Every person got to go to a different home for a full day last Saturday. I felt quite fortunate because I was put in the group heading to Bruce’s family’s house. I went with Nicole Pudlo and three Chinese student ambassadors Bruce, Alex, and Carrie. I wasn’t sure what to expect at all, so I asked each of the ambassadors about Bruce’s family. Bruce told me his mother was a librarian and his father was a manager of some kind. On the other hand, Alex and Carrie said Bruce was “very rich” and started spinning tales about him living in a “castle”.
Upon actually arriving, I confirmed my suspicions that Alex and Carrie were greatly exaggerating. Bruce’s family lives in an upper-floor apartment that is not especially large. However, what Alex and Carrie said might not have been completely off base. From what I have gathered, it takes quite a bit of wealth to own a home/apartment of even modest size in Chinese cities. Leaving the compact size aside though, the apartment was lovely. It was clear they had decorated the living room with care to display pictures, mostly of their happy family. Bruce’s father prepared a delicious meal for us consisting of various veggies, fish, pig belly, duck, and even turtle! The turtle in particular was a favorite of mine, and I was glad I got the chance to eat it for the very first time.
After the meal, Bruce took us to a series of fun activities: a zoo, a small kid’s amusement park, and a temple on a mountain. Quite unfortunately, the zoo had no pandas so I have still been unable to fulfill that goal. But it did have deer, peacocks, monkeys, and other entertaining creatures. The rides in the amusement park were all designed for people with much smaller legs than my own. Of course, I didn’t let that stop me from ramming full speed into Bruce, Alex, and some random small kids in bumper cars! The temple was a bit of a trek up a mountain, and the day was hot so it wasn’t easy. However, the difficult climb made reaching the top of the temple even more satisfying, especially thanks to the pleasant breeze we could feel at the top. The top of the temple featured a breathtaking view over the city of Hangzhou. All in all, it was a really fun home visit that helped me get to knew Bruce and his family much better.