Second to last week in China: Fountain-pen worm, Podcast, red-bean-coffee-tea & more

I am writing this while at Miguo, one of the many beverage and dessert houses in Buxingjie, the local shopping village just a few minutes away. We ordered vanilla ice cream (actually tastes pretty creamy at the right consistency). I got a red bean coffee tea (the combination just shocked my taste buds because I don’t recall ordering coffee…with my red bean tea) while Sharon got a mango-coffee version and Richard got watermelon juice. I tried his drink but– I did not expect so much of the actual fiber from the watermelon. I prefer eating an actual watermelon because the beverage is just the fruit blended. Mom and company are talking about acne scars, reminiscing about childhood, and more. 

 

red bean coffee tea is the weirdest combo
  
cutie pie with a watermelon drink
 
  This morning Mom and I went hiking at the same place with Liu Luyao and her mom. With my friend, I learned that the giant, finger-thick worm is called “gang bi cong” a.k.a., fountain pen worm and is quite common here. The name does do it justice but the bug truly does bug me a lot (sorry, I had to), especially when unwary exercisers squishes it with their tired feet. There are also lots of specially shaped pine trees that seem uniquely to China because they are often seen in ancient landscape calligraphy paintings (San shui hua).  In addition, I learned that this is a tea tree (where those expensive little bottles often tree oil come from!!). Trees make me happy.

   

dared not take a photo any closer but it looks bigger in real life!! note how shiny it is
 

Liu Luyao also told me that fireflies lighted up the entire path at night a few years ago when she had to come down because there were no lights. Talking with her really makes me feel so loved because she is so genuine and also enjoys talking to me, a person 3 years younger than herself. I’m definitely looking forward on meeting her again before we part next Friday. I am so glad I beat the sleep-bug to get up this morning because I would have missed out on so much on today’s learning experience!  (Wait, did I read that right?! Two more week left in China!) 

   

actually more jagged than it looks here

   
view from a pagoda on the top
  
The past two days was pretty normal, mostly just stayed at home or around nearby areas for our after-dinner walk. This allowed me to discover some new features on our old Nikon camera that we never took advantage of. The night before yesterday, I was on the balcony fumbling with the camera because we were planning on taking some pictures on the rooftop in the morning. I am clueless at first as I have never read or learned anything related to using certain features on a camera so I am pretty proud to say that I finally figured out how to create those blurry-circle-lights (my lack of vocab signifies my un-professionalism) that I always see on the media. I’ve still got lots to learn and it will not be a bad idea if I can learn some actual photography skills from a teacher or friend in order to grow faster. Although the photos turned out alright, actually taking the pictures with my sister was more memorable and fun!

 

shot by bro on ipod
 
Another bright side on staying home is that I have been coming in terms and refocusing with myself and my long term goals. One thing I like to do is to actually write these things down like a journal instead of keeping them mentally. I also just discovered how interesting Podcasts are today and how useful it can be to educate oneself. Particularly, I enjoyed The Lively Show with Mimi Ikonn. Definitely give it a listen if you need some very interesting new perspective on living life. The main thing I got from listening to the two women speak this morning was to never stop learning and growing, even if you achieved your dream life. If you are still interested in Mimi, I recommend watching her YouTube video on what she did for her birthday– very inspiring in curating a better world that I believe I am going to celebrate my next birthday as she celebrated hers.

This afternoon, grandpa took out all his photo albums (enough to sprawl them all on the bed) and we went through them all, learning about the old life in Tongren (and elsewhere in China where they traveled and lived at) and our family history. I got lost in history again and it is such a curious feeling. Both the people and the landscape have changed tremendously in China. And my mom looked and still looks so beautiful. (Iloveyoumom)

Afterwards, Sharon and I tried to go to the gym again. I wanted to go running on the treadmill because running in the streets in Tongren is tantamount to riding a unicycle to run errands. I do not want unwanted attention nor step on the multitude of spit that I so often witness in the making. Spitting in public on the streets in Tongren or even in America is just something I really can’t get accustomed to. Sharon and I learned that the guest passes that we had had been void since two months ago. The fitness center’s director got rid of all the guest passes and all the single passes… I was so disappointed that I told the lady at the front desk to request a reversion to this decision.
In the meantime, I will just have to find every opportunity to move more, whether it is walking or climbing the stairs. 
Here are some photos of the other side of Tongren that I never posted:

woman preparing food to sell in the morning
nightly walks
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