Day 10: Our New Home; the Amazing FOOD

I could ramble on and on about the great things here in Xizhou - the weather, the people, the environment - but one aspect of Xizhou's culture stands out: the food. From the rice noodles to then Ma La Tang, almost every dish I've encountered has made my mouth water. Today, however, I had experienced something even greater. Ana M. and I were searching for a place to eat lunch, and we stumbled upon a small restaurant of Hui cuisine. Restaurants owned by people of the Hui minority group can usually be spotted by the Arabic writing on their signs. We had never tried Hui cuisine before, so we were eager to try something new. And so after minutes of persuasion, we had finally decided to try the traditional beef fried rice that had been recommended by many of our friends. The restaurant owner had seasoned and spiced the dish to perfection, and though we had no idea what exactly was in it, we knew it was amazing. The beef fried rice had touches of peanut and coriander, creating a rich flavor. This was a meal that the both of us will never forget, and one that has changed our lives for the better. Once the two of us had finished our fried rice, we bought some fresh lemonade, which was an extra treat considering the sunny weather. In conclusion, the food here is great, and I can't possibly wait for dinner!
 
Today as I continued to explore the village, I couldn't help but notice the sounds that surrounded me. As I walked down the worn path, I heard the crunching of my footsteps against the gravel while the birds sang in the near distance.  Along with the birds, the wind could be heard whistling through the trees and into my ears. Immersed in the peacefulness of my surroundings, I could hear the sounds from the local ladies as they were singing and humming, and the many others happily conversing. Throughout today's outdoor excursion, the many things that surrounded me were all a part of something I belong and relate to. I couldn't help but notice what I was hearing, for I am part of an unknown culture that is still being uncovered. This amazing place is slowly becoming a part of me, becoming a part of my new home...

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Hi Everyone! My name is Holly and I am so grateful to say that I am part of the "Ultimate" Microcampus Group. I am learning so much and am so lucky to experience life outside the Shanghai bubble. Not only am I focusing on a topic that I greatly enjoy, but I am able to make connections with the many locals I will soon get to know. This trip I am part of is an unforgettable experience and will "ultimately" be an amazing trip. See you guys in a month!