If asked to describe our favorite memory from our time in Zhongdian, the two of us would have trouble choosing just one. This trip has been packed with so many unique and unbelievable experiences.
The wet market was arguably one of the most authentic and raw (literally) places either of us have ever been. It was full of different spices, vegetables, and meats combined with the hustle and bustle of people. The butcher shops were especially brutal. Seeing a pig head, whole geese and ducks, along with intestines and hearts was a lot to stomach right before dinner.
Speaking of dinner…
The food here is amazing. Maybe a bit more intimidating now that we’ve seen where everything comes from, but it is still fun to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and try fermented “thousand-year-old” eggs and yak butter tea. Despite mystery meats and fish eyes, we both agree meal times are usually the moments where we all get to know each other the most. Everything from gathering around as someone bravely swallows a chicken head to talking about the crazy shenanigans the kids created makes each moment special. Dinner typically ends in tears – either caused by laughter over stories told or the raw peppers eaten.
That communication though.
The language barrier with the kids has been quite a hurdle to navigate. Apparently the English phrase “Sit down and listen” actually translates to Chinese as “Run around and cause chaos!” Although talking is circuitous, writing confusing, and body language ambiguous, we have both learned how to write a few Chinese figures and have received Chinese names from the kids. They are always so excited to teach us new things and are incredibly patient as they calmly repeat the same word over and over until we get the tones just right.
The Wildflower Activity:
Our nature hike to collect flowers was a huge success. Every kid loved running around the hills and finding new specimens to describe, identify, and press. It was one of our most fun and exciting activities, along with The Ultimate Paper Airplane Bracket, water bottle bowling, the Napahai litter cleanup, and the jumbo clothing relay!
While impossible to determine a favorite memory, we both agree the relationships built with the kids as well as with each other will never be forgotten.
Kat and Abby