The halfway point in China – China Letter VIII.

{This year I am sharing the letters that I sent to my family and friends when I lived in China back in 2007.  This is the eighth letter I sent home.}

Written (approximately) in early July 2007.

Well, the halfway point has arrived.  The first three months were the hardest.  Once the homesickness passed and I adjusted, I really started to enjoy my life here.  Half of the OSU representatives have left, as well as many of the management and non-management employees at the hotel.

China 3

One of the doctors in the clinic at the hotel has a 16-year-old son who will be going to study in England next year.  She wants him to practice his English with a native English speaker, so she asked me to spend some time with him to practice his conversation skills.  Well, technically, she had one of the trainers at the hotel (Linda) ask me because she (the doctor) can’t speak English.  You can’t really say no to a request like that so that’s how I wound up spending one Saturday afternoon with Michael (the kid), Linda, and Michael’s parents.  Michael seems very nice, and luckily he can already speak English quite well. Not that he spoke a great deal. Apparently I’m intimidating. Linda really is intimidating.  When she tells you to do something, you do it.  Whenever I would say something in English, she would make him explain what I had said to his parents in Chinese.  What they said in Chinese, he had to communicate to me in English. Poor kid.  We had an enjoyable afternoon though, watching table tennis on TV (ESPN baby) and walking around the neighborhood.

China 1

For dinner, his parents took Linda and me to a Chinese restaurant.  They were impressed with my ability to use chopsticks and my ability to handle really spicy food.  I explained that I picked up the chopsticks quickly when I decided I couldn’t go a year without eating and that I was raised on Mexican food.  Speaking of Mexican food, everyone eat some for me this week.  I’m craving it.  Anyway, about a quarter of the way through the meal, the electricity went out in the restaurant.  We ate by candlelight for the next 30 minutes or so.  That was probably how I managed to eat some of the fish head, which, by the way, was delicious.  FYI, at a restaurant it costs more to order the fish head than the entire fish.

China 4

Other weird food that I have tried recently includes cow stomach and pork intestines. Look at me…broadening my horizons.  I’ve learned to not stare at a dish too long trying to figure out what it is, because if you have to analyze it that hard, you probably just don’t want to know.

China 5

I have also taken to carrying an umbrella in my handbag at all times.  It rains more than I’ve ever seen in my entire life (I know–I’m from the desert so that’s not saying much).  A few times, I’ve been sure that we were about to have a typhoon.

Last weekend was the 10th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China.  Huge deal.  Hong Kong was packed.  We went to the island on Saturday and stayed the night in a hostel (more like a guesthouse) ran by some Scandinavians.  Sunday afternoon we participated in a pro-democracy march, which was much more peaceful than I had anticipated.  No fights or riots.  I was a little disappointed.  I did sign a petition to save RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong), which seemed like a very important issue for me to take a stand on.

China 2

Hope everyone is well!  Let me know how you are and as always, you’re all in my thoughts and prayers.




6 thoughts on “The halfway point in China – China Letter VIII.

  1. I love the picture of you guys at the hot pot restaurant! I’m so glad that eating fish heads isn’t a thing here in America (or even eating fish bone-in–what a pain)! I think I also ate some intestines or a pancreas or something when I was in China. The weirdest thing I ate–by far–was shrimp that was still alive (out of Tai Hu–I don’t know if that’s really a famous lake or not, but everyone was always acting like it was). If you want to see it, I posted a video of it on YouTube:

  2. Isn’t cow stomach weird?! It has such a weird texture. Also, fish face is supposed to be really good for you (prevents cancer) according to our Chinese friends. So there’s that at least. ;) And like Rachel, I miss hot pot! That was good stuff! You know Rachel is moving to TN soon? I’m thinking the three of us should get together for a weekend and eat Chinese food and relive all our China memories together. ;)

  3. you intimidating? hard to believe! maybe your kind heart shines through in words more easily than appearances? when i lived in italy, i had a ‘date local’ policy that helped me learn the language – tutors, dates, whatever it takes! and craving mexican food in china? i can imagine – i missed it when i was in italy (raised in arizona)

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