We eat in the school cafeteria every day, and ever since the first day, it’s been a struggle. We have 6 vegetarians on the team, so they make special tofu or fish dishes for us. They also give us alternative entrees when they have particularly Chinese foods (like chicken feet, pigs feet–with the fur and hoof still clinging on, etc).
Still, it’s been a rough go of it, especially since the food is consistently very salty or coated in some sort of thick, animal fat (even the veggies). Every day, the cooks watch to see how much or how little we eat. It’s very sad when we can’t stomach more than a few bites of the food (90% of the time). Today, however, was amazing. They cooked fried chicken (which all the non veggies said was delicious), FRESH BAKED YEASTED BREAD (they started on it LAST NIGHT) brushed with butter so the tops were golden brown, and sliced watermelon (2 kinds). They even had cans of orange soda for us to drink (a very fizzy, Chinese version).
We all tore into the food like we were starving, and the cooks looked on and smiled. Then we all carried handfuls of the wonderful rolls out to our rooms.
At home, I try not to touch white bread, and never drink anything but diet soda. Today, I was thrilled that I could eat white bread, watermelon, and sugary orange soda for lunch. China has made me appreciate the small familiar comforts of home that I often shun or take for granted. It felt a little like a weird version of my Torrey Europe trip, when we lived on bread, cheese, and fruit b/c those were the cheapest types of food obtainable.
Oh! and there’s a fruit here that looks like cantalope but tastes kind of like fruity bubble gum. It’s amazing!
Last night, dinner was particularly, ummm, challenging, so we all decided to find some American fast food. 7 of us took 2 taxis to a beautiful outdoor mall (it was actually as nice as the Irvine Spectrum…maybe even nicer), and ate McDonald’s food. I had a fudge sundae and a filet o’ fish. :-D
Then we wandered around the mall. There was music playing (Kenny G’s Christmas album. Weird.) and a breathtaking, huge fountain with 4 separate, long lines of spouts that all fired according to whatever line of music they were connected to. For example, the bass line fired depending on what the bass did, the melody had its own line of spouts, etc. And they ALL fired in perfect time with the music. We sat and watched, mesmerized, for a good 10 minutes.
Today is FRIDAY. And that means we have only 4 or 5 days of teaching left (they may not have us teach next Friday, though we’re not sure about that). Crazy. It has started to fly by. I’ve been praying that I can focus on savoring this experience and really enjoying all the new cultural experiences I’m being exposed to.
I’m on AOL IM as Mircat211 and on YAHOO Messenger as lothlorien21, usually between 9-11 PM (that’s my afternoon break). So, hop on! It’d be so nice to chat with you!
Tonight is the last night that our fearless leaders, Drs. K and F, will be with us. They’re headed out to Hong Kong to do more teacher training. We’re going out to a Dim Sum restaurant to celebrate. The weird thing is that I’ve not yet had Dim Sum here that has rivaled anything I’ve had in the states (San Francisco and Walnut, CA). It’s either just as good, or worse. So, rest assured that when you get Dim Sum in the states, it’s authentic, yummy stuff!