Last night, we were really craving some American food, so even though our paycheck wasn't coming for a few more days, we decided to splurge and go to pizza hut. The Pizza Hut here is one of the fanciest restaurants in town, don't laugh, it's actually super fancy! We hopped on our E-bike, and headed to the mall, where the Pizza Hut is located. We find ourselves at this mall almost daily, because it's HUGE! There is always something to explore there (learn more about the mall here).
After dinner we walked around a bit and grabbed some groceries (it's typical here to have supermarkets on the basement floors of malls) and then it was time to go home. Since moving to China, I dread going home at the end of the day. I think since we still aren't settled, home feels like a work place. There is so much cleaning that needs to be done, lesson plans to be prepared, and the kids feel cooped up and fight a lot. So home is not the refuge I'm hoping it will someday be, It's more of an uncomfortable, daunting task. Because of this, I convinced Drew to push it off a little longer, and take a detour on the way home. We found a little back road that takes you along the river that opened our eyes to the night life or China.
Although many of the restaurants close down early, people don't go home when the sun goes down. They congregate it plazas and parks, and sit down with one another. They laugh and talk, they play cards and smoke, some even dance. As we drove down the back street on our bike, I watched in awe. We passed little chairs and tables that sat close to the ground that were crowded together, filled with people slapping handfuls of playing cards on to the table. They laughed and smoked and drank. Others stood by and watched the players shuffle their hands and pet their well groomed dogs that sat at their feet, anticipating their next move. We continued on our bike and saw older men and women in a plaza, dancing to loud music, their in-sync choreography resembling a combination of tai chi and zumba. They were surrounded by kids racing around on bikes and young moms sitting with their infants. We passed kids playing hackey sack, painting pots, and playing instruments. I couldn't believe how active the night was. So many activities and smiling faces.
We passed through the crowds of people and continued down the road, heading towards home, when we heard the faint sound of music. The music grew louder as we continued on. We passed a group of people singing beautifully calming lullabies on the dock by the river. As we finished our ride home, I thought about everything I had seen. So much culture wrapped up in our one drive home. It made me excited for our time here in China. I look forward to become apart of these traditions and immersing myself in the culture of the Chinese night life.