We recently celebrated China’s National Day on October 1st, meaning we had a seven day break from school, and lots of time to relax and have fun. I spent some time with my friends in Changzhou going out to eat and going to KTV, but I also got to travel around a bit.
One day, I went hiking in a nearby city called Wuxi with my American NSLI-Y friends Kenzie and Sam. We hiked from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon up some steep mountain trails. I love hiking, but the hike was pretty challenging at times especially with the heat. It was in the upper 70s that day. After we finished the hike, we got to walk around the old section of Wuxi for a bit, which was really interesting. I love the ancient-style architecture.
I also traveled around Zhejiang province for 4 days with my host brother and dad, the grandparents, the aunt, uncle, and cousin. We drove through gorgeous mountainous areas, and the scenic areas made the drive not as bad. The first place we went to was Hengdian World Studios, which is kind of similar to Hollywood in that a lot of movies have been filmed there and there are lots of movie sets, etc. It was pretty touristy. We went to an amusement park there and the huge Qing Dynasty Palace set. Next we went to Shaoxing, but we didn’t spend a lot of time there. The last place we went was Suzhou’s Tai Lake (太湖). The lake is enormous and very pretty. We took a boat to an island in the middle of the lake called San Shan Island, where we spent the night. The island was so pretty and relaxing! Everyone rode bikes around the island trails, we ate fish, shrimp, and vegetables from the island, stayed in a family-run hotel, and bought things from local vendors.
I really enjoyed spending time with my host family over the break, especially getting to know my host aunt and uncle and cousin. They’re all so nice. My aunt would blow dry and brush my hair at night for me, and they really made me feel like part of the family. I also picked up a lot of useful Chinese phrases.