Today (Monday, February 22nd) is the Lantern Festival. So far for the lantern festival we have eaten special glutenous rice balls (called yuan xiao) and dumplings (so I was super excited). I also went to school today to introduce myself to the teachers in Chinese. It went well. For the most part, people understood what I was saying! Tomorrow I will introduce myself to all of the students (again in Chinese). I start classes on Wednesday.
Since I last posted, I have switched families agian. My new family lives in a huge apartment that takes up 3 floors. It has 3 bedrooms, 4 living rooms, 1 study, and 3 balconies. Every time you switch floors, you also have to switch slippers. I also went ice skating, which didn't go so well, but I had fun. The ice skating rink was located on the top floor of a mall right next to a fountain that was set to American music. I am always really amused when stores and restaurants are playing American music because the majority of the people in the store have no idea what it is saying.
I also have learned to make noodles that are similar to shell noodles and taught my host family how to make pizza. They went out and bought frozen pizza dough, so I could teach them. Of course the pizza was very Chinese because it had Hunt's spaghetti sauce, sausage, onions, cucumbers, carrots, salami, tomatoes, and beef on it because that was what toppings my host mom thought would be good on pizza. We made our pizza in a toaster oven because Chinese kitchens do not have ovens! It was actually pretty good, but I don't think I would choose to eat that combination agian!
I went to the Olympic ping pong training base outside of Shijiazhuang. It was very interesting to see how young the children are when they start to learn ping pong. My host family then took me to play ping pong and badmitton at the school. I never realized how aggressive badmitton was until I watched the teachers play.
My host family also finally believed me when I said that I could play mahjong and let me play. It was great. I won a couple of rounds, which always surprised my host family because I was not used to playing their style of mahjong and they kept mumbling "American mahjong is different" to eachother in Chinese, but I showed them that I could play Chinese mahjong just as well. The mahjong tiles are kind of similar to a deck of cards because they have suits and numbers in a similar way. I lined up all of the tiles from 1 to 9 (lowest to highest) in one of the suits. My host student explained to me that if we were betting with money, I would have won a lot of money if I won with that hand.