Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spending Quality Time with the Fam

Our trips back to the U.S. always feel so short, and this last trip has been no exception.  Before I realized it, it was already almost time to leave.  However, I did get to spend some quality time with my family, including making it home for many dinners, and, many a night, playing mahjong.  I was on a super lucky streak for a while, too, taking in multiple winnings over multiple nights.

Here are some of the delicious foods that my parents lovingly prepared for me, my sister, and Michael, during the days that we were all home.  We enjoyed some delicious wine with these various dishes also!
Salt and pepper shrimp.
We sat down to a feast!
Steamed fresh fish buried in a mound of cilantro and green onions.
 This is my dad's delicious dish - Chinese-style smoked bacon stir fried with leeks.

On one of the full weekends we had in town, we went to Chuang Yan Monastery, located in upstate New York.  It was a very pretty day, all blue skies and green trees.   We lit incense for my mom's godfather, whose ashes are kept here.

We then also stopped in at Kensico Cemetery, in Valhalla, just outside Westchester, where my grandfather was laid to rest.  Watching my dad diligently pull up all of the weeds near his father's tombstone, I got choked up, thinking about what a dutiful and respectful son he is, and what a genuinely good man he is.

During the week, Michael, my sister and I ended up in Elmhurst for Thai food one night.  The diversity of the Queens community never ceases to amaze me.

 We went to Ayada Thai.

 We got the som tum, grilled pork and pad see euw (which was so good that I failed to take a picture).   The papaya that they used in the som tum was a bit old, not as fresh and crispy as it could have been, and the pork was a little salty, but overall it was still a satisfying hit of Thai flavor.

On Thursday, I also went to the community pool with my mom and dad, where we got to lounge and chill as well as swim some laps while the cool sound breeze blew over us.  It was very relaxing and I am so happy we got to do that.

Other than these activities, we also managed to run some errands, shop for the mundane but necessary items that makes it onto every expat's trip back to the U.S., and also head into the city a few times.  I can't say that it was as relaxing as I had expected or hoped, but it was still great nonetheless!

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