Sunday, August 7

a day of rest

This is my first real free day since getting to China, and it's lovely. The last person from our team left this morning, so I got up, had breakfast with her in my apartment, then saw her off at 7:30. Since then, I've just been taking it easy. I took a walk around the beautiful green farm land behind our university, cleaned a little, read a little, had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I really am going to try to get around to some language study this afternoon. My friend and I finally got train tickets last week, so we're heading to Beijing tomorrow night. We're actually making it a two day trip with a day stop in the capital city of our province. I'm really looking forward to seeing some more of China.

Saturday, we had our final summer team meal at a good Chinese (I say that because there are quite a few Korean restaurants here, so it's not a given that you'll eat Chinese) restaurant. We ordered way too much food and all ate more than we needed to, so a few of us decided to take the 40 minute walk back to the university since it wasn't too hot that night. On one of the street corners not too far from our university, there is a group of old men and women who gather to dance every night. It's all old people, and they all dance pretty formally. It is so sweet to watch. There are inevitably more women than men, so a few of the pairs were two women. We had passed by this before, but never on foot, so this time we stopped to watch for a while. I really wanted to join in, but I didn't know if it was some sort of club, and also I can't dance at all. Maybe I'll get someone to teach me sometime if I can get up the guts. That might throw some of those older folks off, though, to see a young white girl joining in.

When we got up the hill, we stopped for a while to take in the night sky. In Korea, I couldn't ever see more than a few bright stars at best, but here on a clear night, the sky is absolutely beautiful. It feels like I'm back in the countryside of West Texas it's so clear. It helps that the university is up on a hill and there aren't too many outside lights to interrupt the view. (Don't worry, the university is a safe place.) Wow, it's amazing. We found a few constellations and marvelled at the fact that they're the same ones we can see at home.

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