Memories

These are the photos taken from the date of my starting working at the hostel to that of this New Year.Nearly a year has it been for me to stay here!!!I have got a lot of memories to share:about our hostel’s  friends— Zack,Alex,Arne,Yvonne,Maurice…about our events for Winter Solstice,Christmas,New Year…(start from the last to the first:P)

April Fool’s Day in 2012—Great Joke!!!

April 1st 2012 may be a special or a common day,it depends on how you see it.Generally,people in the world knows it is the Fool’s Day while for Chinese people,it is the start of the Tomb Sweeping holidays lasting for 4 days.

However,for us,all the staff in Hanwood,that is definitely a beginning of some unexpected big joke and lasting bad luck.

Since the first day of March,we,well,exactly,our shrewd boss has been expecting holidays’ coming,when usually increasing amount of travelers are here staying,going around and booking some tours with us.That means we may earn a great amount then!!!

Finally,it arrived.Overjoyed Andy(my boss)got up very early to embrace it.He even hummed some tune as a celebration personally.

Ironically,the power suddenly went off.O_o

“What happened???”screamed Andy,so did some of the guests entertaining around in the lobby.

He walked out quickly to check if this fell upon every neighbour.Unfortunately,it did.We thought it would come back very soon since this kind of thing occurred before,though not often,but which was very fresh in our memories.Then we calmed down and began to cope with things without computer and keyboard.One hour later,power was still off.Two hours later,off.Fine,we might wait,it was not a big case.Three hours later,not restored.Euh,there might be some tricky problem.Four hours later,the same…then five,six,seven,eight…

“Could you please explain what it is going on here???”one upset guest rushed to us.

We were shocked dumb at first,brain blanking at that time.One minute later,brain cells resumed brainstorming and organizing the reasons to comfort…

Thus,one day and one night passed.The second day,expecting things would be fine then,we were disappointed and frustrated the whole day.Yes,the same.Some checked out earlier to find another hostel and losses were made in that way.Andy was a bit carried away and freaked out,but no one could help it.

Meantime,we actually got a lot of notifications to say the electricity will be back at what,what,what time.However,any of them was like a lie.It never came back as they said!!!

Then,another day and night.April 3rd was here now.We stopped hoping and did what we should do to “grease the broken chain”.We have been used to complaints and threats to say “we would move out if we would not have power by what time!”Well,ok,do what you want.

At 14:59,some sound cheered us up,it was like the restoration of power.We headed up and saw the light on there and the lobby bright all of a sudden.Oh,yes!!!!!Nightmare has finally gone!We would hold a party to memorize the big moment if not working now.

Now,in retrospect,that was really a big joke for this April Fool’s Day…

First Snow of 2012 in Xi’an,China!!!Finally!!!

From last November to last night(Jan 20th,2012),we had been expecting some snow in Xi’an,but none had come until last night.I was so surprised and excited that I wrote some status about that on facebook at once.The next morning,I told the manager,if possible,pls take some photos of it since I wanted to share online.Then I went to sleep straight away…

After I got up,I was told of the ready photos already put in our Qzone,so I went online and downloaded them.

Before posting them,I had a look at them.The Big Wild Goose Pagoda and its South Square in front of it were all covered with white snow.The ground there must have been very slippery since I thought I saw some ice fixed on the surface of paths.(Luckily,I did not go out today at all,the choice was right,Yeah!!!)One of the most interesting  parts was that the poor and hard-working Monk Xuanzang was still marching towards India in snow for its Buddhist scriptures…

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Christmas Party

      

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      The first time we made buffet by ourselves was probably this Christmas Party.Sandwiches,cakes,fruit compotes and fruit punch were very popular among the participants.They finished them almost in 20 mins after the first folk music performance.Then we played group games,Pass the Flower,Guess the Words behind You,Spell a Word with Your Limbs,Run the Balloon…

     The group who won got defferent kind of delicate things as the rewards,for instance,apples wrapped in a colorful paper,chocolates,roses.etc.

     At last,we watched a movie and wrote some postcards to be sent to relatives and friends by our hostel.

     Happy and peaceful Xmas Eve~~~

Winter Solstice Dumpling Banquet

      Probably for anyone around the world except China,Winter Solstice is just a solar term no one would like to pay more attention to when he turns to another page on the calendar.However,it means so much to Chinese people that it is taken more seriously than Spring Festival,which is as essential as the Christmas to the West,since it is a turn from Yin to Yang naturally.People believes it is important for the next year,so they celebrate it by doing something special,such as,having a family reunion,making dumplings for the reunion dinner.

     On Dec.22nd,Winter Solstice of 2011 came.In order to celebrate with people staying in Xi’an and being unable to go back home for union,we held a Dumpling Banquet for guests here and townsmen in Xi’an.

     At the beginning of it,we staff learnt how to make figure dumplings.After the guests came,we acted as the teachers of figure dumplings for them who,no matter Chinese or foreigners,were both quite interested.Then,we boiled the dumplings and made the pool table a dinner table around which we sat and talked.The dumplings were so delicious that the foreigners here gave us thumbs all the way.

     At 8:30 p.m.,game time was coming.Chinese Whisper,Pass the Flower,etc attracted every people being filled with yummy dumplings.The ones who failed got published with many weird and clownish,like,using your bottom to spell some English words,or reciting a serious poem while holding an opposite sex’s hands with passionate eyes staring at her or him.

     Actually,when we were planning the banquet,we thought we would like to invite a master at Chinese paper cutting to teach us at the end.And we did.You will see the paper we cut by ourselves in the photos^_^

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Grateful Thanksgiving

   Usually,Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of the November.This year,according to lunar calendar,it is Nov 24th.

   In U.S.A.,Canada or some other countries,people observe by getting together with family members or friends at home,cooking very grand dinner which includes turkeys,apple pies,biscuits and toasted goose,etc.

   However,here in China,things will change a bit.We are not used to eating the toasted turkey;we don’t know how to bake the apple pie…

   Therefore,this year,our hostel changed the way to celebrate it—we held a Bazaar.

   10 days before the festival, we began to prepare for the Bazaar. We posted the news online,kept in contact with our friends,told everyone that would be here on that day of it,so that a lot of people were at the Bazaar.

   Now,I think I need to explain something about the Bazaar: you may buction the things by paying or exchanging your own things.All the income from the activity will be donated to the children in mountainous area.

   That night,most of them taking part in brought their own things,such as,precious antiques,favorite CDs,fancy perfume made in America,delicate silk bought in Hangzhou…The most attractive one was the paintings drawn by a talented artist of Xi’an,Chenye(陈烨),directly in front of everyone.Both of them had the profound meanings related with the poor children who couldn’t afford the schooling and their dreams.People there bought almost everything displayed on the table with much higher prices than the thins’ original ones.

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   At the end of it,we counted the money got—more than 5100RMB,which was all donated to the the children via the help the voluteering website organizing the charity things.

   We gave our love to the children on this day and hopefully they would go on with their lives by the help from different persons around the world and share the warmth from the loving atmosphere in the festival!!!

Chinese Cultural Festivals —– Mid-autumn Day in 2011


        Usually,on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calender,the moon is full and Chinese celebrate a traditional festival-Mid autumn.

One guest ever asked me about the origin of it,I didn’t know how to answer since there are several versions.

Here is one of them:

Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival is strongly associated with the legend of Houyi and Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality.

Houyi was an immortal and Chang’e was a beautiful young girl, working in the palace of the Jade Emperor (the Emperor of Heaven) as an attendant to the Queen Mother of the West (the Jade Emperor’s wife). Houyi aroused the jealousy of the other immortals, who then slandered him before the Jade Emperor. Houyi and his wife, Chang’e, were subsequently banished from heaven. They were forced to live on Earth. Houyi had to hunt to survive and became a skilled and famous archer.

At that time, there were ten suns, in the form of three-legged birds, residing in a mulberry tree in the eastern sea. Each day one of the sun birds would have to travel around the world on a carriage, driven by Xihe, the ‘mother’ of the suns. One day, all ten of the suns circled together, causing the Earth to burn. Emperor Yao, the Emperor of China, commanded Houyi to use his archery skill to shoot down all but one of the suns. Upon completion of his task, the Emperor rewarded Houyi with a pill that granted eternal life. Emperor Yao advised Houyi not to swallow the pill immediately but instead to prepare himself by praying and fasting for a year before taking it Houyi took the pill home and hid it under a rafter. One day, Houyi was summoned away again by Emperor Yao. During her husband’s absence, Chang’e, noticed a white beam of light beckoning from the rafters, and discovered the pill. Chang’e swallowed it and immediately found that she could fly. Houyi returned home, realizing what had happened he began to reprimand his wife. Chang’e escaped by flying out the window into the sky.

Houyi pursued her halfway across the heavens but was forced to return to Earth because of strong winds. Chang’e reached the moon, where she coughed up part of the pill.Chang’e commanded the hare that lived on the moon to make another pill. Chang’e would then be able to return to Earth and her husband.

The legend states that the hare is still pounding herbs, trying to make the pill. Houyi built himself a palace in the sun, representing “Yang” (the male principle), in contrast to Chang’e’s home on the moon which represents “Yin” (the female principle). Once a year, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Houyi visits his wife. That is the reason why the moon is very full and beautiful on that night.

There are also other versions like”Killing the Mongols on the 15th of the eighth month”in Yuan Dynasty,or the worship of the God of the Moon in very ancient times,etc.

To celebrate it,we held a great event—Chinese Cultural Festival VS  Han Clothing Show.

We invited some professional dancers or actors in Han clothing to perform here.Sword Dance,Nunchakuz,T stage Show,Beijing Opera…All of them were more wonderful than imaged.

The audience were from different places all over the world,they chatted and played games together…

Four presenters were there to preside over the event,two in Chinese,two in English.

At around 10 p.m.,it was the time for the last part of it.Everyone came together,preparing to put on various costumes and experiencing the Chinese cultures.

We took pctures,shared the feelings,helped each other to dress,and laughed…^_^

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