Hooray for having our first long weekend since the end of the Chinese New Year holiday! We survived the whole month of March and we are feeling pretty successful. This past Monday was a Chinese holiday known as Qing Ming Jie or the Tomb Sweeping Festival. People visit the tombs of their ancestors and pay respect to those who have passed away. They also celebrate with food, as they do with every other holiday. The special food for this holiday is qingtuanzi which is a glutinous rice dessert filled with some sort of sweet bean paste in the middle. It was actually pretty good much to my surprise.
Because we do not have any ancestors to visit here we spent the day in the city of Changzhou with some friend we made here. Changzhou is a small city just outside of Suzhou. It only took a 30 minute train ride for us to get there. We spent the day going roller skating. Holy cow the other people at the rink were SO GOOD! They enjoyed pretending like they were going to run into us backwards just to watch us dive out of the way because we were not skilled enough to actually turn... it was scary. But hey, I made some friends with a few Chinese girls that were there. They tried to teach me a few skating skills though my Chinese is virtually non-existent. They were very kind and helped me figure out how to turn a little bit better. Unfortunately none of my pictures from the rink turned out because of bad lighting... so the pictures I have of my new friends are not very good.
Afterwards we went to Ho Mei Park in the City. Andrew (our friend) taught us that the park is directly in line with the Forbidden city and that the line that runs all the way through the Forbidden City matches up with the line through the park. It was a really nice park and we visited it at sunset. We enjoyed drinking coconut juice as we walked around and enjoyed the nice weather and the sunset next to the pagoda. The rest of the evening was spent at a hot pot buffet. It was so good and it was my first time at a hot pot. I didn't know what I was doing or how to go about it really, but that is half the fun of China. I thoroughly enjoyed throwing random things into my own personal pot of boiling water to cook them. It was a great day.
China life is rad. That's all I can say.