We went and visited a coal plant today (kind of felt like being home), and again, they didn’t have a translator prepared for us. Between Bing and I, we were able to make a pretty complete picture though. Everyone is very impressed by my Chinese skills after today since I was able to explain the whole process to them. I tried to explain that I wasn’t actually translating, I just knew it already, but I don’t think they realize I’m not being modest about my Chinese. =P
I finally visited Xiamen with our new Chinese friends. They are the sweetest. I’ve probably said that a million times. After Gulangyu, we went around the streets near the ferry terminal including the Taiwan Snacks Street (I got my beloved stinky tofu) and Zhong Shan Road, where all of the good shopping is. I bought a comic book written during the wars against Japan that has pinyin. I’m excited to start!
I’m heading to Taiwan this week to see my mom and other kin! I’m so excited for tasty food! My mom said I can’t just eat street food while I’m there though. =( And instead of a nice relaxing massage, I’m going to get beaten up by an Eastern medicine doctor of some sorts. I might be healed of ailments afterward, so I guess that’s a plus.
Today, I am very grateful for the Chinese students. We have some crazy field trips and coordination efforts, but they try their best to be accommodating. Sadly, I didn’t notice the beauty of Gulangyu until I was looking through my pictures. Not shown in the pictures are the heat, humidity, and growing frustrations of the group. I think we all need a lesson in follow/assist the leader. I came up with a lot of good interview questions for future use though:
1.) Describe a time when you were not a position of leadership but was able to provide assistance to the leader.
2.) Describe a time when you were in a chaotic environment and how you were able to keep your head.
3.) Describe a time when you had to put a group’s effort before your own desires.
Maybe I am being converted into East Asian group think.
We went to visit Gulong Sauce Culture with the Chinese students. I mentioned wanting to go shopping to some of the girls, and they, of course, replied “anytime” despite having finals coming up. They said they could make an exception for shopping (some things don’t change no matter where you go). I also commented on one of the girl’s dresses, and she introduced me to the Chinese version of Amazon. I’m pretty sure I’ll be ditching my current wardrobe for cuter, more stylish clothes before, I leave.
I ended up going shopping with the other LBJ graduate girls in the afternoon, and we made friends with many of the shop girls at the mall. One of them remembered us from before, and two others mentioned wanting to learn English. We exchanged dollars with them so that they could keep them as souvenirs. I’m trying not to take for granted my ability to travel around the world for the sake of leisure or learning. It really is a privilege.
Ranjeet and I were in a group with four Chinese girls during our Chinese class. Since they were just teaching basic Chinese, I mostly just talked with them in English since they were eager to speak with natives. Two of the girls took us to their dorm to check it out. Most of the Americans cannot believe that they live six to a room, but the Chinese students seem to enjoy it. They were all super sweet and we talked some about Korean/Taiwanese dramas that we had watched. I gained many new WeChat friends from this. =) Unfortunately, none of the girls use their real names or real pictures so it might be hard for me to remember who is who. Apparently there are a lot of creepers on WeChat. This is evident in the fact that the location finder shows primarily boys looking to chat. I estimate 10 boys to every 1 girl.
I only took this one picture of the group at the port. The company didn’t realized that there were also American students on the tour so didn’t provide a translator. As a result, myself and another student had to translate her presentation. It was not easy, and I guess they got frustrated with the whole thing so we only toured the complex on the bus. None of realized that was the extent of the tour, so I didn’t take any pictures. Oh well. I can only tell you that there were many container boxes. Many, many.