Kids, China and I have been talking about a lot, and we think its time to tell you something. It isn’t working out between China and I. Now before you say anything, this isn’t your fault at all. China and I are just at different points right now, and we are having a hard time getting on the same page. This doesn’t change how I feel about China, it will always hold a special place in my heart. I have learned so much since being with China, and have met some wonderful people through my relationship with China. I hope that in the future, China and I can try this again, hopefully with more successful results. Right now the best thing for me is to move back in with University. It is where I feel most at home. I know you kids are probably angry, confused, and hurt, but again let me emphasize that this is just between me and China, and it is a mutual feeling. We just want each other to be happy. You probably have a lot of questions, and those can all be answered in due time. What is most important now is that I will be returning to the states next week to prepare to move back in with University. It would really mean a lot to China and me if you showed your support during this transition period.
Today I went to a shopping center and spent my day browsing around. By request of my sister I was seeking out fake Dre beats. Well, I found em. A bit flimsy feeling, but the sound was pretty good and the price was right. For 80RMB (~12USD) one can pretend they actually shelled out the cost of real Dre Beats, which probably run at about 6 times that. The kind people even gave me an iPhone bag.
Also today I bought some more weird candies for my little brother. Generous, I know, but watching him eat the strange flavored things will be SO worth it! :p
I also got myself a lovely backpack.
And this was all at this mall:
Wait, that logo looks familiar, right? That my friends is because its the logo for the mall of America. Makes sense that a mall selling fake brand items would itself be using a logo (probably) illegally.
Also today I saw (sorry, no pictures), a bus driver shaving his face at a red light.
And for those who can’t afford barbed wire, don’t fret! Just put a layer of cement with glass shards sticking out on top of your fence! This my friends is recycling at its finest!
The one that looks like its photos hopped? Yup, that’s dragon fruit. It has a texture like kiwi, but I don’t know how to describe the flavor. I was picturing it as tasting stronger, but it was good. Now I can say I’ve had actual dragon fruit instead of just artificially flavored dragon fruit!
Saw these at a mall and thought it was safe to take pictures of them (I’ve seen other gems but they were on people). English is big here and its fashionable to wear shirts with English letters on them, even if they aren’t words or if they are words used incorrectly. Some examples:
When I went to Walmart last week (not the Walmart I wanted to go to) and with an escort that didn’t speak English (every time I say I want to go shopping they assume I have a list, but I just want to explore a mall and wander by myself, but someone always strongly volunteers to accompany me) in was feeling frustrated, but a kid walked by with a shirt that said ‘show me what you’re working with’ and I lost it, laughing by myself in the middle of the street. Confused Asian kid, thank you. You made my day.
But on the other side of things, I bought my first piece of Chinese clothing (without writing, sorry).
Not too bad! I’m a lot cheaper than I thought, so the only place I’ve been able to find clothes in my price range that I can actually read the price tag of were at a Walmart like store. The belt was broken but the grandmother of the family fixed it for me! I’ve learned that I need to be more generous with the amount I’m willing to pay for clothes (this dress was like 12usd), but its hard to browse and try on when there is someone waiting for me to finish, and the only other times I’ve been at the mall with the whole family, who has done nothing to deserve being made to wait for my indecisive mind to choose clothes to buy. Hopefully I’ll be going to Hong Kong soon, and I’ll be a bit looser with my money and hopefully find some good stuff!
This is milk flavored taffy. It was surprisingly not horrible. Will send some home so you all can experience it. I thought it was gum at first.
Grape flavored was a bit more familiar
As was strawberry
Fruit snacks, tasted a bit weird but that might just be the kind of fruit they are
Chinese trix! Not as good as the ones back home, I think the ones at home have more flavor.
In case you want some ice cream, Walmart and most supermarkets and convenience stores carry red and green bean Popsicles. This is not a joke.
Still haven’t found Chinese Mac and cheese though! The search continues…
Used my first squatty potty, don’t want to talk about it.
Went to Pizza Hut Wednesday night and got a stuffed crust pepperoni pizza. I’ve never welcomed pizza so much in my life. The pizza huts here are pretty fancy though.
The menu (sorry its sideways, I’m not sure how to rotate it on my tablet)
The inside of the menu, see all the tabs for different things to order. Wow!
The bill for 112rmb, looks like the most I’ve ever paid for a pizza and drinks, but in USD that’s not even $20!
I went to the ancestral temple on Wednesday and took some pictures! Many interesting statues and sculptures. Usually families come to the temple during spring festival to pray. I’m glad I saw it in the off-season!
Some of the gods and me, hanging out.
Some locals practicing Kung fu
Wing chun, perhaps where ‘wang chung’ came from? As in ‘everybody Wang Chung tonight?’
Classic vs construction-how many Chinese cities look today
The main god families pray to during spring festival
The god of education- probably gets more visits during the school year and exam season
Big urns (these were empty) but was how Chinese traditionally cared for the dead
K’ung fu-tsu (or Confucius in the west) statue and donations box for prayers
Tree of hope wishes- you write your hopes on the red ribbon and throw it into the tree, hoping it will come true!
Overall the temple was pretty neat, many things had English translations so I could tell what I was looking at!
This was in a coffee shop in a mall. Would be nice if whoever designed it understood English so he could figure out that the graphic he got online needed to be changed before putting it up, and ‘sample text’ isn’t a kind of coffee.
Richard picked me up after lunch again yesterday and we went exploring. We picked up his brother, Jack, who had just finished karaoke with friends. I know what you’re all thinking, and yes, karaoke is that popular here. You don’t even have to be drunk to do it, as is the common prerequisite in pubs and bars in the west offering the same activity. Richard said a little liquid confidence may help me out to sing, and I said if its not my car or my shower you’re unlikely to catch me belting out any tunes.
They brought me to a coffee shop their cousin had just opened, which instead of a Starbucks type of thing, was more upscale and yes, had coffee, but also had an array of wines and imported liquors. Richard hopped behind the counter and made us cappuccinos (apparently he worked at a coffee shop during university). He also said I should work part time there as a waitress, but I think the service would be a bit slow considering I don’t know Chinese. Unless the patrons want to use the ‘point at what you want on a menu’ type of ordering I have gotten familiar with, they had better wait until I at least have a Chinese lesson covering cafe items.
We moseyed around town a bit more and Richard invited me to dinner at his family’s house, which though he is 25 and successfully working, he still lives in. It is customary in China that unless you are away at university, you live with your parents until marriage. At home if I met a 25 year old that still lived with his parents, I would guess that either he is supporting his parents, or they are supporting his jobless self. But that is just a cultural difference and not the crux of the story!
I accepted the invite and we continued, going to a paper cutting factory and museum but it was closed because it was Sunday. We walked around more and saw more traditional art forms like the dragon heads, lanterns, things made out of jade, and beautiful, soft, expensive Foshan silk. We went to the open market and picked out some things for dinner, and we eventually made it back to his parents apartment.
They were very happy to see me and welcome me to their home. I later learned that I was the first foreigner that had been to their house. They complimented my chopstick use and made a few toasts to me. Gambei! After dinner, Jack and his dad showed me some self-defense, a valuable skill I will exercise on any who want broken ribs (kidding! Or am I?…).
We also took many pictures, on probably every camera and camera phone in the house.
(Jack, me, and their parents)
(The mother and I sitting in traditional wooden Chinese chairs)
(Richard, the dog, and me)
What a nice family! They invited me back whenever and hope that I treat their home as my second home in China!