After waking up in very cold weather, we managed to unravel ourselves from our toasty cheetah print blankets and get ready for the walk to the market. After asking various people for directions, including a man who pointed in a vague direction while riding away from a motorcycle, we finally arrived at a bustling market with everything from bread and socks, to sunglasses and “apple” brand iPhone holders. We bought gifts for our “Secret Pandas,” which mainly consisted of food and socks. We practiced our haggling skills and learned many new words. After a nice lunch outside in the market atmosphere, we returned to the retreat center in LaShiHai and got ready for our home stays.

After prepping, including a “squat toilet” lesson, which got more awkward every moment it continued, we got to meet our home stay parents. Pairs of us went to our new homes and tried to converse we our new families. Some of us tried to help but were waved away, others went to a pig roast ( and one very unfortunate group heard the pig being killed). Overall, everyone reported fun experiences, delicious food, and kind and generous homestay hosts.

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