Today is our first day in our rural homestay village, we are living in a Miao ethnicity village high in the Zhaotong mountains. So far the village could not be more welcoming. Our first night here they performed a traditional welcoming ceremony just for us, that involved drinking sprite out of a ram horn and crossing through three red cloth ropes. This morning I was able to truly see the village for the first time, it is absolutely gorgeous. Our village is perched on a green hillside overlooking a valley that rises into another lush mountain, the entire place gives of the impression of being in touch with the nature around it, which is amazing. Another exciting aspect of the village is that is full of all kinds of animals, so far I have seen, chickens, quails, pigs, cows, and dogs ( although the dogs are more scary than exciting) the animals are fun because the bring a lot of life and energy to the village. But the thing that makes this a truly special place is the hospitality shown to us by the villagers. Everyone of which is eager to share their food, and home. The first night it was very awkward spending time alone with my home stay family, with so little vocabulary it was difficult for me to even ask questions and , my silence caused my family to be silent which turned into what seemed to be a total and never ending silence. Despite that, today I felt something click and all of a sudden I felt very comfortable with my homestay family. Tonight we watched tv, drank tea and ate gua zi (sunflower seeds), I found myself having lots of fun which was a very pleasant surprise. I look forward to learning more Mandarin, and being able to communicate with my homestay family even more I’m the days to come!
Grady Clark (Bao-yu)