Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tea Park

While all of you are gearing up for Halloween, I'm stuck in the land of eternal spring where the skies are insanely blue every day and the nights are cool and sweatshirt worthy.  Life is rough.  I decided to sulk in the awfulness and drag myself to the tea park on the outside of town where I had a terrible time playing card games, taking pictures, and forcing down Chinese food... Sorry, I just felt like being sarcastic, because it's 8 pm and I cannot stay awake right now. Now I'll be serious I guess.

Today was perfect. Beautiful. Fun. Lovely. Relaxing. Peaceful. Happy.

We left this morning at 9 and as soon as we left the school gates, the day was exciting.  We started off with breakfast on the street. [There are always vendors flooding the streets with local specialties. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.] I opted for some baozi.  I haven't had any in a while and when I was told there were potatoes inside, I was all in.  We grabbed breakfast and headed for the bus stop which took us to this huge market hidden on the edge of town behind tons of buildings.  I LOVE MARKETS!

Think farmers market... in China.  We were getting food for our lunch later in the day.  We got rice noodles, veggies, fruit, spices, meat, drinks, snacks, everything.  Have you ever had a pomelo? It's like a massive yellow grapefruit/orange thing and it's delicious.  We got one of those after a lot of bargaining because apparently everyone was charging too much.  Did you know they make green tea flavored sunflower seeds (guazi)? Neither did I.  But they do and I love them.  Squid on a stick? Yes please. Basically we got a random assortment of foods but it was all SOOOO good.

Black chicken, anyone?
... or fresh, still flopping fish?
Green tea sunflower seeds
We left the market around 10, hopped on another bus and headed to the tea park.  I sat next to some woman who was extremely friendly.  She was really interested in talking to me.  I got to speak to her in Chinese a bit and one of my girls helped translate for me.  She asked me how old I was, if I miss my family, how long I've been here.  She wanted me to ask how old she is so I did, and then told her that my dad is the same age (in Chinese... yup).  She said I was the beautiful girl from America! *AWWW* The whole ride was just another moment to make this day great.

We got to the tea park, I took pictures, the girls wanted to have a mini photoshoot, we went to our lunch spot, and then got set up for lunch.

Lunch was a small trough that we used as our grill.  There was a small well where we cleaned all of our food and prepared it.  We cooked potatoes (tu dou), zucchini, eggplant (qie zi), fish (yu), squid (you yu), pork (ju ro), Chinese hot dogs (NO, it's not real dog meat), and more stuff that I'm just forgetting. We spent 4 hours just cooking and eating.  It was great.

Then it was time for card games.  They wanted to teach me a game, but I already knew it which shocked them.  So we played that for a while and I taught them Egyptian war.  That's such a perfect game to teach foreigners.  It was a perfect bonding thing.  Everyone was so relaxed and comfortable and I feel like I know them all so much more because of that.  If you know the game, you know that when someone plays an ace, the next person has 4 chances to beat that card.  One of my girls laid 2 cards and I told her 'si ge' and she stared at me with the best look of confusion I've ever seen.  She thought I sounded Chinese! HA! She told me all day how my Chinese pronunciation is the best she's ever heard from an American.  That was the best compliment ever - a perfect confidence boost for something that so often intimidates me.

Finally, it was time to head back.  We were all tired and we had a pleasant ride back and then parted ways.  I think I got back around 6?  So a 9 hour adventure.  One of the girls kept saying how happy she was all day.  We all were saying it.

Another adventure down.  Many more to come.  I'm starting to think about how to make trips to their hometowns. There are 2 gorgeous cities in this province and a lot of my students come from them so it's a perfect opportunity for me to travel, see how my students live, and not go broke!

Busy week ahead of me.  I would say I'm not planning on anything major happening, but something could happen in 5 minutes that I might find blog worthy.

Goodnight from the other side of the world :)

PS: Half of the pics are from my iphone after my camera decided it wanted to lie to me about it's battery life and just stopped functioning.

1 comment:

  1. You had so much fun with your girls!! "FengQingYuan" is a nice place, but I haven't gone there for several years. From your pictures I can see that it has changed a lot!