HAPPY DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL!
Good morning and happy dragon boat festival!
The dragon boat festival is a traditional holiday in China that commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet and minister during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty (thanks, Wikipedia). For more info on the origin and significance of the holiday, go and Google it! How is it typically celebrated? By eating lots of pyramid-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves (called 粽子 “zongzi”) and racing dragon boats. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate any dragon boat races nearby, but I did have some zongzi for breakfast. Well, the Chinese Starbuck’s version of zongzi. Does that count? I included a Googled photo of zongzi (below) to show you what they look like…
THREE WEEK COUNTDOWN UNTIL
THE U.S. OF A.
It’s just about time for summer vacay. With only three weeks left until I head back to the USA and six weeks until a family trip to Iceland (WOOP! WOOP!), I am officially in wrap-up mode and semi checked-out. Okay, more than “semi”, I am beyond checked-out. My mind is already in America, envisioning my first home-cooked meal after nine straight months of greasy canteen gush. Fingers crossed my dad will grill some of his famous salmon for my first meal back (hint hint, nudge nudge). My summer to-dos are already meticulously mapped-out and color-coded on my Gmail calendar. I’ll try to wait one more week to pack my suitcases.
I am ready for a serious China-break; can you tell?! :)
I love you dearly, Shenzhen, but I desperately need to recharge my battery with some Western comforts, family, good friends, and of course my favorite doggie duo (Ella & Charlie). Although it’s nearly impossible to not count down the days until I am home, I am truly making an effort to embrace each and every day left. Whether it be a “productive” day in the library working on my thesis, a walk or run through University Town, or a tasty meal or drinks with friends – every day must be enjoyed and must be lived with a sense of purpose.
“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.”
In order to set a productive and positive tone for each day left and feel a sense of accomplishment, I have been going on a 5:30am jog around campus every morning before it gets unbearably hot and humid. It’s the perfect time to run. The rhythmic sound of cicadas put me in a meditative trance. The rest of the campus still fast asleep, it’s just me and the world (and the maintenance men in their blue uniforms sweeping the streets). I took you all along for a campus tour...
Part two of my morning routine is a newer habit, which I may have to bring with me to America. Instead of the green tea lattes I used to consume, I have switched to a new healthier superfood morning concoction: red date, longan, goji berry, and ginger tea. The library café serves it in a teapot over a hot flame. The zesty ginger provides a great morning wake-me-up kick and the calming aroma helps me de-stress and focus for the day. Below are photos of the outside of our amazing library and my morning brew!
HOORAY FOR LYCHEE SEASON!
One benefit of still residing in Southern China at the moment is the incredible variety of seasonal fruit. Lychees, my all-time favorite fruit (well, I think they’re technically a nut?), can be picked fresh from the trees on campus. As I showed you on the blog last year, the fresh lychee tent on the pathway between the PKU and HIT campuses is already in full swing. I pay a visit to the lychee tent on a daily basis. I’m waiting for the day when I get sick of lychees and can skip on the lychee tent, but it hasn’t happened yet. Lychees every day please!
A TOWN WITH ALL THE ESSENTIALS
One perk of living next to Pingshan Village is that any kind of service you could ever imagine can be done in the town…for DIRT CHEAP. Do you need your bike repaired? Need your phone or computer fixed? Need your suit tailored? Your shoes shined? A fake iPhone battery? A haircut, or just a scalp massage? It’s all there. And if for some reason it's not there, well, you can always bribe someone to do it for a small negotiated fee (especially if you have blonde hair and blue eyes and speak fluent Chinese). There’s a hole-in-the-wall repair shop for all your possible needs. One of the many perks of living in China. I needed professional passport photos taken for my upcoming visa renewal, so I visited "the photo lady". The thing is, you have to know about these little service shops via word of mouth because they are easy to miss. My passport photo lady, a tiny shop next to a small watermelon stall, is easy to walk right past unless you’re on a mission to find her. Now that I know she’s there, I send her a little smile and wave whenever I’m in town. A village that I used to view as a filthy chaotic mess reeking of sewage stench now feels strangely homey and cozy. It still reeks of sewage, though...Don't think that is going to change anytime soon. Funny how our perspective changes with familiarity.
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”
JUST BLENDING IN...NI HAO! 你好！
TIME TO PASS THE PRESIDENTIAL TORCH
The wrap-up of the school year also means the end of my term as International Student (IA) President. It’s time to pass the torch. In order to provide a relaxed space for reflection and closure, the IA had an informal meeting on Wednesday while enjoying some local dim sum in the nearby town of Xili. How often do you guys get to have meetings while dim summing, huh? #ChinaPerks. It was a nice final group get together before we all go our separate ways. The IA members include me, Harsh (India), Evan (Canada), Michael (also America - Michigan), and Fin (UK). Fortunately, it seems like all of this year’s IA members will be living in Shenzhen next year too, so I’ll get to see them regularly.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
A QUICK CRASH COURSE FOR YOU NOVICE DIM SUMMERS...
THE "EXCITEMENT" OF THE WEEK
Last but not least, I thought I would share this week’s major excitement with you all. After getting back from my wonderful trip to Macau last Sunday, I got under my bed covers ready for my beauty sleep. My beauty sleep got ugly! A few minutes after snuggling up with my fresh Tide-scented sheets, I started to feel some tickling and squirming. ?!?!?!? It wasn’t just me under those sheets…I was sharing the covers with many little roaches! Ewww. Ewww. Ewww.. Nightmare come true. Extreme panic. I called mom in tears “Emergency! I have roaches in my beddddd!!!!!” My superhero friend, Evan, came to the rescue to help me exterminate my room before I headed to the nearby Vienna Hotel for a more ideal beauty sleep. Evan is such a trooper. He helped me flip over my mattress, thoroughly poison every inch of my dorm room with extra strength Raid spray, brought his fan to help me air-out the toxic fumes, and even helped me to lighten up and laugh at the nightmare of a situation. Thank you, Evan. After three nights at the Vienna Hotel, the school’s campus service center helped me to make sure I was living in clean / safe conditions. I had a fantastic roach-free sleep last night and finally feel rejuvenated!
Well, folks, that’s all for now!
...BUT (drumroll please)
In two weeks, my uncle Joel will be coming to Shenzhen and the two of us will be taking the train from Shenzhen to Guilin / Yangshuo to meet up with my cousin Coby and his cousin Lindsey. The four of us will be biking along the rice fields in the serene Yangshuo countryside…Don't worry, it's normal to be jealous ;)