Let me start by saying, that as I look at the calendar, there is no way it seems like I’ve been traveling through China for only a week and a day. My senses have been completely inundated with new stimuli from every corner. I feel like I’ve been experiencing China for weeks upon weeks. I’m embracing new spices and tastes, unique and particular scents, the feel of new textures, the sight of architecture I’ve only previously seen on film, and the sounds of bustling people all around me. On top of taking in what I can from what China has to offer, I have been meeting and getting to know a variety of new students, instructors, and friends which I’ve had the opportunity to encounter thus far. There are so many inspiring, hard working, adventurous, and brilliant minds here who I am fortunately spending quite a bit of time with. I wish I could do them justice by simply describing their character, but just believe me when I say that these men and women are filled with curiosity, compassion, drive, and an inalienable desire to travel and explore the world.
So far I’ve spent a few days in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Xitang. I’ve explored Buddhist Temples, attended a Chinese tea service, had the most amazing food, been to a couple bars, walked on glass so far from the ground my legs were shaking, ridden an indoor roller coaster, been to a McDonalds in the French Concession of a Chinese town and ate their curly fries, and finally… arrived to Chengdu and settled into my dorm.
I love my room. I expected to a have a tiny room similar to the residence halls of Liverpool, but that indeed is not the case. I have a TV, a couch, a queen size bed, my own water cooler and heater, a desk, and my own bathroom. I’ve gone on a couple shopping trips already to buy bath towels, rugs, pillows, air freshener, an electric blanket, and a few other things to make it a little more like home. I’ll likely take a video of the room and the view and show it to you soon.
My first day of classes was yesterday. I’m taking intermediate Chinese (three semesters worth in just one), Government and Politics in China, Modern Culture and Society in China, Chinese conversation, and a Sichuan cooking class. Each class is three hours long, which seems pretty rough but I hope it isn’t too bad. I am desperate to improve my Chinese. I’ve been hearing it so much that random words and phrases pop into my head throughout the day. I can’t always assign meaning to them since I’m so rusty, but I love that I have people to help me understand and handle the language.
That’s all I’ve got for now. There is so much to tell you that there is no way I can possibly do it in one sitting. In the coming days, I hope to cover:
Take care, All. I’m gonna go study!
With just a couple nights left before my departure from LAS, I felt it appropriate to answer some questions I’ve received pertaining to this trip as well as some tidbits about this blog. Family, friends, and fellow travel bloggers which have stumbled upon this page, I give you: The FAQs.
1. Will you be on Facebook while in China?
No. As I’ve gotten this question more times than expected, I will gladly address it. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo, Dropbox, and a plethora of popular news websites are blocked in China. In addition to many websites, there are a number of words and phrases that are censored and restricted in the mainland. Websites containing such information are blocked.
2. Where are you going exactly?
Chengdu, Sichuan, China. I’ll be studying at The Southwest University for Nationalities .
3. Why China?
To learn Mandarin Chinese! What better to learn than the most spoken language in the world! It is deemed a critical language by the US Government which I’m sure will help in future job seeking efforts. Also, two of my biggest goals are to be trilingual and to travel the world. I’m excited to experience some of what this ancient culture has to offer.
4. Can I send you a letter?
Yes, please! And thanks to the few who have asked! My international mailing address can be found under “contact” to the left. I’d be so delighted to have something to pick up from the mail!
5. Will you send me a postcard?
I’d love to! Drop your mailing address in the “Ask Me Anything” box to the left. Even if you think I already have it, I might not have it with me.
A few tid-bits about this site:
If you’ve made it this far, I thank you. I hope you’re well and on the bounds of an adventure!