A lit up wreath at my friends' church.

Christmas on two continents

My month in the US ended with an evening flight on Christmas Day. My family were all catching up after Christmas anyway, so I got to celebrate Christmas TWICE – on two different continents.

San Diego – my final stop

I saw quite a few friends in San Diego, mostly people I had known in Beijing, but also an Australian friend who lives in Mexico. I especially enjoyed the view from Fletcher Cove Park – the Pacific Ocean, albeit the wrong side.

Sleepless in San Francisco

I had only one day in San Francisco, but my friends helped me pack a lot in! Particularly special was a visit to the Napa Valley and the winery my friend works at. It is a beautiful area, and the wines we tasted were lovely, too. The most special thing of all, though, was spending time with great friends I hadn’t seen in so long.

Reunions in Seattle

I had a lovely time in Seattle, Washington. It was an amazing whirlwind of visiting with friends from all my years in Beijing. I also saw Gas Works Park, seaplanes, the Space Needle and deer casually sauntering around a suburban neighbourhood.

At home in Orlando

A good month before leaving Australia for my US trip I was dreaming of Orlando. I knew that this place would be the rest my soul desperately needed. I spent a week of unhurried days with people who were key figures of my daily life in Beijing. I also spent time birdwatching the wetland wildlife, marvelled at Spanish moss covered trees, and enjoyed a bit of warm weather.

Turkeys in Minnesota

I really enjoyed my time in Minneapolis. It was lovely to relax with wonderful friends. Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes; after driving around Minneapolis I believe it! Minneapolis has 20 lakes, plus other waterways and waterfalls and wetlands, and sits across both banks of the Mississippi River. One interesting sight during my trip was a bunch of turkeys roaming a suburban street!

Australians in New York

Throughout this trip I’ve had reunions with people I haven’t seen in years, but my New York reunions were the most impressive. I also did some touristing, seeing the New York Highline, Chelsea Markets, Times Square and the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree.