Since my last post, I have graduated from the Community College I was attending, transferred to a four year university, declared a major in history, and just within the past few weeks, changed that major to International Trade.
That being said, one of the events that led me to change my major was a four week language immersion program in which I took part, in Shanghai. There is a lot to say about this trip, and as of yet, I haven't particularly haven't written anything. So, here it goes.
I took part in this trip with a group of eleven other students. We were all American, except for one girl from Tokyo that is studying at my university. The other semi-exception would be one guy who was adopted from Korea when he was a baby. As one guy on the trip said, "he's a banana. Yellow on the outside, but white on the inside."
There were a few times in which i was with these two trying to get us where we needed to go. Which,let me tell you, being obviously American, going around Shanghai with two Asians, and being the one who can best communicate with the cab driver, is a very interesting experience. At least, it was humorous to me personally. I had taken one more semester of Chinese than either of them, and while the Japanese girl definitely had me beat as far as writing was concerned, she didn't speak particularly fluidly.
Most of the trip was confined to the city of Shanghai, which, being the second largest city in the world (in terms of population) we managed to find ways to entertain ourselves. We did have a few ventures outside of Shanghai. We went to Suzhuo, which is a nearby city, and I'm still not sure what was particularly significant about it, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Additionally, we took a train to the city of Nanjing. The literal translation of "Nanjing" is "Southern Capitol." Nanjing was actually the Capitol of China before Beijing, throughout many of the dynasties, and most significantly in recent history, during the period of the Nationalist government, which preceded the communist regime of Mao Ze-Dong. It was an interesting city to go to, but many in my group felt that it was to played up to tourism. However, while there, we met the parents of one of my instructors, ate what was quite possibly the worst food I have ever tasted(It included stinky tofu and coagulated duck's blood, if that gives you any idea), and went to visit the Nanjing Holocaust museum. i.e. Just to clarify, it was a museum about the events that occurred when Japan overtook the city in 1937.
The last pace we visited outside of Shanghai, was a city called Zhu Jia Jiao. It is a water city, I believe, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the East. We went on A boat ride through the Canals there, and it was all in all a very enjoyable time as well.
However, what seemed to occupy most of our time was drinking. We drank, A LOT. It was hard not too. We could get massive bottles of beer for roughly fifty cents downstairs, inside of our dorm. Of course we celebrated this good fortune one night, by using our bed frames to make a table to play beer pong. unfortunately we got in trouble for having it in the hall, and subsequently had to move it into the room I was staying in. Fun times.
Among other things, I actually got to perform at an Open Mike Night at a blues club there. One of my instructors, also happened to be there, with an old friend he had met when he lived in Shanghai years ago. She works with one of the arts stations on the radio, and according to him, she said that if i ever come back to Shanghai for very long, then shed be interested in letting me go on the radio.
There were a myriad of other things that we did there, but as this post is already becoming fairly lengthy, I believe it may be best of I continue this particular diatribe at another time.
All in all, at the moment life seems to be looking pretty good. I'm getting things set up for my fall semester, helping my mom get ready for when I won't be so readily available, and, for the moment, my grandparents are in good health. Thus, do things appear to be going fairly well for me. Although, I'm sure that once the semester begins, things will become infinitely more complicated, as they usually do, but I'll deal with that when I have to.