Stuff I Really Kind of Like About My Life at Home: Fall

October 28, 2012

Back when I was living in China, I started a bloggy series called Stuff I Really Kind of Like About My Life in China. I started it to remind myself of all the things I really kind of liked about my life in China (hence the title). And, well, maybe I used it as an excuse to eat a lot of glutinous rice balls.

 Since I’ve already resurrected one long-dead bloggy series this month, I decided why not bring another one back to life? Tis the season and all.

Except I’m not going to write about China this time seeing as I don’t live there anymore. That would just be awkward and confusing for everyone. Instead I’m going to write about the stuff I really kind of like about my life at home to remind myself of, well, all the things I like about being home again. And, well, maybe I’ll use it as an excuse to eat a lot of nachos. Or donuts. Or whatever the American equivalent of glutinous rice balls happens to be. Probably donuts.

Let’s begin, shall we?

When I lived abroad and people asked me what I missed most about home, I would usually respond with, “Family and friends.”

Because isn’t that what you’re supposed to say when people ask you a question like that?

I mean, not that I didn’t miss my family and friends. I did. Really, guys. But at least I could Skype and email them.

You can’t really do that with jumbo margaritas the size of your head. Which is also something I dearly missed from the States while living abroad.

Hello, Margarita, it’s me, Sally. I miss you.

And fall. I missed me some fall big time. (Or autumn as the Brits call it. But I think we can all agree that fall sounds awesomer. And way more dangerous.)

Fall is my favorite season by far. So I was pretty excited that I was going to be home this year to enjoy it.

Not that they didn’t have fall in China.

They had it. Kind of.

They just didn’t really do fall the way I feel fall should be done.

Mind you, I think China did a pretty bang up job when it came to spring. Which is saying a lot because I’ve never been a big fan of spring, what with all the rain. And pastel colors tend to wash me out. But there’s just something about blooming cherry blossom trees and sidewalks covered in confetti-shaped petals that warms the heart of even a long-time spring-grinch such as myself.

Awww…. pretty….

But, China could really stand to work on its fall.

Like, China’s idea of a tasty fall treat is a mooncake. Traditionally served during the Mid-Autumn Festival, a mooncake resembles a cake in about the same way I resemble Cameron Diaz.

Not cake. Trust me.

Despite it’s dainty exterior, the inside is dense and heavy and full of something you wouldn’t expect or even want to find inside a cake – like bean paste or salted duck eggs. Sometimes both. If you’re really not lucky.

Needless to say, this was not exactly my idea of a tasty treat.

I also don’t remember seeing the leaves changing color much during the one fall I spent in China. This could be because I was living too far south.  Or because I was there during a particularly warm fall. Or because they didn’t have many deciduous trees where I was living.

Or maybe it had a little something to do with this:

Ah, smog. I do not miss you.

After all, it is kind of hard to see leaves change color when you can’t even see the trees.

Meanwhile, this is my current view at home:

Look, sky!

Not too shabby huh?

Unfortunately, I haven’t had quite as much time to enjoy the wonders of fall this year as I’ve been spending most of my time at work or holed up at home, grading big huge piles of essays.

Which I have to say is a lot less festive than piles of crunchy orange leaves. And not nearly as fun to jump on. Not that I’ve tried to jump on them. Yet.

My typical Friday night. You’re jealous. I know you are.

But I have had time to enjoy some of the small joys of the season. And, yes, by “small joys” I’m mostly referring to donuts.

But I’m also talking about these things as well:

Pumpkin-Flavored Everything

I read an article recently that said that pumpkin-flavored stuff has never been more popular in the States than it has been this year.

And, as you may recall, I returned to the States this year.



But I’d like to think of the plethora of pumpkin-flavored goodies as America’s little way of wooing me back and pleading with me to stay a little bit longer.

Well, that and all the new reality television series which have been popping up on my TV. (Like, seriously, guys. Are you watching Abby Lee’s Ultimate Dance Competition? Because you really should be. It’s like Toddlers and Tiaras meets So You Think You Can Dance meets crazy. I’m pretty sure America created this one just for me.)

I have spent the last month buying almost everything I can find that’s pumpkin-flavored. And then shoving it all into my face. Considering the quantity of pumpkin-flavored stuff currently available, this has been quite a feat.

Of course, there have been donuts. And cupcakes. And pie. And cupcakes that tasted like pie.

There is a pumpkin pie cupcake under all that icing. Or was. I ate it. Obviously.

And yogurt that pretends to taste like pie, but totally doesn’t.

Not pie. Trust me.

I have also been recently introduced to pumpkin pie flavored ice cream, which is much better than the yogurt. But, then again, duh. It’s ice cream.

For my morning pumpkin-fix, there are toaster waffles.

And for my evening pumpkin-fix, there’s beer.

I’ve also had a few of these:

Which, don’t taste like pumpkin, mind you, but are shaped like pumpkins, so I’m pretty sure that still counts.


I love almost everything about fall fashion – patterned tights, plaid skirts, tweed jackets, snuggly scarves.

And I’ve never needed much of an excuse to put a hat on my head.

Working fall fashion from an early age. Check out that side beret.

But turtlenecks are definitely my favoritest.

I mean, what’s not to love about a turtleneck? It’s a sweater with a built-in cuddle for your neck. Who doesn’t love neck cuddles?

Plus, turtlenecks are super handy for messy eaters like myself. You see, I’m the type of person who usually drops half her lunch down her shirt. And that’s on a good day.

But, with a turtleneck, the collar acts as a kind of net to catch all the food I’m always dropping. This week I discovered a half-eaten granola bar in the collar of my turtleneck one day. Who knows where that thing would have ended up if I hadn’t had that turtleneck on!

I’m just going to put some of these in my turtleneck for later.

Remember the other week when I went out and bought myself all kinds of girly-girl outfits? It’s possible I also bought a turtleneck.

Or twelve.

I even ended up with a short-sleeved turtleneck. Although I know in my heart of hearts that short-sleeved turtlenecks make absolutely no sense.

Because, seriously, if it’s cold enough that your neck needs a special covering, shouldn’t your arms be covered up, too?

The answer is: yes, yes, they should.

Every time I wear it my arms freeze off.

But, whatever, who needs arms when you look this cute?

Seriously, guys. Cute, right?

The Smell of Burning Stuff

I live out in the country where people are always burning stuff. Especially during the fall. So every time I take a walk, the whole street smells like a campfire.

Mmm…. campfirey goodness.

I don’t really know what people are burning all the time. Leaves? Firewood? Evidence?

Who knows?

Who cares?

It still smells awesome.


It probably says something about my character that my favorite holiday is the one where you get to dress up like someone or something you’re not and go around demanding strangers give you candy.

But, seriously, guys.

Costumes and candy?

It’s like Halloween thought of everything.

Gimme candy.

I still remember the year when I was in fifth grade and I wore a homemade kangaroo costume complete with a pouch for candy-collecting. It was pretty much the best day of my life. It didn’t even matter that earlier that day I had chipped my tooth, and I wasn’t able to eat any candy. Okay, maybe that mattered a little. And maybe I did try to cram some candy into my mouth until the pain became too much.

But, still.

That’s how much I love Halloween.

So much so that I’m still having a good time even when I’m crying because my mouth hurts and I have a bag of candy I can’t eat.

I still love Halloween more than any other holidays.

Even if I am totally creeped out by the fact that you can now buy sexy Halloween costumes of things that really should never ever be sexy.  Like watermelon. I mean, seriously, guys. Who’s like, “I know! I’ll dress up like a watermelon! But a sexy one! I’m sure I’ll be the only sexy watermelon at the party! Because, who thinks like that?”

I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to be for Halloween. Or if I’m even going to dress up this year.

I mean, it’s kind of hard to top the fifth grade kangaroo costume.

But I have some ideas.

Anyone know where I can pick up some pink pleather?

This photo is NEVER GOING AWAY. You realize that, right?

What’s your favorite season? What do you love about it? Where’s your favorite place to experience it?

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On October 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm Priya said:

    Fall is one of my favorite seasons! I’ve really been appreciating it this year too in Chicago. Although winter is creeping it’s way in. Such a creeper.
    Priya recently posted..An Open Letter To The Student Loan Department/College Education System/To Whom It May Concern

    • On October 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm Sally said:

      I know. Each week it gets colder and I have to buy a new clothing item since I didn’t really bring anything back with me from China. Like this weekend I realized I didn’t have any shoes that I could wear with socks. That’s kind of a problem. Luckily, I can actually buy shoes that fit here. Yay!

  2. On October 29, 2012 at 12:53 am Darcey said:

    Hubby and I miss fall, too. It doesn’t exist in northern India – we go from monsoon to hail-snow to summer to monsoon. There may technically be six seasons, but we really count 3.
    Darcey recently posted..7 Tips for Bargaining

    • On October 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm Sally said:

      Kind of reminds me of Brazil (well, except for the hail-snow part). They always claimed there were 2 seasons where I lived — dry and wet season. But I don’t remember it ever being dry there. It just seemed like wet and even wetter season.

  3. On October 29, 2012 at 2:56 am Steve said:

    You do realize that as a teacher, Fall is solely responsible for the end of your summer break right? Liking Fall is kind of akin to liking Mondays. Liking Mondays in the fall is probably a felony of some sort.
    Steve recently posted..MKTS – Our Secret Musical Past

    • On October 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm Sally said:

      I think maybe part of my love of fall has to do with the beginning of the school year. I know that doesn’t make sense. But the first week of classes is the best — when all the students are hopeful and on their best behavior. It’s early winter and late spring that KILL me. That’s when nobody wants to be at school (including me). Oh yeah, and Mondays are going to suck no matter what season they’re in.

  4. On October 29, 2012 at 5:23 am cosmoHallitan said:

    This is my second Fall in Shanghai and I have yet to see the leaves of the trees change color. Of course, with the air outside fluctuating between hazardous and unhealthy, I haven’t left my house much in the past week.

    I am totally envious of all your pumpkin treats and I love that you can now incorporate childhood photos into the mix.
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Hanoi’s Temple of the Lake

    • On October 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm Sally said:

      I was seriously racking my brain trying to think if I ever saw fall leaves while I was in China… I even went through all my photos, and all I came up with were smog photos. So, yeah, I guess I don’t miss that! Stay safe!

  5. On October 29, 2012 at 7:46 am Sid said:

    We don’t really have pumpkin flavoured stuff here. Cape Town’s weather is kinda boring. It rains in winter, and it’s hot in summer. There isn’t really a noticeable difference between Winter and Autumn. We don’t have snow, we don’t have thunderstorms, we don’t have hurricanes. We have lots of wind …
    Favourite season? Summer. Hot men start running around topless.
    Sid recently posted..Sinfest

  6. On October 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm Stephanie - The Travel Chica said:

    I enjoyed this fall so much more because I missed it in 2011. I am all for missing winter, but I love the changing leaves of fall.

    And my local coffee shop makes a drink called Joe Pumpkin with real pumpkin and espresso and magic…. yum!
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Tasty St. Louis

    • On November 2, 2012 at 7:04 am Sally said:

      Oddly, pumpkin spice lattes are the only pumpkiny treats that I’m not that into. I always order them when they first come out & I WANT to like them but I never do. I think it’s just because I’m not a sweet coffee drinker to begin with. I know. Weird, right?

  7. On October 30, 2012 at 5:30 am Karen McCann said:

    Glad your back in the saddle, blogging away! And I agree, Halloween is the best holiday. Not only do you get costumes and candy, but there aren’t a bunch of do-this-or-your-year-is-a-bust holiday traditions. Like if 20 generations of women in your family have made pumpkin-marshmallow pie for Thanksgiving, it’s a death penalty offense to omit it from the table. But Halloween is all about getting crazy, eating sweets, having fun and … not much else. Perfect.

    Karen McCann

    • On November 2, 2012 at 7:03 am Sally said:

      Oh, see, I’m quite a fan of Thanksgiving too, but, luckily, my family would never put me in charge of something important like pie. In fact, I don’t go anywhere near the kitchen during holiday food-making. Well, not until after dinner when I usually do the dishes. Luckily my family doesn’t have a 20-generation tradition for doing dishes. 🙂

  8. On October 30, 2012 at 11:10 am Carmel said:

    Fall is definitely my favorite season. Pumpkin everything is good…in fact I just made pumpkin donuts. I live in the NW and although I hear the NE is even better for fall foliage, ours ain’t nothing to shake a stick at. (What an odd phrase.)
    Carmel recently posted..Egg breakfast muffins

  9. On October 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm Jackie said:

    My mom always hated Halloween when I was growing up so I think that made me love it even more, just for the sake of being a defiant teenager and everything. And whoever created the first pumpkin-flavored anything was a genius — I am drinking a pumpkin spice latte as we speak and it has been the best 10 minutes of my day so far.
    Jackie recently posted..Places: Girl Scout Heaven in Savannah, Georgia

    • On November 2, 2012 at 6:58 am Sally said:

      I grew up in a household that took Halloween very seriously — my parents usually dressed up every year. Including this year. I walked into the kitchen to find my mom in a chicken costume. It’s good to be home. 🙂

  10. On October 31, 2012 at 3:44 am Eileen黃愛玲 said:

    YES! That is one of the things I miss about living in Taiwan. I miss the autumn/fall in my little hometown in New England. I miss drinking Samuel Addams draft (while being only a couple hours away from the factory, New England clam chowder done right, Blueberry Ale, and fresh Maine lobster from a certain relative who happens to be a lobsterman (cough).

    I’m with you on the turtlenecks. I also have the problem of dropping food while I eat. I also like fall because it’s not sweating hot and it’s not freezing cold. Best of both worlds.
    Eileen黃愛玲 recently posted..the girl behind the blog. 部落格的女主角.

    • On November 2, 2012 at 6:57 am Sally said:

      Oh yes, I tend to look miserable for pretty much all of summer (as I’m sweating) and winter (as I’m freezing). Fall is the only season I can manage to look semi-cute. Yet another reason to love it!

  11. On October 31, 2012 at 5:19 am Ashley of Ashley Abroad said:

    This is making me miss home and I only left yesterday! I love pumpkin-flavored everything (have you tried pumpkin-flavored fro-yo? Delish!) And the fall was just beautiful this year.
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..5 Reason I’m Excited to Move to Paris (Later Today)

    • On November 2, 2012 at 6:56 am Sally said:

      Fro-yo? OMG. Gotta try! Does it come with bits of pumpkin pie crust in it? I’ve heard some of the ice cream does and I’m determined to find some.

  12. On October 31, 2012 at 11:05 am Heather said:

    I. Love. Fall.

    And I missed it so much in Australia. Everyone was posting pics of pumpkin-things and football and pretty leaves, and I REALLY missed it.

    We’ve been baking lots of pumpkin stuff. And OH, it’s too late to try it now, but Woodchuck’s Fall cider is the BEST flavor I’ve tried of their offerings yet. You must try it next year!

    • On November 2, 2012 at 6:55 am Sally said:

      Mmm, I haven’t tried Woodchuck’s fall cider, but there’s a local cider mill in my area that makes hard cider & they had a “seasonal” kind with lots of pumpkiny spices in it and it was SO GOOD. I think I may have to go back to the grocery store to see if they still have it.

  13. On November 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm Ceri said:

    Autumn (Sorry, *Fall*) is my favourite season too! 🙂 And, just like you, I miss it heaps now that I’m here. Mexico doesn’t have Autumn at all. :S All through October it was blazing hot – The kind of weather where you can walk around sleeveless with your sunglasses on eating ice lollies, and then suddenly the temperature has dropped a tiny bit so now it’s just a bit grey and meh. I live in Mexico City too so you can’t really see the sky anymore. Plus, there’s a huge cultural thing of sweeping and washing the pavements every single morning at around 5.30am so nobody gets to see the leaves even if they fall. 😛
    Ceri recently posted..Mexican Food Porn

  14. On November 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm Maria said:

    Sally, this post is wonderful. Thoroughly enjoying the comparisons and contrasts between fall here and there. Thnx!

  15. On November 4, 2012 at 9:07 am choi kum fook said:

    Along equatorial country like Malaysia, definitely it doesn’t exist Fall season. Malaysia is considered as season of summer throughout the year, hot and wet.The most famous Festival in Fall season is Mid-Autumn, celebrating by making different kind of moon cakes with different ingredient in it. Children are the most happiest kids, bringing the Lanterns hanging everywhere.Lanterns are used as ornaments and decoration.Among the four seasons,I like most is Autumn, may be due to the weather and a bit changing of environment. But unfortunately, I haven’t experienced it in my life! I am very very willing for it! Miss Sally, Which country or place, so far as you think, the best to desire the Fall!?


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