Derek and I had so much fun this past week. We spent a lot of time leaving the school campus and exploring the streets that are close to our school. It’s been raining a lot which is so different than what we are used to, but we are enjoying it and trying to get used to the fact that if it rains, it stays for a couple days, not a few hours.
The other night, we went shopping, and I found cute boots for 60 yuan, which is 10 US dollars, and cute shorts that actually fit me.. It’s hard for me to find shorts in the US since we don’t have many small sizes, but I am a size large here, so my size is EVERYWHERE. Derek got a nice jacket and a shirt. His jacket is a size XXXL and in the states he is a size medium. (HAHA!)
While we were shopping, we came across a place that had really loud techno music. I thought it was a poppin’ store or restaurant, but as we got closer we saw that it was a roller skating rink! We decided to tell the other volunteers and come back a different night as a group. So on friday night, a bunch of us went back and roller skated together. It was so much fun! Like with most things we do, we had a bunch of locals watching us, laughing at us, and snapping our photos. We are getting used to this celebrity type lifestyle by now.
I even made another new friend who belongs to the owners of the rink!
On Saturday, about 20 of us took a train ride to a neighboring city called Nanjing. Our head teacher, Jared, taught English there last year, so he wanted to take us there and show us around. The beauty of Nanjing did not disappoint. We walked around a city square called The Laumendong. It had a lot of fun shops and little restaurants, but the thing I enjoyed most about it was the architecture. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t stop snapping photos.
After walking around for a while, Derek and I decided that we wanted to get food at one of the restaurants. Most of the volunteers ate a burger joint, or grabbed street food, but we weren’t feeling it. We came across a restaurant that looked pretty fancy…but it said western menu (which means american) I looked at the menu, it was in English so I could actually read it! Two things grabbed my attention. CHEESE pizza, and Chicken and CHEESE enchiladas. Cheese isn’t common here in China, most locals don’t even eat dairy. I didn’t even care to look at the price, I had to eat there. Derek agreed.
I ordered the enchiladas and a latte, since I haven’t had great coffee since we left home. Derek got teriyaki chicken with vegetables and seasoned rice. We were in heaven. Our total was 130 yuen, which is only 20 US dollars for both of us! We were so happy with our decisions and full bellies. Like really…have you ever seen me happier?
After the Laumendong, we met up with the rest of the group and headed back on the metro to Zhongshan Mountain National Park. There we explored the ming tombs, a mausoleum, and enjoyed the beauty of the gardens.
We even came across this precious puppy. She was just running on the street, with no mother or owner in sight. She didn’t look like a stray, but even if she was I didn’t care. I had to snuggle her. Do you blame me?
She followed our group for about a half hour before running off to another one. I begged my family to lend me 2,000 dollars so I could bring her through customs in December. None of them replied to my text.
After the park, a lot of our group headed back to the school because they were exhausted. (We were out for 12 hours at this point…it was a long day) Six of us decided to head into downtown Nanjing and get dinner because we weren’t ready to leave this beautiful place.
Derek, Jared, Landon, Tanner, Lauren and I grabbed dinner, shopped at a 3 story Wal Mart (because we wanted to experience a Chinese Wal Mart) and ended our day with donuts and ice cream. I even found green mint chocolate chip, which if you know me is my guilty pleasure! I told Derek “today just keeps getting better and better.” We got back to the school at midnight and after being gone for 18 hours, I was actually excited to sleep in our hard, uncomfortable bed.
I woke up the next day and looked over at Derek looking so handsome while deep in sleep. I grabbed my phone, and scrolled through the hundreds of photos I took this week and thought, “Holy shit, this is really my life and I am so happy about it.” And the best part is, it’s only getting better. I hope everyone has the chance to experience that feeling at some point.
Onto the next adventure, Wren