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A Day in the Life of Li Shuang Lan

I am a college student in LiJiang. I live with my 20 year old twin sister in a dorm room. Now, however, I am back home in the town of Nanyao.

It is nice being back at home. Nanyao is much more peaceful than Lijiang. Since it is also New Year’s, spending time with the family is an added bonus. My uncle’s house is right around the corner. I like being with the extended family, especially since my cousin has a little boy, who is two years old and exceptionally cute. He is a bit of a trouble maker. He takes great pleasure in chasing the adults around with burning sparklers and crashing into peoples legs with his toy cars. My sister and I are the on-call babysitters whenever we are back home.

Although New Year’s is a holiday, I still have to help out the family. I wake up at 7:30am to see my mom off to work. My father drives her to Lijiang everyday. I then spend the morning cleaning the house, sweeping the courtyard, and washing clothes. I like the smell and warmth of clean clothes drying in the sun. On a side note, I really enjoy cleaning because I find it therapeutic.

In the early afternoon or late morning, I help my uncle and father on the apple farm. My mom sells most of the apples in the Lijiang market, the rest I prepare at home. I am pretty good at cooking, specifically chopping vegetables. My job is cutting the apples into thin slices and drying them in the sun. I place the slices on big woven platters that lay in the courtyard of the house.

Later, after Dad picks up Mom from Lijiang, we have dinner. I enjoy cooking with my sister and mother. It is comforting to see my father sitting outside the kitchen smoking a cigarette. Over dinner, we have lively conversation in our language, Naxi. We talk about a variety of topics, from work that day to the current Chinese drama on the television, which we occasionally watch in the evening. If Dad has friends or family, i.e. my uncle, over at the house, instead of watching a drama, we play majiang. I am not very good. My sister knows a little, as does my mother. My father, on the other hand, loves playing majiang. He actually plays for money against his friends and older brother.

It sometimes feels like I don’t have enough time in the day to do everything I want/need to do. But at the same time, I really enjoy going to sleep at the end of the day. It is a great way to relax so I can be energetic and ready for the next day.