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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Adventures and Encounters! – China: Ancient Empires to Modern Wonder

Ni hao, Parents!
            So in the past few scribes, we’ve tried depicting our adventures across China. We’ve told you about the Great Wall’s grandeur and of the genuine smiles plastered to our faces while attempting to teach English. We’ve told of the delicious foods we’ve eaten…and those of the not-so-delicious-but-totally-awesome-to-say-we-tried variety. This time around, we thought it might be fun to try to illustrate our daily encounters and what we’ve learned from them so far.
            For starters, did you know there are a lot of people in China? Ok, ok, so you obviously know about the 1.3 billion population. By the way, folks, that’s one-fifth of the world’s people. That means one out of every five people is Chinese. We’re pretty sure they all find out our itinerary each day just to cram into elevators with us.
            We’re also learning how helpful and kind everyone is around here. Seriously, the hospitality offered to us rivals that of the South . Another random tidbit: watermelon is insanely abundant here. That we eat it at three meals a day gives us just a little slice (terribly corny pun actually intended) of home and sunny afternoons spent lounging around the pool.
            When walking along the sidewalk, we’ve come to expect many things. Every single woman is wearing heels: check. One-third of the people are wearing a shirt with English that does not necessarily make an iota of sense. And here’s the thing about the men: due to the aforementioned heat/humidity/intense longing for an ice cube that you’ll only find at Starbucks, boys of all ages tend to wear their shirts well above their belly buttons. We have coined these shirts as halfsies. Our countries better hope we don’t try to bring this fashion statement home, as it is rarely flattering.
            We tell you all of this not just to give you more insight into our travels but because we have noted a really cool transition in all of us. Whether it’s because we’re trying to spot unbelievably nonsensical Chinglish or simply absorb every detail around us to later unlock in our memories, we have become incredibly observant individuals.
            To be honest, we weren’t sure if we’d enjoy trading in our concrete for the countryside, but Ya’an did not remotely disappoint. After our beautiful waterfall hike, many of us rewarded our endurance by tossing our shoes so we could feel the icy water between our toes: comparable to an air-conditioned store in the city—exponentially more serene. Our pastoral morning became even more picturesque when we got the chance to feed pandas. We think the reason only 1300 pandas exist anymore is that the world cannot possibly handle their cuteness. When they tip over while gnawing on bamboo, you just can’t help but say, “Awwwww”.
            We’re grateful for our time for reflection while in the countryside. It was a much-needed, peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, and it also proved opportune for some fun bonding activities. In our Battle of the Sexes game, the girls turned out to know less about Star Wars than the boys know about Sex and the City. The next night, during Name that Tune, we learned two pieces of information about our crew that are key to enjoying our summer together: a lot of us have the same taste in music, and Brad used to be a DJ who called himself DJ Brillo. The ability to laugh with/at each other just means we’re becoming closer…right?
            Next time we have a few moments, we’ll tell you all about Shanghai and our current stop: Guilin and Yangshou. Remember to check out Smugmug in case you’re missing your kids’ wonderful smiles!
Until next time,
DJ Brillo and Jami

The Westcoast Blogger