Doodads and Decorating

I mentioned in the last post that Sarah and I got a little crazy with decorating for this Easter.

But did I mention how much fun it was?

Here’s the Easter “tree” at my apartment. My mom always had some sort of Easter tree every year so I thought it was something everyone did. But according to Wikipedia, it’s actually an European thing. In this case, however, it’s become an Asian thing as I used bamboo branches for my tree.

Sarah and I paper-mached these eggs with some friends earlier last week. After they dried I wrote the fruits of the Spirit on them. I really like how they turned out!

While we had brunch at our house, the main meal was at the girls’ apartment. Sarah and I may or may not have gotten in a massive argument with the vendors at the flower market before getting entirely ripped off on these lilies. Whatever, it was worth it.

This is my favorite part! We made these wire place cards for everyone at our dinner. I copied it from something I saw earlier on this blog. I’m not great at thinking of new ideas on my own, but that’s OK because the copies are still pretty and they still make me happy.

After Sarah and I walked around photographing our handiwork, we filled our glasses with sweet tea and piled our plates high with yummy food, and that, basically, was our Easter.

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He Is Risen

He is risen indeed!

Although I have always loved Christmas first and most and really with all I had, these last few years I have found myself cheating on Christmas, just a little, with Easter.

And why not? As Tim Keller says, Easter proves that Christmas was real. Without the resurrection, there’s no point to anything else. Honestly, why even bother? But–glorious, joyous, happy news–it is real and for this reason we have hope. And that’s why, this morning and every day (although I so easily forget), my heart sings (think of Keith Green here, if you know who that is) Alleluia!

So, amen. Alleluia. He is risen! Happy Easter, or as they say here, Happy Resurrection Day!

Which brings me to the day itself. It’s already basically over for us here but it was one of the best ever.

We got dressed up. Which is very, very rare for life here.

We spent the day with dear friends.

QingQing has a lamb costume, hand knit by Valerie.

QingQing hated–I mean really, really hated–the lamb costume. But we–well, we loved it with all our heart and soul.

Owens wore a pink pastel shirt and matching pink bunny years. (It’s Year of the Rabbit. That means there’s bunny stuff everywhere. Gotta take advantage of that ish for Easter.)

Ummm, Michael and I rocked our sunglasses. And just in case you can’t tell, I’m rocking the bunny ears.

Sarah, putting the finishing touches on our fabulous Easter dinner.

The spread. Sarah and I went a little bit crazy with the decoration–don’t worry I took lots of pictures, but I will have to save those for another day.

And, our friend Andrew, with his sun hat and bouquet. This made me happy.

Happy Easter to you and much love coming your way from the Far East!!!


Easter Eggs

I had some friends over last night for a little holiday spirit. We got crafty and paper-mached some eggs before going crazy with the decorations.

My friends are the cutest things.


Cookie-Making

One of my favorite things to do with friends here is to cook. I like it both ways: them teaching me how to make dumplings or some other  dish, and me teaching them how to make traditional Western food. When it’s my turn to teach, that usually ends up meaning we bake. This is good for several reasons. I love cookies. My friends know that I’m American and they expect me to love sweets so I’m just fitting into the (typical and pudgy) mold. And, of course, it is so fun to see how shocked they are at the amount of sugar we use in every single recipe. Although they use sugar when they cook, at the most it’s usually a spoonful or so for flavoring.

Sarah came over to help that afternoon. We chose Snickerdoodles–not only are they yummy, but they have a little “decoration” via the cinnamon-sugar coating that gets added at the last moment.

Meticulous. I love the precision with which my friends always mix up the dough. When I tell them to add flour little by little…. the flour is then added and perfectly mixed in minute portions.

Most of them have never seen an oven, so although I didn’t get a photo of it, it’s not at all uncommon for my friends to stand transfixed in front of the oven for the entire 10-15 minute baking process. They love watching the dough rise and the baked goods brown. I assume it’s a little like baking with a small child who’s seeing the world with fresh eyes…. everything is new and astounding. Which means it is much more fun for me.

They’re finished! And soooo pretty.

Time for the final step: scooping the cookies off the tray.

After we finished the cookies I sent my friends home with the first baked goods they’d ever made. One minor hesitation: apparently their dorm suffers from a rat infestation. (Shudder. These girls both have top bunks but apparently their bottom-bunking roommates are regularly woken at night as the creatures run across their faces!) Hope the cookies make it to their roommates before the four-legged creepers get them!


Things that are not OK

Valerie, eating a spoonful (or chopstick-ful?) of wasabi. All by itself.

This baby, spotted in a magazine ad for baby costumes. Why? Why? Why? Seriously… who thought it was OK to let their baby pose for this advertisement? And who on earth thought that a baby Hitler outfit (complete down to the fake mini mustache) was a good idea?

The very real necessity of posting this sign in every Starbucks in the city. Although I don’t think they work too well… all the bathrooms still smell like smoke.

This… well, it’s not bad at all; actually it’s sweet and cute and part of what I love about my Asian friends. But adding carrots and nuts to beer bread rolls so that they each had a smiley face is still a bit odd for my Western mentality. Sometimes you just need a little extra flair, I guess!