Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chinese Homestay

Part of the People to People experience is the homestay. I have had some good experiences and an absolutely terrible experience. I love the Chinese homestays for several reasons. First, you don't have to go by yourself to a complete stranger's house who may or may not speak any English. Instead, you go with all the other leaders who are in your group. Second, you are just a guest for meals so no awkward sitting around hoping they will take you to do something. Our homestay was in the same village as before. It is basically a bed and breakfast (Chinese style) which is run specifically for tourists. Before we headed to our homestay, Cary and I got up early and walked in the park across from the hotel which ran beside the city wall. Apparently, it was the park for older people. It was lots of fun watching them do all sorts of exercises such as tai chi, badminton, massages on all parts of their bodies, sword dancing and other things. The Chinese are really into health and fitness which is evident by all the parks with exercise equipment.

Here we were on the way to our homestay village called Donghan.

This is our homestay house. We had some wonderful, authentic Chinese meals. The only problem was that they tried to feed you huge meals every few hours!

This is the street our house was on.

This was my room. It was decorated with all kinds of Asian celebrities.

Our homestay dog was a beast! He or she was about the size of a polar bear!

The village has a very famous Chinese artist named Madam Pang. She is a talented painter and paper cutter. Since I already own one of her paintings, I bought a paper cutting this time. It is amazing how detailed the cuttings can be. She quickly cut out these butterflies just like she was cutting a simple heart. Then she taught us to cut the Chinese character for double happiness. I am sure it is the easiest one to do.

That night we had a block party in the middle of the village. There were many other groups there including several Americans who had come back to China with their adopted Chinese daughters. We liked to think of the party as a special celebration for us since it was the 4th of July. I was disappointed that there were no fireworks! There was lots of singing and dancing, but the best part was all the cute Chinese kids.

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