We were greeted in the hotel by our host "Jason". Jason is 24 years old and is a big basketball and soccer fan. He took us to the subway were we proceeded to his families apartment a little bit outside Shanghai. Sam and I were a bit nervous meeting Jason's parents but those nerves quickly subsided when we met them.
What amazingly gracious people! We took off our shoes at the front door and were given slippers to wear. We introduced ourselves to Jason's parents and were immediately put at ease by their smiles and jovial nature. We talked a little bit getting to know them a little bit before they excused themselves and began to prepare lunch. Jason showed us around the one floor apartment and his room. There were three bedrooms and two full baths. Jason then asked us to relax and wondered if we liked the show the Big Bang Theory. We responded that we did and the next thing we knew we were drinking tea and watching an American sitcom.
Jason's uncle then showed up and we were soon discussing many topics with him. He lived in New York City for many years and enjoyed creating art. He was well traveled and very knowledgable on many topics. We discussed many issues in China, the US and the world. We all agreed that traveling was and is so vital to better understanding the world. What a well rounded informative gentlemen he was. We were truly honored to meet him and his family.
Jason's parents were so thrilled that we attempted to speak some Chinese, ate with chopsticks even though we were offered silverware and tried every dish cooked. The food was fantastic and Jason's mother was so happy that we ate a dish that her brother told her not to make. Essentially it was collared greens and Sam loved it which was evident for he ate the whole thing. The parents were so delighted to have us and we were humbled to have the opportunity to be in a family setting.
After lunch Jason's parents drove us downtown. While driving we learned even more about each other. They told us that if we should return to China we would always have a home in Shanghai! How powerful! I informed them that there hospitality would of course be repaid if they were to visit Washington DC or the United States. When leaving the car we gave them big hugs while pondering how lucky we had been to meet such kind, warmhearted people.
Sam, Jason and I went to a shopping district and walked around the congested alleyways of Shanghai. We stopped into a coffee shop and relaxed further getting to know each other. We mentioned to Jason that we had a free day tomorrow. His eyes perked up and I told him he was more than welcome to join us tomorrow as well. His face light up as he said really, are you sure? We responded that of course we would love to have him join us again. He took us back to the metro where we agreed to meet again tomorrow at 9:30.
As I told Jason and his family. Travel never ceases to amaze me. People are good everywhere you go. I am truly humbled and in awe once again. I will take away from this trip many things. However what I will take away most is the friendliness of our Chinese friends. People have been so good to us everywhere we have gone. Today was even more of an example of that type of behavior. What an amazing day and what an amazing way to essentially wrap up our trip : )