It’s Chinese to Me: Host Families and Wandering

上海 Blog #11

二零一五年五月三十一号星期四天

Sunday May 31st, 2015

Local Time: 23:56 Shanghai Time

We broke up into groups of five to visit one of three host families. The family I visited wasn’t far from campus, maybe two blocks at most on the 6th and highest floor of an apartment complex. We were instructed by Zhai老师 to remove our shoes before entering the premises and received sandals form our host mother to wear inside the home. The family was composed of a mother, father (whom we didn’t meet because he was at work), seven year old girl, 9 month old girl, and two grandparents. The only person present in the home who spoke any bit of English was the mother, but I would say her English about matched my Chinese. Zhai 老师 became our designated translator.

We made dumplings. It was a bit difficult at first, but I eventually became a pro. We were served the dumplings with watermelon juice, mushrooms, salad mixed with cooked carrots and potatoes, yellow herring and cucumber salad. Not going to lie, it wasn’t my favorite meal I’ve had so far in China. The high light was definitely the meyer lemons we could put in our water. Zhai 老师 and I both really love lemons, so we sat there and ate them plain.

Given the family mostly really just spoke Mandarin, I took the time to practice conversation, especially with their seven year old (love the lack of pressure speaking to a child presents). After some Chrysanthemum tea (which I plan to totally invest in at the tea market), we created ducks and cacti out of clay following the instruction of the eldest daughter and her mother. The family then gave us the clay and instruction book as a parting gift.

Next, a spontaneous food run turned into a five hour trans city adventure. We discovered a few monuments, a garden, a small amusement park, a crazy fancy mall and an underground subway in a market. By far the best part of the market were the English t-shirts that made absolutely no sense. I’ve featured my favorite one below. It demonstrates how English must look to Chinese people. Obviously gibberish.

Dinner was subway, followed by a peak at 15 dollar Nikes and eventually some Frisbee on the “whitehouse lawn,” a particular campus building which really does look like the American white house.

Best Worse English T-shirt
Best Worse English T-shirt
Host Family
Host Family
Funky Statue Downtown
Funky Statue Downtown
Fancy Mall's ceiling
Fancy Mall’s ceiling
Crazy fancy mall
Crazy fancy mall