May 23 - May 29
It's been a while since I posted; it's been a super busy week with writing an abstract that was due Monday, catching up on readings, finishing up our tours of the city as well as studying for my weekly exam that I have every Friday in my language class. The exam that we have every Friday takes the first 90 minutes of class and then we continue with the rest of class. Today's exam was the second exam that I have taken. The exams are challenging but I know that they help to reinforce the material and grammar structures that we go over in class. The sentence structures tend to be challenging for me because I haven't formally studied grammar structures since my freshman year of college. However, the sentence structures are very useful because they form a different way of phrasing sentences in a more formal way.
Since my last post, we visited Suzhou on Saturday, I visited with my host family from my 2011 trip on Sunday, we went to an American burger place called Beef and Liberty on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day, we visited Tian Zi Fang (田子坊) and saw the Shanghai acrobats on Tuesday, I met with Amber who was a girl that my family hosted in 2008 on Wednesday evening, and we went to the Shanghai Urban Planning Center and a vegetarian restaurant on Thursday afternoon and evening. More detail on these trips below...
Saturday morning we woke up and took the two hour bus ride to Suzhou, the silk capital of the world. We went to a garden in Suzhou as well as a silk factory. At the silk factory, we were given a tour of the facilities. All of the machinery that they showed us was over 50 years old and was really fascinating to see the way that they made silk back in the 1960s. They had multiple stores at the end of the factory. I decided not to buy anything there as nothing was sparking my interest.
Sunday afternoon, I met with my host family from my trip in 2011 with NSLI-Y. We went to a Western style restaurant and I ordered a glass of pineapple juice with my spaghetti. When my drink came, it looked like whipped pineapple juice, it tasted delicious but had a weird consistency. The spaghetti was delicious and was a nice change up from the normal Chinese food that I've been eating for the past three weeks. After the restaurant, my host family took me to their friend's house. The family friend's Border Collie dogs had puppies about a month ago and just recently opened their eyes. The puppies were adorable and made me really happy!
Monday evening we decided to celebrate Memorial Day by going to a restaurant that one of the other students found. The restaurant was called Beef and Liberty and was similar to a Burgatory back in the states. I got a cheese burger, fries, and a vanilla milkshake. Everything was ABSOLUTELY delicious and was totally worth every penny that I spent that evening.
Tuesday, we went to Tian Zi Fang (田子坊) which is a shikumen style housing area with lots of little shops and restaurants. We spent about three hours there shopping and eating. The shikumen style housing was very beautiful to admire. The fact that they have turned the shikumen housing into the shops and restaurants. It is always interesting to see what cities turn historical sites into. The restaurant that we went to for dinner was decently expensive so I ordered a plate of bruschetta which was decent, not great but okay. After Tian Zi Fang (田子坊) we went to the Shanghai acrobats. I've seen them on both of my previous trips. I think I'm at the point where I've seen it all and it's not as impressive to me anymore. However, I found it very amusing how amazed everyone on the trip was with what the acrobats could do. It's very interesting watching the other students on this trip be amazed by everything on their first trip to China.
Wednesday evening I met with Amber for dinner with my friends and two of her friends. It was very fun to meet up with her again. It has been about seven years since we first met in Pittsburgh. It was so nice to catch up with her and find out what she has been up to recently and in the past few years.
Thursday after class we visited the Shanghai Urban Planning Center which I visited in 2011. It's one of my favorite museums here in Shanghai because of the models of Shanghai that they have on display. It also has displays about the development of all of the areas in the Shanghai area. After the museum, we went to an all vegetarian restaurant. The carnivore that I am wasn't too interested in the food at the restaurant so I only nibbled on a few dishes and a bowl of rice. When we returned to campus, we went to the little shop outside of the main gate called Sugar (refer to my previous blog) and got french fries and popcorn chicken for my REAL dinner.
As you can tell, my week was very busy and I'm off to Hangzhou (杭州) tomorrow morning at 8am. I was told it's about another two hour bus ride to Hangzhou (杭州) so I will most likely be going back to sleep on the bus ride there. This trip is our one and only overnight trip so we won't return to Shanghai until late Sunday afternoon or sometime later in the evening. This next coming week we have our last few days of class and then final wrap up and papers on papers on papers to write before the end of the trip. It'll be another busy week but not in the sense that I would like to be busy. I'll be spending lots of time studying for the last few assignments in the next few days. Hopefully, I'll be able to post another blog early next week after I return from Hangzhou (杭州) to give you another last update before I leave to return to the states.
Until next time.