So, they arrived on Friday and waited around on campus until I got out of lab at 5. I felt pretty bad for making them wait a few hours but I was just thanking the lord that they made it to campus okay. Andrea had the address (in Chinese characters, of course) of the hotel my dad and sister stayed in which was right outside the gates of campus. I thought that was a better decision than to have them tell the taxi driver Chongqing University, since there are 4 different campuses to the school. Honestly, I still can’t even figure out the address of my apartment. I have a picture of a sign in the complex I live in that I always show to taxi drivers and pray that they know where it is. It’s actually been rather successful so far. Andrea made Joel photograph when we saw each other. Are you surprised? (If you know Andrea in any capacity, this is not surprising)
Such a Kodak moment.
Not pictured: Joel Mercurio.
The next morning we headed to Ciqikou so that I could shove some more Chinese culture down their throats (this is a joke). But it really is an awesome place to (try to) start to understand the Chongqing lifestyle. If that’s even possible.
After the squid, we hit up the sketchiest bumper cars in existence and then watched Andrea shoot a gun (air soft gun). This dude next to her was taking things way too seriously. He was crouching, popping up, crouching again, and reloading faster than humanly possible, and hitting a balloon every single time he shot, all with a cigarette hanging from his mouth of course. Watching him made me feel like I was in the middle of a battlefield, not at a carnival watching people shoot balloons with plastic pellets. He was an intense individual. At least Andrea looks like she knows what she’s doing with that gun.
Just look at the sheer joy on all of those faces.
This girl was totally in love with us. She kissed our cheeks and it was weird.
We also put our faces on a mug. If you have the opportunity to put your face on a mug for $5, you do it.
We came back to campus and ate some food from the dining hall. The selections are limited since no workers speak English, the menus are all in characters, and I only know items from a couple different restaurants. Sometimes the students eat with us, and they translate and help us get food so if I like it, I just memorize where that item is on the menu for next time. It's all about pointing and smiling here at CQU. Things always work out eventually!
Joel’s love for hiking > Andrea’s hatred for hiking. So the next day we went to climb the neighboring mountain and then get eaten by some fish at the hot springs. Joel’s climbing skills are comparable to those of a mountain goat. That being said, keeping up with him was a struggle. Don’t you think that it would get easier to climb a mountain after doing it 3 times? It wasn’t.
The Joel Pose.
THIS GUY HAD A DUCK AS A PET. How cool is that?!? The little duck just walked along with him and his dog like it was an ordinary day. Or maybe the duck was supposed to be dinner that night, you can never be too sure here.
After lunch in the Irish pub, we explored Hongya Dong for a bit. Apparently Joel cannot take a serious picture and Brandon has officially decided to intentionally look away for every single picture taken in China. Sweet.
There was also a statue of a woman eating and breastfeeding her baby simultaneously and it was weirdly graphic. So obviously we had to get a picture with it!
Not a bad view from the top level on Hongya Dong, not bad at all. Well, if that’s fog it’s pretty but if it’s smog it’s scary. I’m assuming it’s the latter of the two but let’s just pretend for a minute.
I also just need the world/all 5 people that read this blog to know that I AM ACTUALLY DECENT AT PING PONG NOW. Apparently there’s something in the water here (besides pollutants) because I’ve played ping pong a total of 3 times since coming to China and somehow I mysteriously rock. Joel was not thrilled that I beat him so many times. Brandon and Andrea weren’t happy either. I’m sorry for beating you guys! I’m also sorry for announcing it on the internet right now.
You want to know what I noticed when both my friends and family visited? I’ll tell you. The complaints about wanting food from back home were countless. I heard the words: Chipotle, Skyline, and Wild Mike’s more than I ever have in my entire life. This did not help my cravings for food from America. I am not ashamed to say that I would without a doubt pay 600 Yuan ($100) for Chipotle right now. That could be because I was sent pictures of both Shannon and Andrea’s food when they got back home. Actually, the food here really isn’t bad. There are just only so many noodles and unidentifiable meats that you can eat before you start to wish you had food from home. I can guarantee that I will not be eating plain white rice for at least a year after I get back to America.
I cannot explain how thankful I am to have not only my family visit me, but my best friends too. The memories I’ve made with them here are unforgettable and I’m sure we’ll be reminiscing about this trip for the rest of our lives. Thank goodness they came too, because I was going crazy over here. There’s a little thing called FOMO that is such a buzzkill. FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out. I know this experience is a once in a lifetime thing and I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to take part in it, but it's still hard knowing how much I'm missing in Cincinnati. That actually sounds pretty selfish now that I think about it. You can only ask for so much, right? I’ve been pretty good about missing home and haven’t gotten too homesick for a girl who’s never left the Westside, but saying goodbye to my friends was a reminder that I actually am on the other side of the world and can’t do too much to change that. I just wanted to squeeze into Andrea’s suitcase and go with them. WAIT. Side note: So, Andrea and Joel had to leave for the airport on Thursday at 5am. The airport is an hour away, the subway doesn’t open until after 6:30, and there are no taxis waiting around my apartment complex at that time of day. So I asked Lotus what the normal thing would be to do in this situation. Instead of just telling me what to do, she actually went ahead and called multiple places to find a driver for my friends, and then she even surprised us and showed up at 5am to my apartment complex gate to make sure the taxi came okay and that the driver knew exactly where to take them. That’s the kind of stuff I mean when I say that people in China always think of others first. Like, how far out of her way did Lotus go to help people she’s met one time? The kindness is astounding.
Only 2 weeks until I’m home, but there’s still a lot to do here before I leave! I have a few more things I need to cross off my bucket list before I can head back to the states.