A trip

Two weeks ago, I got back from a trip. It was a hard trip to take--at least, a hard trip to leave for. I had to be talked into it, by my husband, my family, my friends.
Because, you see, I was leaving them behind. Traveling with a fellow mama-friend, leaving the kids with the dads, and going to Beijing.
It was, honestly, as much about the getting away as the going. Getting much-needed sleep, letting Willa bond with Matt, simply being my own person again for a few days.
But we were surprised by Beijing--it's a pleasant, attractive city. Tree-lined sidewalks, wide avenues, and low-rise buildings all contribute to a welcome feeling of spaciousness (welcome compared to Hong Kong. Though after a few days it just felt like sprawl.)
Beijing is full of beautiful architectural details, serene gardens, weeping willows along the banks of lakes, and brightly lit red lanterns. There are babies with split pants toddling around, men with their shirts rolled up, and lots and lots of young adults (though noticeably few young children and pregnant women.) We saw very obvious plainclothes policemen all over Tianenamen Square and the Forbidden City (we were there on June 4), and security cameras everywhere.

Heaps of gorgeous cherries are sold from carts along the road, all sorts of foods are sold on a stick (MN State Fair, eat your heart out). Meat mooncakes made me take back every mean thing I've said about a mooncake. Haunting flute music drifted through the parks, luring us time and again to find the source. (We finally did, and were convinced to buy not only some recorded music but even a flute.) Tea taken under a mulberry tree with songbirds in bamboo cages overhead was the perfect restoration after hiking the Great Wall.

But of course, when one is a mama, especially a nursing mama, you never completely leave the kids behind. We were, both my friend and I, attached to our breastpumps multiple times a day, both to relieve the pain and to keep up the milk supply for our return. And while it certainly made me anxious to watch the supply dwindle day by day, now that it has returned I can exult in how amazing our bodies are, adapting so quickly to whatever is asked.
It was a short trip, and we didn't even see all the highlights of Beijing, much less the hidden, tucked away sights. But it was good, in the getting away, the going, and the coming back. You can't ask for much more than that.  

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