I made it!! I still can’t believe I’m finally in China, where I’ve wanted to go for so long. I love Asia! I love the feel of it. If I were to pick what Asia would feel like it would feel like this. The air is so thick and humid (I feel muggy all the time) and it smells like spices, new foods, cigarettes, incense, and… Asia. The streets are my favorite because there are people everywhere walking, cooking random meats, scraping pineapple, riding bikes, scooters, mini cars, buses, and they stare at us wherever we go. I guess they aren’t used to white people in this area. Some people act so happy when we say hi, or ni hao, or when we try to talk to them. A lot of them surprisingly know English pretty well. We met three awesome boys today on the campus of the Southwest Petroleum University and they told us they have studied English since they were 14, a little each year. I’m getting used to the squatter toilets here. I was pretty fearful that I would relive horrible childhood camping experiences, and while I want to shout for joy when I see a normal toilet they aren’t so bad I guess.
It took two days to get here, with a stop in San Francisco and Korea before getting to Chengdu. It took a long time to get to Korea, and to experience how long 13 hours on a plane really is I want you all to sit on a kitchen chair right in front of a small TV, with two people sitting next to you sandwiching in your arms, while blowing your nose every few moments, then sleep by leaning on a card table positioned directly over your thighs for 13 hours. It was strange skipping ahead 14 hours into a new day. I’m living in the future… if you ever want to know what tomorrow is like I’ll fill you in.
I think the traffic laws in China are taken more as suggestions. They just drive or walk wherever they want. It’s hilarious driving down the street in our bus, our drivers always honk at everybody to get out of the way, and I always swear we’re going to hit somebody. People just cross lanes and flip U-turns whenever; our driver on the way from the airport got a phone call and just stopped in the middle of the freeway for a few minutes to talk. But for the most part I am pretty confident in our drivers. I figure they’ve lived in China their whole lives, they can maneuver pretty quickly.
Thursday and Friday we took classes on campus most of the day. It’s fun getting back into so much dancing but it’s been hard to get used to the full schedule. We took a Chinese classical dance class on Thursday. You have to be so precise in your movements down to exact placements of your fingers. In the dances they take these quick tiny steps by rolling their feet from heel to toe. Monday we learned how to play a Chinese instrument that looked like a cool recorder, and then today (Tuesday) we learned a couple Chinese long-sleeve dances.
We had a Christmas miracle when we were chosen as one of the two students’ rooms to get the internet. Now we can use it (when it works) instead of walking down to the internet café on campus. When we went there on Thursday night it was awesome, just a huge room full of computers and male Chinese gamers. Kind of like your old living room Matt, minus the Chinese.
This weekend was fun. Saturday we took a tour through Chengdu and went shopping in a little market. I got lots of things and bought a skirt just in time for church. And I love Asian food! I thought that would be the hardest part for me but I’m really liking it. And they actually do have Asian pastries. Today instead of dinner me and my friend bought a big pastry-cake thing. Mmm sugar. At our hotel or on campus we are fed three meals a day, seven days a week. I can’t even think about being hungry again before we have another giant meal prepared for us.
All in all I am loving my experience over here so far. The people are so kind and generous. It’s so fun to go up and talk to random people and get to know them a little bit. Sometimes I almost forget I’m not in America, which is weird.