I just spent a week with at my friends Color’s house. I got to meet his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I also got a taste of the life of a typical family in China. It was an amazing, totally unique experience I won’t forget anytime soon.
I’m all for invading my own privacy on this blog, but I’m not so comfortable invading the privacy of the very nice family that took such good care of me. So instead of getting into many details I’ll just share a few pictures and some highlights.
One of my favorite places was his grandparents village. They live in a tiny village made up entirely of people with the same family name. Everyone in this village is related, though perhaps several generations past. The village is so peaceful, with rice terraces, orange trees, chicken walking everywhere. I couldn’t understand the local language, but I felt instantly at home. (Which was unusual for me, I usually feel uncomfortable in new places at first.) It didn’t hurt that his grandparents were totally cute, and despite the fact we couldn’t communicate directly we got along really well. In fact, they insisted I returned on my last day, just to say goodbye. As a parting gift his grandma gave me a bag of oranges, picked from their trees, and a huge bag of black tea she picked, and roasted herself. She said she was embarrassed that she didn’t have a nice box, or a fancy brand, but to me, handmade tea is so much more meaningful.
We had a “western” themed night one night. I brought some western food with me (spaghetti and sauce) and I made it for the family to try. Happily, they liked it. Afterwards we put together one of those Gingerbread House kits my mom sent from America. The family had been so warm and hospitable to me, feeding me and making sure I was comfortable, I wanted to repay them in some small way. Again, I was a little out of the language-loop but we still had fun, and by the end of the evening the young girl (in the picture above) wouldn’t stay out of my lap. (It helped that I gave her candy.)
The theme of the week was peace. Finding a quiet, peaceful place in China is difficult. No matter how secluded you think you are, there are always people and cars to disturb you. But we went to several natural places that were entirely peaceful without another soul. We walked in one nature reserve/reservoir area that was SO peaceful I could hear the flapping wings of herons flying along the water. And when we passed by a group of wandering chicken, their feet walking on crushed rocks/tiles sounded like music. It was amazing.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one who had a good time. His mom made me promise to come back next year (every year in fact) and his sister even wrote down the date in her phone so she wouldn’t forget. When I came to China I never really expected to make serious friends, and so spending a week with a family was an experience I didn’t think would happen. I like living in China, I never know what will happen next!