Sunday, February 24, 2013

Journey. Part I...

Written on Feb. 20th

Okay, so, maybe you know that I went with Jessica for Spring Festival. It was…….you know what? I actually don’t really want to talk about it. But, I will cover the highlights and leave out the……crippling awkwardness that is my life in China.

We arrived in Huaihua on Feb. 4th. It was IMMEDIATLEY apparent that I was in a part of China that does not see foreigners.
OH, SORRY! I forgot that I was going to skip the awkwardness. Well, much to my horror, it might not be possible to totally skip it all………but I’m going to try!
One of Jessica’s friends came to pick us up at the train station and take us to KFC. You know, for fries. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) We ate fries and soft-serve ice cream while we waited for the guy with the car. He came to take us to Zhijiang.
It was about a 30 minute drive. The drive was, again, more of a lesson for me than anything else. We have so much that we take for granted in America. I swear we live with our eyes closed.
I’m about to start preaching…….instead I’ll say:
American and China are not on the same planet. It has been decided.
I liked Zhijiang. It was the first city I’ve seen since I’ve been here that wasn’t trying to be modern. I loved the historical feel of all the buildings.
I did not love the hotel. It was my first experience with a traditional Chinese bathroom. It is basically a closet with a hole in the ground to squat over and a showerhead. So, the squat toilet is also the shower drain. Weird.
We had dinner with a group of her friends and then went walking around the town. It was nice.
The next day we found out that we would be going to Jessica’s hometown a day early. Spring Festival is very important in this country….and it was time for all her friends to get ready to go home and be with family.
So, they took us back to Huaihua to the bus station. But, on the way back to the city, we stopped at a museum/historical site from WWII. The English translation on the sign said: The Original Site of Chinese People’s Anti-Japanese War Victory Surrender Acceptance.

*Side Note: If I wanted to stay in this country, I think a better job for me would be to correct the grammar in all their translations.

While we were wandering around the site, Jessica told me that this area never sees foreigners. So, it is possible that the military would stop me in this site to make sure I wasn’t a spy. (I still don’t know if she was joking.)
We then finished the journey back to the bus station. I don’t remember how long the bus ride was….1hr 30mins…..maybe? I don’t remember.

But, then we were in Hongjiang. The birthplace of the Jessica! Well, her real birthplace. Her dad knows someone who knows someone in the government….so, with some money exchanging hands, Jessica got a new birthplace listed on her ID card. People do this in China so that their kids can receive some sort of extra credit in school. Because her new birthplace has a lot of Chinese minorities….or something. She explained it to me once, but I didn’t understand most of it. I just understood that with money and connections…..well, you get the idea…….

We arrived in Hongjiang on Feb. 5th. Her mom, dad, and one of her cousins were waited for us. They grabbed our bags and took us straight to grandma’s apartment for dinner.
And then the real fun began?
Depends on who you talk to? I don’t know. Honestly, Spring Festival is A LOT like our Christmas.
The whole family gets together…..then sits around playing games on their cell phones. So, they put me in a hotel, fed me, smiled at me, tried to talk to me sometimes…..but, nothing really happened until February 9th.
(To Be Continued….)

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