southen-china-bioHi, I’m Sara Beth.  My husband and I have been living in various parts of Western China for the past 15 years. We’ve explored the foothills of the Himalayas and fallen in love with the people there.  We now help others get off the beaten path as well through an adventure tourism company Brian owns.  Our 5 kids help us do lots of the test trips, hikes, and trails! A total foodie family, we love exploring a country through its food, and I blog about my home cooking adventures. In any spare time, Brian and I both train for triathlon races. Life is full!

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Ah…the only way to start an early morning. I recently started roasting my own coffee and it has made mornings only that much more exciting. Where should I visit today?

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I’m in the final weeks getting ready for a triathlon. Today it means a long run. I’m thankful for the mostly empty streets this morning, even if they are a little wet. I have to start early to avoid the rush. I’m getting a little nervous about an Olympic length race on a hilly course, but mostly I’m just ready to get it done! Ready for some shorter, less intense workouts!

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Ten kilometers later, I’m battling people and traffic as I try to finish strong.

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The worst part after a long, humid, sweaty run is hiking up the 7 flights of stairs to our apartment. Those windows in the top left corner are ours. We have a great, huge place, but I don’t always love the 125 steps to get there!

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I come home to these crazies and a morning of homeschooling. This year I’ve got them in 6th, 4th, 3rd, Kindergarten and Pre-K. Its a full morning to say the least!

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We take a little break before lunch to go buy vegetables. They all wanted to ride skateboards for our short 2 minute walk.

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I often times can just send one of the big kids to the vegetable seller by themselves. They do a great job picking out produce and its a great chance for them to practice their Chinese as they listen for prices and ask for things. But today I’m hunting for pumpkin. Fall is teasing me this week but I’m determined to help it along. I’m needing to stock my freezer with some roasted pumpkin puree. Bring on the fall treats and a house scented with cinnamon and cloves!

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First up is pumpkin spice syrup for stirring into a latte!

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When there is a fresh brewed pumpkin spice latte and warm chocolate chip cookies, you owe it to yourself to sneak a few minutes with your book and savor it all. Even if you’re just holed up in the kitchen and ignoring any time your hear someone call, “Mom!”

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A lot of my afternoon today has involved helping my oldest stay on task and finish everything he has to do. When he turned 10 we allowed him to open a small business in order to teach responsibility, marketing, sales, finance, saving, people skills and other real life principles. He sells fresh ground whole grains, beans, sugar, and things like that. Its usually the perfect amount of work for him. Once or twice a week he gets an order and he’s able to put it together and get it delivered in a reasonable amount of time for a kid. Today he got 4 or 5 orders! People were restocking I suppose, and we all helped him get it done today!

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Its very common here to have people set up a table in a housing complex and try to sell products or services as people come home from work. Today it was a van and dental check ups. That was a new one…

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After a full day, I’m thankful we’d planned to eat out with some friends tonight. Their choice was our favorite neighborhood hole-in-the-wall for Chinese dishes. Here, you order family style and the dishes go on a lazy Susan. This picture makes me smile—seeing how my kids have adapted to ease of chopstick use and the local way of bringing your bowl to your mouth and not your mouth to your bowl. We seem so rude when we’re in the US.

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After a late dinner, its one last trip up our dark dreary stairs into the comfort of our home for the night. I think its my 3rd or 4th trip up today. This time I have a little one to hold my hand. I’m not sure if I’m dragging her or she’s dragging me.

 

This Global Life | Day 28: Western China | TakingRoute.net