On my first night in Shanghai, I stayed with my EFZ partner, Patrick. Patrick’s family lives about 20 minutes away from the EFZ campus in two apartments that make up a whole floor. When I first entered the apartment, I saw Patrick’s grandmother and his parents, who were all very welcoming and generous. Though my host family only spoke a little English, Patrick was able to translate everything.
The first thing I noticed was the pairs of slippers that everyone wore around the house instead of bare feet or socks. I was provided with a pair when I stepped in the door. I was given my own bathroom and bedroom, which was situated in the corner of the apartment and overlooked an intersection.
I ate a traditional Chinese dinner of noodles, vegetables, and sesame chicken. I was given a delicious citrus drink by Patrick’s mother. Because I was jetlagged, I immediately said goodnight to the family and went to sleep.
The following morning, I woke up and quickly got ready. Patrick and I followed Patrick’s mom to a Metro (subway) station which took us a few stops away. We ate breakfast at Burger King, which is considerably more upscale in China than in the U.S., with leather seats and modern décor. I had hot soy milk, a common Chinese drink, along with my breakfast.
Patrick’s mom left us after breakfast and we got back on the Metro. We got off in the center of the city walked around. It was particularly foggy that day, and we couldn’t see the tops of some skyscrapers. We walked through several malls and eventually went to an Indian restaurant to eat curry.
Afterwards, we went to the movies in the mall, where there were surprisingly many English films available.
For dinner, I went with my host family to a club outside of the city where Patrick’s mom was the manager. The club had sports facilities and Patrick and I played basketball, which is very popular in China. At the end of the day, I was dropped back off at EFZ to return to my dorm. I couldn’t have asked for a more accommodating and friendly host family.