We were up on “the island” for a few days over the Fourth of July, where friends of ours got married. Beach time, biking, lots of sun and fun. A really fantastic and memorable trip.

Our Fourth Anniversary

X and I celebrated our anniversary in style. We checked off one of the city’s landmarks from our must-see list by heading to Carnegie Hall. In our typical fashion, we arrived just in time, scooting into our seats just before the conductor took the stage.

The Cleveland Orchestra was not what I had in mind when I went looking for tickets to the symphony – no offense to Tristan, but Cleveland is not the first city that comes to mind in that department. But I give respect where it’s due; they put on a very strong performance. The first piece was a Mozart symphony (No. 25 in G minor), which was nice, but the second piece, Debussy’s Nocturnes, was outstanding. It brought together all the elements of a beautiful symphonic piece, the grand crescendos, the deafening silence, and all the unique sounds that you don’t get from pop music. There was one point where I was scanning the stage to find the soloing oboist.

Unfortunately the last piece was a real downer, Janácek’s Slavonic Mass. Talk about a snoozer. I couldn’t dig the melody, couldn’t even find the rhythm. I ended up dozing off in the middle of it, a trick I must have picked up from my dad, who in the old days could be counted on to fall asleep before the end of the overture when we used to go see the Nutcracker.

I managed to rouse myself towards the end of the Sanctus and we watched the conductor and the four soloists take several more curtain calls than I thought necessary. We lingered while people filed out and then walked down to the edge of the level we were sitting on, the Dress Circle, and had a look around. Carnegie Hall is truly a majestic theater, a testament to the ages. As we stood there taking it in, nearly alone in its hallowed warmth, it struck me that that is exactly what I want this marriage, this love, to be.

Second Anniversary

In Nanjing
In Nanjing

Today is the second anniversary of our wedding!

We made plans to meet at Arch, a trendy cafe on the western side of Huaihai Lu. Xianyi made a reservation, but we arrived early and they asked us to wait. Then they seated us at a table for four, where two German guys were eating hamburgers! We already had our drinks and were wondering what to do. The place doesn’t have many tables, and all of them were full, and by the looks of it no one was leaving soon. I asked the head waitress about our reservation for two and she offered us two seats at the bar. I then asked for the manager, and politely but firmly informed him that we had made a reservation for two and they had not reserved a table for us – so we were leaving. I did not leave a dime for our half-finished drinks.

Now, standing outside in the rain with no plans, we thought about what to do. After a few non-starter ideas, we decided to go to Mesa, as we had never been before. It’s a bit fancy, but not over the top like, say, Jean Georges. And apologies to all our chef buddies, but it wouldn’t be fair to just pick ONE of you for our anniversary at the expense of the others! 🙂

In the end, we had a nice relaxing meal and watched the rain pour down outside. We had planned on playing some miniature golf later at a place I’ve heard about, but in the end we just decided to go home.

And as for anniversary presents? Well, Xianyi sent me a single rose at work, which raised a few eyebrows around my office. And I gave her the kindest gift of all – I shaved my mustache 😀