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It was about this time of year when some students and I took a road trip. Actually, it would be more accurate to say a bus trip. The students were from the university where I was teaching, and we decided to go to a smaller town a little north of our city to have a look one weekend. Would you like to know what we saw?

A Peaceful Environment

There was a small river going through the town, and it had this interesting looking bridge. There was a large park along this area of the river, and we enjoyed some street food while sitting in the park. We consumed our glass noodles while eating them out of a clear plastic bag; my first time for doing that. Glass noodles are slippery, and you don’t want to poke a hole in the plastic bag with your chopsticks!

As we walked around town, I saw something that surprised me. They had an old stone wheel for grinding wheat, which is grown locally. I have seen one that used a donkey walking around in a circle to move the stone, but this one used man power. You can see it in the photograph below.

A Peaceful Environment

Some things I also enjoyed seeing in China were the many pools of water with beautiful water lilies in them. I was impressed with the different colors of the lilies, and many times there would be koi swimming around the lilies!

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This was an enjoyable trip for many reasons! This particular area of China enjoyed a much slower pace of life compared to when I was teaching in Beijing!

Maybe this blog will help you remember a calm and peaceful place you have enjoyed. I know it certainly has done that for me!

Heaven on Earth

Spring is my favorite season of the year. I hate cold weather (except on the few occasions I find myself snow skiing), so I love the promise of better things to come which spring gives us. I also love the new life that is all around us: the baby birds chirping and the plants blooming.

Beautiful flowers on China campus_Beau Sides

In my new book Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education, in the chapter “Beautiful Spring,” the main character, Jan, describes for me one of the loveliest places I have ever seen in the spring: the college campus where I taught in China.

The students told me that people from the city would come just to take pictures of the flowers, but I didn’t believe them. Yes, I was wrong. And yes, I became one of the people taking pictures of the beautiful flowers blooming there. In fact, I was so impressed with all of the vivid colors and majestic blooms that I would walk out of my way just see the flowers blooming.

Koi Pond_Beau_Sides_Lessons from China

I must tip my hat to the gardeners on campus because besides having green thumbs they created the most beautiful landscape settings. One setting in particular, which was one of my favorites, was a lovely limestone waterfall that poured into a koi pond. The pond with its exotic jewel-toned fish sat partly under an arch that was adorned with gorgeous purple wisteria clinging all over it.

One guy, whom I became good friends through English Corners and basketball, was scolded severely by one of the gardeners for trying to catch one of the fish in the koi pond with his hands.

 

Purple wisteria in China_Beau Sides_Lessons from China

Without many of the tools we westerners would expect them to have, the campus gardeners worked hard. They mostly used wheelbarrows instead of motorized carts or trucks to haul their supplies and tools. Regardless of how they did their work, they were very successful at it.

Now, I want you to enjoy their work as much as I have!

 

Beau!

To learn more, check out my book Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education!