We go there – we explore and dig deep into other cultures. We know you go there too. This new series will feature stories from world travelers; they’ve taken their first flight over seas with little ones, they’ve traveled back to their native country to introduce their children to grandparents, they’ve packed up only their necessities and traveled to developing countries. Here, you will find their stories and learn about how they’re going there too.
We’re so excited to have Sarah Tucker from Fairytales Are True with us today on Studio T! After learning she took her six month old across the great big sea for a family vacation, we were eager to hear how things went. Thanks for sharing a little piece of your trip with us Sarah!
Before his half birthday Tuck had already made his way to four countries. My husband and I lived abroad as newlyweds and that opportunity afforded us many opportunities to travel to places I never imagined I would. When we had our son we wanted to share all of the rich insights and experiences travel gives, and raise a “little citizen of the world”. Fortunately, having a baby did not mean the end to our adventures, just different kind of adventures altogether. Traveling with a baby allows you to see things through their eyes; which are always filled with amazement. It’s true you have to go slow, but it’s a welcomed pace from trying to cram in all the sights all of the time. Most recently this past summer we took off overseas to introduce our baby to our newlywed hometown of Basel, Switzerland. There we visited old friends, introduced him to swiss german, and wandered the cobblestone streets. It was fun taking him to old haunts. Of course no trip to Basel would be complete without getting a cheeseboard at Consum! Surprisingly enough tea at the famous Les Trois Rois (Napolean once stayed here, as did the Rolling Stones) was a great spot with babies. My friend who has also become a new mom, another old friend, and I enjoyed a long leisurely lunch with our babies. We visited markets, smelled swiss peonies, and strolled along Spalenberg which has houses dating back to the 1200’s.
After that fun swiss holiday we headed down to Sicily! We took a day to visit Mt. Etna and finished with a wine tour and “light lunch” at Murgo Winery. The light lunch was an eight course meal. We we’re stuffed, but it was all so good. We ate at some amazing restaurants, and pretty much all of Italy is kid friendly. They love babies and are incredibly accommodating. We ate at Sea Sound one night, and Casa Grugno another. Both beautiful Michelin rated restaurants you can take kids to.
Though he may not remember it, we will! And I will always enjoy exposing my kids to different cultures, languages, and food. Love raising him to be a little citizen of the world!
We’re so happy to announce that the Moore family will be traveling to South Africa in 2014!
Andrew, 10 & Jonathan, 5
“Everyone is really looking forward to our trip next Spring Break in South Africa. My 5 year old asked how he was going to be able to go to the bathroom on the flight… I guess it’s been too long since we took a long family vacation!”
Congratulations again and we can’t wait to hear about your trip!
In our new series, “Across the Street, Across the Globe” we hope to prove that you don’t always need to travel internationally to expose your children to other cultures. We’ve reached out to some of our favorite bloggers to find out how they’re raising little citizens of the world in each of their hometowns.
Today we have San Diego native, Bonnie Rush from A Golden Afternoon, sharing her family’s favorite spots. Be sure to follow Bonnie’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram. We’re also big fans of her Pinterest board! Thank you Bonnie for sharing your world with us – we can’t wait to take a trip down to San Diego and explore!
San Diego is full of amazing sights and sounds for kiddos and adults alike! Although we are a young city, we still hold pieces of history which connect us to the rest of the world and cultures of long ago. Philadelphia may be laden with cobblestone put down by men during the time of our founding fathers, but Cabrillo discovered San Diego long before William Penn was even alive. It just took a few years for anyone to actually live here, but who’s really counting. I love that my kids can be in this one city and yet still learn so much about the world around us.
As a homeschooling family, we have the opportunity to use San Diego as our living history book and are able to explore pieces of land that crazy important people have stepped foot on. I’d love to share some of our favorite spots that help my little ones understand more about that big world out there with different countries, languages, and even food (my favorite topic!).
Presidio Park. I’d have to start here because this is where our city began. I love that the Junipero Serra Museum is so humble and yet can offer so much in the way of beauty and also history. It’s a GORGEOUS place for a family picnic, as you can see the ocean and the area where Spanish monks came through on their first journey through the valley. Trust me, it’s an amazing place to sit with your kids and take in our city. I love opening a map and talking with them about which countries the explorers came from and which ones finally staked their claim on our city. After, you can drop down below to Old Town, check out what life was like when our city was born, and grab a pair of trendy Minnetonkas for everyone, to finish off your visit.
Scottish Highland Games. Part of exploring culture is exploring where your own family came from. For us, that means heading up to the way North of San Diego to Vista and the Scottish Highland games. It’s a lot of fun even if you don’t have Scottish blood. You can listen to plenty of bagpipe music, eat a meat pie, watch the sheepdogs work their magic on the sheep, and enjoy the games. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ log throwing competition?
San Diego Museum of Art: Art museums are definitely a go-to for soaking up culture and history in any city. The San Diego Museum of Art is a modest size, but that makes it perfect for kids. It still has many famous works of art like my daughter’s favorite, Degas and his perfectly poised ballerinas, my son’s favorite, Duque de la Roca (whom he believes is George Washington), or mine, Matisse’s beautiful bouquet. They don’t walk in feeling over-whelmed because of a huge building with endless flights of stairs and thousands of people waiting to run them over. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre was amazing for me, but kids can get taken aback by the hustle and bustle of a HUGE museum. This museum also has a fun kids game where they use cards with a small picture of a piece of art used to search for the real piece somewhere in the museum. My kids love it!
Balboa Park offers a FREE day (that’s right!) every Tuesday for residents and military which is a great help. Go to this link for a PDF with things to do in Balboa Park with kids. We love this place because you can walk to so many fun spots in a small surface area. You can find a huge fountain to amaze the kids, good coffee, gardens for wandering (where we took our wedding photos!), and plenty of art and culture to soak in. Balboa Park also houses International Cottages for many different countries, with festivals and events being hosted for each country all year long! The San Diego Art Museum and the Japanese Tea Garden mentioned in this post are both in Balboa Park.
San Diego Public Marketand theLittle Italy Mercado are two of my favorite stops. Food is an important part of our life as a family, as we cook and eat at home most of the time. One single bite of food can bridge the gap between countries. Between these two markets, you can taste authentic African, Italian, French, Thai, and fair trade coffees and teas from the other side of the world. It is very important to me that my little ones try new foods. I just ask them to try one bite. Sometimes we are all surprised when a new food for them becomes a favorite., like sushi.
The Japanese Tea Garden is a beautiful and peaceful part of Balboa Park. My kids love the koi pond as well as the rock garden. Having visited Japan, I think this lovely place reflects the gardens of Japan well. I’m thrilled for the places, even small ones, where my kids can see what parts of a foreign country would be like. You can grab some tea to drink for an even more authentic touch. An expansion is in progress so there will soon be more to love!
Sushi Mura. We love this traditional Japanese style sushi restaurant because the food is fresh, the rice is very well prepared, and they make their own soy sauce. Plus, it’s casual enough that the kids can come, but my husband and I can still enjoy a great meal (and an extensive sake menu). My kids didn’t always love sushi, but after years of ordering teriyaki chicken, they took more and more of those one bite testers and finally fell in love with it. If your kids (or you) don’t like seaweed, you can always order it with a soy paper wrapping which tastes like nothing, but holds the other delicious parts of the sushi together just like the seaweed would. My kids love the salmon roll or the rainbow roll, if we let them have it on a special day.
For food reflecting the Portuguese and Italian fishing communities of old San Diego, a fast-favorite of ours is Roseville Cozinha. Also located at Liberty Station, this restaurant is comfortable and delicious. Our favorites are the wood oven-roasted whole shrimp with chili, parsley, and garlic as well as the salt cod fritters with lemon aioli and arugula. The kids get to color on the paper table covering which my boys love!
The New Children’s museum. For something more modern and unique, the Children’s museum is a great place to stop by. We love their hands-on approach towards creativity, community, and culture. My kid’s eyes are always opened wide to the world around them after paying a visit there. They did things right by allowing the kids to explore with their hands instead of limiting them to their eyes, as in a typical museum. While each museum type has its benefits, the New Children’s Museum will mix things up for your kiddos with something for everyone to explore. Plus, there is a VW bug you can paint outside. What kid wouldn’t get a thrill about that?!
Whether out and about or at home, there are so many ways to bring the world into your home and to your kids. The most important to me is living as an example to them. If they don’t see me trying new things and exploring, they will eventually lose interest, as they start to form their own values and traditions based on what they observe. All of our children are little sponges, just waiting for the next exciting thing to soak up. I love seeing them try new languages, foods, and learn how people around the world live. As adults, we have such an exciting job! We get to show the kids in our life how to be explorers, by going out there and navigating our own city!
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).
Amy McKinstry, Senior Sales Executive of Department Stores here at Tea, traveled with her family to Mexico to enjoy sandy shores and ancient ruins.
When my husband and I were deciding where to vacation this year with our kids, we went back and forth quite a bit. France was high on the list, having never been to Paris (shameful, I know) and also wanting to see the French countryside as well as the beaches. We considered Portugal. We talked about local destinations in the US as well but having not been on a proper vacation for several years, we wanted to go a little further away – insisting however, on a combine of relaxation as well as some great cultural influence (sitting pool side in the confines of a massive resort was not what we had in mind.) So we landed far, but not too far – on Soliman Bay, Mexico. Probably one of the best kept secrets on the Maya Riviera (about a 90 minute drive south of Cancun) Soliman Bay is a secluded beach just 10 minutes from the magnificent beach town of Tulum – and with so many terrific cultural activities to choose from on any given day!
I feel compelled to first paint you a mental picture of Soliman Bay – a beach so beautiful and secluded that we were challenged to find even 2 more people sitting on the sand or kayaking in the crystal blue water on a regular basis. Kayaking and snorkeling became my every day exercise and source of meditation – I found myself in “vacation mode” nearly the moment my toes hit the sand. Palapas (the Mexican thatched roofs) dotted the beach and each villa (be it modest or luxurious) had its own unique beauty and charm. A little hut at the end of the beach referred to as “The Fish Shack” served lobster, ceviche and ‘the like’ on modest plastic tables under palm trees and could rival the very best seafood restaurants in Manhattan. Our kids swung on hammocks and played in the sand at our feet as we waited for our food and enjoyed some cold Modelos. Needless to say, we were happy campers and gloating over our choice of destination almost immediately…
Of course, we soon felt the need to explore the area and with some guidance from a good friend who had been drawn back here year after year, we enjoyed a few wonderful experiences worth mentioning.
The Tulum ruins (again, just 10 minutes from our location) was our first stop. These ruins sit along the shore of Tulum and are one of the few elevated locations along the coast (so the views alone, as you can imagine, were just beautiful.) With a terrific Mayan tour guide leading the way (Senor Miguel) we learned about the significance of each ruin, their location within the walls of this
“city” and the carvings and traces of paint that amazingly still remain on so many of the ancient walls.
Another great experience was our visit to a Spider Monkey Sanctuary that had only been open to the public for about 6 months. This property, spanning 67 acres of jungle, is a safe haven to protect this dwindling species of monkey. The kids enjoyed feeding these amazing creatures (they took peanuts right out of their little hands) and just watching them in their habitat. We hiked the property to also discover small alligators as well as a Cenotes (the underground rivers which are a very popular attraction in the area and are often referred to as the sacred waters of the Maya Riviera.) My husband and I reluctantly jumped into the Cenotes with the other in our group (and if you knew us, and our collective fear of heights and small spaces… you’d be impressed. Trust me!)
And of course, there is Tulum… a more perfect beach town I challenge anyone to find. The beach itself is just beautiful – eco friendly and relaxed, it is a beautiful hybrid of an authentic Mexican surf town, and the most sophisticated of locations all in one. Local artisans sell the most wonderful handmade jewelry on the streets and airy cabanas and palapas line the beach along with amazing bars and restaurants. A great spot during the day or for a night out – heavenly!
We were inspired daily during this trip with the cultural as a whole – the vibrant colors of their textiles, hand embroidery, Mayan art, beautiful architecture, amazing food and the graciousness of the locals. So many little things brought me back to Tea’s visit to Mexico and the wonderfully authentic details that they included in their designs just a few seasons ago (and before that, during their first visit to Mexico back in the earlier years of Tea!)
In short – it was a wonderful family vacation full of relaxation, culture, amazing food and fun activities. I am also so grateful to Tea for reminding me, through their own inspiration & travel, to always recognize the small, beautiful details of the world around us – in every culture. It is such a special place to work and such a special practice to pass along to our children.
So if you are considering a trip to this region of Mexico, I’d say… pack your bag. Go there. ENJOY!
Have you heard of Safari West? Located only 75 miles north of San Francisco, Safari West is home to over 400 exotic mammals and birds. You can choose to stay overnight in one of their authentic African safari tents or a cottage, complete with a private bathroom and kitchenette. This 400-acre wildlife preserve has plenty to offer – check out their 2013 Photo Expedition two-day workshop if you’re interested in working on your photography skills.
We hear the San Diego Zoo has one of the country’s best lion exhibits. Want to spend more time amongst the animals? The ‘Roar & Snore Safari‘ allows you to pack up and stay overnight on the campgrounds. If you live in the area you should look into their summer camp where your children would experience daily interaction with rhinos and giraffes.
Dallas, Texas is where you will find one of the top African Elephant exhibits. The Dallas Zoo‘s Giants of Savanna exhibit offers access to elephants, giraffes, impalas, zebras, lions and other native African animals. Don’t miss out on the giraffe feeding while you’re there! For $5, you’re little one can hand feed a giraffe fresh greens and rye crackers.
The Kansas City Zoo was ranked number one in the nation by authors Allen W. Nyhuis and Jon Wassner for their “African Animals and Exhibits.” Their 95-acre African exhibit represents five nations with an extensive collection of animals. Elephant demonstrations are held daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Soon the Cincinnati Zoo‘s African exhibit will be the largest animal exhibit in zoo history! Currently they’re working to expand the yard for the Massai giraffe and creating a new and improved home for the cheetahs “where guests will be able to witness cheetahs doing what they do best – running!”
What zoo’s are your favorite for African animals? We want to hear!
Visit your local Tea retailer to find out if they have any zoo favorites in your community.
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). Emilynne, our excel whiz , traveled to her home away from home to the sunny and humid group of islands in the Pacific.
Last October/November I took a short hike halfway across the world to visit my sister for her semester break in the Philippines. A lot of the school holidays in the Philippines do fall,slightly suspiciously, during major Catholic Feast Days. This means that the Triduum of All Hallows, Christmas, and Holy Week are all holidays that the children may observe with family.
Look at the handwritten plane ticket.
Once I heard about this break, I jumped at the opportunity to visit my mom and my sister, travel a bit of my parents’ home-country, and (most importantly) soak in some sun and warmth!
We did a small amount of traveling, but kept it relatively simple for this go-around as two of my friends (pretty much my sisters by everything but blood) were flying in and out of Manila via slightly different itineraries. My friend Radhika and I got in one evening and our first stop was Taal Vista Resort in Tagaytay, about an hour south of Manila. The resort has a stunning view of the Taal Volcano.
Look closely and Taal Volcano is the island in the middle of the lake.
Yes, that is an active volcano. In fact, people are not allowed to settle on the island, and even the resort we were staying in is technically within the danger zone. It’s hard to believe that this is an active volcano, which had quite a bit of activity as recently as July 2011, when you look at all the lush foliage surrounding it.
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.
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.
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.
Today we’re featuring guest blogger Linh Tran, who recently moved to Singapore with her two kids, daughter age 3, son age 6.
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’.
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.
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?
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.
Has our Nordic Collection tickled your interest? Did you want to see our inspiration for the Copenhagen tee in person? Or did you just need a vacation? Now is your chance to win our grand prize of a $500 Tea gift certificate to pack your bags and $1000 in Jetsetter credit.
Entering is as easy 1, 2, 3 and will only take a moment from your busy day. Submissions must be received by September 24, 2012.
One of our Foreign Correspondentshas returned from her travels! Caren and her family traveled to Kenya this summer for a service trip. Caren is the President and Co-founder of The Kilgoris Project, a non-profit that runs schools, medical programs and economic development efforts in rural Kenya. We outfitted Caren’s family with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part one of their adventure.
Photo by Jennifer Fletcher
You’re crazy! That’s the usual reaction I get to traveling halfway around the world with kids.
Once I flew solo to Sydney with a two year old, while limping along with my own foot in a boot cast. This year I brought two elementary schoolers for a month in Kenya sans husband.
These might sounds like prescriptions for the loony bin. But having taken kids to every continent, except Antarctica, I’ve developed a few strategies for getting home without losing my mind.
1) Build in unscheduled time- Flights, meetings, tours and museums don’t run on child-friendly schedules. And there’s always a temptation to pack in whole cities in a day. Grown ups may be fine with this. However, kids need more breathing room. Fight not to fill the days. It’s ok to horse around in a hotel room for a couple of hours or just watch an iPad movie during a layover. The world will still be there when you’re done.
Photo by Jon McCormack
2) Find ways to play- The moving parts of travel bore kids and adults alike. And buses, trains and taxi don’t offer space to work out any wiggles. But if you’re willing to look silly in public, you can create fun anywhere. Take turns finding yoga moves that fit into economy class seats. (This is far easier for the kids.) Play Follow the Leader at an airplane gate. Make up ballet dances while the tour van fills the gas tank. I’ve done them all. My kids are happier for it. And I often find the release helps me, too.
3) Relax the rules, but not too much- Travel days are never going to run like days at home. So it’s ok for the rules to shift a little to compensate. Pringles and peanuts will keep a child alive for a day. Everyone can stay up until 11:00PM for a few nights. Just go easy on the anarchy. If you create a free for all, you’ll pay when you need control. Sometimes you do need to lay down the law: No, you cannot pinch your sister during an immigration check. You’ll wear your seatbelt for take off and landing. And yes, you’ll be quiet when the tribal elders speak.
4) Give kids a little control- My children are much happier traveling when they feel like they make some of their own decisions. It helps to balance the powerlessness they feel at the structure of getting from A to B. We start trips with each girl having a stash of sugar-free gum to be chewed at any time. They have their own packs of markers and magnet dolls. And as their ages allow, they get to hold their own boarding passes.
5) Put your own oxygen mask on first-The airlines are on to something with this one. None of us can be in top form all the time. It doesn’t happen at home. And it’s even less likely happen when you’re jetlagged. Do what you can to carve out a little alone time, even if you can’t physically leave the kids. Take a bath. Walk hotel hallways on your floor with the room door cracked. Put your headphones on. Pretend to sleep on the plane. Just do something for yourself.
These tips, combined with humor, prayer and few deep breaths, keep me sane as I lead my kids to become citizens of the world.