Last three days in Tongren

  
It was so hard trying to fall asleep last night. I slept at near 11PM and kept on tossing and turning, my mind too active (mostly about school, how life will be like when I go back to Seattle, and other personal thoughts). The soft humming of the AC at 26 degrees, outside chirping of a lone cricket (I kept counting, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13), the coolness of the bed because of the bamboo bed cover, and the soft glow of the streets from the curtains made it a perfect place to fall asleep, but I just couldn’t until 1 or 2 AM.
   
    
    
    
 To be honest, leaving Tongren for Beijing struck me too fast– I didn’t even realize I had only 2 full days left here… These past evenings were all spent outside at resteraunts with my Mom’s childhood friends due to their insistent invitations. After dinner, we would go to cafes to “xiaoye”. Not very healthy…but the deserts we had at the cafés were delishes. 

  
We saw another childhood friend of ours and I am guilty to say that I did not recognize him at all even though I knew it was him. Anyways, it was fun and interesting to learn all about life as a Chinese student. For example, they start school at around the same time we do at 7:30AM, and then read aloud for half an hour. At 8AM, they officially start school. Teachers change classrooms instead of students. Each class is 45 minutes long with a 10-minute break. After 3rd period, they go home for 2 and 1/2 hours for lunch and a NAP(!). Afterwards, they go back to school to finish the rest of 4 periods and get home at 6pm. After that, they eat dinner and tutorial goes on until 10pm. As for what they do during their free time, they go to the movies, lounge in cafes, shop with friends, and basically everything we do here.

   
    
   
I wanted to spend evenings at home instead with Grandpa and Grandma because I like eating peacefully and also because I do not know how many years it will be until I can visit them again… 

   
    
    
    
    
 Today (it is the Chinese “Valentines” Day), we are eating at home the whole day for the very last time. This morning, we went to climb Wenbifeng (the big hill) again with our friend and his mom. We brought some fresh buns and “fagao” for breakfast before we climbed. I felt a little sad that it will be the last time I get to see the city from up above. After we got home, which was 11am (lunchtime here), we ate a yummy lunch which consisted of vegetables and meats on “sefan” (glutinous rice cooked with little bits of this certain dried wild vegetable and little chunks of smoked pork). 

   
 

We left to buy the last things on our shopping list as well as some Tongren specialty food to eat on our flight to Beijing. Some of these foods include (all of which are home-made) fried glutinous buns covered with soy bean powder, chunky peanut brittle, a special kind of rice cake, and some more “fagao” (starting to become my favorite food here!). On the way back, I wanted to get these portable tables (¥15-20), which I thought will work very well as a stand-up table for my desk. I hate having to sit down immediately after a meal to study during the school year. We decided to wait and see if Beijing sold the same thing. 

When we got back home, our cousin had prepared for Sharon, Richard, and me her hand-made (crocheted) dolls. I was so surprised that she actually made them so nicely and that she remembered since I told her which character I liked the most on the first day I met up with her. She is so talented, especially since she learned how to crochet so smoothly by herself. Mine is the Totoro. Sharon’s the bunny with the detachable bonnet. Richard’s is Baymax. 

  
When I suggested that she could sell her works online, she told me that she already have; she would sell the Totoro, bunny, and of that sort for ¥80 and Baymax for ¥70. This is the typical price that other people set their dolls as well. However, each doll takes a lot of time (and inevitably, strain on the eyes) to make so she does not make too many of these dolls. 
I have to go and pack up all of my belongings and books scattered all over the house. I move my study space each day in different places in the house along with the best natural light of the day that streams through different windows of the house at every hour. Tomorrow, we will have to leave the house at 9:30am to catch our flight at 11:30am.
I really do not want to end my Tongren post here because it feels like I will never come back again… This school year, I will save up more than I have from my job so that next summer I can visit my Grandparents and relatives again. 

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