I decided I needed some quality self-time in the sunshine, so after church I took a walk from the Intercontinental Hotel to May Fourth Square.
I took my sweet time, and soaked in my surroundings. Listening to chatter I couldn't understand and the breeze tinkling and clacking in the strings of shells hanging at souvenir kiosks. Smelling the sea on the breeze along with the occasional whiff of food-either sweet, fishy, or fried. Feeling the sunshine and shadow alternatively as clouds skidded across the sky.
When I got to the large red statue that has become the symbol of Qingdao I headed over to the edge of a grassy area, planted myself under a tree, and pulled out my Bible, journal, and a good ol’ peanut butter sandwich. I am not even kidding because this is too perfect: loads of kids were playing with KITES and BUBBLES all around me. Neon birds of happiness and iridescent shimmery balls of innocence. I couldn't keep a stupid silly smile from my face as I settled in for several hours of peaceful relaxation and people watching.
Walking to the bus stop to head back to campus I wove in and out of young families, couples, and elderly all out for the same reason as me: enjoying the pure beauty of one of the first warm days of spring. I stopped by a cart and bought a chocolate coated taro ice cream bar. Taro is a sweet potato-like root that somehow becomes purple colored in all the ways I’ve had it. It is a filling option in the pies at McDonalds, to give you an idea. I’ve also had it as ice cream and as a filling in a fried ball thing. I LOVE IT.
I rounded off the day by meeting my new language partner, Erin, who is very sweet. She was kind enough to show me where she lives. I’m choosing to not go in-depth here, but let’s just say there’s a very noticeable quality difference between the international exchange student dorms and the Chinese student ones. And it’s in my favor.
- Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way. Buses are top of the totem pole, and they don’t stop for anything. Pedestrians are last.
- There are no "good samaritan" laws in China, which as an American is a completely different way of thinking for me. In the states, if you are trying to help someone you are protected by certain laws. In China you are not. It makes me think of the part in The Incredibles where Mr. Incredible gets sued for stopping a man's suicide attempt.
- I've entered an expat blogging contest at China Daily, "China's most influential English-language Web portal." Winninig is cool, but mostly I just want to get my name out there and maybe some feedback. Wish me luck!
- I sometimes tutor two young boys in English. People are really keen to have an American accent around their kids. Also, hanging out with Australians and English people will make you say things like "keen." For someone who typically is not the best with kids, I am LOVING tutoring. Probably because they actually seem to like me :)
Check out my Instagram for more of my favorite snapshots! Also, take a look at the "Qingdao 'Bucket List'" page. I'm keeping it updated (with pictures!) as I cross things off and discover new things to add :)