Monday, August 20, 2012

Wǒ ài wǒ dìdì

我 爱 我 弟弟。
I love my little brother.

Today began with one thing on my agenda: campus tour from my neighbor.  It turned into: campus tour, finding the local market, ordering donuts, mailing letters, buying a bike, eating dinner at my 'little brother's' house and who knows what else will happen.  It's not even 7 pm.

I started my day at 10 with a tour of campus.  My neighbor is an American man who has been in this country for almost 20 years, but the last 18 months have been in LC.  He showed me around campus; where the classrooms, mail room, dorms, library, hang out spots, basketball courts, shops, and textbook pick-up spot are.  It made me feel much better about September 3.  Then we went off campus and he showed me the market around the corner that is filled w/ vegetables, fruit, meat (which I will stay away from), rice, noodles, and whatever else you might need that's as fresh as possible.  We went to the grocery store and he pointed out a few things I had passed by.  Then we went to the maiqi bakery.  I knew there was one up by the massive grocery store, but there's a smaller one right up the street from me.  This is the place with the sliced wheat bread - my favorite.  AND you can order donuts there too!  So we ordered a few and will head over in an hour to pick them up.  We also talked about teaching and that eased a lot of my anxiety.  I start in about 2 weeks and I've been wondering how I'm going to fill the time.  I feel unqualified for the job, even though I'm fluent in the class I'm teaching (most of the time).  But everything he told me was already in my head.  *Major sigh of relief*  Then, on our walk back, J called me and said he had a letter for me.

J stopped by to deliver a letter that my mom sent to a P.O. box of a family out here.  No Chinese written on it and it made it here! Yay.  He ended up taking me to the post office so I could send off my letters and we planned out my Saturday, which includes buying meat from them.  You have no idea how excited I am about that!

On our way back from the post office, Locke calls and says his friends are about to go get the bikes.

[REWIND: Last night Locke - my little brother here - emailed me saying that his friends were going to buy bikes today and they guy was going to give them a group discount basically - 400 yuan for a bike. My neighbor was telling me earlier that he got his for 1300 so I figured I'd just hold off til I thought I absolutely needed it because walking was too much to handle or some other lazy excuse I would come up with.  Perfect timing, right?]

 I had about an hour so I squeezed in lunch, and a quick skype date with the boyfriend, and headed to meet him at the park.  Right when we got to the bike place, 3 government officials hop out of a van to do an inspection.  They copied down the guys license to sell bikes I guess, checked out some of the bikes he had, and then took one to inspect it for quality.  An hour later, we are finally buying the bikes, right as it starts to rain too.  Locke and  his 3 friends got the guy down to 360 for mine, and the lock was only 12 yuan, so 372 for a brand new bike and lock.  I was pretty happy.
The LC biker gang. 
It's the fashion bike people.  Stylin' in China. That's how I 'roll'. 
It even came w/ a Chinese license plate thing.
I thought my adventures for the day were pretty much over until Locke asked what I was doing for dinner.  I got an invitation to eat at his house.  Who in the world would say no to that?  NOT ME!  So we headed to my apartment to drop off my bike, and headed to his house, making one stop at another bakery to pick up bread.  [I managed to pay for our taxi before Locke could and I was so proud of myself but, of course, he bought stuff at the bakery and later told me I had to take it all home with me.  The kid is way too sweet.]  We got to his house and he had peanut milk for me.  Have I explained how much I love peanut milk?  It played a large role in me moving to this place.  Anyway, we ate pears and apples, and his uncle showed me how to peel the skin - not the shell obviously - off of a walnut before eating it.  Much better that way!  I'm trying to find a picture of this fruit that we ate.  It looks like a messed up artichoke.  He couldn't find an english name for it online so it's difficult for me to find.  You just pry this think open and take out the little chunks inside.  Spit out the seeds too, of course.  It was delicious.  Similar to a jack fruit in texture actually, but WAY better in taste.

So we ate dinner and his whole family (aunt, uncle, cousin, mom, dad, grandma) stared at me when I tried some dish they brought me.  It got dead silent and I looked up and we all just started laughing.  None of them spoke english, with the exception of Locke and his cousin.  Locke had to be back to school by 7 so we left and his uncle dropped me back off at my school and now here I am.

Basically this guy is the greatest.  Way too nice.  Brilliant - smartest kid in the #1 school in this city.  Meeting him 2 years ago was such a blessing but, to still be friends with him 2 years later, is unbelievable.

Unexpected day full of fantastic-ness? Yes.  Sadly, tomorrow is Cinderella day.  I'm not watching the movie.  I'm cleaning - sweeping, mopping, dusting, bleaching, ironing - aka therapy (even though I don't need any at the moment).

Life is good wonderful in LC.
Wan an.


  1. Thanks for the update. You're a special one! Still wearing my wristband.

  2. Love the bike! I love Locke even more! So glad you had a good day! I'm glad that Mike showed you around so you finally know where things are. You're doing a great job, soooo brave! I love you lots!

  3. So glad you're getting settled and having fun, Hailey! Keep enjoying it and all of the new experiences being thrown at you on what must seem like an hourly basis. You will cherish it forever!

    And I think your mystery fruit is this a cherimoya...