Homestays at La Shi Hai

So it wasn’t the Four Seasons, but it was a rather fun experience. Despite having to go to the bathroom in the chicken coop and eating pig intestines, many of us felt that we created memorable connections with our homestay families.

Anxious and excited, our homestay families arrived not one but two hours early. In pairs, we trekked out with a smiling stranger to our new temporary homes. Over the next few days, our communication skills were challenged, our offers to help with domestic tasks were often denied, and our stomachs were stretched by a continuous stream of food. Slowly, however, conversations started flowing, and a mixture of hand gestures, broken Chinese, and various translators started breaking down the wall of awkwardness that many of us felt at the beginning of our visits.

Right when many of us felt that we were creating a stronger relationship with our families, we were yanked out of the place we were just beginning to feel comfortable in. Although short and somewhat incomplete, the trip was not only a look into the Naxi culture, but also a chance for us to forge relationships with warm and loving people we never would have met otherwise.

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