Thursday, July 19, 2018

Day Six: This Got Me Thinking

Park and Mall in Fengtai District
I was living the dream. I finally made it to an Asian country. Even though I was in China, I was still closer to my favorite musicians than ever before. In America, I was only able to see my favorite musicians on TV or YouTube. Now, while being in China, I was in the heart of K-pop territory.

Beijing, China is far closer to South Korea than America. Seoul, South Korea was only a two-hour flight away and I was itching to leave for a weekend to visit the place where the magic happens. There was no Mickey and Minnie Mouse there; no, the only thing I wanted to see was the musicians.

In high school, I fell in love with Japan. I started reading Manga and watching Anime. I quickly was learning common phrases used in the Japanese Anime and using them in my everyday life. Many of my friends were also anime lovers and we found ourselves communicating as if we were in one of the shows. I was, at the time, the biggest anime fan. I almost dyed my hair a platinum white color to match some of the crazy anime characters I saw in the shows. Luckily, I didn’t dye my hair any crazy color.
Mall and Park

After high school, while watching an FBE video on YouTube, I was introduced to K-pop. My first K-pop song and the band I was introduced to was Fantastic Baby by BigBang. To this day, my favorite K-pop song is still Fantastic Baby. There are many K-pop songs that have come close to changing my opinion, but BigBang has stayed in my heart since the beginning.

Walking through an open mall area in Fengtai District with my host family was a blessing. Between all the lights and shops and restaurants, I saw several bulletin boards, that could be seen from the highway, advertising several K-pop bands. If I didn’t know better, the one K-pop band that was being advertised more was EXO, which has subdivisions in the group called EXO-M, EXO-K, and EXO-CBX. Several of the members of EXO (past members and current members) are natives of China. It made sense that the band would be advertised there.  

I felt myself blush while watching the bulletin board display some EXO songs. I must tell you; South Korean musicians know how to pull on the heartstrings of women from all around the world. K-pop artists have mastered the ability to persuade and entice people with their body language. Though some people find these actions annoying, I find them cute and a reason why K-pop is becoming so popular in not just the east but western countries, too.

Moving on from the brilliant show from EXO, I experienced a first in the National Museum. What I thought was paintings, was embroidery. Embroidered silk sheets of famous paintings and people from history were what made this adventure something I can always remember. I’m an artist and I find myself intrigued when I find new types of art. I’ve never seen such delicate embroidered designs. And to make it even more interesting, I learned that the yarn the artists used to create the masterpieces were made of silk.  

The thing I enjoyed about my host mom the most was that she is an avid reader. Every time we went out as a family, she would stop at a bookstore and buy several books to add to her already massive collection. It was normal to spend over an hour in a bookstore, no matter the size of the store, looking through and reading the abundance of new books. Dora, my host sister, would fill her time with reading children’s books and looking at the trinkets offered through the store. Metal bookmarks in the shape of animals, clocks, do-it-yourself kits, and pencils and pens lined the bookstores in Beijing. We never left a bookstore without buying at least one trinkets the store had to offer.

Hungry and in need of some sweets, Dora’s dad, Evan, bought us ice cream and reserved seats in a restaurant. I will never forget how much I love ice cream in China. It is smooth and is filled with favors I’ll never see in America. My favorite flavor was green tea and mango. Dora loved chocolate or coconut flavor. Besides being obsessed with watermelon, Dora loved coconut. She drank coconut water, ate coconut flavored foods, and ate chunks of fresh coconut.

I’ve never been a fan of Pho, but I was eating Pho almost every week. The first time I ate it was when I with my host family at the mall area and park in Fengtai District in Beijing. Eating Thai food was unexpected, but I quickly learned that my host family, as they considered themselves non-traditional, broke away from the normal Chinese cuisine whenever they could. My host family had traveled to Southeast Asia many times and fell in love with the food. It also helped that my host mom, Verade or Vera, was from Southeast Asia. She knew all the good food to try. My meal consisted of Pho noodles with beef, sushi, and tofu.

As small as Dora is, she ate the entire bowl of Pho and sushi and tofu. I couldn’t even drink the entire bowl of soup. It’s hard to believe that Chinese people can eat so much and stay so thin. But the food they eat is very healthy, always has a lot of vegetables, and Chinese people are more physically active.

It was an enjoyable day. It was different as I’m used spending my Sundays sitting at home, watching TV or playing on my computer to pass the time. Sundays are usually days that I can relax and do whatever I want. My Sundays were always going to be packed while in China with activities and Dora time.

Although unusual for me, spending my Sunday with my host family is something I miss today. I miss the time we took to just talk and enjoy life. To take a break from work and the stress that surrounds it. I miss feeling free from life’s struggles and meeting new people on every street corner. Since I’ve been back, almost a month now, I’ve been keeping myself active on Sundays and making sure that I spend some much need quality time with my family.

This concluded my sixth day in Beijing, China. Leave any comments and questions below.

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