On our last weekend in Zibo we had the opportunity to visit a “traditional” Chinese family home. I had been looking forward to this opportunity so that I could see how people in China live together and if the family operates any differently than in the U.S.
Sarah (Halter) and I had met a young girl several days before the house visit and we got along so well that she invited us to visit her home and spend the day with her and her friends.
All of the other American students also split into groups of twos and joined other families. We took a public bus to Sunny’s home along with Arthur and Steven who would accompany us to Sunny’s house.
Sunny’s apartment was nothing like I had imagined it would be; for some reason when I read that we would be visiting Chinese family homes I had envisioned going into a small home located on the farm.
I imagined we would see a mother or grandmother slaving over our lunch in a hot, tiny kitchen with dirt floors.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sunny lived in an lovely apartment complex in the center of Zibo, her family’s apartment was crisp and bright with a style influenced by both Chinese and European culture.
The walls had photographs of her family, including her sister who was in the military. Her home was so similar to the homes that are used to in the states, and her hospitality made me feel welcome immediately.
Unfortunately her parents were occupied and we did not have the chance to meet them but Sunny showed us various albums, which included them, from when she was a baby.
She served us tea and fruit then we took a walk to a nearby park where we saw toddlers playing in sandboxes as well as an elderly couple singing and playing the Erhu.
Sunny had planned out the whole day for us and it was just like hanging out with friends at home. Later on we had lunch and did some shopping.
Sarah and I were the last to come back to the university because we were having so much fun with Sunny, Arthur and Steven!
— Deanna Barnes, junior art history major