"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Day on the Farm

Oh hey, don’t I know you from somewhere? Oh yeah, you used to be my blog, and then I got side-tracked and forgot about you. Seriously, I’m GOING to get better at this whole updating thing! (Maybe if I type that enough, it will work? Pshh ya right!)
Anyways, I have several weeks’ worth of events to update you all on, including the 7 day National Day holiday. Since I have been blessed with a 5 day weekend (my Thursday and Friday classes are canceled this week due to a sports meet), I plan on making great use of this time and blogging every day until I am caught up. So, here we go…
A few weeks ago, I was invited by one of my classes (really two of my classes, but they are one class split in half for my benefit) to accompany them on a day trip. I got a text message from the teacher in charge of their class on a Saturday night, asking me to meet her at 8:00 the next morning if I would like to join them. I had no idea where we would be going or what we would be doing, but I agreed nonetheless. 
It turns out they had paid to use a farm for the day and were preparing to cook a delicious feast for everyone! Apparently, this is becoming a more and more popular activity in China. Because the cities are so overcrowded and it is so difficult to travel, people will rent out farm houses just outside of the city to get a taste of the country for a day. Both parties benefit from this situation: the city-dwellers get to get away, even if only for a day, for a low price and relatively short travel time; and the farmers get to bring in a little extra money, and maybe even sell some of their produce.   
In this case the students (about 35 to 40 of them) brought in bucket loads of meat, fish, and vegetables from the city. Most of the morning was spent preparing the food, some of which I had definitely never seen before. I got to taste some new, and I might add delicious, fruits and witness the preparing of some truly curious vegetables.

interesting vegetables
favorite fruit discovery of the day - they look and taste like baby apples!

And then there’s the meat. Now, I am not a fan of raw meat anyway, but there is something about seeing your students going at a chicken, feet and all, with a meat cleaver that makes you want to avoid the culinary arts at all cost. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted delicious. But I’d rather not see it until it served up on my plate. Yuck.
Ella: "Look! It's fish" Me: "Yeah, I got it thanks..."
hacking away at the chicken

But, as the actual cooking began, I was able to evade the kitchen area and hang out with some of the students.  The farm we were at was right at the base of Jiujiang’s Mount Lu, so the scenery was beautiful! I took some strolls around the village, and just got to talk with some of the students without pressure of the classroom. Since they’re only a year or so younger than me, it’s really easy to get to know them and they are all so curious about my life. Although, I think a few of them still find me rather intimidating.

beautiful mountain scenery
There was of course karaoke back at the farm, although it was only in Chinese, so I avoided participating. I also attempted to learn how to play Mahjong, but the rules are just so complicated! I will get it eventually though. I hope!

karaoke time!
food time!
By around 2:00, the food was ready to go, and we all headed outside where tables of multicolored dishes greeted us. Really, it was delicious! I was so thankful that they had asked me to be a part of the whole thing. Since it was just their class plus me, I felt very honored. After the clean up was over, we took some group photos and headed back. It was a 20 minute walk or so through the village and then we all caught various taxis and headed back to campus. All in all, a wonderful day out!

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