Tonight, we embarked on our third stop for our Take a Trip activities – China. Fortunately, we had some attire this time (technically, these were purchased in South Korea, but the girls did not notice the difference).
I did a lot of research with Anya this time since China is such a large and diverse country and culture. We were very overwhelmed with the many differences in regions, people, and cultures. This does not even include all the history! China is one of the oldest civilizations, dating back over 4,000 years. We decided to focus on a few key points, like the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army, the Beijing Forbidden City, and the Three-Gorges Dam. This way, we had a mixture of past and present. We also found a few random facts about China – it is the world’s largest exporter of goods and has the largest population of people in the world. Crickets are popular as pets there, and the Chinese invented many things we use and love today like paper and umbrellas! When the Chinese first invented toilet paper, it was only used by nobility. Funny, right? The name for China came from the Qin dynasty (pronounced “chin”), who united China as a unified country.
Of course, we had to have food as well! We had egg rolls, pork dumplings, white rice, sweet and sour pork, beef and noodles, mandarin bread, and green tea. I tried to find a recipe from each of the regions of China, but here’s the thing – Chinese ingredients are hard to come by, especially here in Italy. Tea and rice are staples of the Chinese diet even today, so those were easy. We also found out something else – Chinese is apparently my genre of food that I cannot cook well! The food we made was not bad, but it wasn’t great either. My attempt at homemade dumplings was honestly awful; even I would not eat them! I do not know if we are so used to more restaurant style Chinese or what, but we weren’t as thrilled by our food as we had been in our other countries. But the point of these activities is to at least try, which we all did.
Lorelei really enjoyed the pork, and Addie liked her beef and noodles. Here they are eating and attempting chopsticks. Anya has become pretty adept at chopsticks, since her dad taught her. He learned to use them pretty well during his times in South Korea. I took the mandarin bread and used it to eat my beef and noodles with, kind of like a taco. I think it’s interesting that we have done three different countries, and each has used some type of flatbread for their meals. It’s easy, quick, and pretty tasty no matter how you make it!
All in all, the night was interesting. I think we learned that if we are doing a country as large and diverse as China, we need to devote more than a few weeks to it. I think if we had done some more research, we could have found out even more about the country. Although beware – Anya is now well versed in all things about the Great Wall of China. She will school you on it. In keeping with our normal routine, we have already decided our next country – Australia. The land down under! Until next time….