Back home…but not for long

Last night my son and I returned to Korea, our adopted home.  My wife had returned two days earlier than we did because she had to work on Thursday and Friday.  We will be home until next Thursday, when we head back to the United States for two-and-a-half weeks of rest and relaxation (R&R).  We plan to visit family and friends in Montana, Idaho, and Washington.  Our R&R trip will be the first real vacation I’ve taken since Christmas 2001, when my wife and I went to Egypt and Jordan for three weeks (I went to China last week on an official exchange).  Until now, I’ve been too preoccupied with my first child, school, and work.  Of course, visiting family isn’t truly a vacation–we chose to go home to visit family over Sydney, Australia, our official R&R point.  No doubt Australia would have been more of a vacation.  One of my colleagues opted for R&R in Oceania and spent two glorious weeks in Australia and New Zealand.  Visiting Down Under would have been brilliant, but I have no qualms about going home to the Pacific Northwest to visit family we haven’t seen in over a year.
We had a fabulous time in China.  I wish I had more time tonight to write a long narrative about the trip, but as you can probably tell, Dear Reader, I haven’t had much time to blog lately.  I’m home now and will recap our trip nightly until we leave on Thursday evening.  Tonight’s entry will again be short so I can focus on posting photos from our trip.  I’m sure you would much prefer seeing photos of our trip over reading about it.
For the Shutterbugs:  I posted four sets of photos from our China trip, including Thames Town, Shanghai, Xi’an, and the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, a renown World Heritage Site famous for its terra cotta warriors.  The number of Shanghai photos posted is conspicuously small, namely because it was my fourth trip to that remarkable city, and I had already visited many of the city’s most famous sites.  Maybe next time.  I posted many more photos of Xi’an, ancient capital of the Tang Dynasty.  Enjoy!

Disco ayis

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to write today because of other commitments, so I have post another short, whimsical blog entry.  As I walked to work today in Shanghai, I passed by a gaggle of upscale fine goods stores, including Gucci, Burberry, and Cartier, on my right.  On my left, across the street near a small park, I saw a gaggle of ayis (an Anglicized version of "ayi," which means "aunt," an endearing reference to an older lady) dancing disco.  Yes, disco.  On previous days I saw elderly Chinese–men and women–doing taijiquan, an ancient Chinese exercise akin to martial arts.  Disco has apparently become a hipper and more popular alternative to the ancient art of taijiquan, better known as taichi.  Whereas taijiquan is slow, methodical, and fluid, disco is fast, upbeat, and heart pumping, even grinding.  Indeed, the elderly are changing in Chinese society, just as the youths are changing.

Jeans nation

As I walk around Shanghai, I am struck by the number of people wearing blue jeans.  In Seoul, I don’t see many Koreans wearing blue jeans.  Korean men tend to wear slacks or suits, while women tend to wear dresses or slacks.  I wonder–is jeans-wearing a natural progression from Mao suits to dresses and suits, or are Mainland Chinese developing their own fashion standards?  Will Chinese men shed the pants for suits, and will the women eventually move from jeans to dresses?  It remains to be seen.