I love lunch breaks here. Not because I don’t love my job – I love that too. But at exactly 12:00 every day, when it is time for lunch, all my coworkers get up and tell each other “chi fan!” (“eat food!”) Several times I have been wrapping up some work at 12:02, and coworkers, regardless of whether or not  we actually know each other, will pass by and exclaim to me “Chi fan! Chi fan!” The pure excitement is contagious. I love it.

After we all chi fan, I grab my camera and wander around town.

Xizhou is brimming history, as evidenced by the many layers of crumbling decorations overlapping signs seen throughout the town. Even the streets that are beginning to feel very familiar to me always seem to have some new nook or cranny to discover. Lately, I have been obsessed with the incense holders on the door frames of almost all entrances. The incense holders range from fancy, well-kept lions to a scrap of metal, just enough to hold the skinny matchsticks in place. Even though it is such a simple decoration compared to some of the elaborate roofs, the thought that goes into it makes it feel so special to me.


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