Author Archives: Sara

About Sara

Sara works in the marketing and social media departments at Tea. She's an avid animal lover, proud (and slightly crazy) cat owner, and general enthusiast for adventure! A Midwestern born & raised gal turned New Yorker, then Bostonian, and now, finally, a California girl, Sara's loving the Cali sun, mountainous landscape, and taco trucks but hasn't yet traded in saying 'wicked' for 'hella.' She hopes to one day swim with sharks, visit Croatia, and complete a marathon.

January 21, 2013

Tea School Days!

http://www.teacollection.com/about-tea/our-values

Raise money for your school just by shopping Tea! For three days only, you get free shipping—and Tea donates 15% of all sales back to your school!

Now you can help your school just by shopping for your favorite globally inspired kids clothes from Tea Collection.

How does it work? When you sign up for School Days, we’ll give your school a unique promo code that you can share with your school community and with friends and family. When shoppers enter the promo code during School Days, Tea will donate 15% of the order total back to your school—and every shopper gets free Fedex Saver shipping.

How does it add up? We’ll donate back to your school 15% of the merchandise total of every single order placed using the code. If, for example, 10 people from your community place an order of $100, Tea will write your school a check for $150. The more people shop, the more we donate. And there’s no limit. It’s that simple.

How do I get started? Download the application on our website, fill it out, and send it by email to donations@teacollection.com.

To learn more & apply, visit our website: http://www.teacollection.com/about-tea/citizenship-donations. Applying takes no more than 5 minutes!

 

January 10, 2013

Activity Book Page: A Call for Compassion

Who doesn’t love a word search? We added a South Africa spin to this one. Take a minute to solve the puzzle and then read the definition aloud. Once you’re done, draw what the word means to you in the background. We can’t wait to see what you create!
Once you’re done coloring, submit your creation to blog@teacollection.com for your chance to win a $100 Tea gift certificate! Every month, Tea staff will pick one artistic little citizen to win!  Honorable mentions will also be uploaded into their own featured blog post. Let your creative juices flow and show us your inner artist!

January 5, 2013

December’s Activity Book Winner

The holiday season brought in some of our best submissions yet. Winter break was a great time for little citizens to draw and create in their activity books. We had a hard time picking just one winner. But, without further ado….

Congrats to Olivia, age 7, who won December’s Activity Book Contest! We thought her viking was fierce and we absolutely loved the texture she created in the beard. Great job Olivia!

Activity Book Contest

Thank you everyone for entering and be sure to submit a new picture for January’s contest! A new year means a new book with new activity book pages.

Browse all the entries and honorable mentions on our Flickr page.

Interested in entering the contest for next month? Take a picture of your child’s completed activity book picture and send it to us at blog@teacollection.com with “Activity Book Entry” in the subject line. We pick one winner each month to receive a $100 Tea gift certificate.

Download all of our activity book pages by visiting our activity printouts blog tag.

 

January 3, 2013

Activity Book Page: Intro to South Africa

Let us take you along for the trip with us as we explore destination South Africa with crayons! The map below shows some of our favorite areas in South Africa as well as gives a hint of what the future activity book pages will look like.  Explore the map & then explore your creativity and color in your favorite South Africa regions.
Once you’re done coloring, submit your creation to blog@teacollection.com for your chance to win a $100 Tea gift certificate! Every month, Tea staff will pick one artistic little citizen to win!  Honorable mentions will also be uploaded into their own featured blog post. Let your creative juices flow and show us your inner artist!

January 2, 2013

Welcome Destination South Africa!

welcome south africaThe photos above are from our children’s clothes designers’ cameras. Whenever they travel abroad for inspiration, they take many, many photos which they later use to reflect upon when developing patterns and graphics for each collection. The two outfits are available for sale now. Check out girls new arrivals and boys new arrivals at www.teacollection.com.

Springtime finds us in the land where 11 official languages mingle and where the spirit of ubuntu thrives. Ubuntu means “I am what I am because of who we all are.” For us, it’s about respect, compassion and community- and also about prints, patterns, beans and embroidery.

Share with us below, have you ever traveled to South Africa? What’s your favorite part about our new destination?

December 9, 2012

12 Days Official Rules

OFFICIAL RULES
“12 Days of Gifting Sweepstakes”

PLEASE REVIEW THESE OFFICIAL RULES BEFORE ENTERING THE SWEEPSTAKES. NO PAYMENT OR PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PAYMENT OR PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

  1. GENERAL CONDITIONS: The “12 Days of Gifting Sweepstakes” (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by  Tea Collection, 1 Arkansas Street, Studio B, San Francisco, CA 94107, (the “Sponsor”) and administered by Tea Collection (the “Administrator”). By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant agrees to abide by the terms of these Official Rules (the “Rules”) and by the decisions of the Administrator and Sponsor, which shall be made in their sole and absolute discretion and are final and binding on all matters relating to the Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes is governed by the laws of the State of California and applicable U.S. federal law, without regard to any conflicts of laws principles. The Sweepstakes is void where prohibited by law. The Sweepstakes is also governed by the privacy policies of Tea Collection (http://www.teacollection.com/static/privacy-policy.html) (the “Privacy Policy”), although the Rules will govern in the event of any conflict between the Privacy Policies and the Rules.
  2. ELIGIBILITY: The Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States (excluding Puerto Rico and including the District of Columbia) who are at least eighteen (18) years of age as of December 9, 2012. Entrants must have pre-existing Internet access and an email account in order to enter the Sweepstakes, and must be opted-in to receive email messages from Sponsor at the time of the random prize drawing in order to win. Employees, officers, and directors of Sponsor and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, dealerships (including retail stores), suppliers, and advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies are not eligible to enter or win, nor are immediate family members or household members. “Immediate family members” means parents, step-parents, legal guardians, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, and spouses. “Household members” means those people who share the same residence at least three months a year.
  3. HOW TO ENTER: No payment or purchase is necessary, and a payment or purchase will not increase your chances of winning. The Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 am PST (“PT”) on  December 9, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm PT on December 9, 2012 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). To enter, go to Tea Collection’s Facebook page at [www.facebook.com/teacollection] (the “Sweepstakes Site”) and follow the instructions provided to enter. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT on December 9, 2012 (the “Deadline”). Proof of submission is not proof of receipt, and the Sponsor designated computer is the only valid official time-keeping devices for the Sweepstakes.

    Limit one (1) entry per person and one (1) entry per email address. Multiple entries received from any person or email address after the first entry received from that person or email address will be void. Entries without all of the required information will be disqualified. In addition, Sponsor will have no responsibility for, and will have the right to refuse in its sole and complete discretion, any mass entries or reproductions, any entries that have been tampered with or that reflect an attempt to tamper with the Sponsor website or Facebook page, the Sweepstakes Site, or the entry process, and any entries that are late, lost, stolen, illegible, misdirected, damaged, inaccurate, or incomplete, whether due to Internet or email server failure or otherwise. Sponsor and its agents are not responsible for lost, late, or misdirected entries, for technical, hardware or software failures of any kind, for lost or unavailable network connections, or for failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions or any human error which may occur in the receipt or processing of the entries. Sponsor reserves the right to modify the scheduling of the Sweepstakes without prior notification. Any attempt at entry except as above stated is void. All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. The Sponsor has the right to disqualify any entry that is not in compliance with these Rules, including all eligibility requirements.

    The Sponsor will be collecting personal data about participants when they register and enter the Sweepstakes. By participating in the Sweepstakes, you agree to all of the terms and conditions of the Privacy Policies. It is the entrant’s responsibility to inform the Administrator if the entrant’s contact information changes after the entry is submitted. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the person in whose name the e-mail account is registered on the date the entry is submitted.

  4. WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION: One (1) potential winner (“Potential Winner”) will be selected in a random drawing by the Sponsor or its designee on or about December 10, 2012.  The Potential Winner will be notified by email using the email address provided in the Sweepstakes entry (“Prize Notification”) and must respond by email within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the Prize Notification (the “Prize Deadline”), with Potential Winner’s full name and a mailing address (“Mailing Information”) where Sponsor can send his/her Prize (if warranted), and (if requested by Sponsor) a Declaration or Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release in a form acceptable to the Sponsor (collectively, the “Sweepstakes Documents”). The mailing address must be a street address (no P.O. Boxes). If the Potential Winner does not respond to the Prize Notification by the Prize Deadline, he or she will be disqualified and an alternate Potential Winner will be selected from all remaining eligible entries received for the original drawing. The Sponsor is not responsible for the failure for any reason whatsoever any Potential Winner to receive his or her Prize Notification or for Sponsor to receive the Potential Winner’s responses and/or Sweepstakes Documents. Return of any Prize Notification or Sweepstakes Documents as undeliverable, the inability of Sponsor to contact the Potential Winner, the failure of the Potential Winner to contact the Sponsor in a timely manner, the inability of the Potential Winner to accept or receive the Prize for any reason, and/or the non-acceptance by the Potential Winner of any Prize for any reason will result in disqualification of such Potential Winner, and an alternate Potential Winner will be selected randomly from all remaining eligible entries received. A Potential Winner who receives a Prize is known as the “Winner”.

PRIZE: One (1) winner will receive a Tea Collection $100 gift certificate, valid only for use at www.teacollection.com. (Total ARV of $100)

. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received before the Deadline. Prize details are in Sponsor’s sole discretion.:

 

  1. PRIZE CONDITIONS: All Prize values are stated in United States dollars. Selection and specifics of all Prizes will be determined at the Sponsor’s sole discretion. If a stated Prize is unavailable, Sponsor has the right to substitute one or more items of equal or greater value, in its sole and absolute discretion. Winner is not entitled to any surplus between the actual retail value of the Prize and its stated ARV. No cash redemption or prize substitution or exchange allowed. All Prizes are non-transferable. Winner will be solely responsible for complying with any and all applicable federal, state, provincial, local or other statutes, regulations, and other laws and for bearing any VAT, withholding taxes, personal income taxes, customs duties or other taxes, fees, insurance, surcharges or other costs relating to the Prize.

    ALL PRIZES, AND ALL PRODUCTS, SERVICES, OR ITEMS PURCHASED WITH ANY PRIZE, ARE PROVIDED AND AWARDED “AS IS” AND WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. SPONSOR DOES NOT MAKE, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM, ANY WARRANTY, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY, REGARDING ANY PRIZE OR ANY PORTION THEREOF, OR ANY PRODUCT, SERVICE OR ITEM PURCHASED WITH ANY PRIZE, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY IMPLIED OR STATUTORY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. Acceptance, participation in and/or use of the Prizes, and any products, services or items purchased with the Prizes, are at the Winner’s sole risk and Sponsor is not responsible for any damages whatsoever, including special, indirect, or consequential damages, arising out of or in connection with the use and/or misuse of any of the Prize or any products, services or items purchased with the Prize. Prizes will be awarded by email, U.S. Mail, Federal Express, UPS and/or other shipping method, in Sponsor’s and/or its Prize suppliers’ sole discretion, using the information provided in the Sweepstakes Entry.

  2. REPRESENTATIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant represents and warrants that: (a) the entrant meets all eligibility requirements of the Sweepstakes; (b) in entering and participating in the Sweepstakes, the entrant has complied with and will comply in all respects with these Rules and all applicable statutes, regulations and other laws; and (c) the information provided in the entrant’s entry, including without limitation all contact information, is true, accurate and complete in all respects.
  3. GRANT OF RIGHTS: By accepting a prize, each Winner consents to the use of his/her name and/or likeness (voice, biographical information, city and state of residence, statements, photograph, and recording) for advertising and promotional purposes (including, but not limited to, use on Sponsor’s web site and/or Facebook pages) without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law.
  4. RELEASE: All decisions of Sponsor are final and binding, and entrants agree to waive any right to claim ambiguity in the Sweepstakes or these Rules, except where prohibited by law. To the maximum extent permitted by law, by entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant releases and holds harmless the Sponsor, Administrator, the Prize manufacturers or suppliers, any other entities involved in the administration of the Sweepstakes, each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (the “Sponsor Parties“) from any and all responsibility, liability, damages (including without limitation direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, punitive, statutory and other damages), losses, costs, or expenses of any kind arising out of or relating to: (a) the Sweepstakes and participation in the Sweepstakes by the entrant; (b) any violation by the entrant of these Rules or applicable laws; (c) the acceptance, possession, receipt, or use of any Prize or any product, service, or item purchased with any Prize; (d) any entries that have been tampered with, or that evidence an attempt to tamper with the Sponsor website or Facebook page,  the Sweepstakes Site, or the entry process, or that are misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible; (e) any problems or technical malfunctions (including but not limited to errors, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, or delays in operation or transmission) of any computer, telephone, modem, cable, satellite, network, hardware, online system, server, software, or other equipment or provider, including any incorrect, incomplete, garbled or jumbled information resulting there from; (f) any Internet traffic congestion or website accessibility or delays; (g) printing or typographical errors in any Sweepstakes-related materials; or (h) any other technical or human error that may occur in connection with the Sweepstakes (the “Causes“). If anyone makes any claim against any of the Sponsor Parties arising out of or relating to any of the Causes attributable to the entrant, the entrant will pay for any damages, losses, liabilities, costs, penalties, and expenses, including without limitation attorneys’ and experts’ fees and costs, incurred in connection with such claim. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, THE SPONSOR PARTIES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOST PROFITS OR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE SWEEPSTAKES, HOWSOEVER CAUSED, WHETHER ARISING IN STATUTE, TORT, CONTRACT, OR OTHER LEGAL THEORY, AND ALL SUCH DAMAGES ARE HEREBY DISCLAIMED AND EXCLUDED.

10.  USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION: In order to participate in this Sweepstakes, participants will be required to supply certain information about themselves. Sponsor has specified which information is mandatory in order to participate in the Sweepstakes. By entering the Sweepstakes, each participant agrees that such information can be used by Sponsor in connection with administering the Sweepstakes and as set forth in the Privacy Policies.

11.  CHANGES AND TERMINATION: Sponsor reserves the right to make changes or additions to these Rules and/or extend the dates of this Sweepstakes for any reason at any time. Sponsor failure to enforce any term of these Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Sponsor reserves the right to suspend, modify or terminate the Sweepstakes at any time and for any reason in its sole discretion, including without limitation in the event of fraud, abuse, tampering, or technical, administrative, financial or other difficulties. In such cases, Sponsor will post notice on the Sweepstakes Site. Should the Sweepstakes terminate prior to selection of a winner, an alternate means of awarding the prizes will be announced on the Sweepstakes Site.

12.  CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY ALTER OR DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATIONS OF THE SWEEPSTAKES MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

13.  DISPUTES: Each entrant agrees that (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with this Sweepstakes, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and any judicial proceeding shall take place in a federal or state court in San Francisco, California; (2) any and all claims, judgments, and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Sweepstakes, but in no event attorneys fees and (3) under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental, and consequential damages, and any other damages (other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses), and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.

14.  MISCELLANEOUS: If any part of these Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, illegal, or otherwise unenforceable, such part will be modified by such court to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable while preserving to the maximum extent possible the original intent of Sponsor, and the remaining parts of these Rules will remain in full force and effect. Nothing contained herein or in any of the Sweepstakes-related materials should be construed as an endorsement by Sponsor of any third party, product or service.

15.  WINNER’S LIST/OFFICIAL RULES: For a list of Winners or a copy of the Rules, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: “12 Days of Gifting,” Winner’s List/Official Rules, c/o Tea Collection, One Arkansas Street, Suite B, San Francisco, CA 94107, to be received no later than March 31, 2012. Winners’ lists will be sent once all Winners have been verified and Prizes have been awarded.

 

 

November 4, 2012

October Activity Book Contest Winner!

Fall is here and so are Tea’s little artists! The cold winds must have blown in some creativity as we saw some of the most inspiring creations yet.

For the first time in Activity Book Contest history, we’re announcing two winners: siblings Nora & Miles! We adored their squirrel puppets- how creative & fun!

Activity Book Winners

In addition, we’d liked to make note of our Honorable Mention, William. We loved William’s skating monster- unique colors and expert-level artistry here! Also, you’re rocking that Caribou Plaid Hoodie!

Thank you everyone for entering and be sure to submit a new picture for October’s contest!

Browse all the entries on our Flickr page.

Interested in entering the contest for next month? Take a picture of your child’s completed activity book picture and send it to us at blog@teacollection.com with “Activity Book Entry” in the subject line. We pick one winner each month to receive a $100 Tea gift certificate. We’ll also post all honorable mentions on our blog page and all submissions will be posted on our Flickr page.

Download all of our activity book pages by visiting our activity printouts blog tag.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 23, 2012

Beijing to Shanghai: Part II

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Cindy Young, the manager of technical design at Tea, recently traveled to China. Read on about her adventures!

In addition to all the Mid Autumn festival excitement, there were other highlights of my China trip that I am eager to share.  Since it was a short trip, I did not plan any big excursions to the Great Wall or Forbidden City (for I’ve also had the fortune to have toured those places back in 2006), instead I decided to engage in more normal activities to appreciate the locals’ everyday lifestyle.

Every morning, I went out for a run around the neighborhood or nearby park to experience the locals’ daily activities. Roaming through local neighborhoods and parks in both cities, I discovered pockets of street vendors, food trucks and pedi-cabs.  There were a wide variety of street vendors serving up fresh-made dim sum and steamed buns, scallion cakes, meat and fish balls and other interesting delicacies.  I couldn’t resist and had to sample some fresh steamed veggie buns for breakfast.  They were so tasty and only $1 RMB ($.15/each), irresistible!

A big part of any culture is food, and the Chinese cuisine is anything but boring.  Peking duck is a popular specialty, and only at the finest restaurants will you experience the proper taste and texture of such a dish. They are delicately carved with choice of crispy skin or not (my recommendation, try with skin) and served in sandwich style between steamed buns or roll style with a thin crepe.  Complementary plum sauce and scallions or pickled condiments completes this delicious dish.

Due to the high population of Buddhism in China, vegetarianism is very prevalent.  I am not a vegetarian but I love vegetarian dishes and was able to enjoy a remarkable lunch at Elaine’s Vegetarian Restaurant and Bar, a beautiful little restaurant that sits beside the Luoma Lake in Shunyi, a suburb of Beijing.

Aside from the extensive culinary experience, both cities are shopping meccas in China.  I did not have enough time to visit all of them but did enjoy some fun shopping at the Solana Mall and Sanlitun Village in Beijing, and Xintiandi in Shanghai.

The Solana Mall is similar to an outdoor shopping center in Southern California.  It houses more than 1,000 international brands, with dozens of retail shops (Esprit being the largest store there), restaurants, a sage cinema, an ice rink as well as a lively bar and club strip.

The Sanlitun Village consists of 2 sites, The Piazza (Village South) and The Deck (Village North).  The Piazza features 140 mass brand stores and dining outlets, while the Deck houses high-end designer brands and a core selection of art galleries representing avant-garde and contemporary Chinese and international artists.

More interesting than the shopping, I stumbled upon a boutique hotel, The Opposite House, situated in the heart of the Sanlitun village.  It has a vibrant mix of traditional Chinese and contemporary elements.  The stunning tall ancient wooden doors at the entrance resembled an old design back from the Dynasty eras, but as soon as you entered, you’re greeted by a state-of-the-art drape display that signifies modern creativity and technology.  There is an art gallery on the ground floor that were showcasing a women’s traditional “qipao” (long dress) and men’s mandarin collared jacket made out of porcelain chips from bowls and plates, hundreds and pieces of them.  They were masterpieces of fashion.

Xintiandi “New Heaven and Earth” is an affluent car-free shopping, eating and entertainment district in Shanghai. It is composed of an area of reconstituted traditional shikumen (“stone gate”) houses on narrow alleys, some adjoining houses which now serve as book stores, cafes and restaurants, and shopping malls. Xintiandi has an active nightlife on weekdays as well as weekends, though romantic settings are more common than loud music and dance places. It is considered one of the first lifestyle centers in China.

Last but not least some other highlights to sum up the short yet culturally-enriching trip:

>798 art district, a thriving artistic community in Beijing, among 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings of unique architectural style. It is often compared with New York’s Greenwich Village or SoHo.

>The Bund: waterfront area in Shanghai. The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, Jin Mao tower and Shanghai World Financial Center (aka the world’s largest bottle opener), are extraordinary projects worthy of appreciation.

Shanghai Towers & TV Pearl Tower

October 22, 2012

Beijing to Shanghai: Part I Mid-Autumn Festival

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Cindy Young, the manager of technical design at Tea, recently traveled to China. Read on about her adventures!

On my recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai, it was the week before the Mid-Autumn festival and National Day holiday. Both cities were in the midst of preparing for the festivities; displaying good luck lanterns everywhere and selling an abundance of moon cakes and a vast variety of treats and gifting merchandise.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar.  The Chinese government listed the festival as an “intangible cultural heritage” in 2006, and it was made a Chinese public holiday in 2008.  It is also a public holiday in Taiwan.  This year it was on Sunday September 30th, and National Day occurs on October 1st every year.  The double holiday is one of the Golden Weeks in China where seven consecutive holidays can be taken to allow long distance family visits and promote travel activities (although only 3 days is Paid).

Historically, the festival was strongly associated with the legend of Houyi, an archer and his wife Chang’e. Upon completion of an important task to Emperor Yao (2200 BCE), Houyi was rewarded a pill to eternal life but he was to wait a year to be able to take it.  However Chang’e discovered the pill one day and took it herself, therefore she became immortal.  As a result, the couple became estranged and Chang’e escaped to the Moon while Houyi stayed on Earth.  Houyi built a palace near the Sun where he visits his wife once a year on the 15th of the eight month, hence the reason why the moon is so full and beautiful that night.

Traditional Mooncake

Traditional Mooncake

Traditionally, family and friends gather in the evening to celebrate, eat festive food and moon cakes.  After dinner, a visit to a public space, such as a park or shoreline, may follow for, literally, “appreciating the moon”.  Importantly, lanterns and candles are lit, to enhance the ambiance and festivities.  They come in different shapes and sizes with unique details but most often in red and gold colors as they symbolize good luck.

Non-Traditional Mooncakes

Traditional practices are given a modern twist, most often for marketing purposes. For example, the traditional moon cake with lotus seed or red bean paste and egg yolk is now available in alternative fillings, such as green tea or chocolate or even in the form of characters from the popular Angry Birds game.  My favorite is the mixed nuts filling without egg yolk but also love the green tea and taro fillings.  The salty egg yolk provides an interesting mix of flavors, as the sweet and savory flavors complement each other. Those with the double yolks are considered as more generous gifts with double the luck J.

Since my family immigrated to San Francisco three decades ago, much of the Chinese traditions have diminished as we have assimilated to the American culture, but my father still preserves the tradition of making moon cakes every year, especially now to share the experience with the grandchildren.

 

October 17, 2012

Culture Shock in “Asia-Lite” Singapore

Today we’re featuring guest blogger Linh Tran, who recently moved to Singapore with her two kids, daughter age 3, son age 6.

Travel with Kids

Our family lived in the San Francisco Inner Sunset neighborhood where numerous Asian-Americans live.   Stroll down Irving Street, pass 20th Ave and see store fronts with names and banners in both Chinese and English.  You’ll hear people speak in different languages intermingled with English.  It’s much the same here in Singapore compared to the Sunset.  Perhaps that is why some people refer to Singapore was ‘Asia-Lite’.

travel with kids to singapore

Early in my career, I conducted cross-cultural training programs for families who were about to move abroad on an international assignment.  The night before each training, I would take a glass bowl and put a few large ice cubes in it.  “Culture is like an iceberg,” I used to say, “On top the surface of the water are all the things we can easily identify that are different between the U.S. and your new home.  What might be different could be food, language, buildings, clothing, transportation, and people.”  I warned them at some point during their stay in X country, they’ll experience culture shock- that’s the larger piece of the iceberg that is below the surface that is not so obvious and will make you ask the question, Why.

Travel with Kids

Some claim that children adapt quicker and easily to new environments compared to adults.  My children don’t seem to shocked by many things so far here in Asia-lite, but they have certainly asked a lot of why questions:

Why do have I have to take my shoes off (at a public play structure)?

Why do they sell small packets of tissue (at a hawker stall)?

Why did you call him (the taxi driver) uncle?

Why is there no mac-n-cheese?

Why do they have Christmas lights up? Is it Christmas?

Why is do they look in my mouth with a flashlight?

Why are there octopuses with hats on the taxi?

Why is that leaf so ginormous?

travel to singapore with kids

To foster their curiosity whilst helping them through their temporary states of culture shock, we encourage them to be news reporters and ‘interview’ locals to get the answer to their why questions before using the internet.  Being only 6 and 3 years old, they usually get me to doing the questioning and do the internet search themselves  but I don’t mind because we do it together they are learning how to satiate their curiosity.   Hopefully, when we move back to San Francisco the signs in Mandarin will be less foreign to the kids and their experience living abroad fosters their global citizenship.

Travel with Kids