As I mentioned in the last post, Sunday I was planning on going by the Big Wild Goose Pagoda during the day. Fortunately I woke up on Sunday morning to see wonderful snowflakes drifting past my window (which meant the air quality had somewhat recovered from a bad spike on Friday and Saturday) Knowing I couldn’t pass up this great opportunity, I went out and ended up running around 8 or 9 km (a recent personal best) through the cold snow and ice, I got lost for a bit and was pretty darn cold by the end, but I did eventually make it to the Pagoda, which should be below. You’ll notice that it doesn’t look like your stereotypical pagoda, that would be because it’s a Tang Dynasty one, and apparently square was in vogue back then. I’m sure I’ll have more information after the next time I go and actually go up the inside.
Apart from that, things have been winding down here class wise, have presentations Wednesday and Thursday and a final paper due after New Years (which typical me is trying to bang out a draft of before the end of the week, we’ll see if that happens). The rest of the city though, seems to be winding up. There’s a word that’s particularly hard to directly translate, 年味 nianwei, knee-en way, add an r if you’re in the north like we are here. It literally means year flavor, but probably translates better as the New Year’s Spirit, sort of like you know Christmas is coming in the States when you see Santa’s popping up in all the storefronts. Anyway, red lanterns are getting hung throughout the city, though unfortunately I don’t have pictures of.
New Year’s Eve is Sunday night, and Sunday morning we’ll be going to our homestays. We had a meet and greet last Sunday afternoon which my host parents couldn’t attend (the mom was sick with a cold and the dad I presume was at work) but I got to meet their daughter who’s in high school and apparently there’s a little brother as well. Very nice, we chatted for a good long while and I let them know I don’t like eating bird feet, apart from that I really don’t know what to expect. All of their extended family lives in the city so we won’t be going to the countryside to visit relatives. I’m a little dissappointed but also not. I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated about what I’m doing there, but not sure how much free time I’ll have. I’ve been told what I’ll be doing for the first couple days, making 饺子, dumplings, on New Year’s Eve, watching the New Year’s Gala, playing ma jiang, and of course staying up til midnight. Then the first couple days after the new year are dedicated to visiting friends and family. After that I’m not too clear, but I’m sure it’ll be fun!
Other fun updates include a trip last night to a hotpot place last night with my language buddy where you get your own little pot and bowls of food cycle around on a belt for you to pick, it was freaking awesome.
And lastly, a lot of people I care about have been going through some rough stuff, so if you’re reading this know that I’m thinking about you and please be well.