Blog post #4 Saturday, June 20, 2015
Every Tuesday morning at 10:30am, every student begins to go caifeng, which according to my Chinese dictionary app on my phone, means to collect folk songs. The purpose of this weekly activity is for us to go out of campus and communicate with locals to learn more Chinese and interact with Chinese people who are not our teachers or tutors. Why they call this activity caifeng, I have no idea. When I try to explain what our caifeng is to locals, even they get confused.
For the first caifeng, we went to a supermarket called Huarenwanjia (华润万家), which is also called Vanguard. Apparently, Vanguard is not just a humongous supermarket chain – they also construct buildings and pretty much does anything and everything. At the supermarket, I got liangpir (凉皮) – literally, “cold skin” – which is a type of cold noodles. Because it’s cold, liangpir is great to eat when it is hot out (which is pretty much every day here). Just thinking about it now is making my mouth water!
For our second caifeng, we went to Bailitai Xinwenhuaguangchang (八里台新文化广场), also called “8-Miles New Culture Plaza.” It is a relatively new shopping center just a couple blocks away from where our hotel is. One of our tasks was to find an article of clothing that we liked and try it on. I picked a dress that I actually liked and would have bought if it wasn’t so expensive! I also discovered that they serve bitter melon there! A lot of people don’t care for bitter melon because, like its name, it’s pretty bitter, but it’s one of my favorite things to eat, and it’s rare to come by in the States. On a completely unrelated note, Bumblebee was outside of the Plaza!
The setting for our third caifeng outing was at Yingkou Dao (营口道). Yingkou Dao is a very large commercialized street full of shopping centers, restaurants, and cafes. We actually had to take the subway to get there since it’s farther away. This caifeng ended up being a challenge on many levels. My 4th-year Chinese class and the Classical Chinese class joined together, and we split into two groups. Our task was to come up with five questions and ask different people those questions. The group who got the most responses “won.” And of course, my group won 🙂