On my lonely nights after I'm off work, I tend to go to the town square. While there, I just kinda chill all by my lonesome and read or work on some word/number problems (yes, call me nerdy, I don't care). It's actually quite a nice time, until people come over to me and start speaking Chinese to me. That's when the chaos occurs. Everyone then decides to huddle around. Cameras out, mouths yapping. I most times don't know how to respond. There was one evening were a little 8yr old girl came and sat by me. I asked, "你会说英语吗" (Nǐ huì shuō Yīngyǔ ma or "Do you speak English")? She then responded saying NO! Why come and sit down, expecting a conversation, when clearly we couldn't speak each other's languages?! That was my initial thinking. But then, after an hour of conversing, which was all in 中文 (Zhōngwén or Chinese), I was very grateful for the blessed chance to be with her. Yes, we did big forth a little crowd, which I purposely ignored; it was just me and her in our own little world. I had my translate phrase app and would look at it, speak it, and then show her to have her correct me. She then responded, and I, naturally, had NO idea what she said. But it definitely was good practice! I went into work the next day and my coworkers were amazed with the random bits of Chinese that I threw out, thanks to the little girl.
It was my birthday the other week, and I got to celebrate it Chinese style! First off, my coworkers gave me a few gifts including lollipops, a bottle of yogurt, pop rocks (which yes, do still make me sick), some towels, cookies (except they weren't really cookies and were kinda gross....), a China tea set, and my own authentic pair of chopsticks with the Chinese flower on them. They then took me out to dinner. We went to a restaurant where we ordered about 7 different dishes. They bought me a cake, sang to me in Chinese, and I ate noodles because it's a tradition on your birthday symbolizing having a long, healthy life. I love my new friends here!
So, I did two things in China that I never imagined I would do. 1) I went to the salon and got my hair colored, and 2) I bought a dog. Why, you ask? Because it was more than half the cost as what it would be in America; it is dirt cheap. My impulsive nature won out, and I just did it. Do I regret it? No way! My puppy, Duke is the cutest thing, ever! He's a 3mts old little brown poodle (they call it a Teddy here). And my hair? It didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, but it's getting there! China is pretty dang great! Also, if you have a dog, you have INSTANT friends. Taking Duke to the town square has helped people actually have the courage to approach me, which has been everyone's desire, but now they have a true purpose. To say it's been a fun time would be an understatement. I'm absolutely loving it here!! I'm so happy that I still have 5 more weeks! I am planning to go to Qingdao for the beach, Beijing to check out the Great Wall, and Hong Kong to go to the temple. It'll be a grand remaining time!