Well it's back to school and real life after a long weekend! We didn't have last Monday off like all of you back in America, but we did have this Monday off to celebrate the Traditional Chinese Holiday, Mid-Autumn Festival. I have gotten a recap version of the story behind the holiday and basically a man who pleased the Emperess by shooting 9 of the 10 suns out of the sky received a magic potion that would keep him young forever. An evil man wanted to steal the potion, so to save it, the good man's wife drank the potion, but because she did she had to go live in the Moon and could not stay with her husband. To honor her, the good man laid out lots of food and her favorite fruit, and that is still how Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated today. My favorite part has got to be the moon cakes! They are pretty delicious, at least the kinds that I have tried. Some have been surprising to me, like red bean paste, or egg. It's been fun to step out of my food comfort zone a little bit and discover things that I never thought I would like!
So this weekend the weather was a little colder, and on Saturday Melissa and I finally decided to take a little bit of a lazy day. We took care of some bank stuff (and now my card officially works here .. I am so excited!) but then we just spent the day in our apartment watching movies and relaxing. It was rainy and cold out so it was nice to have a quiet day, we were both feeling a little exhausted from the past month spent getting used to being here. Sunday though, we went out and did some sightseeing. It was a little strange, because it was September 11th. We were able to watch a few things and read some articles about things going on back in America, so my thoughts and prayers were everyone back home. I can't believe what the last 10 years have brought, I still have crazy moments where I realize "I live in China .. wow" :)
So on Sunday, we went to a part of Beijing called Hou Hai, which has a really pretty lake and lots of little shops and restaurants. We rented Tandem bikes and had an adventure around the lake, it was really fun!
That night, we visited Wangfujin street, otherwise known as the "night market." That is the street where you can find all of the crazy things you may want to try and eat! I have pictures of most of the things that we saw, like Scorpion, snake, centipede, etc. It was kind of creepy and intimidating, but I eventually ended up trying snake and squid. I could have been more adventurous, but I did the best I could! It was fun, and the area around the night market is really bright and fun. There is a lot going on, and a lot of markets and things to see. We went back to the same area on Monday, and it was fun to see the decorations and things for the holiday. I also had my first doctor appointment to look at my arm, and I am hoping that the drama and complications from that will be behind me soon. I am glad and lucky to have a great international hospital so close to where I live!
I am really starting to understand some of the layout of the city, and feel fairly confident that I could find my way home using the subway and bus systems. It's fun to actually know where I am going, and I am starting to feel more confident in the few words of Mandarin that I know as well. Hopefully our lessons through the school will start soon so I can really start to understand and try and learn the language. In a few weeks, we have a whole week off from school so I'm hoping to do some farther out traveling and see some cool places.
In other exciting news .. my flight back to America for Christmas has officially been booked! I will be home from December 21 through January 2, so hopefully I will be able to see everyone and catch up with your lives! I will have many more pictures and stories by then, so I am looking forward to that time. It's been fun to stay in contact with people through facebook, email and this blog. I hope that everyone enjoys reading and emailing as much as I love receiving things from you! Sending my love from Beijing .. :)