October Blog

大家好! (Dàjiā hao!) Hello everyone!

It’s nearly 2 months since I have arrived in China!  In the two months since being here I have tried a lot of new different foods.  What I struggled the most in China is that they don’t have a lot of breakfast, lunch or dinner foods as they see food as all the same so they eat similar things for breakfast as they would dinner. Would you like to have fried egg rice with tomato and egg soup for breakfast? In China, Chinese people like to eat hot food and drink hot water as they believe it is better for their body.  In school they have hot water machines for the students to drink. At lunchtime the students all have hot cooked meals, so no sandwiches as they are cold. A popular dish in China is hot pot. It’s a large pot with boiling water, since it is made for sharing it will be placed in the middle of a table with lots of dishes surrounding it such as meat, vegetables and mushrooms.  Everyone can help themselves to the food by using chopsticks to pick up the food and place it into the hot pot and once it is cooked, pick it out and eat it.  It is really spicy so it is especially popular in winter to warm everyone up.  Super Alvin especially loved the hot pot as he could pick what he wanted to eat.

The weather in Tianjin is starting to get cold, it can get as low as -10 degrees in the winter so another popular food in the winter is kebab sticks, especially lamb.  A favourite stall of mine is the sweet shop as it has lots of candied fruits.  Although sweets aren’t that popular in China they like to enjoy candied fruit and even candied rice. There are also stalls that sell octopus or squid but I have yet to find scorpion and insects.

Recently China celebrated the mid autumn festival.  The festival celebrates an old Chinese story of two lovers. In your spare time maybe you can all research it as the story is very interesting. On the night of the moon festival families all across China come together to share a large meal with each other under the moon. A traditional thing to eat during the moon festival is moon cakes.  They are small doughy cakes that have a minced fruit stuffing. They are called月饼( yuè bing )which literally translates to moon cake.

During the mid autumn festival I got a week off school so I spent the week travelling to the south of China with another 8 scholars and a new friend we made from America.  I travelled to Zhangjiajie which is famous due to its mountains and landscapes.  If you have ever seen the movie Avatar you may have seen the mountains in the scenes with the dragons.  To get to Zhangjiajie I travelled 23 hours on a train! I had a sitting seat and there were no stops so it was a long journey.  At first the train journey was fun but due to it being a holiday and also the 70th anniversary of China the train got packed full of people and cases quickly.  If you think 23 hours on a train was hard it was a 28 hour train journey back to Tianjin! I spent the week doing a lot of hiking as we got up really early in the mornings and spent most of the days in the mountains. Sometimes we had to get cable cars up into the mountains as they were really steep or even climb some ladders that where on the trails.  Since we were so high up in the mountains we ended up in the clouds.  In my last blog I asked if you can all guess the new friends Super Alvin made, it was monkeys! Alvin really wanted a picture with the monkeys but they were really cheeky and also too fast for him. They were really fun to see running along the Cliffside and jumping into the trees.  China has wild monkeys so we weren’t allowed to get close to them although they did come up to us. The word for monkey in China is 猴子, hóu zi. They were mine and Super Alvin’s favourite part of the trip. We are still trying to find some pandas.

This month I will have midterm exams and Super Alvin will be helping me study. In my next blog I will talk more about school in China and the kind of work me and Jody get.  For this month you can all try learn some of the words me and Jody have to learn.  Since I have spoken a lot about food, try asking your friends during lunchtime 好吃吗?, hǎo chī ma?, how is your food? And try to respond 好吃, hǎochī ! delicious! Try and use the tones when speaking Mandarin as tones are very important.

再 见, zài jiàn!