Hello Everyone! Well, I'm finally off to China and not just talking about it any more. I, ofcourse, miss all of my family and friends, but that's the point of this website! Hopefully I will periodically (as much as possible) update my travel journal so that you can all enjoy this experience with me without actually being in China.
For those of you that do not know, I have come to China to study abroad. Through May, I am studying at one of the universities in a language-intensive program so that I can focus on my proficiency in Chinese. From May through August, time is of the essence and I will be traveling throughout China as much as possible.
I hope that you all enjoy what I can post on here and please comment on things if you'd like! Also, keep in touch through email and any other way that you can. I'll see you all in August!
August 25th 2008
Well, I'm moving home tomorrow. I'm sitting around doing nothing right now so I figured I would post a blog. The problem with that plan is that I do not have time to actually write a full one so I guess this is just a "Hey, thanks for reading the blog and I'm heading back to America. The journey's over for now." But, HAVE NO FEAR! I will post a whole blog about the Olympics, etc when I get home and find time (i.e: when I'm not sleeping or writing a paper)!!! See you all soon! .............I should really go pack...................p.s - Dear Mom and Dad, I would not hate you if there was a Domino's, hand-tossed, cheese pizza in the car tomorrow........ read more
August 8th 2008
What do banners, shirts, traffic laws, water-cooler conversations, TV shows, and even the day's specials on some of the restaurant menus have in common? The 2008 BEIJING SUMMER OLYMPICS! The logo is everywhere and you would have to be a real dummy to not realize what is about to happen. In the final hours leading up to the Games, whether it is tickets, transportation, signs, shirts, hotel rooms, or just a peace of mind, everyone is scrambling for something. Beijing has gone from the traditional capital of China focused on preserving their cultural relics and historical places to a city buzzing with the Olympic spirit. Lining all of the main streets are Beijing 2008 banners and flags, new bill boards, and huge canvases covering the buildings that are still under construction. Out of nowhere, they ... read more
June 20th 2008
June 18th, 2008 If she lets me put this on her blog site, this is my turn to talk about our trip to see Lauren and a world that is like no other that one can imagine. This trip gives a whole new definition to “Lauren in Charge.” Where does one begin on a trip like this? It actually started three years ago at Indiana University’s orientation for new students. Lauren called Bonnie and I at breakfast and said she had to register for classes. “Mom & Dad, instead of Spanish, I’m thinking of taking Chinese. Wouldn’t that be better for me with the way the business world is going?” From that conversation we are now on a trip of a lifetime, visiting a country that Craig describes as “an alternate reality world.” Or as Bonnie ... read more
June 19th 2008
South Korea - where do I start? I realize that I say “Where do I start?” a lot; I guess that I am just trying to get my head around what just happened (even though sometimes it’s 2 weeks later). I was in Seoul, South Korea from June 6 until the morning of June 9. Here’s why I went to South Korea: 1) If every one had an opportunity to go to Korea, who wouldn’t want to go check it out? 2) Tickets were CHEAP! Since February, I have been looking at flights to different countries in Asia. I figure, I am in Asia for the first time, China is HUGE, but it’d still be cool to check another country off of my list. It’s been disappointing. Usually travel within Asia is so cheap, or so ... read more
May 28th 2008
Well, I'm FINALLY writing this blog about being a foreign exchange student in China...after the semester ended. Think of it this way: I got the FULL experience before I wrote this. Where do I start? Well, for those of you that don't know, this past semester I was studying at Peking University (Beijing Daxue or Bei Da). PKU is the Harvard or Yale of China. The difference is, there are multiple Ivy league schools in the US; PKU is the Ivy League of China. There are no others. The closest runner up is Tsinghua University as number two. For housing this semester, I stayed in a dorm on campus. Ok, technically it was the international hotel on campus. In China, foreign exchange students are not allowed to live on campus with Chinese nationals...due to specific laws ... read more
May 19th 2008
China began three days of national mourning today. The earthquake struck last Monday and the death tolls are now over 30,000 and expected to reach over 50,000. Throughout the past week, the country has held many fund raisers and events. Today, however, flags have been hung at half-mast and public entertainment (KTV/karaoke, movie theaters, clubs, bars, etc) is suspended. The Olympic torch is also suspended. Also, today at 2:28 pm, it was announced that there would be a moment of silence across the country. I wanted to know how that would work. It did. Exactly at 2:28 pm, all government vehicles stopped traffic and laid on their car horns at the same time. The horns were supposed to symbolize a "wail of grief." You would be surprised how much sound that actually made signaling the beginning ... read more
May 8th 2008
Well, I don't even know where to start. I suppose that adding "chrono" to the beginning of "logical" would make the appropriate word; however, there's so much to say that it will be difficult to stick to that. I have returned from my escapades in Shanghai and Huang Shan. Granted, I returned the Sunday before last (May 4), but I had to rent an apartment, do some work for my internship, final exams, presentations, and projects. so it has taken me a while to post this. My apologies (especially to you, Andy - I will be make this my first priority over my grades next time). That being said, I hope that I am able to paint this picture as well as I had planned 2 weeks ago. Shanghai When people say, "I love Shanghai," they're ... read more
April 21st 2008
Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province in southeast China. It is known as one of the prettiest cities in China and also one of the most romantic. I found that that is true; Hangzhou is gorgeous and I saw about 3 wedding caravans and 6 brides/grooms walking around the city dressed for the wedding during my two day visit. I loved Hangzhou. Part of Hangzhou has the city feel because of the tall buildings and nightlife, but the other part is the China that I have been waiting to see. I have been waiting to see rural China, outside of the cities, where life is traditional and not the modern city-life. Don't get me wrong, the Chinese city life is great, but I want to see the other side also. The train to Hangzhou is ... read more
April 7th 2008
Xi'An is known as the root of Chinese culture. If you picture a map of China, you are supposed to picture the trunk of the "tree" around Beijing. Then, the roots extend out to Xi'An and a few other older cities. The branches, leaves, etc are supposed to be represented by Guangzhou, Shanghai, and other cities throughout the nation. It's kind of hard to describe without a visual. But, what's important for now, is that you know that Xi'An is one of the roots because of how much history is found there and how far back it dates. I experienced my first overnight train ride so that I could make it to Xi'An. We slept on the "hard sleeper" section, which to be honest, was soft enough for me to sleep. It's an interesting experience. You're ... read more
March 27th 2008
The Peking Opera is a huge part of China's history and culture and it dates back over 200 years. Each show is filled with singing, dancing, mime, dialogue, and some acrobat fighting. There is no specific topic in Peking Opera, as the plots of the different shows can range from an old, Chinese fairy tale, to a depiction of a historical event. The costumes are very elaborate and most often hand-made. The make-up is also very intricately applied so that they depict the sex of the character and their main facial expression. As for the music, the musicians play percussion, stringed, and wind instruments throughout the show. The "er hu" is a famous Chinese stringed instrument that can produces a very high, but very beautiful sound (when played correctly). They also have a "yueqin" (four strings), ... read more