Not related to China, but important.  The last time this happened, I felt the need to write in Chinese, this time it’s English.  It seems my grandfather passed away last night, yesterday afternoon for me.  Not quite sure how to feel (as normal I suppose).  Despite the fact that his living in the Midwest meant we only got to see each other rarely, he still had a large impact on my life.  Be it getting to sit in his giant Mack truck or going back to visit the farm, he’s the source of a lot of my heritage, Swiss, Amish, working.  He was always happy, and unceasingly supportive of me, despite the fact that his best understanding of China came from the “shrimp in lobster sauce” (龙虾将大虾吧) from the “Chinese” restaurant down the road.  He was always happy and never expected anything.  It seems I’m not quite as eloquent inEnglish.  Pa Ben, you were and are loved, and I’ll miss you.  Be Happy.

Related, our last day in Chengdu we had Tibetan for lunch.  Very interesting.  Most interesting was the butter tea, which is a mix of tea (as you might expect), melted butter, salt, and flour.  Like drinking straight melted butter, carbs in a cup, important if you’re living on the cold Tibetan steppes.  Only I and another classmate got the taste for it, and I enjoyed it more than I should have.  The main attraction was a meat pie, just yak meat in a bread crust, but it was moist, scrumptious and amazingly delicious.  And resembled White Castle sliders to a remarkable degree (in a good way).  The other thing that I thought was really interesting was a “yak meat stir fry) my classmate ordered.  Yak meat and stir fried noodles and peppers in the Sichuan style.  Delicious, but to normal Tibetan food what my grandpa’s “shrimp in lobster sauce” is to real Chinese food.  Back in Xi’an and started classes.  So far so good.  Don’t need to choose until next week, so just testing out classes for now.  Worried things still might be a little slow, but too soon to tell and if they are I’ll have some time to focus on other things.

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