Mark: Jingjing, are you all set to go on your trip?
Jingjing: That isn't until next week, after the holiday.
Mark: Oh yeah, we have a couple days off. Do you have to work on the weekend?
Jingjing: No, I have four days off in a row. I'm going to use it to get some work done early, and spend one of the days with friends or relatives here in Beijing.
Mark: Do you have any ancestors here?
Jingjing: Well, a cousin of mine is married to a Beijing native. We might get asked to come along to honor their grandparents who have passed on. Most likely, we'll meet them after they've taken care of that, though.
Mark: Have you ever burned spirit money or joss paper on the street?
Jingjing: No, I haven't. I understand why people do that. But I try to get back to my home town at least once a year, so I can visit the actual resting place of my relatives.
Mark: Do you usually go there with your mom and dad?
Jingjing: Yes, we walk up the hill to the burial site together. If any other relatives are in town, they come too.
Mark: That sounds like a good way to spend a morning together with members of your family.
Jingjing: Yeah, I usually enjoy it, even though it's not fun per se. It takes me back to childhood: the smell of incense, carrying bags for the older people that are with me, all that stuff.
Mark: The ceremony hasn't changed, I imagine.
Jingjing: Not really. Let's talk about it more next time.
New words: 习语短语
all set 准备好了
relatives older than parents, no longer alive
passed on 过世的
no longer living
spirit money 纸钱
a kind of "play money" burned as an offering to the dead
joss paper 纸钱
paper made for burning, with a special smell
resting place 墓地
grave or other burial site
per se 本身 本质上
takes me back to 令我想起…
makes me remember, makes me miss old times
sticks made for burning, with a special smell
Mark: So, Jingjing, are you ready to have some days off?
Jingjing: You bet! I like working, but I definitely like having some time to myself.
Mark: Is there anything special that you do on the Qingming weekend—if you don't go back to your home town?
Jingjing: Well, it's a great time to reflect on life.
Mark: Do you get together with anyone?
Jingjing: If my relatives are in town, of course it's family time. If not, I see friends that have it like I do—away from family for work.
Mark: It must be nice to catch up with people you haven't seen in a while.
Jingjing: It really is. I remember in past years, there were a few times I stayed in Beijing, didn't have relatives with me, and called around to see who wanted to meet for lunch.
Mark: Do you have a regular group?
Jingjing: Usually, yes. But with the holiday, my closest friends are sometimes tied up.
Mark: That's a good chance to see people you lost touch with.
Jingjing: Exactly. I try to gather four or five people, and sometimes end up having lunch with old friends who have two or three years' worth of stories for me.
Mark: It's a good time of year for it. Don't forget to send out those messages to see who's free.
Jingjing: For sure.
New words: 习语短语
think about something you have done, consider what to do differently in the future
tied up 繁忙的