After ten months of living in Xi'an, we finally did what tourists do and visited the most famous cultural site: the Terracotta Warriors. Were we impressed? Sure. Were we more happy to find the place not too crowded? Absolutely (how very un-China). Even though we knew what we were going into, we still enjoyed ourselves at the Terracotta Warrior exhibit.
What a week of celebrations! On Friday, we were fortunate to celebrate Children's Day at our school, and Sunday to Tuesday we celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival— one of China's major holidays. Read on to learn all about the activities we experienced, the food we ate, and all the wonderful memories we made.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve spent most of our afternoons learning tai chi, a form of Chinese martial arts. I wish I could say this was a leisurely activity we chose to do on our own, but it wasn’t— our school asked us to take part in a city-wide competition. We were their token white people.
When we landed back from Thailand in our smoggy city, reality hit: it was back to teaching 2,400 students and dealing with Chinese city life. Luckily, spring time weather and clearer air greeted us and kept us sane during the first couple weeks in Xi'an.
If you went to school in New England, you can probably remember a few of your school trips. For me, growing up near Portland and Boston allowed for several memorable school trips, usually of some historical significance— to the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, Portland Headlight, and Faneuil Hall, just to name a few. Regardless of where you were going, the anticipation and excitement you felt the night before a school trip was enough to keep you up all night. The extra time you took to pack your favorite snacks, the thought of sitting with your best friends on the bus, the pure joy of knowing you didn’t have to be in a classroom all day— we all lived for trips like these.
Walking around Xi’an, I often have to stop and think, “Am I in New York City?” Monstrously high buildings tower over me, flashy billboards line the horizon, and street vendors line up on nearly every corner, hoping to sell a cellphone case or a roasted sausage on a stick. Busses zoom by with little to no regard for pedestrians, cars weave from lane to lane, taxi drivers never seem to stop pressing on their horns. The smells of a city of 9 million contrast with the aromas of freshly steamed dumplings and spicy grilled meats— your nose is constantly flipping from misery to ecstasy, and back again.