Things that are strange to me:
Everyday, since it was the end of the year, students would line up in this one spot on campus and try to sell off all their things:
I don’t think I ever took a picture because, ew, but a lot of the babies and toddlers didn’t wear full pants and diapers. Instead they had a giant gap in their pants at the crotch and would just stop and go to the side of the sidewalk and go to the bathroom right there, in public, in the street or on the sidewalk. Although, I did, in fact, take many pictures of very cute fully clothed Chinese kids because I’m weird and they were cute. Like this one playing in the bubbles at the park
and this one in a basket:
This was my room:
The couch was uber peeling.
This was my shower:
yes I showered with this pole every day. And that drain did not do it’s job. My bathroom totally flooded every day.
The tiles in the international student’s bathrooms were English letters attempting to do the ABCs but miserably failing. Some tiles were even upside down.
These are what the plug sockets looked like:
A lot of Chinese people had really small frou-frou dogs:
I can’t even explain how many pictures I have of Chinglish signs:
There are a million mopeds everywhere you go:
…that’s all I can think of right now.
Rhi and I left for the airport at 3:30am this morning. We got to the biggest airport I’ve ever seen in my life (PEK) and we were too early. We waited in line for the check in to open and checked our bags.
Then the airport was so big we had to take a shuttle to get to our gate. Once we got there, I fell asleep a little time waiting by our gate. We drank smoothies and boarded our flight to Hong Kong. That flight wasn’t so bad. I fell asleep in and out. They served us breakfast. Then we sat in the Hong Kong airport waiting for our flight to San Francisco. It was about a 2.5 hour layover, so it wasn’t too bad. Did I mention there was a typhoon in Hong Kong? and apparently a earthquake in Beijing? China didn’t want me to go, but too bad. The 12 hour flight wasn’t absolutely terrible. I slept like a rock for the first 5 hours but then there were the next 7 hours. I tried sleeping in and out and in and out. They gave us some weird meals. I watched a couple TV shows. The guy next to Rhi and I was from London but he’s been living in California for several years. I ended up switching with him and just sitting in the middle next to Rhi. The last bit while we were getting ready to land, Rhi and I listened to my patriotic playlist of American songs.
When I FINALLY got to San Francisco, Rhi and I waited in line for forever to get through customs.
I used my cellphone that had signal and connection to the internet. I used FACEBOOK and TWITTER on my CELLPHONE. And then I TEXTED people. When I got to the customs desk he just asked me where I was, what I was doing, did I bring any food, and welcome home. It was funny seeing American flags. Then I got my luggage and I think accidentally skipped the second round of security. My sister met me outside and picked me up and we drove to her apartment in Palo Alto. I showed my sister and brother in law some of the stuff I got from China and talked to them a while. Then my nieces woke up from their naps and I played with them. When they went to the pool I went to sleep and slept like the dead probably for like 6 hours. My sister woke me up and made me eat dinner and then there was a firework show outside. We went outside to watch it with my niece and it was funny because there were two Chinese families outside watching too and they were speaking Chinese. All of the sudden I was like… wait a minute. It was pretty funny.
Some other interesting things are that my iPhone has 24 updates. I was startled when I saw a regular plug. When I go to the bathroom I still silently hope that there is a western toilet and debate in my head whether or not there is going to be a western toilet or not.
I’m glad to be home although studying abroad in China was an amazing experience.
I swear I’m going to update the other posts soon.
Now it’s time to take on the 13 hour one back to San Francisco.
Andy, Song, James, Jillian and two Beijing friends - one named Cherry
Cheap Silk market
Rickshaw back to hotel - dropped us off way out of the way
Said Goodbye to some people
Midnight Snack AKA: Last China Meal
Today’s weather wasn’t really the best. We ate breakfast, piled into the bus, and drove to the Summer Palace first thing in the morning:
Silk Market we stayed extra long, tried to take subway, found DVD shop, bookcase.
This morning we woke up bright and early and got some breakfast downstairs in the hotel. Okay Coffee is better than no coffee. We ate and were ready in the lobby by 9:00am to take the bus over to The Great Wall. The bus ride was actually pretty long. I’m really going to miss the people in my program. They are so funny and I really enjoy being around them - I hope to stay in touch with them when I get back home.
I section of The Great Wall of China I went to was called the Juyongguan Pass. Here I am at the start:
we continued on:
stopped and climbed up these little side steps:
(This is Heather from Session II Chengdu and Rhi)
This is me after a good bit of climbing:
Another picture of the wall:
A group picture at the top section we went to:
This is a mix of Session I Chengdu and Shanghai kids and Session II kids. Some I just met and others I’ve known all semester.
(This is fellow USC student Nichole Hinchman)
This is me, a bit tired after climbing. The thing about The Great Wall in that the size of the step vary. Some steps can be up to almost 2 feet high and other are as small as 3 inches high. When you had a lot of the really tall ones in a row it kind of got to you. Climbing The Great Wall was a great experience, I wish we had more time to spend there.
After The Great Wall, we visited the Ming Tombs. Honestly, I didn’t have much interest in it because after reading the signs you learned that everything was just a replica anyway. The part I found the coolest was the mounds and mounds of money people threw at the burial sites to show their respects:
After we wandered around the Tombs for a while and tried not to stung by bees (their were about a million bees out) we took the bus over to the Cloisonne factory. It was amazing seeing how much effort went into making one little vase. Here are some workers in the factory tweezing little tiny pieces of copper into designs:
After seeing how they made the vases we ate lunch upstairs. It was pretty good. My stomach is finally recovered so I was actually able to eat. After lunch we walked around the VERY expensive store. They had some huge 12 foot vases that cost about a half a million U.S. dollars.
Then after we were done we piled into the bus and drove by the Bird’s Nest and the Ice Cube. The two locations of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If I had more time I would’ve gone back there are visited the sites. We went to group dinner and then after dinner got to go to this amazing Acrobatics Show
It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. It included a guy who stacked about a dozen or more chairs on top of one another in a tower and climbed up each time and balanced on one arm on one chair leg. There were the guys with the hats tossing them around, the women who did ballet on the guys shoulders, the women who tossed around the bowls with there feet while balancing on one hand on top of a guys head, the dozen women who piled onto one bike:
and the EIGHT motorcyclists who drove around in this round cage:
Overall it was a spectacular show!
After the show, I went back to my room and watched a movie and went to bed because I was exhausted. It was a very long day.