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Photo by Ching Hsieh

First Day in Zhen Xi Bao

MG and I woke up in our homestay around 7:30 AM, went out into the kitchen to eat some fruit and then went outside to watch the dogs run around. Next, we sat and talked with our homestay parents around the fire they created. We bonded and learned a little about each other and our lives. Eventually, Mama Along (our host dad) taught me how to play a bamboo percussion instrument. I picked up on it very quickly and learned a song that I will be performing at the talent show on the last night. MG helped Mama Along with his computer and began creating an instrument which she will also play with me at the talent show. After a few hours, the 5 girls from the other homestay same and joined us for a bit at our house. We showed them our instruments and how to play. The girls then left and went back to their home and MG and I ate lunch with our family. We ate noodles with peppers, cabbage, and chicken. It was very tasty and a little spicy. Our parents then offered to take us to a hot spring for soaking our feet. MG and I had never been to a foot hot spring before so we were excited and intrigued. After the 30-minute drive, we arrived. It was not a foot hot spring but a full-body one. MG and I had our own room where you could see all the mountains and trees through the large window. It was very tranquil and therapeutic.


After our 30-minute soak was over, we dropped off Mrs. Along at work; she works at a hospital right up the road from the hot spring. On our way back home, we picked up the kids from school. The little girl and I played hand games in the car along with Wei Wei, her cousin. Once we got back to the house, MG and I played the guitar with Mama Along and Skalu Along, their son. Lastly, we ate dinner around 5:45 PM. We had rice, chicken, tofu, and green beans. As I was eating, Mr. Along put chicken in my rice bowl for me to try. He was shocked to find out that I’m vegetarian and asked MG so many questions as she speaks some Mandarin. It was a wonderful first day in Zhen Xi Bao!