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June 12, 2006

New friends

Yesterday, I got back home in the middle of the day from the airport. My trip to China had, in fact, finally ended. As I look back upon my experience, I think that what I will remember most about my trip is the new relationships that I formed. The sights were amazing, it was great to experience the new culture, and I loved just being in China, but I made many new lifetime friends. I only new a few of the people I was planning to travel with before we left for China, and I didn't know what to think of the group at that point. But now, as I think of all my new friends, from my group and from China, I know that I will remember them for a lifetime.

Continue reading "New friends" »

June 9, 2006

Alicia, Natalie, Rebecca and I enjoying our cruise

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Our last night in China

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Wow the view from the River cruise was amazing! Tonight for our last night in China we had dinner in a revolving restaurant on the 45th floor, then a cruise on the Hangpu River. The lights were amazing!

The View from the 56th Floor

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Mimi, Natalie, Dan and I decided to check out Lunch in Pudong, the new development on the other side of the river from Shanghai! 15 years ago there was nothing, and now there are skyscrapers with post modern designs everywhere! Not only was lunch amazing, check out that view! We were eye to eye with the Pearl of the Orient.

Even the Cabs in Shanghai are ultra high tech!

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Eveything in Shanghai seems to be new! It is perhaps, next to Hong Kong the most modern crazy city I have ever been to! And My favorite one in China. It's definitely a world city, but TVs in the Cabs???? Wow!

Reflection...

So our trip is winding down and we all are getting exhausted, or at least I am. This was a very fun trip. I enjoyed every second of it. I really loved the home-stay with a host family. I also really like teaching and meeting the high school students. I think my favorite thing out of this whole trip would have to be the home-stay because I got to interact with some really cool people. Also, I got to experience other cultures and I really enjoyed that. If I had to do it again I would do it in a heart beat. I hope everyone out there will go out and study abroad because it is truly a great experience. I have grown a lot since coming on this trip. And I'm pretty sure some of my friends have too.

June 8, 2006

Pagoda

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The Pagoda overlooking West Lake is even more beautiful at night!

Don't fall in!!

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Char was having fun in Hangzhou at the creek in the Temple of Hangzhou! We left our host in Jiashan early on Tuesday morning and spent the day in Hangzhou. The Chinese say, There is heaven, but on earth there are Hangzhou and Suzhou. Between West Lake and the Temple complex, it is the most beautiful place we have visited in China!

June 3, 2006

Rebecca and I on a boat

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Yesterday we had a great day in scenic Xitang, the ancient water city where Mission Impossible III was filmed! Unfortunately we don't have regular e-mail access here in Jiashan so there will be fewer blogs than last week, but check back because we'll get one up every chance we get!

Jiashan Generosity

The people here in Jiashan are incredible! Several of the people here have never seen foreigners, so many of them will stare at us as we walk down the street. There is an old Chinese saying that says "Is it not a joy to have friends come from afar?" And the people here are defiently glad to have us and are very welcoming. When Rachel Carlson and I first arrived at our host house, we were greeted by our host mother, father, little sister, aunt, uncle and cousin. The father and uncle grabbed our bags and didn't allow us to carry anything. We sat in the family room and talked with the family for about two hours while being served real Chinese tea and lots of different fruits and nuts. The family defiently made us feel welcomed and at home. I went to visit one of the kindergartens in town yesterday, and they greeted us with about 20 minutes of dances preformed by the students (ages 2-6) and were then taken to a confrence room to talk with the principal and were (once again) served real Chinese tea and a variety of foods. We were also given a tour of the school and then some of the children preformed more dances for us. They made quite the impression! All the people of Jiashan are very kind to us and are trying their best to make us feel very comfortable and at home. While walking outside of my host-home, a woman stopped me yesterday and asked if I could stop by at some point to have some tea and just talk. Then today another woman came by the house and brought me and Rachel some beautiful paper-cut pieces of art (very detailed cuttings of different landscapes, people, flowers and animals on red paper). Then she invited us over to her house where she gave us 4 more large paper-cuts. They are absolutly beautiful and she gave them to us because she "is happy to have friends from far away." While most people aren't giving us gifts, they are greeting us with large smiles, strong attempts to speak proper English and many questions. I absolutly love the people here in Jiashan and wish I could stay here much longer!

host family

I'm staying with Burton this time, and we're being hosted by the Mayor of an Industrial Town of 20,000 not far outside of Jiashan. We're about a 5 minute walk from school staying in a new, nicely furnished condo. The parents don't speak English, but Sam (we gave him that name, he didn't have an English name) knows enough to help us get by. We're doing fine and having a great time, despite getting up at 630 am, and sharing a queen sized equivalent of a dining room table with a sheet. Sam is very nice, but a little shy, much like a lot of the others seem to be, and the parents are more than hospitable. We're about to leave to go on the scripted factory tour, perhaps somebody will blog on that later.

June 2, 2006

On the overnight Train

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Zach, Laura, Cecilia, and Crystal found a way to stay entertained on the overnight train to Shanghai!

May 31, 2006

Leaving Beijing

Currently everyone is in the crazy frenzy of packing and checking out. After two weeks of settling in and figuring out Beijing, we are now heading on to our next adventure in China, Jia Shan. Beijing was a lot of fun, and I’m sure I could spend years exploring the city and never come close to seeing all the cool places tucked away in back alleys and side roads. It’s still interesting to think how Beijing will host the 2008 Olympics, in a city already so crowded.
We had our last three hours of Chinese class today, and while it was a lot of fun learning a new language, three hours can get to be a bit long. If we speak really slowly, and find someone who speaks Chinese and has a lot of patience we may be able to carry on a short conversation, mostly about what we want to eat.
Last night we experienced Peking Opera. It was…… interesting, a bit of an assault to the ears at times, with loud crashing instrumentation, but still interesting. The three acts including, Stabbing a Clam, something about a girl sprinkling flower around the world….. and finally the monkey king. At times we were treated to a large light up sign that “translated? what we were seeing. However, the translation was questionable at best. Still, it was an interesting experience, and we got to see the pretty lights of Tiananmen Square on the ride home.

Our last night at CNU!

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For our last night in Beijing we decided to hit the Peking opera! This photo is taken on the steps of our dorm at CNU. Tonight it's the overnight train to Shanghai!

Xi'an

Xi'an was a beautiful place, at least out in the country anyways. I had
a great time there. We visited the Terra cotta's and a muslim temple.
Although the trip was very exhausting and a lot of walking, I still enjoyed
it very much. Along with the trip we also learned bits and pieces of
history about Xi'an here and there. Our tour guide was excellent (she
saved some people who were running late! ^-^) and very helpful. At the end
of our trip, she even sung all of us a song! Isn't that sweet?! haha.. .
Her name was Helen (american name) We(?sp).

The hotel that we stayed in was very beautiful. They had a young lady
playing the piano near the entrance. The melodies she played were so
beautiful that some of us couldn't help but be entranced by the music that
flowed from her fingers. Char even took a picture with her! Even some
little kids dragged their parents to stand near the piano, just to capture
the beauty of the melodies a moment before they went their way.

Our first night in Xi'an, Char and I went exploring. During our
exploration, we found a dancing square. Within the dancing square, people
were dancing to techno music everywhere! Their body movements consisted of
a lot of hip movement--and I mean extreme hip movement!--and a lot of using
the knee and legs to kick up in the air. Their rythm was soo contagious
that Char and I tried to learn their steps. It was funny, interesting, new
and required a lot of energy. Even old ladies and men were moving to the
beat of the fast pace techno music!! We spent about 35 mins hopping around
and enjoying our time before the slow music set back in, then we walked
back to our hotel.

Over all, Xi'an is a very beautiful place. Mountainous and green
everywhere out in the rural areas, the view made me nostalgic and miss my
family and sweety a lot. It was a good expereince. Very enjoyable. And
the best thing was, the sky was finally blue in Xi'an. ^-^

p.s: at the end, our flight got delayed and we ended up staying in the
Asian Hotel for free for a cew hours! haha..i got some pictures of us
waiting on the ground at the airport when we were told our flight was ready
to fly to Beijing at midnight! haha...that was ...funny.. .^-^ and tiring..
.
By A Thao