Note: All pictures today are from the internet
Today we bade our bittersweet farewell to the countryside. After a relaxing, silly, albeit still very educational weekend, it was time to go “home.” The last two weeks in Nanjing have definitely solidified our connection with the city. We woke to our breakfast fare of tea eggs, fluffy and soft steamed buns 馒头 man tou, golden deep fried glutinous rice sesame balls filled with sweet black sesame paste 麻团 ma2tuan2, the typical rice porridge 粥 zhou, and a new treat: pumpkin jerky. The pumpkin jerky was pliable yet chewy, with heavy spices and just a hint of sweetness. We had our weekly discussion, talking about what we learned this week through experiences and guest lectures, synthesizing our reactions and opinions. For lunch, we were on our own. A group of 6 and I went to one of the only two restaurants in Bishan, and ordered seven dishes. We ate eggs and tomatoes, vermicelli noodles, tofu, white rice, edamames, potato slivers and Chinese broccoli. The vermicelli noodles were boiled with sweet pork, soy sauce and onions, giving it a hearty brown color. The edamames, also known as soybeans, were lightly stir fried with red bell peppers and tofu, giving the dish a slight glistening sheen off the fresh green beans. The tofu was fried, and then re-stir fried with more bell peppers. We think the tofu might have been similar to the fermented, fuzzy tofu 毛豆腐 mao dou fu (literally fur tofu) we tried in Chengkan. It had a similar savory flavor, with the slightest taste of fish.
After eating our fill, we boarded the bus for a six-hour ride back to Nanjing. On the bus, we slept, chitchatted and studied. We watched the scenario outside change from the road winding around flowing rivers and mountains covered in towering bamboo shoots and countless rotund tea bushes to highways surrounded by bright billboards and neon colored Chinese signs announcing stores and restaurants.
The weekend was certainly a nice break from our everyday school routine. But as strange as it sounds, I must admit I’m slightly excited to get back to class and learn. I’ve grown accustomed to the routine structure. What I’m not as ready for are the finals that are happening this week, but I think we can all pull through. Wish us luck!