07.26.2010 - 08.04.2010 85 °F
I've had a very busy week, but it's been a blast in China! And between my last post and this moment, I'm right now 20 photos away from 2000 pictures. Uploading and tagging these pictures is going to be a PAIN. But I'll have some on Travellerspoint as well. Ok, so this is the past week :D
Monday July 26 and Tuesday July 27
Wow, I can't even remember what hapened these days. I can only remember that Monday was the first day of learning Tai-chi (because I'm refering to last week's schedule in the packet we got O__O). But Tai-chi was so hard to remember without the rhyme/song that the Changzhou kids taught me in Hebei. :D And according to the photos, I went to Wangfujin (western-like shopping district) with Kyle, Angelique, and Brett. Though Kyle left early, the three of us walked around Wangfujin Mall and got Pizza Hut for dinner. I gotta say, I really like pizza hut in China much more than America's Pizza. It's kinda strange. We went to Wangfujin arcade after, then went home. It was so fun that the next day we went to Wangfujin again so we could spend more time in the arcade. This time I went with Becca and Angelique, and then we had Korean food for dinner.
Wednesday July 28
In class, we watched Spirited Away in Chinese with English subtitles. I understood the movie a lot better than when i watched this movie a few years ago. I guess that's because in English we've spent so much time analyzing themes of stories and spotting human nature. Then after school, we went to Hongqiao again. Except this time we were in a bigger Waiguoren (foreigner) group, and I started buying gifts for people in America. I also got a set of Chinese pens and a set of markers. I'm surprised that in US dollars, I only spent $20 getting gifts so far. I plan to get much more after though. =D
We had planned to go to the China Nationalities Garden this week, but instead our schedule added a community activity. IN the morning we went on a tour at a Rehabilitation Center. We did Tai-Chi for the people who were using the recreational and sports center, and got to use the facility after. I played tennis for the first time in so long! I basically gotta say that I've gotten much worse... (since I had to take the second half of this year's tennis season to heal my ankle). I also learned that I stink at pool and that my badminton skills work even with a net :D In the afternoon we all went to an SOS Children's Village (it was a building?) that was just built. We thought we'd see children and get to play with them, but in reality they wanted us and our Chinese siblings to help clean some of the rooms. Since the buliding was new, there was a lot of dust and dirt everywhere. Though it wasn't the idea that we all had in mind, I felt good knowing that we gave back by volunteering our time with this activity. Our cleaning up time was short so we got back to school early. Brett, Sean, Angelique, Becca, Henan (my host sister), and I decided to go to Soshow to do some shopping. I ended up getting a nice shirt for 50 yuan (approx. $7 US). The girls helped Sean pick out some clothes, which I thought was fun since none of my guy friends at home would let me do that. He ended up getting a polo (which apparently SO many men in China wear!) and a full suit! I thought it was a nice way to spend my day :D
It was Qu Laoshi's last day, so we spent only two hours on class and spent the other two watching this Racoon Transformers movie. A lot of the time, our class laughed at all the innuendo that the subtitles had. For example, the Boy Racoons had to stay after class to sit on the rug. Then the pastor racoon (I think) says that the rug is made out of his golden balls. xD We definitely had some fun watching that movie. On the same day, I felt sick in the morning, so I went looking for Tylenol after school. My dad mentioned that Wal-Mart and or 7-Eleven would probably have it. So I trekked all the way to the Walmart (not really knowing where I was going) while dragging Brett, Sean, and Angelique with me. There ended up being NO TYLENOL after spending so much time looking for it. In the end, I decided that I'd try the medicine my host family had in their medicine cabinent.
When we went to the zoo last weekend, we noticed a shopping place across the street from it. This week Carrie, Henan, Brett, Angelique and I went back to that area because we heard clothes were cheap there. AND THEY WERE. I got a lot of clothes from there. Including one outfit that I really liked. I also started getting more gifts and stuff. Though I didn't really like the styles they had, there were even shirts sold for 10 kuai each (appox $1.50 USD) and for 5 kuai each (less than $1 USD)! THat's INSANE. At the end of the day, I spent around 217 yuan on clothes and a pair of extremely fake (but good looking) converse like shoes. So basically I ended up getting two shirts, a panda outfit (yes, a panda outfit...), a pair of sneakers, 5 necklaces, three knicknacky things, and two t-shirts (as gifts) for $32 USD. That's GOOD. After shopping, we went to a coffee shop that Carrie recommended. It was awesome because they had swinging chairs! My sister translated a sign that said "You can only sit here if you are accompanied by someone 18 or older." Only Brett and Carrie were 18 so they were basically our parents xD After getting chocolate drinks and juice, the girls went back to my house to make sushi for dinner. Angelique and I also got haircuts at a place near my house. In the end, it was a great day full of friends and family. :D
Sunday morning my family and I took a drive up to Xiangshan (Xiang Mountain) to go hiking. Carrie and Angelique came too. We took the "short but hard" path (as my sister called it). It took us almost 2 hours to get to the top, and we were definitely tired as hell when we got to the top of the mountain. We were so lucky that the weather was kind of cool while we were climbing. All the exercise was worth seeing the beautiful view from the top of the mountain. I was really glad that I didn't decide to take the cable car back down when it felt too hard to finish. It took a ton of effort (at least I think so). On the way down, we wanted to take a cable car but it cost 60 kuai per person. In the end, a man near the cable car ticket booth told us that we could pay 30 yuan per person to take a car down the mountain. Carrie stayed, but the three of us thought it was an okay idea. I ended up falling on my butt down a few steps en route to the car. The guy didn't even care that I could barely walk! O__O And it was a misinterpretation; when they said car, they meant van with random strangers with shirts off. The van ride down felt like "a Mexican-Chinese van" as Angelique called it. It was too many people in one vehicle and the driver went faster than the average driver is supposed to go. We FEARED that we'd fall off a cliff. It was insanity. However, we made it back down with enough time for my family, Angelique, and myself to go to Beihai Park.
Really, I spoke too soon about Houhai being the most beautiful place I"ve ever been to. I think Beihai is equally as gorgeous (or maybe even better than) Houhai. Maybe I just like places with water. We rented a boat to ride with the family all around the lake. There was an amazing sunset over the water, and I got to bond a lot by talking to my family. I even drove teh boat for a litle bit! After boating, we walked around the lotus pond (since this time of the summer is the Beihai Park Lotus Festival). Not all the flowers finished blooming yet, but I took pictures of the few that were blooming. I enjoyed spending time with my family, joking around about small things and learning about some of the small facts about the park. I would give a description of Beihai Park (like I did with Houhai) if I wasn't so sleepy. But the pictures should speak for themselves. Finally my parents took our family and Angelique out to eat at a Barbeque restaurant. I tried a lot of different meats (including a squid that looked like Squidward!) and was stuffed to "pregnancy" (a topic we talked about throughout the day). I've heard a lot that I've gotten lucky with the host family that I was chosen to stay with. I totally agree that my host family is just wonderful and fun-loving, and I hope that they're enjoying everythign that we're doing as much as I do! I'm so grateful for their kindness and hospitality
Our liason, Gong laoshi, is now teaching our class for the rest of the two weeks we have left in China. Class is kind of different but as we're getting closer to the final exam I know it's supposed to get quicker. We had Chinese Food class in the morning where we learned about a cool teahouse nearby, and decided we'd all go there some time. It was also Carrie's 18th Birthday! After school we all went to KTV to celebrate her birthday. Though I don't really like to sing I ended up singing more than 5 different songs on the mic; including Long de Chuan Ren (the song that we learned in Chinese class). I really thought that this party was a good way to bond with our Beijing group, and really I had a fun time!
Since Shidu was cancelled last time, we convinced our liason to re-add it to our schedule for today. It's pretty much a recreational place with boating, hiking, and other activities. The bus ride was 2 1/2 hours long. We just played this scamble game on Sean's iPod, listened to iPods, and talked for most of the time. The funniest thing was the "big eyed contest" between me, Angelique, Brett, Becca, and Sean. We had to open our eyes as wide as possible, biggest eyes wins. I lost SO badly. I don't think I even need to explain why. Before going to Shidu, we did our research and it said that there was BUNGEE JUMPING OFF A 48 METER STATION. A lot of us were sooo excited to hear that! We waited for this day to come. And when we saw it on the bus ride to Shidu....the tour guide says it's unsafe and we aren't allowed to go. I'm pretty sure that Sean was the most disappointed by that. We still had a good time riding rafts and climbing the mountain. Mike, Matt, and Kyle even went to the top on a separate path. We had to cross this very long and high-up bridge. I'm sure that I was the loudest scream on there! I started screaming "GET ME OFF THIS BRIDGE! AHH!" and needed my friend Shuai Zhu to hold my hand while crossing the bridge. I have an on and off fear of heights? I mean I love roller coasters and especially Kingda Ka, but I was screaming on this bridge O_O AND I was about to go bungee jumping. Yeah I'm weird. X) I think we were all just tired after Shidu. After the trip, Carrie, Becca, Sean, Angelique, Brett, Gonglaoshi, and I went to the teahouse that the food teacher told us about. It was soo nice. The only thing was that a cup of tea was 80 KUAI. At least the one I ordered. But all the teas were at least 30 yuan I think. Sean and Brett even got the 100 Kuai tea. I guess it's kind of worth it when you get to keep refilling the cup with hot water and the tea leaves. Somehow, we were able to sit there for about three hours...drinking tea. At least we had interesting conversation topics :D We also saw a performance of a martial-art style of pouring tea. It was SO COOL! After leaving the tea house, Becca and Carrie went home, and Gong laoshi took Brett, Sean, Angelique, and me to a Hotpot restaurant. It's so much fun hanging out with Gong laoshi! We talked about so much, and we ate so much food. By the end of teh night I was definitely pooped.
Henan's cousin came over today to meet me. She is studying Physics and German at Sichuan University. I think she's cool, and she actually has a Facebook! She pays for it though. I'm still looking for a Proxy so I can help Henan make one and add her as a sibiing when I get home. It was interesting talkign to her because she could speak some English as well. Nice meeting her In addition, I stayed home sick today (which is why I'm taking the time to write this post). I think the food at the Hotpot restaurant was good, but I ended up getting sick. I probably didn't cook the meat thoroughly enough in the pot. I woke up a few times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and could barely walk because my stomach hurt so badly this morning. Which led to a lot of sleeping today to rest up. I also had to go to the hospital. It's SUCH a confusing place when you're walking around not knowing the language. I could comprehend some of what the doctor (or nurse?) was saying, but I couldn't really explain too much with the Chinese taht I knew. At first I was in a room where the English translation was "Internal Medicine" and I thought that it was okay. Then they moved me to a different room for "Infectionous Diseases" which is when I started freaking out. They couldn't figure out my Chinese ID number because they didn't exactly believe that I was an American citizen until they called someone to look at my passport. And when they wanted my address I had to write it in because they couldn't translate it into Chinese. All just confusing. In the end, they used vocabulary that we learned in class. Such as 拉肚子 and 黄连素. Which is what my problem was and the medicine I had to take. Just look it up. And I am stuck not being able to eat anything but water and zhou (porridge). Which SUCKS because my Lao lao (grandmother) made so much food that looked good, but I couldn't eat any of it. Hopefully I'll get better soon, and for my family who might be worried; I'm not dead, I'm fine. So I guess this is it for now on my blog. I'll put up pictures and such.
Hey hey hey hey. Only 10 days until I'm back in CT. Hmmm...what if I ditched AFS and hid in China for a year? jk jk. But I DON'T WANNA LEAVE. CHINA IS SO WONDERFUL!