Tag Archives: food

Getting Away from The Hustle and Bustle (1)

Standard

  Washington DC is really a great place where I can enjoy myself exploring around. During most of my free time, I will visit museums or galleries to admire the works in exhibitions and learn American history. I feel excited doing so, but sometimes just want to get away from all those urbanized areas and “artificial things.” Therefore, I gradually collect some places in my pocket lists where I can get away from the city’s hustle and bustle for a second.

1.Old Town Alexandria:

  Old Town Alexandria is a lovely and beautiful place. Hopping on a free tourist trolley is a great way to explore the place because you can admire the streets and scenery there while listening to the radio on the trolley which explains the history of the place and introduces every tourist spot at the same time. After the tour, you can walk along the street and do some shopping in some exquisite stores until dusk. Just remember not to miss the extraordinary sunset at the waterfront! I believe you will feel refreshed after a day in Old Town Alexandria.

2.Botanical Garden:

  If you are a nature lover, I believe you will like the botanical garden near the capitol. There is a wide array of plants and flowers in the garden where you can get immersed in the nature and learn about some fun facts about the plants at the same time. It is a well-organized garden because every area has its own topic such as endangered species, tropical species, and so on. When you feel tired and want to grab something to eat, you can bring your meal to a huge area near the entrance with tables and seats. It might be a memorable experience to have your meal in the garden surrounded by a variety of plants!

Advertisements

Preserving the Past

Standard

    One thing I was really impressed by the United States when I came here was its strong protection and preservation of its historical heritage and history. Also, the guide tours in most national museums, cemeteries, and historical sites which are made to teach or introduce their stories are well-organized. Therefore, it is not rare to see teachers bringing their students to these places to learn. As an English major, I appreciate it so much because I can learn American history vividly on the spot rather than reading all those tedious materials only based on textbooks. In addition, I believe preserving history is the only way for people to remember what efforts their ancestors made and try not to make the same mistakes that will bring disasters such as WWⅠ and WWⅡ.

    Among those places where historical sites are preserved and organized in a great condition, Philadelphia is my favorite one until now, and I strongly recommend those who want to dig into the 18th and 19th American history to go there. Philadelphia used to be the temporary capital of United States where declaration of independence and the constitution were signed. Hence, Philadelphia can be viewed as the starting point of America’s democracy. There are a lot of historical sites worth visiting like Penn’s Landing, Independence Hall, Old City Hall, Congress Hall, Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin Museum, Liberty Bell, and so on. In brief, Philadelphia is a place best for a few day trip to get immersed in its historical atmosphere and admire the beautiful architectures.

    If you crave for some delicious food, do not forget to try the famous cheesesteaks there! (Franklin Fountain should also be in your list if you also want to try some ice cream for your dessert.)

  

Dad’s surprise visit

Standard

Surprise visit with my dad.

My dad’s here, again. He’s stopped by D.C before leaving to go back to Italy. He’s scheduled to leave next Wednesday.

This time he came with his girlfriend, Erica, that I met for the first time. They met back in August in New York, when my dad came to help me move in. They met in a Starbucks. My Dad was in line to the cashier and could not understand a word of what the employee was saying. Not being able to speak English, he was just standing there trying to figure out what the cashier was asking.

Erica was the next in line. She was in a hurry, and paid for his coffee. And here they are, coming to visit in D.C.

They are funny together, they have their own way to communicate as they have no shared language to speak in.

So once again, despite my fast approaching midterms, I spent the weekend doing touristy activities. We went to see the Smithsonian American Art museums, where the portraits of President Obama and Michelle are exposed.

I have finally been fed good food for the entire weekend: we tried Ethiopian, Thai, Japanese and Indian cuisine.

We concluded the weekend watching the Italian elections that took place on Sunday, march 4th. I’d say this is the lowest note of the weekend. As I write, the votes have been counted, and the situation looks particularly dire. A center right, populist coalition has won a clear majority. The anti E.U 5 Star Movement comes second.

I find solace in the fact that I don’t live in Italy. My dad is leaving tomorrow, and flying back home on March 7th. I’m not envious.

Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year

Standard

    Chinese New Year is the most important event to Chinese people in a year. It is not merely a holiday, but the precious moment to have a reunion with all the family members and relatives that live far away. During this period, we have different traditions and events to celebrate every day. For example, on New Year’s Eve, especially at night, we sit in a round table and eat together. Later, we watch TV or play games and then all the family members will start to distribute red envelopes to each other. This is the most exciting day for kids because they do not need to distribute their red envelopes, but keep receiving them from the elderly family members. On the first day of the Chinese New Year, according to traditions, we will go to temples in the early morning to pray for good health and luck in the following year. On the second day of the Chinese New Year, those women who got married must return their hometowns to visit their parents. In short, this is both an interesting and busy period for us. This year, for the first time in my life, I cannot celebrate Chinese New Year with my dear family. It is a pity on one hand, but on the other hand, I have the opportunity to participate in different activities in D.C to experience how Chinese people here celebrate their Chinese New Year.

     There are a series of special events to celebrate Chinese New Year this week. After searching for information online, my friends and I planned to go to Kennedy center to enjoy traditional Chinese music performance, cook and have a nice dinner together, and watch the New Year Parade at Chinatown.

    The Kennedy Center is a nice place for all kinds of performances. Some of the performances require tickets, but some do not. The one we participated in on Friday, which was one of the special events for Lunar New Year Celebration, was free. We got immersed in the music banquet with the beautiful melodies played by traditional instruments like guzheng, flute, pipa, and so on. For those who are interested in the free performance held every day at six o’clock p.m., I recommend you to go earlier in case you cannot find a seat.

    On Saturday morning, I went to supermarket with my friends to buy all the ingredients we would need to cook for our dinner. At night, we had hot pot, salmon fried rice, curry chicken, tofu, salad, and we drank beer to celebrate Chinese New Year. Although I cannot eat with my family, the friends I meet here are just like my family and I had an adorable night with them.

    On Sunday, we went to Chinatown to watch the annual Chinese New Year parade. We got there a little bit late, so the street had already been crowded with people when we arrived. Thankfully, we could still find some space in between. During the parade, we saw a lot of national flags of Taiwan, so we were extremely excited. It felt like D.C was our second hometown! The parade was gorgeous, for all the people in the parade dressed so beautifully and the performances were all unique. It was my pleasure to participate in this celebration and I was really glad to see that so many native speakers came to know more about Chinese culture. This parade put a perfect ending to my celebration trip for Chinese New Year. I believe that every single event that I have enjoyed this week would become one of the most memorable memories in my life. Anyway, Happy New Year and may everyone keep healthy and happy in the year of dog!!!

 

 

Let’s Cook for Ourselves!

Standard

    In my first days at GW, we exchange students ate at restaurants a lot, so I spent too much money. So, I decided to find a great market to cook by myself. By doing so, I could not only spare some money, but also make several kinds of dishes that I like. In an extremely cold morning, my friends and I went out for our shopping journey.

    I love GW so much because you can almost find every place you want to go nearby, and the supermarket is no exception. The market we found is called Trader Joe’s and it was on the 25th Street. The things that the market sell are mostly fruits, vegetables, ingredients, foods, and so on, so if you want to look for household devices or daily products, you may want to search for another market.

 

 

    If you feel tired or cold when you first got in the market you can go to an area where the market kindly offers customers free hot coffee. You can make sweet latte if you want because they also offer you hot milk and vanilla cream. It is always the best thing to drink a cup of warm coffee in winter, isn’t it?

    There will be some special discounts from time to time, so if you pay attention to it, you can save a lot of money from your pocket! Also, there is an area for free food samples. It is great to have free delicious foods there, but you might easily spend money buying the things that are not on your list because the clerk who was promoting the special dishes there is so adorable. Take us for example, we bought a pack of frozen potatoes there after trying one!

    We really enjoyed our time at the market and we bought a lot of ingredients in a cheap price that we can cook for several meals throughout the week. If you are looking for a great food market, go to Trader Joe’s and grab your stuffs.

Georgetown

Standard

    After arriving at GW, I have heard of a lot of people recommending Georgetown as a place worth visiting. Thus, I put Georgetown on my top list and I went there with my friends in one lovely afternoon. Georgetown is pretty close to GW, so you can go there either by walking or taking a bus. We chose to take a circulator because we were afraid of getting lost in this new environment. Besides, it only cost one dollar to take a circulator.

    Without exaggeration, Georgetown is so amazingly beautiful. All the houses and stores there have their unique appearances, but still stay in a harmonious order at the same time. There are so many shops in Georgetown, so if you want to buy some souvenirs or products of any specific brand, it might be the first choice.

    After arriving at GW, I have heard of a lot of people recommending Georgetown as a place worth visiting. Thus, I put Georgetown on my top list and I went there with my friends in one lovely afternoon. Georgetown is pretty close to GW, so you can go there either by walking or taking a bus. We chose to take a circulator because we were afraid of getting lost in this new environment. Besides, it only cost one dollar to take a circulator.

    Without exaggeration, Georgetown is so amazingly beautiful. All the houses and stores there have their unique appearances, but still stay in a harmonious order at the same time. There are so many shops in Georgetown, so if you want to buy some souvenirs or products of any specific brand, it might be the first choice.

  

    We had our lunch at a Spanish restaurant, Bodega, which my friend’s roommate strongly recommends us to go after shopping for a while. We ordered two sets of express lunch, including free bread, two starters and four tapas and they were really delicious (express lunch is only available Monday through Friday 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM and each set is $16.)

 

    In addition to all those beautiful stores, Georgetown is also well-known for its cupcakes, so we went to one of the most famous cupcake stores, Georgetown Cupcake, to try one. There are a variety of cupcakes you can choose from and each of them is $3.50. I spent a long time pondering over which one to buy because there are so many flavors that I would like to try. Eventually, I got a confetti vanilla cupcake. It tasted awesome, but it was a little bit too sweet for me. For those who do not like to eat too sweet, red velvet must be your first priority.

 

    All in all, if you are planning for a tour not far away from campus, head to Georgetown and enjoy your time there. Just don’t forget to try a cupcake!

Chinatown

Standard

     It has been about two weeks since I arrived at GW. Although there are various American foods here that I have not tried yet, I still miss Asian Food a lot. Therefore, my friends and I decided to go to Chinatown to enjoy local Chinese food to relieve our homesickness.

    Chinatown is not too far from GW. You can get there by taking the metro to Metro Center Station and walk about ten minutes. When you see a huge colorful arch with Chinese characters “中國城” on it, you know you are at the right place. In addition to the arch, you can also see many Chinese symbols everywhere.

 

(Dragon is a symbol of luck in traditional Chinese culture and in ancient China, emperors wore dragon robes to show their authority and power.)

 

(Chinese Animal Zodiac Sign is a repeating cycle of twelve years with a specific animal that corresponds to each year. The order comes as: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Chinese people remember the animal that symbolizes the year they are born and the particular features that animal represents.)

It was so cold that day, so we decided to go into a restaurant and have our lunch to warm up ourselves immediately after taking photos of this beautiful place. The restaurant we chose is called “Chinatown Express.” It is quite a famous restaurant because The Washington Post and The New York Times have introduced the place. It was crowded then, but we were fortunate enough to find a table.

  

We ordered different kinds of foods and shared with each other. We did so not only because we wanted to save our money, but because it was a part of Chinese culture to sit together and share our food to show our intimate relationship.

 

(You can get a pot of free hot tea as soon as you sit down. For those who tend to eat a lot, I strongly recommend chicken fried rice!)

When we finished all our meals, each of us got a fortune cookie as our dessert. It was so exciting to pull out the letter in the cookie to see what it writes.

   

Chinatown is a really cool place for not only Asian people, but anyone who is interested in Chinese culture. If you feel bored after finishing eating, there are still a lot of stores that you can go shopping around there, such as GAP, Forever 21, H&M, etc.