The Beach Trip


During our visits in Houston the whole family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents) took a trip down to the beach. We packed up the RV and got on the road. After a whole year away from the beach we were ready for some sun.

boatride boatride2

While at the beach we got to go on a boat ride with Pop (our grandpa) where we saw dolphins (notice the fins on the top picture)! Although at first I wasn’t too excited to go on the boat ride, after we started to pull away from the dock, I immediately started to enjoy my ride on the water.



It was great spending time in the sun and just hanging out by the water for a few days. The beach trip was a perfect way to spend some quality time with the people I love♥.


On Site: Old Town Alexandria

Michael, Jessie, Maddie-

Today Christine and I headed over to Old Town for the afternoon. We had such a nice time together. I will try to let the photos speak for themselves.


Making my mark at the Torpedo factory-transformed into an art center- in Old Town.

Fully satisfied my ice cream craving at this vintage ice cream parlor.

menu rachel
readingr Temporarily occupying the local Anthropology while sleeping on their beyond comfortable beds and reading Kinfolk magazines.

Enjoyed this street performer while walking. He played the Star Wars theme song which reminded me of you, Jessie!

Oh, and since I arrived in DC, I’ve been to the grocery store twice! If only we could transfer one to China, baking would get SO much better.

It Just Hit Me


Dear Rachel:
Today it hit me that next year I will be sleeping next to an empty bed – that when I wake up you won’t be in the kitchen making me a tea latte – that our tea parties will be short one very important person. I cannot imagine life here in China without you! I must admit that I did not fully prepare myself to say goodbye to you in China. Now that the reality is settling in, I don’t want to look at your baking drawer, or your bed, or your closet because they just remind me that next year you will not be here.

Rachel you have blessed me in so many ways. The Lord knew how much I would need an older sister – and He gave me the very best one! I know that you will be just as much a blessing in Carnegie Mellon; I envy all the new friends you make – that they will get an encouraging, pretty, cake-making, faith-filled friend like you!

Love You!

First Days in The US

Jessie, Michael, & Rachel,

Hey! It’s been over a week and I can’t lie, I have been loving my time here in America. So far I’ve shopped (and spent too much money), swam (numerous times), gone on a boat ride, taken many a golf cart rides, eaten a little too much junk food and spent a lot of time with family. It’s been a great vacation but I sure am missing each one of you :(. I feel like it’s been weeks since I last saw all of you guys.

Jessie, I miss all of our crazy  hugs and funny conversations about school. I can’t wait to spend long car rides together talking and hanging out.

Rachel, I miss your delicious cupcakes and your amazing planning skills ;). I cannot wait to show you my new clothes and swimsuit I got this past week!

Michael, I just miss chatting with you! We are going to have a blast this summer enjoying a break from work, aren’t we?!

Here is a peek at the fun I’ve been having here!

americapics copy

Bucket List: Malaysian Lovers


This afternoon Michael, Jessie, and I made our first proper meal all week! With just three of us in the house, full meals are not necessarily a priority- we’ve been eating sandwiches and lattes everyday for a while now.


My Southeast Asian meal is definitely checked off the bucket list with this lunch consisting of Malaysian curry, stir-fried bokchoy, and Chinese tea (普洱茶).






Bucket List: Celebrating Local Friendships



We missed you this evening at our get-together with the Chin family. With an aura of celebrating relationships felt throughout the afternoon, I dearly missed you.

I was invited to share some baking techniques with Sister Cai and her husband to give them time together and a shared pursuit. I so enjoyed teaching and guiding them through the process of making chocolate cupcakes.

After a successful turnout, we topped the freshly baked cake with dollops of whipped cream. You know I love it when a sweet treat is thrown together in a completely natural way.


What started out as a cupcake-baking lesson turned into a Chinese cookout with our Uncle and Auntie Cai. We grilled meats of all shapes and sizes: lamb, shrimp, and fish skewers, grilled beef steak, and even a delicious rotisserie chicken in the oven!



We made a huge dent in my bucket list today. What fun.

Bucket Listing


My last week in Tianjin has come. In just 6 days I will be moving back to the States to begin school at Carnegie Mellon University. After five years here, I can hardly believe that China will no longer be my home.

I will miss it more than I can say.

In the meantime, Michael and Jessie are helping to fill my last days with unforgettable memories. Earlier this week we made a long list of various activities that I want to complete before flying out next week.
The first one to be checked off the list was a trip to Tianjin’s “City Center.” Some of my favorite eating and shopping areas are downtown so late Wednesday afternoon we buseed there.



What a lovely outing! Churros and bubble tea-珍珠奶茶-were the first stops we made upon arrival. We then walked around for a while before settling into a quiet Starbucks for a couple of hours spent chatting, planning for the future, etc.


Our last stop was at a Japanese store called Muji, where I stocked up on pens for the next year! Michael was able to snap a few photos of Jessie and I enjoying the Muji “furniture displays” before a shop-keeper gave us some unhappy stares, after which we quickly made our way out.



From the Studio: Visual Communications

Finishing up the semester, I had this one last project in my Visual Communications class. I was inspired by the Mars One project, a nonprofit that
is aiming to start a colony on Mars in the year 2023.

This is an interesting situation, working with architecture in a low-gravity environment, and also making an infrastructure that utilizes the resources on Mars to then facilitate human inhabitance.

Aqueduct Diagram

Terrace Diagram

Hive Diagram

These three parts of the infrastructure will, in a combined effort, be able to allow people to live on the Red Planet.

Below are some renderings and visual representations of how this might work.

Site Strategy





Expansion Plan