A Journey to the Chinese Countryside with GoEast Mandarin

By That's Shanghai, June 26, 2019

0 0

Robert is a native German who has been a student at GoEast Mandarin in Shanghai for several years. Going from zero to HSK4, he recently had the chance to put his Chinese skills to the test in a rural village, thanks to his connections with the school. This is Robert's story.

My trip started early in the morning at the Shanghai Hongqiao Station. After two hours in the high-speed train to Ningbo and two more hours on the bus, I arrived at the village. Fengpuao is so small, it isn’t even shown on Google Maps. But 2,000 wonderful people live there, next to a lake and forest.

Picture3.pngImage by GoEast Mandarin

I stayed with my host family for two days. They were extremely welcoming from the first moment. When I arrived they had already prepared lunch for me and because I could communicate with them in Chinese, they told me I could call them Mama and Baba. They told me that they built their house themselves. They live there with their daughter Eva. All three of them are actually quite tall! Almost as tall as me. Eva showed me the garden in which small herbs grow and where chickens and a dog named Leisi walk around freely.

Picture6.pngImage by GoEast Mandarin

After that, I joined Baba and two of his colleagues on a journey to a farm where a bay leaf (yuèguì yè) is grown. After trimming bushes and planting new ones, we went to collect our dinner. We walked to a bamboo forest to cut fresh roots and then we went knee-deep into the lake to fish for fresh shrimp. It was amazing to see up-close how it grows and how it’s harvested. It was the freshest food I have ever eaten.

Picture5.pngImage by GoEast Mandarin

That evening, friends and family came over. I could speak freely with all the guests, and we laughed, drank baijiu and played Mahjong (although I was no match against these experienced players). The next day I woke up to the sound of birds tweeting, something I never experience in Shanghai. Usually, all I hear is traffic. Baba had left at 5.30am to go to a market to buy some food for breakfast, which was also made with freshly laid eggs from the chickens. The rest of the day we worked on the farm. This time we fertilized the plants.

Image by GoEast Mandarin

We returned home and had a short rest, while Mama was already preparing lunch. In the afternoon, Eva and I walked around the lake. From there I could see how clean everything was and how the area depends mostly on agriculture. We also saw insects, little fish and a snake! 

Picture2.pngImage by GoEast Mandarin

When we came back to the house, my Chinese parents took me to a traditional gathering together with their friends close to Ningbo city. After that, they went back to Fengpuao and I returned to Shanghai. Even though the trip was only two days, it was an amazing time together with my host family and something I’ll never forget. The trip gave me a rare insight into the life of people living in the Chinese countryside and the chance to prove my Chinese skills. I’ve learned how the people in Fengpuao live much closer to nature than we do in Shanghai and how life in Shanghai isn’t the only lifestyle in China. Life is calmer and less busy in Fengpao and runs a more natural pace.

[Cover image via GoEast Mandarin]

See listings for GoEast Mandarin

more news

Subscribe to That's Shanghai & Urban Family for Just ¥300 a Year

Get a one-year subscription to That's Shanghai and Urban Family magazines and make the most of your time in Shanghai.

Buy 2, Get 1 Free Bottle of This Insanely Popular Vegan Egg

Try the egg substitute everyone’s been raving about!

3 Splendid Weekend Getaway Deals

Ready to plan your next weekend adventure? We’ve got you covered.

Cartier Presents Its Dazzling 'Magnitude' Jewelry Exhibition

Over 400 pieces of fine jewelry and watches, including the new Magnitude fine jewelry series, have dazzled the Bund.

Spotlight: Emmanuel and Miguel, Cofounders of Boomi

The duo is transforming the plastic consuming habits of individuals in Asia – one bamboo toothbrush at a time.

3 Treats Every Chocolate Lover Needs

Craving something sweet? We’ve got you covered!

The Woolmark Company Partners with Tmall for Tmall Wool Week

TMALL Wool Week was held from September 6-10.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.