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Published: October 25th 2010
On Friday the twenty-second everyone had a day off of classes for Sichuan University's seasonly sports competition. This is an inter-campus competition. Students from the Sichuan University schools of law, hydroelectric engineering, foreign language, business, etc. competed with each other in events such as the 100 meter, 400 meter, 1500 meter, shot put, javelin, soccer...
On Friday morning the opening ceremony began at 8 am. Only three or four abroad students were competing in events, so our Chinese teachers worked hard to recruit more of us to walk in the opening ceremony. It didn't take much. Each participant received a free track suit: bright red with 海外 on the back, meaning "abroad." So, after a night out I woke up at 6:30 to get myself ready and walk over to the stadium near South gate.
The various groups of Chinese students were ten times more prepared than we were. They had marches and chants prepared. Some of them did dances, or shot confetti cannons, or lifted each other into the air. We couldn't even manage to walk in straight lines. When we reached the judges we waved at them. As soon as we made it to our spot on the field, our quasi-lines collapsed. Some people sat on the ground. The Thai girls took photo after photo of one another. A man in front of me had his dog with him. The man in front of him had a child balanced on his shoulders. But what else can you expect from the foreigners.
After all of the groups had marched in, the patriotic music ceased playing and a series of cadres gave speeches. Only then were we allowed to file out.
In the afternoon, my dad met me at the South gate. He is in China for business and took a weekend to come and visit me!
I wanted to take him to the potato restaurant, but it was closed between lunch and dinner, so we caught a taxi to go to Bookworm. But the taxi driver couldn't find it, so we went to Grandmother's Kitchen instead. It wasn't the same, but it was still good. Chicken fingers, fries, and a strawberry milkshake. We talked and ate, then went back to campus so I could give him a tour.
Campus was unusually busy this weekend because there was the sports competition, as well as a cybernetics conference, as well as a Western Asia International something something convention.
We stopped at the Sichuan University gift shop and Sabrina's Country Store. We walked until our feet were sore. Then we walked back to the potato restaurant for dinner, because it is the best.
We had shoelace potatoes (for which we call the restaurant), chicken with peppers and peanuts, and egg and tomato. It was great.
The next day Dad and I met up at ten am and took a taxi to Jingli, the traditional tourist street next to Wenxu monastery. We went to Starbucks, of course. We sat and enjoyed our coffee. I gave Dad my absentee ballot, which I had filled out the night before. We walked up and down Jingli, went back to Starbucks to buy Mom a Chengdu Starbucks mug with a panda on it, and then walked up and down Tibet street.
We had Tibetan food for lunch. Too too much. Yak, potato, veggie pie and celery with lotus root. Delicious, but so much food, so little time.
After lunch we went to the bamboo park next to my school. We ordered two cups of tea and sat next to the river. I pulled out my portable Chinese chess set and attempted to teach Dad how to play. While we were playing several people approached us. A masseuse and an ear cleaner wanted me to translate a page of characters for them. I could tell that it was about ear cleaning and massaging, but I wouldn't have been able to translate it without time and a dictionary. Two men also came over to see how our chess game was going. One of them helped me prevent my cannon from being taken by Dad's horse. The other helped Dad win, so the game was over after that.
After we sat and talked for a while longer, we walked to the West gate again so that I could pick up cake baking supplies from Sabrina's Country Store. Due to all of the events going on over the weekend, not many hotel rooms were open. So Dad ended up at a long term hotel for overseas businessmen in China. So he had a kitchen with an oven in it. Our dorms do not have ovens, so Clare, Audrey, and I were pretty excited.
We walked back to the dorm. I packed all of the stuff that I wanted Dad to take home for me. Then Clare and Audrey grabbed their eggs and vegetable oil and we all took a cab to my dad's hotel.
It was a nice room. Clean and soft and clean. I was/am jealous.
We mixed up all the ingredients: funfetti cake mix, water, eggs, and oil. Then we popped it in the oven and watched Grease on his flat screen television while sitting on his massive bed. When the cake was done we put it in the refrigerator so it would cool more quickly. It smelled so good! We couldn't wait long before we slathered it in chocolate frosting and devoured half of it.
After that, I had wanted to take Dad to Hotpot because that is the Chengdu specialty, but after yak for lunch and cake, I was not hungry enough to handle hotpot. We took him to the Harbin dumpling restaurant instead.
The owner of the restaurant recognized us from the last time we had been there with Kristiana. He was really excited. We didn't quite know what we wanted. We said pork, not beef. And he promised to bring enough for all of us, because we had no idea what size/amount to order. Speaking to the waiter in Chinese, while Dad sat there having no idea what was going on, made me realize how much I have learned since I have been here.
The next day, Dad had to leave in the early afternoon, so we met early and went to Peter's Tex Mex for breakfast. It was really good, but afterward I felt sick. I ate so much this weekend! Not the healthiest food either. But it was all delicious.
Before Dad left, we called Mom. She had just seen Katherine and her friends off for their Homecoming dance.
After Dad left I went back to my room and felt homesick for a while. I tried to read to take my mind off of it, but I couldn't concentrate. So I was really glad when Maria came back from the hairdresser, knocked on my door, and we went up to Clare and Audrey's room. We ate the rest of the cake, finished our homework, made eggs and potatoes for dinner. Then went to class and had our first official showing of "The Tibet Yeti Project." I will let you know when/if we get that up on Youtube.
Dad said he might be able to visit one more time before I leave China. I hope that is true. I loved introducing him to all of my favorite parts of life in Chengdu, and a couple of days wasn't enough to cover all of it.
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