Picnic at Jinshan Lake
Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
286Trip End Jun 29, 2011
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We left the university at about 10am, and drove fifteen minutes or so to the lake. Cindy took me for a walk around, and then we set up a blanket for the adults and a tent for the kids, and had a picnic. We had cold meat with crackers, sushi that Cindy made herself, small cakes, fruit, and nuts. After we ate, Cindy and I took another walk in the opposite direction to see a small island on the lake
After a couple of hours, a very large group of middle school students arrived at the park for a field trip. I asked Cindy and Tony why the students were on a field trip on a Saturday, and they said it was because middle school students work very hard, and they can't afford to take a field trip on a school day.
Chinese children begin studying for the college entrance exam in middle school, and in a typical day, they usually wake at five or six in the morning, go to school, and don't get to bed until ten at night. I was astounded both by the number of hours of studying and concentration, and by the lack of hours devoted to sleep. I told Cindy and Tony that I didn't think this was a good life for a middle school-aged child, and all they said was that middle school students study very hard in China.
At around 2pm, we left the park. Apparently, I'm not alone in my love of weekend naps. (Yes, I love weekday naps too, but that's beside the point.) Tong Tong fell asleep in the car, and Cindy said they would all take a nap when they got home.
I really enjoyed hanging out with Cindy today and yesterday. The experience of being with a Chinese family, driving around the city in a private car, and doing the things Chinese people do in their spare time is a very different one from living in a dorm with other foreigners, taking taxis and buses around the city, and doing things either alone or with my regular gang. Hanging out with Cindy and her family made China feel more normal and home-like, and I'm glad that we've planned to do things together in the future.