Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish is a blog about a Jewish, Cajun, Taiwanese, American family that has spent more time abroad than they have at home since becoming a family of 4. Lucia started the blog as a way of honoring her family's unique blend of cultures. So where does the blog name come from?
Crawfish for her Cajun roots — her family is one of the original Acadian families to settle in Louisiana. Bagels because they are Jewish and matzo ball soup or gefilte fish just didn't sound right. Dim Sum because their daughter is from Taiwan.
"Each of these foods also have a very social side to them that we love: crawfish boils, Sunday morning brunch, and the lively experiences at dim sum restaurants — they connect us culturally and socially to our combined heritages. Mix that all together and you get our little American family". Lucia continues "I wish I could take full credit it for the title, but it was inspired by the book, Dim Sum, Bagels, and Grits by Myra Alperson which is a great book for multi-cultural families. As soon as I saw the book's title, I thought, 'That sounds just like our family except I crave crawfish way more than grits.'"
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging in January 2006. We were living in Japan and I started because I wanted to document our life overseas. We were in the midst of the adoption process and were eagerly awaiting a referral. The day after my first blog post, we received a call from our adoption agency telling us about our new daughter in Taiwan. The blog began at an important time for our family and has continued to evolve from that point.
What are your favorite things to post on?
My favorite post topics are those things that shape our family no matter where we are in the world: traveling, reading, creating, exploring. At the same time, the blog is also a place for documenting our life together including the highs and lows of adoption, raising Jewish children, life as an ex-pat family, my husband's military deployment, and losing my father.
How often do you post? Any tips on managing your time?
I seem to go through periods when I am posting on a pretty regular basis (4-5 times per week) and other periods when it dwindles down to once or twice week. It really depends on how busy life is or if the weather is really nice (I'd rather be walking on the beach or working in the garden than sitting in front of a computer).
I am not so sure I am the right person to give advice on time management. I think I waste far too much time wishing for a house elf. I do know I need to carve out some time for myself — time for creating, reading, doing yoga, gardening, connecting with others — I don't find time to do all of those things every day but at least a few times during the week. Blogging is a part of that time for myself. It gives me a creative outlet, a way to connect to others, and a way to step back and document what is happening in our lives.
Have any advice for traveling families?
Start young, plan ahead, and listen to your kids.
I think that part of the reason our kids are such good travelers (and adventurous eaters) is because we started traveling with them when they were infants. I know it isn't easy and it isn't for every family, but for us it felt right. We travelled with such frequency that it didn't feel quite so overwhelming each time we took a trip. We quickly realized that when we traveled with our kids we needed to maintain a daily schedule that included times for naps and outdoor play. We also had to adjust our expectations. Instead of trying to pack in everything suggested in the guidebooks, we dramatically scaled down our lists and saw only one or two things each day. This is actually one of the reasons I am so grateful that we travel with our kids. It forces us to slow down and savor the places we are visiting. Some of my favorite travel memories include watching our kids chase pigeons in Seville, play soccer with local kids in Rome, and share snacks with villagers in rural Laos — none of those moments would have happened if we were running from place to place or following a super strict itinerary.
One final piece of advice: ask your kids what they want to do and then make time to do it. I am not suggesting that you let the kids make all of the decisions when traveling, but make sure you consider their interests. Our son has always been a transportation nut. Ever since he was a toddler, our trips have purposely included multiple forms of transport — train, subway, bus, taxi, ferry boat, etc. This has also led to quite an interesting souvenir collection: small vehicles from all over the world. Thanks to his vehicle obsessions we have also visited some interesting sites we never would have seen without his prodding like the fabulous London Transport Museum.
What are your favorite types of accommodations when you travel?
I do a lot of research on places to stay. Most of the time we rent apartments or small houses. This gives us more space, access to a kitchen, and laundry facilities. When I am looking for rentals, I always read reviews and Google map the location to see how close it is to public transportation, parks, grocery stores, and local sites. We like to use the Homeaway and VRBO sites.
Since moving to Sicily, we have also started camping and highly recommend European camp sites as great family spots while traveling around Europe. Most have cabins in addition to tent sites, and there are often a variety of family activities. Or consider renting a camper van like we did this past summer!
How else do you prepare for an upcoming family trip?
We like reading books and watching movies about our future destination. Thanks to the local library or on-line shops and The Little Travelers' series of travel videos.
Any closing thoughts?
I could ramble on about this topic all day. I feel pretty passionately about family travel since it is such a big part of our life, but I'll end here with a couple of links to additional thoughts on the topic including the miracle of dental floss and the merits of pipe cleaners.
Do you go to the blogosphere for inspiration? Have any faves?
Of course! One of my favorite parts of the blogging experience is reading other blogs. I love Delicious Baby for travel inspiration (especially Photo Fridays) and for guidance. I have also been a long time follower of The Artful Parent and The Crafty Crow.
And then there are those blogs that feel like my on-line "tribe". They are families that live all over the world, even one living on a sail boat. They are families like ours that love to travel, to learn, to create, to explore the natural world and if I could ever organize some type of real life gathering I have a hunch we would all have a very good time together! Zach Aboard, Sycamore Stirrings, Fuori Burgo, This Vintage Chica, To The Outskirts, and there are many others, too but that's the beauty of the blogging world, isn't it? The connections and sources of inspiration are endless. I feel very honored to be a part of this big blog family. Thank you for the interview!
No Thank YOU Lucia!
Read more about Lucia, her family, their travels and creative pursuits over at Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish.
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we feature close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".
(Images: Lucia Saperstein)