Come See China with Me! (Part 1)

Hello everyone!Β I’m back!!

giphy1

Some of you may remember me from 2 weeks ago! Yes, I went to visit China, where I was born and raised (can you tell? :P) Now I am excited to share my adventures with you guys.

Disclaimer: Because I am kind of a Chinese person (I say “kind of”, because although I look and speak Chinese, I have a Canadian passport), and I am mostly visiting family in China, you won’t see much touristy stuff here! Instead, you might get a taste of what it is like to live in China as a Chinese person. And you might get to know a bit more about me πŸ˜‰

Over the past 2 weeks, I visited two cities in China:

CHINA

Shijiazhuang is my hometown. It is also the smoggiest city in China. (Shijiazhuang’er’s are almost proud of that. Almost :’) )

Weihai is where my grandparents (from my Mom’s side) live. It is also deemed the city that is most suitable for living in China.

Two very different cities, as you can tell. Today I will show you guys photos from Weihai, because it is the city that I travelled to in the first week of my vacation.

Weihai, China

Blog_Weihai_city

Weihai is known for its beaches, blue skies, clean air, and seafood. It is a popular place for people from other parts of China to visit. People often dream of retiring in Weihai (for a good reason!) More photos of the shoreline later!

Two of the middle photos feature one of the many roadside food vendors. In the late mornings and early evenings, you may also spot groups of people crowded around a table on the sidewalk, playing Chinese chess.

I also want to introduce you guys to my co-travellers (aka. my family!) From the left to the right: Mom, Dad, and me. (I know, we all look the same age :P)

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Did I mention that the seafood is amazing in Weihai?!Β This is one of my favourite photos. (Hint hint: Can you spot the baby crab inside the clam?!)

Blog_Weihai_homecooking

We also got to enjoy some amazing home-cooking (courtesy of my oh-so-amazing grandma <3). The dish featured here is called Zha Jiang Mian, which is a noodle dish topped with meat (usually pork) in a soybean paste, and some fresh vegetables (like cucumbers). Did I mention that my grandma makes all her noodles by hand?!Β This is one of my favourite Chinese dishes of all time.

Blog_Weihai_market

One of my favourite activities was to visit the local farmer’s market, where vegetables, herbs, nuts, spices, etc, are sold fresh and at very reasonable prices. You guys get to see my grandma doing some epic bargaining in the photos above.

Blog_Weihai_Tingyuen

Okay, all right, we got to do one touristy thing in Weihai, and that is visiting the Ting Yuen exhibit. (Can you spot me in the line of soldiers?!) Ting Yuen was a battleship that was designed and built in the 1880s, with expertise from shipbuilders in the Great Britain and Germany. The ship participated in the Sino-Japanese war in 1894. (The above picture features a replica of the ship, as the actual Ting Yuen unfortunately did not survive the war.)

Blog_Weihai_ocean

And as promised, one last photo of the beautiful shoreline. Oh! I also get to show you guys one of my favourite fall outfits! As you can see, I am a fan of red and navy blue. That handbag was purchased from a department store in Weihai when I visited 2 years ago (unfortunately the store doesn’t exist anymore!)

Blog_letschat

Where have you travelled to recently? Any future travel plans? Do you like home-cooking? What is a favourite dish from your own culture? What is your go-to fall outfit?

54 thoughts on “Come See China with Me! (Part 1)

  1. Marie says:

    AHH SOPHIE, I’m so happy you’re back, I missed you so much ❀ I'm glad to hear you had such a lovely time in China – I loved your pictures so much, also, yes, you and your family look like you all have the same age but… it's quite fantastic, if you ask me. You're so pretty, I love that last picture of you and that outfit! ❀ I haven't tried many Chinese specialties, but I really want to now πŸ™‚ thank you for sharing your trip with us – and best of luck for the "back to reality time" ahah πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    Waaaahhh!!! You take some of the best pictures out there!! Thank you so much for sharing this trip with us. πŸ˜› I absolutely love the sound of Zha Jiang Mian; anything with meat would probably have me drooling though. By the way, how do you pronounce this? I’ve come to learn that some names aren’t pronounced as they are written (courtesy of some Chinese basketball players who ended up in the NBA and had commentators say their name WAYYY differently than how they are spelled).

    I’d honestly would want to travel every place possible, especially the classic big names you often hear when you ask people where they want to go (i.e. China, Japan, etc.). But the most realistic would be to say places that are close-by to Montreal, Canada, like New York just cause of book conventions or even the cheap prices of books out there in the States! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Lashaan!!
      Aw thanks! Glad that you like these photos!

      Hmm Zha Jiang Mian would be pronounced kind of like Ja John Mee-an. It is hard to spell it out exactly the way it is pronounced, as some sounds in Chinese don’t exist in English. Yes it is difficult to decipher the pronounciation of Chinese names (unless you are fluent in Chinese!) My Chinese name is Xue Fei which is often pronounced Zoofy, but in fact the true pronounciation is closer to Shuay Fay. Languages are interesting things!

      Yes it is costly to travel to Asia! The round-trip flight to China was ~$1000 this time around. For this reason I mostly end up traveling close-by as well πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

        Yesss! That’s what I notice too, the Z turns into J by Westerners but isn’t actually a J… And man, can I just say how cool your Chinese name sounds?? Hahahah Zoofy would be a pretty cool nickname too. πŸ˜› Thanks for the info! And yep… Those trips to Asia cost billions! At least we all know how to make the most out of them when we do go on those trips. Glad you got to visit your family there and had a pretty good time, Sophie! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Good observation! Yes Z is sort of a J but there are slight differences in how the two sounds. Xs and Qs also stump non-Chinese speakers because there are no English equivalents, though X is almost a β€œSh” and Q is almost a β€œCh” πŸ™‚

        Glas to hear that you like my Chinese name πŸ™‚ It is a phrase from a Chinese poem, meaning β€œsnow”. How do you pronounce your name, Lashaan? And does it have a meaning?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

        Wow, that’s beautiful. It’s pronounced La-Shawn hahah As for the meaning… I’ve been on a journey through the darkest parts of the world so far to find an answer and still nothing. 🀣 I just know there’s a book that was used to come up with it. And the way my name is constructed is also not something too rare among other Indians (i.e. the whole deal with -aan at the end or -an is something I see often but have no clue what it means).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        That’s great to know how to say your name! I figured that it was either β€œLashan” or β€œLashawn” πŸ™‚

        Lol πŸ™‚ That is interesting that your name is related to a book, and that you also like to read books- it is meant to be!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Oh welcome back Sophie! πŸ˜€ I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already but it’s great to see you posting and on WordPress again! πŸ™‚ ❀
    I love your photos, it looks like you had a great time and it must have been nice to catch up with your family out there as well. I can't wait to see part two of this post. Also, I can't say I'm a massive fan of seafood, but the other food-y photos you featured in this post are making me so hungry. The ones from the farmers market are probably my favourite, they're full of so many gorgeous colours . πŸ™‚
    There are so many places I want to travel, unfortunately my travel plans are too big for my funds sometimes. One day I want to be able to say I've seen everything the world has to offer! πŸ˜€
    Again welcome back, and great post as well. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Beth ❀

      Yes I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks! Time flies! It’s been a restful trip and I am now ready to jump back into blogging and Canadian life haha… though not quite ready to start work again! :’)
      Glad that you like these photos!! Yes the farmers market was definitely one of my favorite memories- it was such a great experience to see how the locals shop πŸ™‚
      I feel the same way about traveling! There are so many places out there (it seems endless!) but so little time (and not enough money haha!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. MichaelK says:

    Amazing Sophie! Thank you for sharing your adventures in homeland! (Btw you are not called Sophie in China, are you?) Your family looks great and I bet your grandma is amazing!
    As much as I love home-cooking I can’t really choose a favourite dish. Did I mention you look great in your fall outfit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Michael!! πŸ™‚
      Thank you! Glad that you like these photos!
      My Chinese name is Xue Fei, which stumped my English teacher when I arrived in Canada. She thought that it sounded like β€œSophia” which is how I got my English name. My relatives in China still call me Xue Fei while my parents are used to calling me Sophia (though most of the time they just call me β€œyou”! :’) )

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Zoie says:

    Reading this post makes me want to fly back to China and travel there again! πŸ˜„ I’ve never been to Shijiazhuang or Weihai, but I have been to other places in China. Part of my family is from Hong Kong, though, so I’ve been to Hong Kong way more than I have to mainland China. The most relatable part of your post for was when you mentioned your grandma bargaining at the market — my grandma does that too, and it’s crazy how good she is at it! I don’t possess her skills or experience with bargaining. so I usually just say yes to whatever price the vendors give me πŸ˜… I had so much fun reading this post, and I can’t wait for part 2!! πŸ˜‹πŸ›«

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Zoie!
      So glad to hear from you! That’s great to know that you’ve been to other parts of China. I haven’t been to Hong Kong but it’s definitely one of the places on my bucket list.
      Haha yes! Bargaining is such an art! I picked up a few things from my grandma. “That’s too expensive!” “Are you sure this is good quality? It’s not worth that much money!” “I’m not buying this! I’m leaving!” She is somehow able to get the price to drop by 1/3 or even half! I am not nearly as passionate or effective as she is, and at some point I start to feel bad for the vendors, since I worry that they are not making much money at that point :’)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lois says:

    Welcome back. It looks like you had a wonderful time in China. Weihai looks like a beautiful place and I love a good farmers market. I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of indulging Chinese dishes, but they look so delicious. I can’t wait to read more of your travels. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Lois πŸ™‚
      Thank you! Yes, farmer’s markets are fun! Chinese cuisine is amazing and very, very diverse (since China is a big place and each of the provinces have their own specialties)- I think there is something for everyone, so I hope that you will have a chance to try some day πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    WELCOME BACK SOPHIE!! I’m so happy you shared about your trip!! I missed you… ❀ You are so blessed to have such wonderful family… they make you Zha Jiang Mian after all!! πŸ˜‰ I'm quite jealous of those homemade noodles… Weihai looks like a lovely place to live, it's great that you can visit… I have to say after your gorgeous pictures I'm looking forward to smoggy Shijiazhuang… I understand the pollution makes a beautiful sky… I need to visit Asia! I've been all over except for Asia… (actually I'm quite blessed on the travel front… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Thank you Dani! I am glad to hear from you too ❀ Yes I am so lucky to have a lovely family back in China.
      China is such an interesting place and I hope that you will get a chance to visit some day! Even though it is one country, there are so many differences from one region to the next, so I think there are endless things to discover. The food is amazing too πŸ™‚ I also wish to travel Asia more- so far I’ve only been to China and Taiwan.

      Like

  8. A Bit of Seasoning says:

    This is my first time to visit your blog and I am quite surprised to see a post about Shijiazhuang and Weihai! I had lived in China for a year and there were some must-visit cities in foreign students’ community. I don’t think I’ve ever heard my non-Chinese friends visited Shijiazhuang. But luckily, one of my Chinese friends were from Shijiazhuang, I could go and see some stuff in that city. One unlucky thing was it was super hot and polluted then. 😦
    Anyway I enjoyed your post. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello!
      That is cool that you went to visit Shijiazhuang! It is my home town so I am super proud of this little city πŸ™‚ Yes, unfortunately it is quite polluted there. I heard that it is because of its geography, which causes smog to accumulate in the city. That’s awesome that you spent a year China- really hoping that you enjoyed it there! πŸ™‚ Thank you for stopping by!

      Like

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