On Wednesday after school this week I went back to volunteer at the China Care Home orphanage. I really enjoy talking to the children there because their language level is so much closer to mine, so I'm more comfortable speaking Chinese with them.
Thursday was Thanksgiving, which is not celebrated in China, but we had a special celebration at school anyway. There was an amazing buffet for lunch with all the traditional dishes like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. They even had some of the best pumpkin and apple pies I’ve ever tasted. As part of the lunch, I and all the semester students received cards signed by many of my classmates saying goodbye. I was very touched by the nice things my classmates wrote to me.
On Saturday I took a day trip to Tianjin with my friends. Tianjin is 70 miles away but takes only 30 mins by bullet train and costs just $10 to get there. Tianjin was fascinating to visit after living in China for so long because it is almost shockingly different. As a concession city after the Opium Wars, Tianjin looks very European. It also had a more relaxed feel to it than I am used to from Beijing, and I did’t see many people around, which was surprising for a city with 9.3 million people (the 4th largest in China). We had a great time exploring the old concession areas as well as visiting ancient marketplaces and the Tianjin Eye ferris wheel.