School starts on monday and I can’t say I’m totally psyched about it. Summer seemed to be gearing up instead of winding down when I had to leave my temporary home in the city of Hangzhou and come back to Lin’an. I know I seem to be saying this after every holiday lately (I had a really hard time adjusting to life back in the mainland after staying in Taiwan for a few weeks and I still look back at my time in Kunming as one of the biggest life changing times for me) but this time I really, really mean it.
I didn’t travel to new or exotic locations, but I did see a bunch of new things in a city I thought I knew well. I also spent time and got to know some of my good friends even more while meeting a ton of new people. I was also incredibly prolific, spending hours in cafes writing. I might have hated the 100+ degree weather but it was really good for productivity.
Here’s my summer encapsulated in a few of my favorite pictures:
Spending Time with Old Friends
I got to hang out with my friends a lot more and get to know them better. Since I live about an hour away I go to Hangzhou during pre-planned big hangouts with all my friends. But this summer I got to hang out one-on-one with my friends and do different things which was fun. I also loved hanging out with my former students. We went out several times and had a blast, and even though I’m not in the city, we still chat regularly.
Making New Friends
The first part of my summer I was too preoccupied with studying to really hang out much. If I did go out I went out with people I knew. But the second part of the summer was wide open and I got to make a bunch of new friends. I also went out on a lot of dates (which maybe I’ll write about another time). I decided to be totally open and up for anything and I’m glad I did because I had a lot of fun, unexpected experiences.
I Ate a Lot of Awesome Food
I spent very little money this summer as the point was to earn and save money. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so I went out onto the streets of Hangzhou and found some awesome food.
I Didn’t Kill My Roommate!
I was worried about living with someone after being by myself for so long, but it turned out great. Sure, there was some logistical problems of a guy and girl living together (as we shared a one bedroom and the bathroom only had this flimsy sliding door which made me feel a bit shy), and we had a few fights, but overall it was no problem. I went home a few weekends, just to have my own space and time, but then found myself missing my HZ home and roomie so I just ended up staying the full weeks in Hangzhou. We had pretty different schedules, and our own friends of course, but the thing I like is that he is fluent in English (and I’m passible in Chinese) so we could easily flow in and out of each others lives and hang out with each others friends. I did see him shirtless a lot more than I wanted though…
When I came back to Lin’an I was a bit bummed. The weather didn’t help, pissing rain but high humidity so I was soaking wet with sweat, making me really uncomfortable. I went out to get some fruits and veggies and got dinner at a wonton place. I was feeling pretty low, sad to be back in the usual and expected, and was texting a friend when I suddenly heard an exuberant yell. Three of ‘my boys’ came in and greeted me. As they went to the counter to order, Ping, the owner of the coolest little bar/cafe in town stopped by to say hi and introduce me to his dad and on my way out I bought a crispy meat bread from one of the friendliest vendors who is always really nice to me. His little granddaughter, about 6 maybe, helped him by taking my money and giving me my change.
Guess being back home isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Bring on the new school year!