Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gold Coast Day 1

For the upcoming week, I will be blogging from the gold coast! 

This morning I took a taxi at 6:30 AM to the airport. This was my first flight aboard Virgin America airlines. Now I can say I am no longer a virgin Virgin American traveler. The ambiance in the plane was very hip - purple and blue mood lighting, leather seats, fancy personal computers complete with a food-ordering service. Also, the bathrooms played smooth jazz. 
A lovely post-landing text... brightened my day :)

After I landed, I went to Natalie's Candy Jar in the SFO airport and bought a bag of chocolates to share with my family. I ate a small cup of pinkberry fro yo for lunch - it was delicious! 

After picking up my luggage, I took the AirTran (SFO's neat airport train system) to the rental car center, where I would meet my immediate family once they landed. I hung out for over an hour. First order of business -- try the candies!

Nonpareil chocolate - crunchy deliciousness!

Cross-section of a malted milk ball - not the greatest malt, but still fairly tasty

Cross-section of a Holland mint - I've never had these before. The chocolate shell was surprisingly crunchy and crumbly, while the minty center melted in my mouth. Yum!

Reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Bananas on the AirTram

Finally my parents and my brother arrived at the rental car center! I wanted to get a photo of them catching sight of me, but the center was crowded, so this is the best I got of my brother.

He hadn't recognized me yet!
Dad got the rental car and at last we drove across the bay to our family!

Dad and Uncle




Another cousin

And another!
I helped one of my aunts fill out a google calendar schedule of the upcoming week's activities. This may sound anal, but it's really helpful when you have a big (30+ people) family! We have some pretty amazing stuff planned involving Pixar, hiking, and tie dye, to name a few.

Watching youtube videos

...Interesting dance moves, kids...
Once again, my little cousins have grown so much! I am the eldest, so I am fortunate enough to interact with them nearly every year, some of them since they were three weeks old! They make me feel both incredibly old and nostalgically youthful.

One of my uncles and I went to a produce market and I stocked up on delicious Gold Coast fruits and vegetables... more photos of my concoctions tomorrow!

Wai-po (Chinese for maternal grandmother) came over from the assisted living home and I spent some time talking with her about awesome candies (aparently the only candy she ate as a child growing up in the rural Shandong province were braided bread candies during Chinese New Year), the cultural revolution, and corruption in China today. She's an amazingly strong and intelligent woman.

Cheeky grandma likes the jacket...
Two of my aunts cooked dinner (at last, Chinese food and RICE!). 

After dinner antics
Parents and Wai-po
After dinner my family was curious about my life on the East coast, so I told them about my volunteering in the lab, participating in experiments, life in the apartment... but what they really wanted to know about was my boyfriend. If you're reading this - I put in plenty of good (true) words for you! 

I'll end this post with an artsy shot I took while waiting around in the airport. Looks like my freckles came out of hibernation for the summer...


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