Hello all, I apologize for the ridiculous delay in posts! I was prepping to take the MCAT and it took all of my free time. Thankfully that beast is out of the way and I’m free to post once again 🙂
We left off last time with Shuyan not feeling well, and she and Hanshin decided to stay the night in the hotel to take advantage of the free night. In the morning, I went to breakfast on my own as it was getting late. I didn’t see anything I could eat aside from eggs and toast, so I went to work on that. Shuyan and Hanshin came running in about 15 minutes later and the ladies were finally putting out the bowls for the porridge. As they didn’t have the one I like, I took a different kind to be a bit adventurous. As we were free until lunch, we all went back to our rooms to sleep a little longer. They called me around 11 and asked me to come to their room by 11:30 so we could leave on time.
I took the stairs to get there (it was one flight down) and nearly fell over the small step by the door onto Hanshin. Luckily I righted myself before anything terribly embarrassing happened and managed to pass it off as incredible acrobatics and agility on my part (haha yeah right!). When we went down to renew my room, it turns out that since we hadn’t told them the night before that we’d need it, they had reserved it for someone else and that I needed to be checked out by 2. Alhamdulillah I’d packed most of my stuff a few days ago, so moving to their apartment wouldn’t be a problem at all.
En route, MIL called to say she was already there and to ask us to hurry up before calling again to say that she was in a shoe store and for us to take our time. Smart lady! We went to lunch at a place that seemed almost American and ordered a ‘stack’ and ate with a knife and fork (first and only time doing so in China!). It was cute seeing them watch me eat and mimicking me. The food was decent, but it wasn’t the best I’ve had in China. MIL gave me several beautiful Chinese knots to take with me as gifts. I wish they’d let me buy things on my own!
Hanshin had to go back to work to get the new phone for Shuyan (the company pays for a good chunk of the cost) and planned to meet us later. MIL had taken her electric bike, and they promised to give me a chance to try it before I leave. I mentioned wanting boots, and the moms decided to take charge. We were originally going to go on a scenic walk, but the boots took precedence due to excitement (Chinese women love to shop.. just like every other group of women:) ). We went to the place of a lady the mom knows and I found a pair I like, but they didn’t have my size. I quickly realized that they’re not going to let me pay for anything, no matter how much I insist, so I shut up about anything I wanted. They took me to a little shop to buy more Chinese knots, and got me about 5 more, along with 2 pretty small ones. The ladies in the shop liked to look at me and commented and giggled, and even gave me a cheap free trinket for protection. I don’t remember the name of the mystical being, but I’ll be sure to look it up when I get the chance.
We then left and took a taxi back to the hotel, with mom dropping us off. MIL made her own way home on the bike. On the way back, as I was looking out of the taxi window, I saw Hanshin’s oldest uncle on a motorbike at a busy intersection. By the time I excitedly mentioned this to Shuyan, we had passed and could no longer see him. She teased me about being a foreigner who thinks all Chinese people look alike, but I swore to her that I had actually seen him. She laughed and said she’d ask him later if he was actually there. So we went to the hotel room to find that my key didn’t work, but luckily the housekeeping lady let us in, making sure we kept the door open. In ten minutes, everything of mine was packed and we were out the door. Coming down the elevator, we passed a group of people who thought I was Indian (I don’t look Indian). I told them I’m American, and then they immediately said I was beautiful, haha. As Hanshin still was at work, we left several of the bags in the hotel and took the laptops with us. Shuyan and I took a taxi after several misses (and a group of old men exclaimed ‘look at the foreigner!’) to another bank branch to do something concerning the hotel bill, and Hanshin picked us up afterwards. The bank was much bigger than the other one we’d previously visited; it was very clean and modern and didn’t have any gold items for sale as did the first one. Coming back to the hotel, the parking guard said ‘hello’ to me for the first time. Too bad it’s also the last! We stuffed the luggage in the car with the help of a man from the hotel and went to the apartment. It took a bit of effort, but we moved everything up into the apartment and put my bags in my new room.
We hung around in the apartment for a bit before heading to Hanshin’s parents for dinner. We ate and relaxed for a bit; I ate two more crabs! We then went to visit Hanshin’s oldest uncle, along with MIL, and my his younger cousin (the one they keep trying to get to speak to me in English) and his family were also there. They fed me pine nuts and tangerines, and I tried a candy tangerine peel candy that I didn’t like. Oldest uncle’s wife also gave me a Dove milk chocolate bar that was delicious because it wasn’t as sweet as American chocolate. Oldest uncle was super triumphant that I had recognized him on the bike because he said he truly was in that area at the time we were. I’ll just say that I was very gracious in my correctness over Shuyan and I didn’t rub it in her face *too* much 😉 It really made oldest uncle happy; he liked me very much earlier, and now he began calling me his foreign niece (and he still asks Shuyan about his foreign niece!) The little boy still would not talk to me, despite the efforts of his parents (he later confided that I was too pretty to talk to and he felt shy.. I love this country!). He played poker on the computer with some advice from his dad and occasionally his mother. The family chatted about the wedding and discussed how the dad once had long hair (he’s now balding) and teased his wife for liking him even then. They tried to get the boy to talk to me again, and he did, saying ‘bye bye for now’ or something along those lines. They then wanted pictures of me, so I pulled out my camera and we all took a bunch of pictures together. The poor kid was so red in the face from shyness!
We then came back to the apartment after dropping off MIL at home. We all hung around and used the internet, each of us on our individual laptops. I noticed last night that there was a problem in charging my laptop so I’m going to need to get another charger for China while I’m here otherwise I’m going to be in big trouble. I really hope the American charger isn’t messed up, as the light doesn’t light when it’s plugged in. I’ll try to get a charger tomorrow, inshaAllah. My sister is going to be mad!! Haha.
We’ve stayed up a bit late and we have an early day tomorrow, going to visit an area called Hangzhou. The lake in the area is very famous and is known as Heaven Lake. I’m super excited to do some sightseeing and finally be a bit of a tourist!
P.S. Wherever I go, they always put on the English Chinese news channels for me. I think it’s funny, but at least I’m keeping up with the world!