China March 2015

12:20 PM

Spring in China: Cherry Blossoms Galore

Some sort of fruit jelly drink

A typical smoggy day in Shanghai

This one probably doesn't need a caption

Szechuan food: where they give you a towel to wipe off the sweat from eating the peppers

My mentor in Asian brush painting

My high school has a sister school in Shanghai, and every year a group of twenty or so students goes to visit, as well as explore the rest of China. My senior year, there was the added aspect that we would be doing a music exchange with a middle school and high school in Shanghai. We performed some individual songs as well as group numbers that we had to sight read (while very jetlagged) upon our arrival.
I also stayed with a host family in Shanghai! I sort of missed the cringe-y awkwardness associated with living with complete strangers. My host family was very caring and took me to eat Szechuan food, the spiciest cuisine of China. I think it was a nice gesture, my stomach would disagree. While with my host family, we celebrated the QingMing, or tomb sweeping festival. During this time colored pieces of paper are burned to send good wishes and fortune to deceased relatives, and there graves are cleaned. There was also a ridiculous amount of food. I ate frog legs, pig feet, duck feet, rabbit, liver, and various other body parts of animals. It was one of those "not good, not bad, just different," experiences.
After performing and leaving Shanghai, the group headed to Beijing. I was an old pro at host families, but I think certain people in my group were very excited about staying in a hotel. In Beijing, we did some shopping where I got to work on my bargaining skills. I'd like to imagine that I'd be better at bargaining now with a semester of Chinese under my belt, but some of those shopkeepers drive a hard bargain. 
Perhaps most exciting, I climbed the Great Wall! It was as magnificent as everyone said. I wish I had time to do some geocaching or visit a section where there was tobogganing, but the experience in itself was fantastic. There was so much history, and pictures honestly do not do it justice. I also asked my boyfriend (now my ex) to prom on the Great Wall, which was a really fun experience.
I hope to be headed back to China for a semester of study abroad in my junior year, in which case, 我得学中文


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