Today we had a BBQ with the Chinese students that have been showing us around Tianjin and that have been attending class. It was bitter sweet for everyone involved in the fact that we learned a lot about culture because they took us out all the time and told us what we should do. It was sad though driving away from about 15 sad faces waving to people they will probably never see again. They are all so wonderful and amazing, not to mention so generous. I will miss Tianjin and all the interesting people I met along the way. It is sweet in the fact that we get to move on to seeing Shanghai, which I'm sure will be an amazing experience. But also bitter in the fact that we need to leave the students behind, after they had given us so much. Back to the BBQ, the Chinese students loved it! We had a few minor glitches at first with charcoal not starting up. But then the Korean restaurant saved us with charcoal that was already hot. Everyone loved the cheeseburgers and chicken. It was a great farewell.
Recently in Second Week in Tianjin Category
On our last free day Saturday in Tianjin, Charlie, Amanda, Sarah and I took the bullet train back to Beijing for a fun day of shopping. It was quite interesting getting around town with out native speakers. Thank God, Sabrina was there to get our tickets for us or we would have never made it out of Tianjin. We had a new experience at the market, and experienced new things, even more than the first time we visited. This time, we actually made it to the fourth floor where there were high-end shops that were fun to pursue. I also had a new experience in the bag area, where the women grab onto you and will not let you go. Honestly, one lady pulled my black shopping bag almost to the point of it breaking. I was in shock of these women and what they do for business. Also they yell at you non-stop and chase you through the shopping area to come back and buy items from them. Well, it was a very successful trip and everyone bought memorable items to bring back for their friends and family in the states.
After getting to the train station, we waited outside because of the nice breeze. It got very weird when people started gathering around us and kept getting closer. Beggers would come by every so often and ask for money. We decided it would be a good idea to just wait inside, despite how hot it might be. We didn't have to wait that long and all I could think of was "wow" when I first laid my eyes on the grand scale of the railways. The train we boarded was so nice and I honestly expected less. The rooms were not as crowded and were luxurious in a way. We even had our own TV. This was my first overnight train (as it probably is with most of the students on this trip) and definitely an unforgettable one. Even though I didn't get much sleep, it so worth it.
Today was the day that none of us was looking forward to. It was time to say goodbye to our great friends and the city that became home to us for the past two weeks.
Today is our last full day here in Tianjin. We spent most of the afternoon walking around the two campuses, Tianjin University and Nankai University. It was very interesting to me to see the similarities/differences between the two campuses that share a border. The most interesting thing that I learned is that the universities share a border, and there is a building in which half of it is Tianjin and the other half in Nankai. There is a main walkway that connects the two different campuses. It was interesting because we were with two different students, one from each of the universities. It was interesting to see that they both thought theirs was better, even though they agreed that some things were better in the other such as dorm rooms. Overall they looked very similar to me, both had the buildings, basketball courts, lakes, dorm rooms and other college buildings. It was interesting to hear that this was common in China, to have two different universities right next to each other. I thought that this might create some competiveness between them, also increasing the desire for each university to make nice buildings and keep the grounds cleaner. There was a fence that seemed to separate the two universities and I found out that we walked by it every day we went into the campus. I assumed they were all for the same university, not two different ones. It would be interesting to talk more with the students about this and learn more about the differences/similarities between the two universities and see if the student life is any different between them.