Day 54: Gillyweed Tea

16 Oct

Another couple more days have flown by and I’m left with only three more classes before I’m done with yet another week of teaching. And, in only a few more days it will be a full moon once again. It doesn’t seem possible that a full lunar cycle has already passed since Mid-Autumn Festival. I was told by some foreign teachers that have lived in Baoding for a while now that time goes by for them as fast as it should. To me it feels like time is passing faster and faster every week. It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been here for more than fifty days and, in just a little over a week, we will have lived in China for two months. When compared to a year’s time, two months doesn’t seem that long, but when you think about how fast the two months will have gone by, in no time at all we will be back in the States and this will be an adventure that we had rather than the adventure that we are having.

But we are in the midst, and in all actuality still in the beginning, of this adventure, and it continues to get better and better everyday. Teaching becomes more and more enjoyable as we get to know our students, watch them learn and grow, and become accustomed to what works in the classroom and what does not. I’m pretty proud of the food lessons I gave to the fifth and sixth graders this week, I’m looking forward to my directions and shopping locations lesson for the seventh graders tomorrow, and I’m excited for the first of my Halloween lessons with the eighth graders next week. Our Chinese friends have promised to teach us how to make some Chinese dishes (I’m particularly excited to learn how to make dumplings) and we have made plans to travel this weekend (and cross another place off of our list of places to see).

Tomorrow we are going to buy D-train tickets (a fast train that is not as fast as the bullet/G-train but uses the same track) to Beijing and then to Tai’an so that we can climb Tai Shan. We will leave Baoding Friday afternoon after Duncan is done teaching, spend the night in a hostel in Tai’an, climb the mountain Saturday, and, if all goes according to plan, return late Saturday evening to Baoding. It will be another action packed trip but one that we are very excited about and have been looking forward to for months. Of course, I will post when we return with some, hopefully, magnificent photos (assuming the weather cooperates). Without a doubt, climbing one of the grandest mountains in China will be an experience to behold.

In less exciting news, I fell a little under the weather this week. With the lymph nodes in my neck now swollen to the size of golf balls and visible when I tilt my head back, many of my students felt an overwhelming desire to tell me, “You’re so beautiful!” repeatedly, all day the past few days. Maybe, because the lower half of my face is now more of a squishy circle than the clear definition of my jaw line, my face resembles the classically rounder face of a Chinese person. Perhaps this is why they think I look “beautiful” when I feel like I look disturbingly unlike myself. Could this be my body trying to make me look more Chinese as it adapts to everything else Chinese? If so, I wish it would stop. I want my jaw line back.

And, also in classic Chinese fashion, I am drinking Chinese “medicine”, aka tea, to get better. But this is not the tea we normally think of with a nice mug, filled with hot water, and a carefully selected bag soaking. Of course not, that would be too easy. Instead, I have a plastic, smiley-face mug filled with flowers, grass, and a mysterious object that, when dry looks like an almond, but once in the water, turns into a brown gooey glob that I keep wanting to call “gilly-weed” from Harry Potter. To be honest, it looks like I’m drinking the “tea” I made as a five-year old in the backyard and served to imaginary friends. Despite it’s lack-luster description, it doesn’t taste bad. It tastes like all tea – semi-flavored hot water that is lacking the potency and dark-chocolateyness of coffee which I prefer. But, it’s doing its job making my throat feel better and now I can satisfy the five-year old me that really wished she could have drunk the “special tea” she made with the dandelions.

As I wrap up this post, here’s a look at our list of places to go (in no particular order) I am determined to accomplish by the end of this time in China:

Fenghuang, Hunan
Changsha, Hunan
Chengdu, Sichuan Province
Sun & Moon Pagodas, Banyan Lake, Guilin
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Fujian: Mount Wuyi (福建武夷山)
Hainan: Yalong Bay (海南省亚龙湾)
Henan: Longtan Valley (河南龙潭大峡谷)
Hunan: Zhangjiajie (湖南张家界)
Liaoning: Benxi Water Cave (辽宁本溪水洞)
Mount Emei
Mount Wutai
Mount Jiuhua
Yellow Mountain (Huangshan)
Mount Putuo
Mount Tai (Tai Shan)
Pearl Waterfall
Beijing ice town
Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces
Jinshanling to Simatai (hiking)
Mount Cangyan, Hebei province

I will post again after we have returned from Tai Shan (of course assuming all goes according to plan and we do visit this weekend).
Have a lovely rest of your week and thank you for reading!

Zai Jian! 🙂

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Baoding


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