It's been a day since I've been back. I spent most of yesterday trying to get the electricity in my house fixed. Got that and internet and I was almost set. Too bad there's no heat and I can see my breath even when I sit in bed under my comforter. But then I walked to town today and it was sooo nice outside! Like at least ten degrees warmer than in my apartment! And as I was walking to town, I realized that it was only the second time I had walked to town that way during the daytime. Ever. Crazy, huh? I usually only walk to town at night when there are no motorcycle taxis, and during the day I'm always in a rush and take a taxi. And it just got me thinking: I need to slow down and enjoy where I am. This place is so amazing. Just saying "xinnian hao" to everyone and walking along was so nice. And then I got all my errands done and ate and bought groceries. It was so nice still that I decided to walk home with all my bags. And that way I could rationalize buying two dishes for lunch (not paying for a motorcycle taxi).
On my way into school I ran across Wu Laoshi, my calligraphy teacher, and his wife. I chatted with them for a bit and then they invited me back to their house to hang out, and I was like eh? No no I couldn't intrude, etc. etc., I'll come another day. And they were like okay, but then I was like, wait, how will I know where your house is? Haha. And so I went with them to see where their house was, but then they were like now you're here, you have to come in, and so I laughed and went in. And their house is soooo nice! They have a big TV and leather furniture and clean white marble floors and it's so nice! And they gave me tea and snacks and fruits (Xinjiang pear, pomelo, these sesame hard cracker things that are only made in Hunan) and I was just like wow! We talked for almost an hour about stuff, with the TV on in the background, and I did pretty well, I thought. :) We talked a lot about Hunan and the recent weather and their family and stuff. And then people started trickling in -- their nieces and nephews and other people's grandkids and their friends -- and we all just sat around and watched Animal Planet in Chinese. It was sooo awesome, and I talked with some cousins about their work in Guangzhou.
Then Wu Laoshi and the guys left to hang out with ex-Principal Yan and I hung out with the girls, snuggled under a comforter on the couch. Some people were falling asleep and so was I, so full and warm and happy. But then Principal Yan called and said I should come upstairs to hang out with them. So I went. But everyone was talking in Hengshan dialect and I didn't understand. Wu Laoshi tried to translate for me a bit, and they were talking a lot about some guy in Guangzhou that really wanted to go home so he decided to walk, in the ice and snow, but then he got injured and his shoes fell off and he just kept going but his feet split open, something something, I didn't really understand, haha. But yeah. I was just really tired and then Wu Laoshi offered to walk me home and that was it.
Such a good night!! They said I should come and eat with them sometime. I hope I can! I'm nervous because I feel like I've exhausted most of the topics of conversation that I'm comfortable with -- the weather, people's families, my recent travels. Haha. But I'm really happy and motivated to study more Chinese so that I can become more a part of this community, and be where I am. This is an amazing place and I only have four more months left here.