We always look forward to the winter holiday here because instead of one week of overcrowded travel in order to get visit one city, we get 5 or 6 weeks. And only a few of those weeks have overcrowded trains and stations, so it's easier to plan around such things. Well, this year I somehow lucked out and my classes are ending around December 20th instead of sometime in January. That means that from December until the first week of March, I'm free to do whatever is within my budget. I definitely won't be traveling that entire time, but I do know what I'll be doing most of that time. Attending language school in Kunming!
What is language school, you ask? It's a place where you go to learn a language, of course. In this case it's a place in Kunming (down in the southwestern province of Yunnan) that will give me a place to live and teach me one-on-one for four weeks. It's kind of expensive but I should be able to afford it by the time the middle of January gets here. I've always toyed with the idea of going to a language school, but I never wanted to skip going home in the summer or anything like that. Most of the ones I could find online either required that I enroll for a full semester or were just too expensive. But after William hunted up this school in Kunming and he started talking about going there, I couldn't get the idea out of my head. Four weeks of one-on-one tutoring is about the same price as if I were to fly home for the holiday, but I think it will be worth it. It should really advance my level of speaking, which will be helpful for the times I want to ask people on the street why they are staring at me so intently. Is there something on my face? Do I look like your long lost brother? Not really, but I often daydream about saying things like that. I usually just smile and wave or completely ignore them. Anyhoo, back to language school. You can click here to go to the school's website. They give you great accommodations and I actually met a guy on the sleeper bus once who went to this school for three months. I noticed him in some pictures on the school's website. William and Angelyn are both planning to go, so it will probably be the three of us. Since William finishes classes later than us, we'll have to wait around until he's done.
Angelyn, Jessica, and I were thinking of going to Chengdu for a few days in a week or two. That's the panda capital of China. We'll get to pet a panda and then go across town to one of the rarest of rare things in China... a Mexican restaurant! I'm excited. Other than Chengdu and Kunming, I don't have any big plans for this winter holiday. I may go on a few other short trips, but nothing too big since language school with cost two months' salary ($950). Those two cities are pretty big names on the list of places to see while in China though, so even if I don't go anywhere else I should see plenty of cool things.