Wednesday: Another day has flown by here in Guilin! Classes are drawing to a close, and we can’t believe we are only down to a handful of days left. We are all trying to soak up every minute! Today after some lunch and free time, we climbed Chuan Mountain to see the beautiful Guilin scenery from a bird’s eye view. The plan was to watch the sunset, but the clouds were too thick to give us a good view. While the hike was steep, the breeze at the top and the views were worthwhile!

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We then revisited one of our favorite restaurants, continuing to try new dishes and savoring favorites. Afterwards we went shopping for gifts at the night market to say thank you to all the wonderful teachers and new friends here. Some gifts are for friends and family back home, and some are for ourselves.

Thursday: We spent today preparing for our final class projects and interviews by reviewing all that we had learned, and then ate a hearty lunch with our teachers. Afterwards, we went to the market to buy the makings for jiaozi (dumplings). The market was a cultural experience since all the food is out of the package and ready to cut to order. We picked out our meat and vegetables, and while we picked out our fruit, the butcher finely chopped the meat and vegetables into the different dumpling stuffings we were going to put inside the wraps. With the help of our experienced teachers and staff, we learned the different ways to wrap dumplings. The different types were pork and Chinese Chives, pork and long green bean, pork and corn, and pork and mushroom with lotus root. Do you sense a theme? We made so many jiaozi that we could share with many of the other students at the school. The students were awesome at cleaning up the kitchen before we rewarded them with seeing the largest man-made waterfall — it happens to run on the long side of a famous hotel in Guilin from 8:30-8:40 each evening.

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Friday: Today, we wrapped up our classes, made our last purchases, and began our goodbyes. As it was our last full day in Guilin, we certainly tried to make the most of it! We ate all the Liushabao that we could stomach. We ate even more Korean Barbecue. We gave thank you speeches, letters and gifts. Then we sang our hearts out at that most timeless of Chinese activities — karaoke! Our voices may be a little hoarse in the morning, but we definitely celebrated our time in Guilin in style.

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