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Update from Charlotte

Hi everybody! It’s Charlotte here. A lot has happened in Kunming so far. After arriving via bullet train (officially ending the x-phase), we met our host families one by one at the school apartment. Benjy was also there to send us off, which I admit is an interesting way to spend his birthday (shoutout to Benjy because I know he’s probably reading this Yak post as well.) Since then we have been bonding with our host families, attending classes, and doing various group activities. Everyday after our morning classes we have done a different activity: calligraphy, painting, business talks, learning how to give blind massages, making pottery, traditional Chinese fighting, cooking different foods, and occasionally using free time to explore Kunming with our host families. As these activities are all possible ISP options, and trying out a couple has helped a lot of students figure out what they would like to do for their project.
       In our language groups we also traveled to a local Buddhist temple after spending class time to study Buddhism and its relation to the Chinese language. After entering the crowded temple for only 6 Kuai, we were handed free incense and candles. I got the same feeling that I have felt every time we visited a temple this trip: incredibly humbled and spiritually at peace. We walked to the main courtyard of the temple where we burned our incense and then lit our candles to show respect to the Buddha. Afterwards we stayed a couple minutes longer to further absorb the atmosphere, and then headed back to class. The experience was a perfect combination of cultural and language learning.
       Today we had a day just to spend time with our host family. My host father and sister took me to Dian Lake, next to a huge mountain (which I’m pretty sure a couple of my classmates also climbed today). After that we had “Brooklyn Pizza” for lunch, and then we had Chinese mian tiao (noodles) for dinner. I really enjoyed sharing each other’s culture in a way that everybody loves: eating food. Tomorrow we start ISPs which were decided on today. I look forward to working on my pottery with Emilie, and I’m sure that the other students are looking forward to the projects they chose as well.