My mom grew up in a small town ("Qingshuihe," 清水河) in Inner Mongolia (the name could be confusing: Inner Mongolia is still part of China). Though she moved to Beijing after college, the rest of her family has stayed in Inner Mongolia, in two separate cities/towns. (but my two older cousins are working in Beijing now, and my parents would invite them for dinner some times, and all of us went ice sledding in a park in Beijing on January 1st this year, which was really really fun!)

Over there, 12 is the important age, because as a 12-year-old, you officially complete a whole cycle of the Chinese zodiac, and people celebrate that as a really big thing. My little cousin's 12th birthday was this week, and his parents put together a two day celebration at a local hotel. And then the Mid-Autumn Festival was two days after his birthday. So of course we went back!


(music: "野狼disco" by 宝石gem. It's a song that recently went viral in China. My older cousin's husband has become addicted to this song, and he played it whenever we were in the car...)


Cousin's birthday