Having already experienced what is "tomorrow" for you, dear home & Putney people, I can guarantee that the world hasn't ended yet, so have a wonderful day :) 


What is China?

This is a really good video that encaptures every little detail of life here, my History and Geography teacher here showed it to us, its really worth watching!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Comments: 6
  • #6

    Georgia (Thursday, 15 January 2015 19:18)

    So glad you guys are having so much fun! We all miss you back on the hill!!

    XoXo

    G

  • #5

    Eleodoro Ventocilla (Wednesday, 14 January 2015 10:59)

    Querida sobrina que maravillosa experiencia!!!. Me encanta este blog tan bien documentado, se vé que has heredado la acuciosidad de tus padres y el espíritu periodístico de tu abuelo Eleodoro Eloy. Sigue disfrutando y aprendiendo. Cariños

  • #4

    Jorge Ventocilla (Wednesday, 14 January 2015 10:41)

    Recien hoy puedo ver tu blog Ani: que genial todas esas experiencias vividas! ...Sigan aprendiendo, disfrutando y compartiendo mucho!

    Coqui

  • #3

    samantha (Monday, 12 January 2015 08:06)

    Hello

  • #2

    Sarai King (Saturday, 10 January 2015 12:17)

    This looks amazing!! And makes me hungry. Enjoy your adventures- can't wait to see more!!

  • #1

    Beth (Saturday, 10 January 2015 06:16)

    Wow...the world sideways...and then upside down. Hope let lag doesn't last too long.

    Very proud of you all. Much love,
    Mom

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Dazu Day Trip

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Apart from being small and fluffy, dogs in China have their very own personalities!

----------------------------Student Art and Campus at the Chongqing college district-------------------------------

1.Naked lady sculptures were dotted across a garden

2.Shared or private studios

3.prints

4." "

5." "

6." "

7." "

8." "

9." "

10.human hair art

11." "

12." "

13.little birds made out of ceramic

14.pottery studio

15.layers and layers resembling flower petals

16.their new museum was being built, and its exterior was entirely covered in intricate tiles!

17.ladies!

18.ladies!!

19.ladies!!! (ps if you haven't done any figure drawing with nude models yet and have the chance, go for it, I promise its fantastic!)

20. vroooom vrrrroooom

21.Hallways in the studio buildings I wrote a tiny poem about:

           1/12

Dark alleys & cafeteria food,

& studios with cute dogs and human hair exhibitions,

But its cold inside & sunny outside,

so love your parents 'cus its simple,

its time to grow & go but always remember,

to relive & give

even in the winter.

 

22.IT WAS SUNNY OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME!

23.Alec turned twenty, 生日快乐!

 

Little everyday struggles 

Toilets: they just aren't a thing

to the left is the slightly unconventional object 

and to the right Ruby has discovered the -rare-but-legitimate- toilet!

We're used to them by now but its still pretty funny (:

Inodoros: aca no hay!

a la izquierda esta la instalacion inconvencional, y a la derecha Ruby descubrio un inodoro! Ya nos acostumbramos a los baños chinos pero aun dan risa

Baking in China: it ain't easy

but decoding the recipe was the highlight of our night!

Here's our slightly blue banana bread ------------>

Laundry: whaaaaaat?

you cant exactly ask a machine to explain with hand gestures, but I was rewarded with warm, sweet -smelling clothes!


Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

 

We went out on our own around Chongqing city today, went into little shops, and even overcame our banking blues by going into 2 banks! We crossed many busy busy streets and perfected our speed walking, drivers here are terrifying but proficient.

 

We also found a supermarket with an endless supply of down-padded pants and matching patterned outfits that are VERY in style (patterns are especially high in the grandma fashion scale) we've counted over 5 different patters on one person, and they were rad lookin'.

 

Since the Lunar New Year is right around the corner the streets are filled with vendors with baskets of tied up branches of little yellow flowers that give off a sweet scent!

 

Hot Springs!

 

To my surprise and delight, Chongqing has a Hot Springs district! Out of the city and into the mountains in less than half an hour. We drove by many many grand spa-esque looking places until we reached Ronghui, with its shinny marble floors and bushy flora everywhere. Everyone is given a key card bracelet that when swiped opens your locker and is used to keep count of your towel withdrawal. To enter, guys and girls get  separated and filtered into their corresponding changing rooms, which then meet at a lobby-like place that the first pool is connected to.


Lockers are equipped with shoes, a towel, and some hangers. After changing I got my pink flip flops on, one with with a little apple logo emblem and the other with an upside down nike logo (rocking that shoe fashion), and joined the girls. We took showers and had existential conversations in the sauna until Ruby's necklaces got really hot and we had to get out.

 

All giggly and very excited we entered the first pool, it was indoors and had various water-blasting underwater massaging devices, we swam about and took turns trying everything. A lot of funny faces and squeals were made during this time.


We moved on to the outdoor section of Ronghui, which begins ascending with foot baths, two which you just walk by, and then two with fish in them that eat dead skin.

We discovered the wave pool when the very loud American pop music and swooshing -sloshing sounds appeared. We went in for a bit, but we stood out because we lacked plastic bags with our phones in them. Everyone either had their hand up or was using their phone yelling, it was a contrast from the serenity and isolation vibe...so we vamoosed.

Up we went into the magical mountain dotted with pools that were secluded from the stone path! We pool hopped from aqua to lighter hues of blue, to dark red and tan, to green and then white. All while admiring how soft it made our skin, and how it made us feel!

We met these very nice sisters at the original pool, one of them had gone to live in L.A while her son was in highschool, and she encouraged us to speak everything we knew how to say in Chinese to her sisters! It was a lot of fun, especially seeing their reaction when we said "Chongqing shi hen piaoliang! wo men ai Chongqing!" (Chongqing is beautiful, we love Chongqing) they were very proud locals. 

We even received a marriage proposal to one of their sons, "he can't seem to find a girlfriend!" said his mom in Chinese. It was really funny! 

when night fell we went to dinner, which was a two room buffet, still displaying a huge fully frosted and decked out gingerbread house.Christmas never ends in China. We tried all sorts of things, like komquats and dragonfruit.

Some of us headed back for a last peaceful soak in essential oils while others took a nap, and two hours later we met at the changing rooms. Busy busy busy changing rooms; people in all stages of nakedness walking this way and that, hairdryers whirring, showers splashing,.. But we returned to the apartment very happy and relaxed.

 Ronghui Hot Springs

 

Address:  Lishuwan,                 ShapingbaChongqing, China

first five minutes!

water blasting massage showers

 Ruby's footsies getting fish therapy

           The Springs

  • cedar-lined baths
  • personal soaking tubs
  • contrast pools right next to each other (42º C and14º C)
  • essential oil pools: milk, licorice, angelica, red wine, green tea, coffee, lavender, cassia twig, etc...
  • seven medicinal pools, for "cleaning liver", "calming down", and "body building" , etc...

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 (our first full week!)

we ain't shy of physical activities;

Tai Chi with the best ladies in the stadium

Chongqing square dancing!

     We ventured into the bright city night streets buzzing with energy and joined the square dance!

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

24 hour train ride...

The Great Wall of China

Friday 16th-Wednesday 21st, 2015

We're moving quickly!

We went from Chongqing to Chengdu (missed our first train,oops!) and from Chengdu we took a 24 hour train to Beijing,wonderful bonding experience, and arrived at Beijing. We've been to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City which were both amazing sights and experiences that made me feel the size of a pea who rolled right out of its little pod and into a Hot Pot, yum.

 

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Bird's Nest
Bird's Nest

We experienced snow at China's National Olympic Stadium!

we miss brunch!

Last sunday my roomate ran around brunch snappin pictures of loved ones, we think about you guys and miss you

(especially when we give presentations about Putney!).

Monday, January 26th, 2015


 Zhengshou's #47 high school, a very beautiful boarding school with so many wonderful students that are our friends now!, yesterday we spent the whole day with them presenting power points about our schools and getting to know each other. Since they are very passionate about their school, and we are so in love wih our dear Putney that we could talk for hours on end about it, we had class with Group 1 class 1 & 3. We asked each other good questions and learnt about boarding and the ways culture affects our schooling career. We are going back tomorrow to hang out at the "English Corner" where students get to practice their English!

Tuesday, January 27th,2015

 

This is Noweeko, who graciously led us around Kaifeng on a cold cold COLD day.

 

We went to a Disneyland-like park characterized by the painted men who sat like statues and scared us when poked, our friend Leo found out the hard way.


She sent us this picture from the tea shop we popped into to unfreeze.


Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The Foreign Language School #2 in Luoyang welcomed us warmly with delicious food, china necklaces, and a lot of happy toasting.

Thursday,January 29th,2015

       Embracing the moments when Cai whips out her camera while everyone is mid-bite!

Friday, January 30th, 2015

 Today we traveled back to our beloved Chongqin!

No more snow, it is lush and green and fantastic to be back.

 

Hoy viajamos de vuelta a nuestro querido Chongqin!

No mas nieve, aca las plantas estan frondosas y verdes, es fantastico estar aca!


 

 


Journal entries from the past few days;

Mi diario en los ultimos dias;

Saturday, January 31st, 2015


Today was a very relaxing day, which we

haven't had in a while but really really needed, so we woke up late and madeeeeee............

                         

                             Wontons!


   ~Meat, ginger,salt, soy sauce, sesame sauce,  bok choi, and one egg ~



(The American flag tablecloth is one of many house welcoming gestures by Cai's brother

Lee)

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

                                 Art Attack!

Dandelion Edu. Think Tank is a gallery in Chongqin  displaying various interesting and beautiful creations, from jewelry to oil paintings, from ceramic tea pots to wine,etc...

 

We discussed art; what is art,how it makes us feel, why we do it, how we do it... and all those deep questions that our artistic selves can go on and on about. Later we got to collab with them on a big blank sheet of ricepaper with a brush and ink that we passed around!  

                                                                                                                                          exhibited at  DETT

                                                                                          Running off to the circus has been a childhood                                                                                        dream of mine, and I bet it'll still be when I'm an old                                                                                                  lady!(if it hasn't come true by then ofcourse)

Monday,February 2nd, 2015




First day of art classes!

We learnt paper cutting,

geography and history of China,

traditional painting,

had a grammar session,

and the ancient instrument called "gu zhen".

Tuesday , February 3rd, 2015

The Disabled Peoples' Center 

 

We visited this center in Chongqing that offers people with mental disabilities of many levels art classes, resume composition, prepares them for work and finds job opportunities for them.

 

Everyone was very happy and ready to talk about themselves and what they liked to do!

We went around the circle introducing each other and striking a pose we liked, it was so much fun to be with them

Wednesday 4th - Sunday 8th

I was sick, yuck.



Friday, February 13th, 2015

 Freaky Friday!


62 postcards and a package from us go off into the world!

Dear ones in Panama, Peru, Belgium, Germany, and the US, you'll be getting some Chinese love in the next month or so.

 

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Love is in the air today! Modern Chinese people that have started celebrating holidays like Christmas and Valentines Day were spotted around town holding hands and cradling rose bouquetes.

Jenn and I had quite a day too, since it was our first day with our host family:

 We made wontons with Aiyi and I got to "eat dinner" with my parents via FaceTime!

After lunch GeGe (our host brother) and his pengyou (friend)  Bill were upstairs creating beautiful melodies on the piano. We had a 4 round tea ceremony with our host dad who speaks no english at all but loves to play charades with us to decipher what we're trying to say, he laughs a lot!

 


The weather was so beautiful today, with all the peach and cherry blossoms in full bloom, that we spent hours walking outside and talking to GeGe and Bill about our cultures and habits, our host brother is a pianist and his best friend is a singer, they are a fun combo.

Coffee is very popular amongst teens here so we waited out the hour after dinner and before a movie at Starbucks (first time I'd ever been to one, so China is a good place to start, right?) 

After the movie we wandered outside to find that it was raining, and the smell of petrichor was all around us, I embraced the humidity and felt like I was back home, it was lovely.

Afternote: When we got back to the apartment, Cai was delighted to see us and after showering I noticed that she had gotten roses, so I pointed that out... and guess what?! They had been delivered all the way from Brattleboro VT! Her husband wasnt sure they would get there but the company promised him they would! YAY ROMANTIC GESTURES!

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

 Today we experienced a gloomy Chongqin day, but made the best of it by walking to the park by the Yellow River.

Children were busy flying kites while others considered it to be a good photoshoot day;  we saw a girl dressed in Japanese cosplay getting professional pictures taken, and a bride and groom posing by a peach tree covered in blossoms!  These other trees are covered in plastic, its a winter thing.

So we walk to what we think is a restaurant, but as we enter it seems to be a supermarket with all its sections: bread, produce, seafood, ice cream, sushi,-wait-what?!

They love food,we love food, everyone loves food... so our family took us to an enormous buffet for dinner! (except we didn't know this until we got there)

The table was equipped with a 小火锅 (small hot pot) at the center, and our mom said the seafood was excellent at that place (later discovered it was called the Four Seas) and she went to get some mini catfish to put in the  hot pot!



This is Jenns plate of piled up desserts


Monday,February 15th, 2015

Back to the apartment and our normal schedule, all five lovelies reunited!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2015

                         Our beautiful and multi-talented paper cutting teacher drew us! 


Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

New Years Eve


                                                                     古箏(gu zhen) recording day


Then its back to our homestays, this time for longer, although we get to see eachother again for a night on the 23rd, when Hannah & Ruby change homestays, and we go back to ours again 

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Chinese New Years 新的一年 

 Happy Chinese New Years!

Family, fireworks, felicity

Friday, February 20th, 2015 -2 weeks left in China

My email felt like working so we were able to know what was going and on back at wo men de xue xiao 学校 (our school) and that was how this dorm video was created!

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

                                                                 Fairgrounds and Hong Ya Dong

This was one of those times when we get into the car without knowing our destination. We drove from one side of the river to the other, from what used to be the more developed side of Chongqing to the present one, and turned up at a carnival!

Gege led us through a sea of cars and people. People and cars everywhere. People in cars. People of all sizes and ages and emotional states.

The sky was as grey as always, a huge contrast from the brightly colored plastic just about everything.

It smelled of smoke and oil, with the occasional wiff of sweetness.

Gege hadn't been to this carnival since he was ten, and started every sentence with "eight years ago"

turns out eight years ago there weren't as many food stands, which was funny because thats pretty much all there is now. We got two "pipas" as we call them at home in Panama, "椰子" as it is in Chineseor "sweetcocnut"as the box they were in proclaimed to be. They took them to be opened and given straws where we couldn't see them for about 6 minuteskinda shady...

So with drinks to last us a while, we people watched! I shamelessly chased a little kid with a bubble gun to get some awesome pictures on color film. He was giggly and walked with that over-bundled-3-year-old sway.

We joined crowds that starred up wide-mouthed at the daredevils who got on the unsafe looking rides,

then I coaxed Jenn to get a flower crown which is pretty much this festivals' head branding that screams "I WENT TO A CARNIVAL TODAY!" she chose a pretty pink one :)

We did that I'mtryingtogetsomewherebutI'mnotreallyinahurry walk that everyone at a carnival does, and passed several Indian food stands with men that spun dough and thew it up high before frying it up, until we reached a stand with very nice Indian men who spoke both English, Chongqing hua (difficult dialect from the area) and pu tong hua (what most people speak in China). I asked for them to surprise me with a dish, and they made yummy fried bananas in flatbread, and even posed for a film camera while the shudder slowly went off!

Today was a happy day!

Jin tian shi kuai le!

Our mom, He Laoshi and our brother Gege by the Huanghe (Yellow River) after the fair.


One of my favorite things about our mom is the way she always brings us sliced oranges when we're reading or writing, and they always taste sweet but with a soft undertone of the last thing she'd been chopping, usually scallions or garlic.

Its such a pretty gesture and I love the taste of the undertone because she'd been doing something else, stopped to make us a little snack, and then resumed :)


That night we went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner (wo men chi wan fan de ri ban fan)

-I love how my phrases are getting longer and longer- and our host dad didn't know we were eating out so when he called and we were mid dinner, our mom just giggled!

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

 

See the red dish? Those are fried eels swimming in a pool of hot red peppers...Ah!

Our family likes them on rainy days apparently.

Today was extra special because we went to the Hot Springs for the second time!

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 

Back to the apartment for a day!


It happened earlier than scheduled though, Jenn felt sick so we hurried back to Cai.

The other two lovelies got back at night and we counted the days we had left (12) and the days we have been here for (48). 


Couldn't sleep at all



Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Last night we decided that we wanted to spend one more day together, so this day was spent traditional clothes shopping at Hong Ya Dong (disguised  as a cobblestone street with little eateries and shops overlooking old Chongqing across the river, but is actually a 9 storied underground market).

We'd separately been there before with our host families but both parties had the same idea; we'd be back as a group! 

Having experienced the place before made this shopping spree very efficient! As soon as we got off the bus we knew which streets to cross and where to turn (had a near death experience crossing the last road but we are already used to those), and made our way straight to the little elevator positioned behind a huge pirate ship statue. Lets just say, elevators in China tend to be as overcrowded as possible. Down we went, to Hong Ya Dong's first floor, and the massaging object, incense, Buddha bead, silk, and other knickknacks craze began.

We bargained in Chinese  by ourselves!!!!!, talked to vendors and people who said they recognized us from a previous day! "ni men de zhong wen shi hen hao!" they exclaimed.

Everyone else was bummed because they didn't fit into Chinese shoes, but this little 7 1/2  footed chica was having a wonderful time!

 


We got back to the apartment late at night with all our new treasures.

With aid from the many hotel sewing kits I've collected on this journey, I gave my new coat some interior pockets with snaps!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

                                                            proof that we're still alive &  rad

Jenn and I returned to our homestay family today, we brought our Putney Sing book (our host brother/really good pianist Gege has gone to Putney during Summer Programs and knows our favorite songs) and my mini jimbe drum, with big music-making, fun-having plans!

 

                                         Chinese American Fast Food for the next two nights 

Busy parents, happy teenage son, and our freaked out tastebuds screaming "This shouldn't be spicy!"


Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Aiyi returned from her Spring Festival week off, and is back to gracing our family with delicious "wu fan" aka lunch.  Gege practiced all morning and we set off to play badminton outside. 

Today was very low key, and when I was flipping through my journal I realized I never actually blogged about the MOST PERSONALLY HEARTWARMING EXPERIENCE I'VE HAD IN CHINA YET, so here we go:

 

Fri. Feb 13. 15

It was our last day together before heading off to our homestays for the first time, so we had an outdoor Hot Pot dinner with our teachers. I was pretty jittery and excited already, the four of us squirming in our seats and laughing a lot!  Our group filled up two tables and everyone was happy and having a good time, I was mid -angry red color of the Hot Pot boiling in front of me-spaceout when suddenly I hear the word "Argentina" being said from across the table! It was a one hundred percent PERFECT accent! My head spun to face where such a sound could have come from and there were Lee  and He Laoshi's husband grinning at me! Lee smiles and announces "Xibanya yu!"("Spanish!") I nod and repeat "Xibanya yu" as if agreeing, "yeah, thats what it is". But then I REALIZED HOW BIG A DEAL IT WAS! I was so shocked but was able to mumble "wow, ni de xi ban ya yu shi hen hao!" (your spanish is really good!) and then he laughed and said "si, un poquito!"

I was so surprised that the next thing I know I need to hold on to something tightly! Ruby was next to me, therefore nominated my freakout partner. So I'm clutching Ruby's arm in one hand and flailing my other one while trying to suppress my squeals, my eyes huge and watery! All this plus hand gestures to explain how exciting it was...nonverbally because at this point there are thee languages bouncing around my brain! I was sosososososo HAPPY! It had been over a month since I'd spoken Spanish to a real person! (my parents don't count because Skyping isn't the same {por si estan leyendo esto Ta y Madrehayunasola; los quiero muchisimo!}) and here's this guy using DIMINUTIVES! I know people who have taken Spanish all their schooling career and cant use a DIMINUTIVE! 

Meanwhile my new spanish speaking friend is wondering why I'm joyfully crying, so he's confused, and I'm overwhelmed and everyone else is amused!


He Laoshi's husband -not the same He Laoshi as my host mom, but her sister!- had been to Argentina for one year, ten years ago, because his mother does acupuncture there. He said he never thought he'd use his spanish again, much less in China!

 

Life is full of surprises, remember to laugh and make the best of them!

Love to whoever you are wherever you are,

Ani Miquela

 

 

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Today we saw a mongoose scamper across the stone wall in our yard. It was clumsy yet slick, and got away pretty fast.

yay suburban wildlife! 


Eight days till my return

soon I'll be getting a sunburn

two times four makes me feel better

and so does writing a letter

pictures of home warm the soul

host mom peeks at them from her wonton bowl

sleepless nights haunt my rest

I drew a yogi to protect my nest

Last week in China

Jenn wrote a very beautiful poem as closure about our stay;

                                                                                   China Snapshots

A trash bag full of rosebuds in a tea shop in Chongqing.
A sad and worried Ruby looking for her two lost rings.
A father dog and scruffy pup.
Some rice milk in a bamboo cup.
The New Year’s Eve sky lighting up–
and subway-riding Sings.

The Great Wall glowing richly in the morning Mongol sun.
The first time Hannah tied her dreads into a messy bun.
The baozi, jiaozi, by the score,
A tabby sprawled outside a store,
A note on the apartment door–
and early-morning runs.

The existential people-watching while upon the bus.
The uncle who was able to say Spanish words to us.
Kaifeng, Beijing, Luoyang, Chengdu.
The countless stamps adhered with glue.
That one day when the sky was blue–
and chewy black fungus.

Becoming acclimated to the Chinese daily life.
Infrequent but expected bouts of stress-provoked group strife.
The China Dolls are here to stay–
For fifty-eight days, anyway–
We’re sunny, though the sky is grey,
and we love the nightlife.

We’ve been here for awhile now; two months, to be precise.
I can’t say that I’ve missed traversing snowy roads and ice.
Although it’s been a crazy ride,
*cough cough, Spencer the tour guide*
I’m so glad that I left stateside
and took Jadi’s advice.

A gift that I received, which was a scarlet wooden comb.
A sculpture at the art school, which was coated thick in chrome.
The fried rice ball snacks brought by Le,
The man who smiled back at me,
The green for every eye to see,
and planes to take us home.


I later developed my color film...