A Travellerspoint blog

Weekend at Hebei Univ. and Day at Wuzhong Middle School

sunny
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Sooo much to say about this weekend. But luckily all the complaints have been taken out on my journal. This weekend our Beijing group took a train to Baoding, China (one hour away) to attend the CEAIE-AFS National Volunteer Conference at Hebei University. Majority of it was the AFS-USAers to reunite after separating into different cities, as well as meeting Chinese students who are going to America in August for a semester or school year. It's so cool to hear that there's people who are as excited about learning English as we are about learning Chinese. I guess I'm in the middle of both in a way. I'm born with Chinese heritage, but have grown up in the USA. My Chinese ability isn't really as much as a typical American's, but it's not fluent enough to be Chinese. It's got it's perks and disadvantages, but at the same time I feel so connected to the cultures of both countries. I talked to a lot of the Chinese students and they now talk to me on email. Other than the AFS conference, the reuniting of all the cities was something that made the confrence worth going to. I saw so many of my friends from different cities and hung out with them on and off the campus. It was pretty cool. :D Too bad we're all separated again!! :P The best part is that there weren't too many rules established, so we could relax about getting to our rooms on time, and could hang out in our friends' rooms to catch up about our individual adventures in China, as well as bond with the AFS family. =D

We also went to a rural city in Baoding, where they kinda didn't tell us where we were going until we rode the bus for an hour and a half to stop in this abandonned city. It was a war ground for Japanese/Chinese war (I think). The only highlight of that is the well deserved nap on the bus (due to the 1 hour of sleep the first night in Hebei...) as well as walking in the underground tunnel. It was so narrow that it was one of those times where I was glad to be short!

Though I'm sad that life in Hebei had to end, I'm glad to be back in Beijing. I actualy broke my glasses Friday before the Hebei trip and got them fixed on the same day. But I got a spare pair of glasses at a district of glasses stores in Beijing. I've noticed that some places will organize stores into a block with common items. Like there wre at least 6 glasses stores and emporiums all together in the same area. I've seen that with clothes and with technology items as well. Pretty cool. I like my new glasses though, that was my point haha.

Tuesday (today) I went to Wuzhong Middle School with my classmates. It was exciting to meet more Chinese students and to spend the day away from school and learning. The school was in an urban area, and we basically went to the Peking Man World Museum. Only real exciting part was exploring some of these caves and taking a lot of pictures in them. :] We also spent time getting to know teh students at the school and played a basketball game with them (USA won...). Overall it was a fun day out.

I talked to a little boy who really wished to go to America. It made me think about (once again) how fortunate I am to be here in China for this experience. Especailly after today. I had a taste of both the rural and urban parts of China today. Both were just amaznig. (I'll post pictures tomorrow since it's late right now). On the bus ride to the school I was amazed at the mountain I saw and it's surrounding scenary. At the Peking Man Caves we had to climb some of the mountain for a tour and could look below at the small houses, fields, and could see all these other mountains. It made me feel happy, considering the blue skies we had today too (FIRST TIME SINCE THE FIRST DAY IN CHINA!) I also went to a park in the city today which had so many culture-rific (it basically looked really Chinese and artistic) structures. Such as a bridge and small buildings on the water. I know I want to come back to it. I was so happy to see both sides of China in one day. Either way, I'm gonna go to bed now. Goodnight and for now, 再见!Looking forward to skyping anyone who wants to talk this weekend! (I'll post pictures tomorrow)

Posted by jennhuynh 09:16 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Hebei in maybe 12 hours, Past few days

Overall, this is a great week :)


View Summer in Beijing, China on jennhuynh's travel map.

I'll make this short since I should go to bed soon. I think this might be just random outbursts about my week. This week has been pretty good. It's hard to believe that two weeks have gone by since I left my home in CT! I've learned so many new things in school, and I can feel my Chinese getting bettter. We also started music this week (learned Mo Li Hua, Auld Lang Syne---Engilsh and Chinese version!, and a Jay Chou song about Chrysanthemums), as well as art. I'll post a picture of the grapes I painted (whose leaves look like a pot plant according to my painting neighbors xD i don't have too great of an artistic ability lol) I got my first manicure on Tuesday of this week as well, but it wasn't worth the 20 yuan I spent getting it. I was able to peel it off today and it was better just painting it myself at no charge xD By the way (for my sister) I'm gonna post a picture of that 8 floor shopping center/mall with a movie theater on the 9th floor and an all shoes floor in the basement level. (jealous yet Sis? lol) THERE ARE STRAY CATS OUTSIDE OF MY SCHOOL D; At school I've also been playing a lot of Badminton! I swear I've been playing everyday with my friend Sean. We're an awesome doubles team :D He's so enthusiastic about it with his power shots and graceful moves :) We both love Badminton. Today we even played indoors because it was raining! Yesterday we played against Brett and Angelique, it was pretty interesting. We also went to visit a Kindergarten class today and they were soo cute! I loved this kid named Bob. He's adorable and speaks Chinese so well! (I couldn't understand him most of the time hahah) It makes me wish I could speak as well as he does. There were so many adorable kids, and they sang us songs! I really had a lot of fun. I also felt so accomplished when I made it home by myself, no help from host parents or my host sister. I even went to the supermarket near my house, tried to buy a book to practice Chinese with, and then complained abotu the book to the store clerk because it was missing like 6 pages. I actually understood him saying "Today there's no more Xi Yang Yang (Pleasant Goat) books, but if you come back tomorrow night there'll be more in stock." Then I repsonded, "I'm out of town tomorrow night, will there be more on Monday?" Ahhh it was so great :) Chinese is getting better! And tonight I also had a great dinner with eating Hot pot. I was so full after, I guess it's a good addition considering lunch can become just rice and choy sometimes. Sorry this post is short, but I gotta get to sleep. I'm going to Hebei for a conference on Friday and wanna get some pictures in so you guys aren't too bored haha. Just saying, I probably won't post as often as I'd like, just email me if you want full updates of what's going on! For now, 再见!

My Grapes Painting

My Grapes Painting

LOOK AT THIS KITTY.

LOOK AT THIS KITTY.

Soshow Shopping Center

Soshow Shopping Center

Me, Sean, and some of the kids at the Kindergarten

Me, Sean, and some of the kids at the Kindergarten

Our Class and the Kindergarteners

Our Class and the Kindergarteners

Really good dinner =)

Really good dinner =)

Posted by jennhuynh 08:42 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (8)

Some pictures!

A few out of hundreds of pictures I've taken so far.

Some pictures of my adventures in China. I've taken about...500 in the first twelve days? Here's less than 20 lol. Basically pictures of me and some of the people I've met so far. I'll have plenty more up on Facebook when I get home. Enjoy!

My Group at Gateway Orientation

My Group at Gateway Orientation

Plane Photo, Don't remember where we over, but it's pretty

Plane Photo, Don't remember where we over, but it's pretty

Great Wall Of China with the Olympics Sign!

Great Wall Of China with the Olympics Sign!

Great Wall! Still can't believe I made it to that little tower at top, it was so steep!

Great Wall! Still can't believe I made it to that little tower at top, it was so steep!

At the Great Wall of China! =)

At the Great Wall of China! =)

Me and Lovely Sara! I swear she's awesome!

Me and Lovely Sara! I swear she's awesome!

Me and Joseph! One of the funniest guys ever!

Me and Joseph! One of the funniest guys ever!

Beijing Sunset

Beijing Sunset

THEY'RE STARING AT CHU!

THEY'RE STARING AT CHU!

Basketball Match, pretty sure we won one and lost one match

Basketball Match, pretty sure we won one and lost one match

Singing at KTV

Singing at KTV

At Tianamen Square

At Tianamen Square

Entering Forbidden City

Entering Forbidden City

I love how this picture came out =D Me and Sean =D

I love how this picture came out =D Me and Sean =D

My Chinese Class and Teachers

My Chinese Class and Teachers

Me and my Host Sister at Beijing Musuem

Me and my Host Sister at Beijing Musuem

Cutting up the Beijing Duck

Cutting up the Beijing Duck

Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf, my favorite Chinese TV Show!

Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf, my favorite Chinese TV Show!

Stay tuned for more photos and posts! Having an awesome time in China, I should go to bed now since I have school tomorrow. Goodnight! (well Good morning CT!)

Posted by jennhuynh 07:45 Archived in China Tagged photography Comments (6)

More about school, exploring, and day trips!

Random Happenings :P (I'll be posting pictures later!)

overcast 72 °F
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The way school works is that I get there before 7:30, and go home around 4:30. For AFS we start at 8:30 so usually we'll walk around the surround area to waste time/explore. One morning we actually got a little bit of breakfast at a stand near the school. And it cost 6 mao for a meat bun! (which is basically less than a penny in the US). They've set up all these classes for us, one being Wushu (gym/Chinese exercise). This week we learned all 15 moves! It was really cool and I really wanna teach it to someone when I get back :) Then we usually play a few sports on the playground and go to Chinese class after. It's nice to review a lot of the stuff I already know, and also do some independent stuff in the class I'm in. Lunch is about an hour and fifteen minutes, so I usually eat then go on the computer or walk around with the other people in my class. The rest of the day is Chinese and then an extracurricular or a field trip. School does get long, but it's pretty cool actually. It's also nice to see how school is compared to the United States.

The other day after school we decided to explore a bit, and then went to KTV to sing! There were American songs on the playlist too so we were basically saved. I went with my friends from class, Carrie and Sean. I also went with my host sister Cassie (her Chinese name is Henan) and her classmates (whom we nicknamed La Mei, Woogui, and Shuai Zhu xD). My friend Sean and I sang the random English words on one of the Chinese songs since it was all we knew x) But that day I also saw one of the biggest malls I've ever seen! It was six floors full of really cute things (like Domo bags, Spongebob shoes, anime earrings, etc.) I didn't have money with me... .__. so I guess I'll have to go back? :)

Friday we went to Forbidden City! It's so pretty and historical! And I gotta say, it was worth the tiresome walking we had to go through for this beautiful historic site. (I only wish there weren't so many people. I remember discussing that it'd be the ultimate laser tag arena or hide and seek place.) I took so many pictures (that I'll post later). So many Chinese people wanted to take pictures of my classmates (because they were foreigners). Unfortunately if you look Chinese (like me and my friend Angelique) you don't get asked to take pictures with the Chinese people. So then we saw these really tall guys from England or the US, and we tried to go up to them with our Chinese looks to see if we could get a picture with them. They just looked at each other and walked away when we asked! LOL. Apparently I gotta act more FOB if I want a picture with a foreigner xD.

After walking back to school from the Forbidden City (our school is close enough so we can walk.) Carrie and I needed to meet our sisters at the mall, but ended up getting soaked by Beijing rain. Apparently it goes from being in the 90F to about 60F when it rains! We were soaked so badly, I actually was so cold that I couldn't understand half of some of the Chinese people were saying to me. Therefore, I ended up getting a cold and am currently recovering from it. :P

Saturday morning my host parents wanted to meet my parents in America, so we had a video chat (since I can't do international calling here.) It was nice seeing my parents again, and I think my host and natural parents got along well. After that I went to the Beijing History Museum (i think that's what it was.) I felt pretty sick but still paid attention to a lot of things. There wre a lot of interesting things about Chiense culture that I learned, along with looking at the traditonal art, bronze and jade sculptures, and celebration customs display. Hopefully I'll remember it all for the future. I tried McDonalds in China for the first time after! It's much different than the US, especially since you can leave your trash on the table and there are waiters who come to clean it up for you. THe food is prety much the same except for the less amount of menu items and actually having legit fried chicken on the menu. I also saw what I think are delivery boys. They carry something like a backpack that is filled with sandwiches, and they wear race car helmets when running down the street. It's pretty cool. I went to a little mall after (where bargaining wasn't allowed...) and got these cute scented pens for 25 yuan. At night I went to a restaurant with my host parents as well, where I had Peking duck from the Peking city (technically caled Beijing Duck by the way.) Finally today my host sister's aunt, uncle, and cousin came over for lunch and took me to get a new laptop charge (which is all fixed now! :)) So that's the latest of what's happening, if you actually wanna read that all, haha. Talk to you all soon! I'm having a great time in China, and will be posting a few of the 500 pictures I've taken in the first twelve days. Stay in touch guys! (email me if you want to! I keep up with that more than my blog.)

Posted by jennhuynh 04:42 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

First week away from home.

I'm definitely not posting as much as I'd like to O_O

81 °F
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So after one week away from home I gotta say, AFS and NSLI are pretty damn amazing.
I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity, and am excited to be a part of the growing AFS community by spreading the word once I return home. I'm gonna try to be brief but specific because the things that happened outweigh the amount of energy and time I have.

Gateway Orientation was great! It was nice meeting all the people I met online (not sketchy... :])
In about two days I feel like I've known these people all my life, it's kind of weird. I was happy when some of the people on Facebook could recognize me and introduced themselves. I did that with people too. Already we have more than enough inside jokes among the AFS family (Just a few of them: IF YOU SNAP A BRACELET A LLAMA DIES!, Celebrity toast? Wait does that mean Lady Gaga is gonna be there?, Hand up=panther!) Ohhh man :)

The plane ride was much better than I'd expect. With the in flight library of movies (I watched Deathnote Parts 1 and 2, and Forrest Gump with Chinese subtitles. I started watching The Middle, and it's pretty funny! I gotta start watching it when I get home. I drank so much water and felt bloated with airplane food. Once again, I talked with a lot of people on the plane and it was fun :) P.S, I have so many pictures of clouds that it's kind of sad...

Upon arriving in China it was so hard to grasp taht we're on the other side of the world. Staying in the hotel was different, and I was so happy that my roommate and I figured out how the AC worked in our room. The day we got to China it was 37 degrees Celsius (almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit)! In general, orienation in the country felt the same as the Gateway in the United States. We all climbed the Great Wall at Badaling the next day! I think this was my first encounter of not having regrets. I walked with a friend up the Great Wall and wanted to stop halfway when I felt tired. But we both went to the top (this platform thing) and I felt so accomplished! Now I have tons of pics of me enjoying the Great Wall. But I gotta say, I was so tired after (yet I stayed up till about 1am). And I definitely have to mention that the bus ride to and from Great Wall made me laugh so many times that it's like when I'm on my knees falling to the floor at lunch xD Our conversations were so random that you kind of had to be there to understand how we went from dead babies to SATs/APs. Ohhh the AFS family.

That night I also met my host family, whom are so nice! My host sister and I have a lot in common and for the past few days I've been learning Chinese from her while she learns English from me. I'm actually watching the World Cup here for the first time (and in CHinese!) In terms of Mandarin I think I'm doing okay and can hold up a conversation most of the time. School started the day after I met them, and it was pretty interesting to see what school is like on teh other side of the world. The first few days were scorchers though! It was about 40 degrees celsius (104 F) the first day, and 42 C (Almost 108F) the second day! I'm so glad it cooled down today to about 33 degrees (91F) and the night is a nice 27 degrees (81F) tonight. (yeah....I know that CT has a heat wave since I've heard it in all these emails haha). My notebook for school is filled with so many different things and our group for Beijing has a lot of fun learning CHinese it looks like. We actually went in a small group to buy a newspaper before class started! It was pretty cool. As of now we're planning to go a lot of places with our host siblings and adjusting to this new setting. I'll talk more about school later, since I'm pretty tired right now. Overall, I'm having an amazing time in China! Missing all my USA peeps though! Talk to you soon!

-Jen

P.S. Dear Facebook Peeps, I always enjoy getting emails so...wink wink :)

Posted by jennhuynh 07:50 Archived in China Comments (0)

Leaving tomorrow! Posting details! Keeping up to date :)

A little over a day to go! :O :O

This blog is continued from jenhuynhgoestochina.blogspot.com (which is blocked in China). I heard from a friend going with me that this website, travellerspoint, would work. Hopefully it does! Just finished packing today (the major annoyance of the day that kept me from going out with people D: ) But I can't wait to see everyone I've been talking to on Facebook! Anyways, I didn't mention on my blog before that I found out what city I'm staying in, as well as information about my host family! I have a 13-year old host sister and two parents, this should be really exciting! I live in Beijing (which is where we get off the plane!), the capital of China! Though it isn't Changzhou (the city I was hoping for since it's close to Shanghai for the Expo), it's where the Olympics were in 2008, as well as the location of the famous Great Wall of China! Hoping that I get to see all that Beijing has to offer!

Basically, I'm leaving June 30th for orientation on New York, then departing the United States July 2nd, arriving on July 3rd for another day-long orientation. I can't wait for this adventure to start!

Expectations:
- New opportunities
- Learning Chinese Culture
- Trying many new things
- Meeting new people
- Learning more Mandarin
- Just having fun!

Maybe I'll post something during orientation, but in China I'll be posting once a week (or whenever I can...). I've spent the last few days packing, getting ready, and spending time with friends and family(Thanks again for everything! Love you all!). I'm gonna miss my family, my friends, everyone. You'll all be in my thoughts. So 再见! Be home August 14th!

Posted by jennhuynh 21:50 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (1)

Welcome!

First post :]

sunny

So this is a blog to keep people (basically anyone interested) updated about what happens while I'm in China. I'm leaving June 30th for the Pre-Departure Orientation in New York, and departing on July 2nd. :D I'm hoping that this blog works in China! (along with email and such) I'll be posting more soon, so stay tuned!

Posted by jennhuynh 10:35 Archived in USA Tagged packing Comments (3)

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