I spend my every weekend in Xiushan, a small town located in Chongqing province. After reading my first note called “Around Chongqing” you should know how important and special this province is for me: the atmosphere, my Chinese friends and my favourite food. No matter what my plans are for the weekend, I’m always here, relaxing and getting some rest after a hard-working week with my students. I go to Xiushan by car as Mr S.’s family live here so he always gives me a lift. I’m always warmly welcomed there by his friends. Xiushan is bigger than Huayuen and looks more modern (pictures available in the gallery). Life here is slower and more peaceful and local people seem to be nicer, more open and friendlier, but of course it’s my own feeling. I feel here like I’m home.
In Xiushan I have observed my first Chinese celebration called The Mid-Autumn Festival. It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, around the time of the autumn equinox. This year the festival occurred on Tuesday, 13th of September. I have celebrated this day with my Chinese family by preparing moon cakes (it measures about three inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness and it tastes like a fruitcake. It is made with melon seeds, lotus seeds, almonds, minced meats, bean paste, orange peels and lard). We also had a dinner together, did some shopping, went for a stroll at night to see a full-moon and we were also climbing mountains. There were lots of different activities to do that day. For Chinese families this day is a great opportunity to gather together and spend more time with each other. Thanks to this day I got closer with Chinese society.
Next day my Chinese family took me for a trip to see Xiushan biggest Temples (see the gallery). There are two Temples in Xiushan: a small one and a big one. Both symbolise the long history and rich culture of China, and are regarded as valuable art treasures. I was amazed by this place: silence, peace, meditation, big trees and blooming flowers around me, candles everywhere and people praying. For a moment I felt like I was in an Indian monastery. When I went inside the temple, I saw a huge Buddha statue in front of me, closed in a glass box and surrounded by flowers. It looked massive and colorful. Local people believe that if they pray to Buddha, he will make all their dreams come true. I was asked to do the same so I knelt down and asked him to make my one wish come true (he hasn’t so far but I’m still waiting) :-). The temples are still being renovated and some sponsors are being looked for. I wasn’t allowed to take the pictures of the inside of the temples but after putting some money into a charity box for temples renovation my friend took a picture of me and one of the monks (see the gallery). In general this place look stunning. Finally, I could mentally rest and meditated for a while.