A Typical Day in Lushan

…where the only guarantee is: there are no guarantees!

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(another new friend. this one I may have to keep)

Sometimes, I’m okay with that. Sometimes, I’m not.
It is rather confusing right now, and I admit that the uncertainty is wearing me down. The dangling of routines that are swiftly taken away due to circumstance is surprisingly exhausting. Every day is a new story; although there are several certainties and for that I am grateful. Here is what a typical day in Lushan has looked like:

7:45-8:30 a.m.: Wake up, usually late, and wait patiently (or impatiently, depending on the circumstances) for my turn in the restroom. Many girls and one bathroom=lots of waiting. Often during this time I make my instant coffee; this usually includes me gulping it down while I’m braiding my hair and getting it dressed. My addiction is so strong, I usually scald my throat in the process, but I don’t care because hello, I need it.

8:30-9:30 a.m.: We will usually go to a community of trailers, either by walking or tuk-tuk (a generally motorized bike pulling two covered seats). This used to be a tent community, but everyone was moved into a trailer or back into their house.

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(caption: tuk-tuks are fun)

9:30-11:30 a.m.: What we do at the community varies greatly; occasionally we conduct psychological interviews, which involves me observing, trying to make the kids laugh and getting a headache from trying to understand Chinese too hard. This week, we’ve gone back to working with children.

11:30 a.m.: Lunch. I’m starting to like Sichuan food, although it’s crazy spicy. My favorite lunch spot involves dumplings that are really loooong noodles filled with little balls of meat in killa Sichuan oil soup.

1:30-5:30 p.m.: Varies greatly. Recently, we’ve been giving a lot of presentations. Sometimes, we pass out aid boxes given by non-profits to communities all over the city. Sometimes, we hang with the kiddos. We go with the flow!

5:30-7:30 p.m.: Dinner. More Sichuan food. I also like these green things that are probably bean sprouts (yes, Mom, vegetables. I KNOW. even if they are fried in oil..) and their sweet corn that is soaked in, you guessed it, green chiles. Because everything needs to be spicy here (there is actually a reason behind it: as Lushan is so damp, the idea behind the spicy food is that it keeps you healthy and warms up your body so you don’t get sick all of the time. When my friend asked what the science behind this was, we were told “well, it’s Chinese science.”).

8 p.m.: We have a nightly meeting with the whole team. Usually, our translator whispers to us during this meeting; sometimes we share our experiences or contribute. Usually, my head starts to hurt because again, I try so hard to understand a.) what’s going on and b.) Chinese. My brain still doesn’t seem to grasp that no matter how hard I focus, I still won’t be able to form words out of these sounds.

9-2 a.m.: Rest, fun, stress, FaceTime, cold shower, books. No hot water, but I really enjoy my cold showers except when I have to wash my hair. My hair is serious business in a hot shower, multiply the stress of washing it by a million when it’s COLD.
Sometimes we go out for midnight BBQ which is a “thing” here in Sichuan. Think reallllllly spicy meat, and various parts of an animal, on a stick.

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(caption: a scene from BBQ. It’s from a street vendor and you sit on the tiny stools right on the sidewalk! beer is also involved so, success!)

As you can see, the number one constants are…Mealtimes! And even those include a lot of dishes full of things I’ve never seen, don’t recognize, or that contain many foreign tastes. However, like I said, I really am going to miss Sichuan food when we head back to Beijing. I’ve come a long way, baby!

(Don’t worry, I plan to dedicate an entire post to Sichuan food:).

And, as of Friday, we are unexpectedly heading back to Beijing to avoid the increasingly dangerous weather in the Sichuan province. Then, even mealtimes will be a whole new thing.

Keep your fingers crossed that our trip back is smooth. Catch ya from Beijing!

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