Friday, November 27, 2009

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!
My program went out for a Thanksgiving dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in Hangzhou. Our teacher/program paid for it of course. There were a lot of interesting dishes...the food was so-so. I definitely missed an all-American feast! But guess this had to so suffice considering we had not other choice. But I had a chance to call my family during Thanksgiving (States time) to say hi and hear about all the delicious food they ate. Wow, I was super jelous. But we had a friend from Valpo school come and join us from the States for dinner and he brought some chocolate and Cheez-its for us. Wow, fake cheese never tasted so good! Ha, and I had a mac 'n' cheese from one my friend's care packages from home that just about made me pee my pants it tasted so much like home. Nothing like a bowl full of sodium and processed cheese. Yes sir.
So I am super relieved to not have any finals in my Chinese classes. We just found out this past week. All the teachers decided the mid-terms were so recent that there wasn't necessary to give us a final...thank goodness! So, next week will be my last week of class and then I will have just under two weeks of free time and relaxing time. I might even travel if I have the money and time to. I would really like to go back to Beijing and spend more time enjoying the scenery without rushing through everything in a day. Plus we really didn't have much time to travel during the semester and kept cramming in site seeing into short periods of time, so it will be nice to have some free time on our hands. We do still have a final in our Civilization Culture class...a paper at that. So guess that will be all the homework I will need to work on.
Can't wait to come home!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Wow, it's getting so cold here in Hangzhou. The rain is miserable to be out in because it is so cold and dreary. But everyone has their umbrellas out and continuing to walk everywhere. I have recently come down with a cold and coughing on a daily basis. I finally got over my stubbornness and went to the school's clinic. That place really concerned me...with their different sense of hygiene and how all the rooms were outdoors, or at least looked that way because they never close any doors!
After some confusion, I finally had a thermometer put in my mouth and seated in a small room. The doctor didn't check for anything else after I told him my common-cold symptoms. Because I didn't have a fever, they were not too concerned. So I was given a list of four different drugs to pick up in the next room which cost about $15 total. I got a box of Tylenol Cold medicine, some cough syrup, some other pill which I will not take because I cannot read anything on these boxes, and then some packets of natural herbal medicine to mix in hot water. I tried that herbal it made me miss sugar so bad. It smelled and tasted like poop or something along those lines. But I do feel better having been on the medications for about a day now. I have also slept every free minute I have on my hands. This is hard because we have mid-terms this week and last Friday. *Big stack of flashcards, here I come!*
Friday we had our speaking/oral exam which went okay. Then listening/audio yesterday which I thought was a breeze. And I could actually understand what they were saying for once because they didn't talk a hundred miles a minute. So that was a relief! And then this Thursday I have my grammer/comprehensive test that will take about two hours to complete. It is all in Chinese characters, no phonics! Yikes, that will be interesting.
Anyways, next week is Thanksgiving!! That's crazy and really makes me crave mashed potatoes and gravy. Ha, and some cherry pie on the side with a dash of vanilla ice cream would truly be splendid!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


So tomorrow I have another unit test in my Chinese comprehensive class. That means I have a lot of flashcards to go through! We learn a lot of new vocab every week and sometimes it's hard to keep up. But so many of the international students don't even care and just skip classes and never do the homework. There have already been three students who have been kicked out of all the classes for not coming for over a third of the classes already. I just don't understand if you are paying to study abroad that you wouldn't actually have interest in what you are coming for. Many of the international students are only interested in learning Chinese on the streets and don't care to read or right the characters. I mean, it's not the funnest thing to do and it's challenging, but it also has meaning and it expands you're ability to use Chinese in the future. Well, whatever. Not my problem.
Sense of time has been frustrating me lately. Just the fact that I like to be punctual and for the most part on time for whatever. But that definitely does not apply to everyone and can really waste a lot of time in a person's day. Words can also have very different meanings when moving from one culture to another. For example, if you say you are going to be there soon, it translates into at a least an hour and a half later. And when you say you are coming, that translates into 30 minutes minimum. It's really quite frustrating because then you have to reset a watch in your mind to try and predict and re-plan the time you will ask someone to meet you. But punctuality is really not a word in some people's vocab. I just don't know how I would get through a day when I knew I was making people constantly wait for me. I would at least feel a slight sense of apology.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sarah's Trip

So let's start from the beginning. I left for the Shanghai PuDong International airport around 11am last Friday from a travel agency. The bus took me directly to the airport. I was so anxious for Sarah to arrive that I became very impatient as I stood at the entrance of the international arrivals. When I finally saw her a huge hug because I was so happy to finally see someone from home! She looked exhausted as I did when I walked off the 13hr plane ride. And we were off to Hyatt number one...
The hotel was beautiful and Sarah had a room on the 28th floor that overlooked the Bund. It was so amazing at night with all the buildings' lights. I really enjoyed our stay in Shanghai as it consisted of a personal tour and a champagne brunch. We also spent an afternoon at the spa where we got full-body massages and free time in the hot tub and steam room. It was rejuviating and relaxing. Shanghai is definitely a modern version of China so Sarah did not quite get an accurate view of how the Chinese leave. I left that opportunity of experience for Hangzhou!
Well after a scary and confusing night in Hangzhou four nights later, Sarah and I are back at another Hyatt hotel. This one overlooks the West Lake, which is another beautiful attraction in China. We got a chance to check out a tea museum and take a paddle boat ride around a section of West Lake. Sarah stayed in Shanghai for three nights and Hangzhou for three nights. And now she is enjoying her last few days back in Shanghai at the third Hyatt of her trip. She will return back to the states this Saturday. I hope she enjoyed her stay, as I very much loved having her come here. It meant a lot to have a close family member come across the world to visit! And I know it wasn't easy.
Now it's time to crack down and prepare myself for the three midterms I have coming up in less than two weeks!!! I am scared and hope my cramming study habits will work this one last time, haha. Let me tell you, green tea is going to get my through the cold weather and save my voice! I bought a small teapot strainer at the tea museum that is quite handy. I really love tea and having China's loose leaf tea most definitely puts Lipton and Arizona tea to shame! Time is flying and already over half way done! Where has the first month and a half gone? I have no idea. But I know I am loving every minute of it here and hope to be able to readjust to American lifestyle when I return home.
Miss you all and have a great Thanksgiving!!!