After all the hullabaloo of everyone leaving I decided to get all crotchety and become the Lin’an hermit. I only had one week before I was going to move to Hangzhou for the summer, so I decided to go full-blown recluse this week shunning all my friends (missing out on birthday parties even–sorry Michelle!) and any sort of social interactions. Aside from an epic milk tea session with my 2 remaining co-workers (that lasted about 3 hours and spilled over into dinner) and hanging out with my little hairdresser once, I was totally successful. Hermit score!

The weather helped me too. Nobody want to go out in this hell. Nobody.

The actual weather here. Not a heat wave, just the normal daily temperature I have to endure for the next 6-8 weeks.

The actual weather here. Not a heat wave, just the normal daily temperature I have to endure for the next 6-8 weeks.

Everyday I wake up, surf the web, study, and do some writing. (I, in no way shape or form, waste my time by catching up on Breaking Bad episodes. Nope, not this girl *cough*.) I eat one meal at noon, then a snack (usually watermelon at 5) and dinner at 8. Seriously, even though I’m huddled in my air conditioned room I have barely an appetite in this weather.

Which is good because the most exercise I get is walking to the bathroom. So I decided each night, after the sun sets and it’s kinda tolerable outside, I should take my walk. And it turns out to be so fun!

I thought during the summertime, the school was dead, because in the past, it was. All the shops closed, students went home and this place was a ghost town. But more and more people live outside the school’s gate, and more and more students are staying during the summer. Also, the local people swarm the campus to use as their own personal park to do with what they will.

So here are some things I see on my nightly walk:

Fashion Statement!

White t-shirt, silk leopard print boxers, brown socks (pulled up 'natch) and sandals. Awesome.

White t-shirt, silk leopard print boxers, brown socks (pulled up ‘natch) and sandals. Awesome.

For some reason pulling your shirt half up (for guys) is a fashionable thing to do to beat the heat. Either this or just walk around topless.

For some reason pulling your shirt half up (for guys) is a fashionable thing to do to beat the heat. Either this or just walk around topless.

Stars!!

You'll just have to trust me on this one, there are stars in this picture. Despite the thick, humid air, the stars are shining bright(ish). I counted over 3 dozen the other night! The most I've seen while living here.

You’ll just have to trust me on this one, there are stars in this picture. Despite the thick, humid air, the stars are shining bright(ish). I counted over 3 dozen the other night! The most I’ve seen while living here.

Dancing, biking, running around and having fun:

Hundreds of people from town descend on the school to take advantage of the facilities, like the grass track area, and the open spaces for dancing and riding bikes.

Hundreds of people from town descend on the school to take advantage of the facilities, like the grass track area, and the open spaces for dancing and riding bikes.

The front of the school is my favorite place at night in the summer because there is a big open square that gets completely taken over by local people. Kids blow soap bubbles, middle-aged ladies dance, college kids practice in-line skating or skateboarding while the little kids ride their bikes around while being watched by their grandparents. The place is just active and fun and such a good place to see Chinese culture on display. I’ve seen the same college kid, every night, practicing skateboarding. He’s still pretty bad, but the kids got grit. I’m hoping he’ll be a skateboard master by the end of the summer.

And the restaurants outside the school’s gate are packed and hopping. About half are closed for the holiday, but the other half are doing a brisk business, especially the milk tea and dessert places. The other day my friends and I tried to get dinner at 4. A little on the early side, but our favorite place was closed and we ended up going to a wonton place that half the staff were laying on the chairs sleeping. Luckily the owner was awake and cooked the food for us, but we felt super awkward. At 10pm, on the same night, all the places were open and hopping with packed tables and fully awake staff.

I’ve really liked my hermity week, but it also reminded me how much I like talking to people and it got me really excited to move to “the big city” of Hangzhou next week. Although the weather is the same there as it is here, so I might just be a daytime hermit, crawling out of my cave only at night.

 

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