one of the most popular entrances).

We also went to the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and tasted some local street food!

I loved going to Beijing in December. There weren’t as many tourists on the Great Wall as there would be during the summer months. And, it wasn’t scorching hot.

Must-Eat!

In Beijing, you must try the duck. We went to Quanjude Restaurant. It had a very tasty and filling roast duck. Delicious! We enjoyed our experience.

Street food is also a must! While very different than a high-end restaurant, you get to try new and different things. And, I honestly have never had any stomach issues when in China. Although, I am not allergic to any foods, so if you have allergies are or wary I would recommend staying away from street food.

Transportation

We used taxis and the intricate subway system while traveling around Beijing. For our Great Wall day trip, we utilized a tour agency and boarded a large bus. We sort of regretted this decision, mostly because we would have liked the flexibility of going on our own.

Transportation within Beijing is very cheap. The cost of our living accommodations = the bulk of our expenses.

Preparation before Departure

Traveling in Beijing in December required us to pack some warm clothing. Temperatures are similar to the New England area in the States.

We were prepared and brought our winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots! It was such a lovely experience!

One thing we also did was exchange some money beforehand. This way we had some cash on hand.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our Beijing portion of our honeymoon!

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Honeymooning China

Happy December, everyone!

The beginning of December brings back lots of wonderful memories for our family.

Honeymoon

My husband and I got married on November 29, 2014.

After our winter-themed wedding, we were off to China! Prior to this trip, I had traveled to China over ten times over my life, either with family, for pleasure, for study and for work.

This was Michael’s first trip there, and it was a very exciting time for the both of us.¬†It was such a wonderful way to kick-start this chapter of our lives. It’s been four years since we both traveled across the world.

But, it’s December again and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

Here was our 2014 itinerary:

I planned everything, from start to finish. We didn’t plan on using any tour services. Although, we ended up booking one to the Great Wall when we got to Beijing.

Little Passports

Chinese Visa for U.S. Citizens

One of the things we needed to do before our trip to China was to obtain Chinese visas for our U.S. Passports. The laws have changed over the years, but when in doubt, refer to the following resources:

  1. Chinese Embassy in the U.S.
  2. U.S. Department of State

We ended up filling out the form online (via the Chinese Embassy’s website), and then bringing our documents to the embassy in New York, NY. We lined up and dropped off our forms. Then, we get to pick it up in the afternoon with our receipt.¬† That’s what we did.

China Visa

If you don’t have the time or energy, you can pay an agency to obtain your visa for you, or you can use a mail-in service.

RushMyPassport.com

Our Adventure

This portion of the trip was definitely an adventure, from navigating and eating our way through the country. One area Michael didn’t want to compromise were our living accommodations. We selected 4 star+ hotels vs. lesser known hotels. It was a wonderful decision with money well spent.

Michael loved it all. It was a different perspective, and it was such a wonderful bonding experience for us both!

After the trip, I made a Shutterfly album which I have shared below! Enjoy:)

Click here to view this photo book larger

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The 50 States: A Road Trip of a Lifetime

2015 + 2016 Recap & Now

It has been a WHILE. We are back to the real world! ¬†So we ended up skipping Milan for the 2015 World Expo, but we are okay with it. There was just so much going on at once and sometimes life gets in the way. Michael was extremely focused on his clients during tax season from January-April, and I was still trying to figure out what path I wanted to take, career-wise. I worked for his parents’ business and his grandmother’s tax practice too.

It was towards the end of May that I landed what I thought was going to be my permanent job for a long time: a position at Hasbro toy company. I was so excited to have secured this job, but once I settled in few a month or so, I soon realized that this was not the right fit for me.  You never know until you try!

In September 2015, I started working at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and I had never been happier! It just took a few different attempts at figuring out what was best for me and how to balance that with my family priorities. It’s all about that work life balance, since¬†our family has grown.

We took our first family trip to the Poconos when Kai was just 3 months old, where we rented a house through Airbnb.¬† It was hard to believe how much stuff we needed to pack for the trip. We had to stop several times since Kai was still breastfeeding and eating around the clock, but we wanted to enjoy our last few days together before the end of my leave from work. It was the end of July in 2016, and I just remember it being so hot too! Thank goodness for central air conditioning in that rental ūüôā

After going back to work for two months, in October 2016, I decided to leave my position at Brown University to become a full-time stay at home mom. Since then it has been such a whirlwind of adventures! It has definitely been the most challenging gig I’ve had thus far in my career. Our holidays were very special since we had the opportunity to take an extended family vacation in December to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Kai and I flew down with my parents. This was the first time Kai rode an airplane! Michael drove down with Stanley, so they got to do some bonding. Michael’s parents drove down together and met up with us after their holiday party. This was a perfect time for our parents to spend some time with their first grand baby. They gushed the entire trip, and everyone seemed to have a great time with Kai.

In April 2017 we celebrated Stanley’s 2nd and Kai’s 1st birthdays. We figured this was the perfect time to continue our family travels…we booked an all-inclusive in Mexico for the end of September. However, as the nicer weather approached, we were itching to get away. So we decided to take a leap….by booking a cabin in the Cape. Yes, a cabin. Michael and I had seriously contemplated renting or even buying an RV! We almost went through with it a few months ago actually, but thank goodness we did not. You can read more about our memorable week-long trip to the Cape in our next blog post.