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As you already may know from reading my previous blogs, there are a lot of differences between food in China and America. Since I knew was going live in China for four weeks, I thought that it would be a good idea to look for some snacks that I could eat when I wasn't hungry enough to eat an entire meal.
Don't get me wrong, eating dinner in China is great but it was really hard for me to accept that Chinese people are not accustomed to "take-out" or giving a customer a container to take the remainder of their meal home.
Therefore, I needed to find snacks that I could take back to my dorm. So far, I've found several snacks that satisfied my appetite but there were two that were very unique. 包子(bao zi) can be described as steamed dough which contains meat in the inside. 包子 (bao zi) consists of only three flavors: beef 牛肉, pork 猪肉, and chicken 鸡肉.
I usually purchase five bao zi, which only costs seven dollars，¥7. 种子（zhong zi） is simply stick white rice wrapped in a big leaf, and bonded together by a loose string which forms a triangular shape. If you're wondering, the lea f and string are not edible but just used to hold the rice together in the process of cooking 种子（zhong zi. Sometimes the sticky rice will have a red bean paste filing in the middle but it depends on where you purchase it. 种子（zhong zi） is really cheap too. One 种子（zhong zi） is two dollars，¥2. These snacks are a really tasty treat for someone like me who has a habit of eating food in a hurry.
我爱好喝茶！I love tea
Even when I was living in Philadelphia, one of my favorite beverages to drink was tea. I like chai tea, herbal raspberry tea, and lemon brisk tea for when I was feeling a little under the weather. Therefore, I was really excited to taste the various kinds of tea found in China. So far I drank many different tea flavors like grape fruit tea, chrysanthemum tea 菊花茶, green tea 录茶 and bubble milk tea 奶茶 just to name a few.
Not only were the tea flavors different from those in my hometown, but the physical appearance of tea in China is different as well. When I went to a restaurant, I noticed that the teapot was usually clear, in which one can see the ingredients that were added. Before I came to China, tea usually was a flavored tea bag dipped in hot boiling water. In China, fruit tea would have a combination of diced fruit at the bottom of the tea kettle, which added a rich and natural taste. Chrysanthemum tea is a very famous flower tea and also a specialty in several restaurants in China. Like the fruit tea, the chrysanthemum flower petals were also found in the bottom .
At first, I was very hesitant to try it because I thought it was strange that Chinese people drink tea with flower petals in it. After drinking my first cup of chrysanthemum tea, I thought that the flavor wasn't as strong as fruit tea but it tasted pretty good.
Other than traditional tea, bubble milk tea has become my favorte drink. It is called "bubble tea" because the tea contains black tapiocas or "bubbles" at the bottom of the cup. The flavor is very hard to describe but it is delicious! Bubble tea is a cold beverage similar to iced coffee. This tea usually comes with a thick straw to drink the tea and eat the bubbles as well. The best part about bubble tea is that it's served in many areas in China as well as Chinatown in Philadelphia.
For a weekend, we had the opportunity to stay in another city also known as Shangdong, China. Once we got off the train, I knew I was going to enjoy my visit. Even before we arrived at Shandong, many of the students were talking about Saturday's event, climbing Mount Tai.
Mount Tai isn't any ordinary mountain, but just a very long staircase consisting of more than 3,000 steps total. The steps varied in texture, length, width, height and even shape. Due to the many stone variations, it made the mountain more difficult to climb. Not even half way up the mountain, I was already tired, sweaty, and a bit hungry.
The most difficult part of climbing Mount.Tai was that I had to be very careful climbing the stairs, slowly walking step by step. Surprisingly, my friends and I were the first students to reach the top of the mountain. The mountain was said to be visited by the emperor. On our way up the mountain, we talked to different Chinese families and took pictures with them. I could not stop smiling because it seemed to happen more frequently than in Beijing.
It's a great feeling to see people walk up to me and my friends, smile and ask for a picture with us because they always looked so thrilled to be standing next to us. Although this occurrence was still very strange to me because it doesn't exist in America, it's still an enjoyable event that the people can keep memories with them. Despite my legs that were constantly shaking, the mountain was easier to climb down and was definitely a faster trip.
Unfortunately, my legs are very sore but it was worth it all. After climbing Mount.Tai, I felt very appreciative because not many people will have the opportunity to climb such a beautiful, unique, and mysterious mountain. All in all, it was a very interesting journey and a memory that I will never forget.
Kung Fu Show at Kong Theater
Wednesday, July 11, we took a two-hour bus ride to the Kong Theater to see a Kung Fu performance or so I thought. When we arrived at the theater, it was filled with people walking around and taking pictures of the performers before the show. I was assured that this performance would simply be a group of men showing off a few Kung Fu moves, but I was wrong.
The performances were filled with large groups demonstrating their variations of different Kung Fu styles but it reminded me of a play. The story was basically about an old master who encouraging a young boy, who was destined to learn the art of Kung Fu. The story was about the master growing up as a boy and the obstacles he went through to reach his current status. The purpose of incorporating the story into their Kung Fu performances was to give the audience a better understanding of the essence of Kung Fu while displaying various styles and skills.
I really enjoyed the performance. It as creative, informative and well-put together. this experince definitely help me to see the creativity and significance of arts and entertainment in Chinese culture.
Although adapting to the Chinese culture and living arrangments in a foreign country wasn't hard for me to do, staying focused in class became very difficult because I miss my hometown, Philadelphia. I am really enjoying my experience in China and taking full advantage of this opportunity. However, God, my family and close friends are the reason that I'm in this beautiful city.
I miss a lot people in the United States and anticipate the day of my return. Feeling homesick doesn't mean I hate being in this foreign country, but it just means I miss being home, surrounded by my family and everything I'm accustomed to.
Currently, this is the third week of our four week program. Even though I'm homesick, I'm still excited about the other trips and activities we will participate in our remaining weeks in China. Most importantly, I know that there will be a lot of memories that I can take with me when I return to the U.S.
- — Lauren Smith, mass communications major