WILLMAR -- During his year teaching at Willmar Senior High, Chinese instructor Bai Jingo has had the opportunity to see different parts of Minnesota and the country.
Bai can list a travel highlight for nearly every month he's been here:
- August -- an orientation session in Washington, D.C.
- September -- to the Twin Cities to attend "A Prairie Home Companion" with his landlady.
- October -- to Milwaukee and Chicago with a friend.
- November -- to Boston for a workshop.
- December/January -- over winter break, to San Francisco; Los Angeles, where he saw a Lakers game; Las Vegas for New Year's Eve; and then to the "breathtaking" Grand Canyon.
- February -- while his wife was visiting for several weeks, to Walt Disney World in Florida.
- March -- to Philadelphia for a workshop.
- April -- to New York and Connecticut, toured Yale University.
- May -- to a farm, something he'd never seen before, and on a weekend drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior with a friend. He also went fishing.
When it comes to sampling America's foods, Bai was adventurous.
His favorite food has been steak. He tried lutefisk "out of curiosity" and learned to make lefse.
He ate Mexican food, which isn't available in China, and enjoyed eating at real American restaurants. The American food he sees at home is mostly from fast food chains like KFC or McDonald's. While in the United States, he was a particular fan of Perkins' and Applebee's.
The Chinese food served at Willmar's restaurants is quite good, he said, but he found it a little sweeter and less spicy than the food served in his native region.