Posted by: thelocaldialect | June 10, 2008


Yesterday I returned from a trip to the “countryside” of Miyun county, about an hour outside of Beijing. I have to say, having spent five years in Kunming, I didn’t have high expectations for the countryside outside of Beijing, which I imagined would still be flat, brimming with buildings, and relatively polluted. However, I was pleasantly surprised that Miyun turned out to be none of those things. It was actually quite stunning.
We went out to the Miyun reservoir, which supplies water for all of Beijing, on the first day. Unfortunately the thing was closed to visitors now, which, is, upon further reflection, not such a bad thing. Since I wouldn’t really want people hiking around my drinking water either. But the reservoir is quite stunning and it would have been fun to see it up close anyhow.
The next day we headed up to a place called “The Immortals Valley,” which was a great, full of streams and waterfalls and high peaks. Wang Yao and I took Dylan hiking and quickly realized we should have made a day of it, as the valley was way too long for us to finish doing in a day. Towards the end Dylan started to get hot and sleepy so we headed back. Perhaps one day we’ll return when we have a a babysitter and do the rest of the hike ourselves.
Finally, on the third day, we decided to go visit the ruins of the Great Wall at Yunmengshan. Neither Wang Yao nor myself had ever visited the great wall before, and this was a great place to start. The wall was crumbling and barely there in some places, a far cry from the pictures you usually see. There were very few people out and we were alone for the better part of the hike. We hiked about a kilometer up and made it to two guard towers. The view was fantastic and it was quite a feeling being so close to something that was such a huge part of Chinese history, in it’s raw form.

This trip was also the first time we’d taken Dylan properly traveling. While we’d taken trips with him before, it was always to the village, visiting relatives. And of course, we moved him from Kunming to Beijing in April, but until now we’d never taken a real trip with him. He was well behaved and enjoyed himself the whole time, and charmed the socks off of everyone we met! At one point I had to step in and interfere with well meaning restaurant patrons who were just passing him around. Someone remarked how easy he would be to kidnap, what with his sunny disposition and his absolute love of people, any people! This made me realize we’re going to have to start keeping a closer eye on this guy as he gets more mobile. Still, our trip with the baby was a big success. He smiled more over the weekend than I’d noticed him smiling since we’d come to Beijing, and that’s saying a lot, as he’s quite the smiley kid.


  1. Glad to see you’re back to your blog again.
    Dylan is so cute – I just love his hair!

  2. OMG your baby is soooooo cute!!!! I love his hair too and what a beautiful smile! The scenery in the photos were nice too and you look like such a beautiful, happy family.

  3. I’m new to your site and love it already. 🙂 I came here after reading your note on the multilingual living magazine. Having a real interest in bilingual/multilingual child language development and cross-cultural families, I’m looking forward to reading your posts here!

  4. great fotos!! and dylan has grown so much! also like wang yaos long hair. dylans is like my dd1s hair when she was that age. hope you guys are well.

  5. i’m also new to your site, randomly found it while looking for articles about multi-cultural families and such… actually i think my search term was “american woman” with “chinese man” haha. and i couldn’t be happier to have found this.

    most of what i’ve found today has been reasons why chinese men don’t like american women (we’re too open and bold) or vice verse (they’re too traditional and etc etc)

    but i too have looked past all the stereotypes and found a chinese man that i hope to marry soon. we’ve been together 4 months now and as soon as the money situation gets better we’ll be getting married. we eventually plan to have kids (of course i’m scared to do it in china, but if you came out of it alive maybe i can too)

    our stories are scarily similar…. i’m just a few steps behind you haha. i’ve been here a little over two years. i came here thanks to the wonderful magic of ESL teaching but got disillusioned quickly because of all the crap you get from the typical training school model of teaching.

    we’re working now on our own school… starting with a few classes of private students at home, and after this sumer opening something a little official. i dont know if i want to do this forever, but i do want to do something i believe in… and that’s not giving chinese people a “fake” type of learning english that’s been spread by so many people just looking to make a fast buck.

    i found that having ideals in china is not the easiest thing to do.

    like you, my family is starting to wonder when i’ll be back. they say i’m not american, but yet i’ll never be chinese. it is quite a tough spot to be in.

    this website (and your previous blogspot one) have been the joy of my day. it’s nice to know i’m not alone in this world. i’ve been having one of those “bad china days” where the next person who asks me if i can use chopsticks is going to get stabbed. the next person who asks if he’s my translator will get an earful of ever chinese “zhang hua” i know.

    i can’t even begin to fathom having a mixed child without first having dealt with these feelings for myself. my somewhat traditional boyfriend is sympathetic but doesn’t always understand what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land 🙂

    again, please keep writing. you have a great style and talent. i know how hard it is to keep up a blog. i’ve tried a few times since before college.. never gets too far.

    maybe now i’ll try again, because maybe there are more women out there like us who will read it and feel the same way i did.

  6. Sorry I’m so delayed in responding to all these wonderful comments! I hope you all keep reading. Life and work and everything else keeps me quite busy, and the fact that I have to use a proxy to access my own blog makes posting a chore (yes, my internet refugee camp was annexed, but that’s for another post), but I do enjoy writing and enjoy people enjoying my writing. What can I say?

    Brandy I certainly hope you do start keeping a blog! Couples like us are few and far between and those of us who are out there should be more vocal and … there for each other. If you look at how many foreign wives of Japanese men are out there, blogging, sharing their experiences, supporting each other it is definitely kind of sad that you have to dig soooo hard to find any foreign women in China married to Chinese men and telling their stories (or something like that. I’m tired right now, but you get my drift.)

    If you ever want any advice about starting either a school or a Chinese-American relationship, you know where to find me!

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