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Winter Fun

Country of the Week: China / Trip to the Market

Have you ever traveled to a place that really got under your skin? So much so that when you got home you found yourself looking for somewhere close by that would help you recapture the experience?

That was definitely the case for me when we returned from China. We’d spent three weeks there when we went to bring Lily home and we all fell in love with our newest family member’s home country. When we got home, I was surprised by how much I missed the people and the sights and the wonderfully calm atmosphere. Not to mention our favorite treat, Pocky, and the little rice cakes that Lily nibbled on constantly.

University Avenue in St. Paul is home to several Asian markets, so as soon as we were settled back in we headed there. This probably sounds crazy, but I totally teared up the first time we walked into one of the Chinese markets. It smelled just like the markets in China. And the sound of people chatting away in Mandarin was music to my ears. Not that I understood any of it, of course. But it sounded beautiful to me, and you could see Lily quiet down to listen to the familiar sounds.

The best part was that the market sold Pocky (they’re like very thin pretzel sticks minus the salt and dipped in chocolate) and Lily’s rice cakes, so we stocked up on enough of both to last for months.

{ Lily was impressed with all the fabulous shoes }

We didn’t get up to the markets very often after that. Frankly, it took all my energy just to get to the grocery store with four small children. But we always made a special trip during Chinese New Year to buy our favorite foods and the red envelopes and Chinese “money” we gave out during the kids’ classroom parties.

And then one day we were shopping at Cub Foods and spotted Pocky and Lily’s special crackers right there in the international foods aisle!

Last Friday we visited an Asian market we hadn’t been to before in St. Paul to wrap up China Week. As we were walking through the market, Will pointed out that he and Andrew and Lexie and I were the only Caucasians in the store. Lily may have grinned in a “shoe’s on the other foot, isn’t it?” sort of way. Prescott isn’t exactly a hotbed of diversity, but it’s lovely to be just a half-hour away from the Twin Cities. They’re a gazillion times more diverse now than they were when I was growing up.

I forgot to get cash so we couldn’t buy anything at this particular market. Our next stop was Target, and we laughed to see these Panda cookies right when we walked in the door.

And with the eating of the Panda cookies, China Week is officially over. Next up: England!



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