7/15 – Hua Fa!

Day Twenty-Three – Saturday, July 15

I really appreciate how much freedom my host parents give me.  I never really realized until today how chill and understanding they are, especially in comparison to other host parents.  Since my sister had classes today and my mom had a meeting, they told me I could hang out with friends all day.  When I told them that I planned to go to Hua Fa mall with friends, they immediately said ok and told me how to get there easily by bus.  Their only question for me was “will you be home by 7 for dinner?” (It was 9:30am when I was leaving).  It never really hit me how chill they were until I was texting my friends who were struggling to get their parents to let them go to the mall/giving them strict times they have to be home by.

Hua Fa is a huge, incredibly modern mall that has a good mix of luxury American/European brands, affordable clothing, restaurants, and of course bubble tea and coffee shops!  I arrived around 10:45 by bus and met up with a group of friends at the mall.  We shopped for a little while then sat down at an American/Japanese restaurant for lunch.  I got something called “omurice,” which is basically a thin omelet over seasoned rice.  After lunch, half of the group left but I hanged behind with a couple of friends (Alec and Isabel) who wanted to stay out longer.  We didn’t do much more shopping, just walked around the mall and browsed a bunch of shops.  This mall is much fancier than most that I’ve visited in the US (comparable to Ala Moana because it is partly outside, but Hua Fa is larger).  We really enjoyed walking through a huge grocery store on the third floor.   Basically, we just sampled our way through the store!  At about 3pm, I took the bus home (so happy that I’ve figured out the bus system/Chinese maps!!)

Even though I love hanging out with my American friends, after a long week I really needed some alone time.  Instead of just sitting around at home, I decided to go to the gym to enjoy some “me time” in a different atmosphere.  After exercising and showering, I felt much more energized and ready to hang with my family all evening.

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The Zhuhai Opera House lights up in an elaborate show every night

I can tell that my Chinese is really improving as the amount of English my host dad is speaking to me is slowly becoming less and less.  While there are times where he still speaks English even though I want to speak Chinese, these moments are finally becoming occasional rather than frequent.

After dinner tonight, we dropped off my sister for a piano lesson and then my parents and I went for a walk by the beach. I feel really bad for my sister because she had four classes today, despite this being her summer break.  I guess we are both going to school all summer!  During our walk, we had an amazing view of the Zhuhai Opera House, which is all lit up and changing at night.  The weather was also very pleasant, making for a great night.

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Just as a side note, I’ve really noticed how active Chinese people are.  By looking at the health app on my phone, I realized that every day here I take at least 10,000 steps (most was 30,000 in Shenzhen!) and walk around 3.5-5 miles on an average day!  Even though I feel like I’m eating so much more food here than in the US, the constant walking really offsets any weight gain!