Life Inside a Music Box…

[Scholar’s Pavilion, Guiyang]

Life inside a music box ain’t easy. – Regina Spektor

As we were walking across campus this beautiful Spring evening, we began listing off all the things we will miss about our life in China.  We are entering the final ten weeks of our service in the Peace Corps, so we thought we’d try to do some Top Five lists of things we will truly miss.

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China is ________.


[Jia Ding Miao burial cave near Gaopo]

We have been in China a year now, almost to the day, and still one of the most mystifying things is our inability to qualify, classify, or in any way explain this place.  It is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle and then promptly put in a blender.  This post will in no way attempt to explain this phenomenon only illustrate the truth by which it is manifested in our daily life. Nearly anything you say about China is true, but then, so is the opposite.

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Wholefood China

[A knife the size of a shoebox, fresh fennel, tomato, & garlic on a bamboo board. A good start…]

Outside of learning to make Huiguo Rou this summer from our host-mother in Chengdu, we haven’t done much in the way of learning to cook Chinese food. What we have spent a lot of time doing is learning to make wholefood versions of our favorite Western foods. They have to be wholefood; you can’t get anything at the markets other than the raw whole ingredients. You want tortillas? You can buy the flour and the salt, but you also get to render your own pork lard for the shortening. Mmmm, pork lard. More on that in a bit.

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