Some of the people we eat with are considered very high status in China. We've learned this by being told not to sit at the head of the table when we are eating. Because I just noticed this I’ve been really quiet at dinner because I’m terrified of disrespecting them. They make jokes and I laugh, they talk and I listen, they tell me to try something and I try it
. Just last night we all said cheers and our hosts thanked us for joining them. Then one by one through different parts of the meal each of our hosts and highly respected people got up and walked around the table saying "cheers" to every single person at the table one by one. Then they asked me to do the same. I laughed because I thought it was a joke but when I realized it wasn’t I jumped out of my seat and just listened to what they told me to do. Christine decided to join me way more enthusiastic about it than I. I was just terrified I’d insult them by turning the suggestion down so one by one I said, “Gan bei” to every person at the table. It wasn’t so bad but later I learned that gan bei
literally means “bottoms up,” and the whole time I should have been drinking my whole glass with every toast! I remembered them telling me to drink it all each time I toasted with them but I thought they were kidding!! Now I know to say pum bei
(not sure if that’s spelt correct) instead if I want to cheers and not down my glass!The Golden Arches save the day!!
After a really big lunch we went to A College of Art to hang out with the students there
. It was a lot of fun talking to them and learning about their culture and it’s amazing to see how much English they can speak in such a little time of learning it.
Wellll as you can see I titled this section “The Golden Arches save the day.” The meals in which we’ve have been eating are the best of the best Chinese cuisine, which means eating things I’ve never seen before in America. Most of the group scoffs down the food, trying new entrees without hesitation or question to what it is (Xena and Lyla are the champs of trying odd looking dishes). Carolyn and I however haven’t yet grown taste buds or should I say stomachs to handle everything that is placed before us. Today at lunch we barely ate anything. We kept praying that rice, soup, or beef (something simple and without a head starring at us) would be served but instead it was a whole bunch of different plates that consisted of different kinds of animal parts. Needless to say we left with half empty stomachs. About 20minutes past and our stomachs were rumbling!!! We knew that even if we held out for dinner, we would probably see the same food again so we talked about foods that we would reallyyyy want right at that moment. Cheeseburger came to mind real quick. Carolyn and I tried to keep quiet about being hungry because the lunch they served us was so big and not eating the food would be an insult to them
. With some help we found Betty, a stundent there, who became our hero for the next hour. She knew of a KFC so we hoped in a taxi because mashed potatoes and mac and cheese was the next best thing. (Look for the video upload of the taxi ride so you can see how they drive!) On our way Carolyn spotted the Golden Arches! For that one moment McDonalds seemed like a 5 star restaurant and our faces filled with excitement. A couple moments later 2 double cheeseburgers, Large fries, cokes and mcflurry’s sat before us; we were in heaven. The cheeseburgers didn’t taste like American cheeseburgers, they were sweeter and thinner, but they did the job. I never thought I'd say this but Thank you McDonalds!!! Me and Carolyn now have a special bond molded together by 2 growling bellies.
BETTY is the best!
We are starting to realize how important our stay here is to the people we are visiting. Everywhere we go there is someone taking a thousand photos and, some kind of journalist and sometimes even a news channel. We have come to find that Chinese place their guests on a totem pole and they want us to have the best experience we could possibly have. This kind gesture has made our trip more special then we all could have ever imagined.