By Rebecca Pham

Last week, my sights and senses were overwhelmed by Beijing and Xi’an. We visited Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and trekked up the Great Wall. I was laughed at by other tourists and people even took pictures of me as I slowly attempted to go back down the steps of the Wall and ignore my fear of heights. Luckily, I only had to walk part of the way down; I took the toboggan chute for the remainder of the journey down. Then in Xi’an, we discovered the bedazzled wonders of the terracotta soldiers, the comedy of Chinese folk people through a marionette puppet show, the beauty of a culture on Muslim street, and the art of bargaining.

In spite of the amazing grandeur of the all the sites we beheld, returning to Zhuhai was the highlight of my week. I stepped inside and announced in a horrible Chinese accent the phrase my host family had taught me for “I’m home”. Vivian, the most adorable five year old, shouted my name with delight and ran towards me. My host aunt, uncle, and mother prepared a feast for me – how I had missed their home cooking. Melody, my host child, eagerly asked about my trip, wanting to know every detail. It’s strange how much like home Zhuhai has become for me. Yet, after seeing the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Terracotta soldiers, returning to my host family was still the most welcoming event.

Being back at school has also been a treat; I missed my students a lot, especially my dancers. We’ve begun learning choreography for the final show and Cedric and I are even beginning to plan a collaboration dance with a few of the middle school teachers (we learned some sick choreography to Rebecca Black’s 1 hit wonder. be excited). The only downside of returning to the beach city of Zhuhai was the intense humidity – it’s like a 24/7 steam room. At least sweating is good for you. It’s also been raining quite frequently so that has been a little relief from the heat – Cedric and I even danced in the rain on the rooftop

But yes, I’m so happy to be home, to continue bonding with my family, to continue to watch my students grow and improve their English/dancing. I can’t believe it’s already halfway over.

Host Sister Melody & Younger Cousin Vivian