The Pearl in the heart of Austin: Zilker Botanical Garden

Last Sunday was the first day of Calendar Spring. It’s called Spring Equinox in Chinese twenty-four solar terms, which remarks the equal length of day and night. So where to go to enjoy the last sunny afternoon of our first spring break in America? An afternoon in the sunshine and breeze, surrounded by the new buds and flowers, sounded like the perfect cure for my boyfriend lab fever … so we took off for Zilker Botanical Garden-the pearl in the heart of Austin!

This botanical garden is part of Zilker Metropolitan Park, also very near to Barton Springs. We spent a couple of hours there, enjoying the serenity and verdant setting of this garden. It has several gardens, like Prehistoric, Butterfly, Pioneer Village, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and so on.

Road signs in Botanical Garden

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The Great Savior of Novice Chef-Tomato and Egg Stir-fry

It’s another rare cloudy day in Austin. Spring seems to be wakened by vernal rain this week. Temperature is gently climbing up. The exuberant colors of the early spring in Austin this year reminds me of a simple yet delicious Chinese comfort food dish-tomato and egg stir-fry. It is definitely my favorite dish amongst Chinese cuisine. Back in my undergrad life, winter in Wuhan is bone-chilling, smoggy, and depressing. But when I was scarfing down stir-fried tomato and eggs at the university cafeteria, I felt like being in the subtropical warmth.

Tomato and egg stir-fry is simple to cook: just oil and salt can make it really delicious. And it tastes especially fresh with very original flavor with rich nutrition. The most important point is that it saves thousands of cooking beginners from messing up their first cooking attempts, which should be awarded as “the Great Savior of Novice Chef”!

It is said that there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. I wanna say that a thousand people can make a thousand different kinds of tomato and egg stir-fry dishes. There have always been disputes about whether to peel the tomatoes, whether to cook the egg tender or old, whether to add sugar, green onions/scallions, ketchup or starch. It can be added on top of rice, or eat with lo mein, or mix with spaghetti. There are just so many variations and flexibilities in this simple dish, thus making it most popular.

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Go Fly a Kite at Austin Zilker Park Kite Festival

If you’re looking for a unique outdoor event to participate in and kick off the springtime in Austin, the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival is one of the must-haves. I’ve heard about the kite festival and been dreaming of it since the UT orientation for international students last August.

The kite festival was on March 6th this year, my boyfriend and I went flying the kite and had a great time there. There were children of all ages, adults and dogs all over Zilker Park, and all kinds of kites. It attracted a huge crowd because there’s no entry fee and there’s a lot of fun to have: kite flying demonstrations, friendly contest for kite flyers, food vendors (support local nonprofits), face painters, moonwalks and music, the on-site booth for making kites, etc.
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Survival life skill for studying abroad-How to assemble Ikea furniture!

Before I came to America, I heard that overseas students are a group of omnipotent people. Being thousands of miles away from home makes them independent and they are pushed to learn life skills to take care of themselves. They are plumbers, cookers, motor mechanics, and so on. I thought it’s kind of exaggerating. But I didn’t realize that it’s bloody true until I tried to assemble Ikea furniture last weekend…It was quite an experience.

I needed a desk for study. So my boyfriend and I drove to Ikea in Round Rock (completely forgotten who recommended us in the first place). Not to mention the experiences of having to park miles from the store’s entrance and having to lug giant boxes to the checkout aisle on our own, it all began when we left this place with the false hope of assembling the same furniture at our home.

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