Haha this post is 2 weeks late and I never really got the chance to post about my last couple days because I was so tired/busy, but I will go through it now! :)
Aug 6th: This morning, I woke up at 3:15 am to go on a sunrise hike with Justin and Mae and their families. I was regretting it when we were hiking and probably complaining, but then we found a beautiful lookout point and climbed up. It was really hazy but it was still sooo pretty, and we could see the whole city. There was this astronomical dome that had a ladder attached to the side, so we climbed to the top of the dome and sat at the top for a little bit until an old lady yelled at us from really far away to get off. I was super glad we left really early because we actually caught the sun rise up from behind the mountain – it was perfect and a really good start to the morning of the last day.
After a quick shower, Justin, Mae and I went to the city wall and JiMingSi because it was still really early and I hadn’t gone to the city wall. It was super hot on the wall, and the sun was bright in our face so we weren’t there for very long. Justin’s brother drove us back from the wall, and when I got home, my mom made me some brunch. I don’t think they eat breakfast, more like a brunch. I gave them my host family gift as I was eating because it was the only time where everyone was there (except for my older sister who was at work). My mom made me food (noodles really good, huge plate), and then after finishing up packing everything, we left for the school.
They got an uber-type car to come pick us up, and I had a nice conversation with the driver. We arrived at the lobby at about 12:30 where my arrived at the lobby at 12, my little sister gave me a card and bought me some cough drops. After we said goodbye, I went with Sam and Alex to spend the rest of my money on my card. I officially spent 900 yuan! I ate my last green bean bar and we headed back.
We got assigned dorm rooms to sleep in, so we relaxed upstairs in our for a little then went to karaoke with everyone (all the Nanjing students, Margie, and the teachers). Karaoke was a lot of fun, and it was a good celebration to end our whole trip. We karaoked for around 4-5 hours, which surprisingly went by fast. Afterwards, we went out to dinner at this tangbao place for the last time (the one near the cafeteria). After, we all went to McDonalds, and I bought 2 ice cream cones and a large fries, and then we went to Thirsty Frog and I got my last large boba. I figured that I needed to spend my Chinese yuan anyway, and that I wanted to eat like a king the last night. We took some of the food back home, and relaxed and chilled in someone’s room for the rest of the night until 10 when we had to be back in our rooms.
August 7th: We had to be in the lobby at 4 am, but I couldn't sleep because I was coughing all night, so I only got around 2 hours of sleep. I missed the alarm but luckily Alexandra woke me up at 3:47 am so I quickly packed everything up and met everyone downstairs where we waited for the charter bus.
We had a 5 hr bus ride to Shanghai International Airport. We were running late and we were really close to missing our flight, so we didn't have a lot of time to buy breakfast. I quickly bought some coffee and some random sandwich at KFC thanks to Sam Chan for giving me 20 yuan (3 bucks).
The flight was better than I thought it would be, but there were no TVs, so I kind of just slept and worked on college essays. The flight took longer than expected so after we got off the airplane there was literally no time to say goodbye because people were running off to not miss their flight. There were a lot of tears through these quick goodbyes. :( A ton of people missed their flight, and I did too, except when I was rebooking my flight, the lady told me that I would be able to make my old one because it was delayed. I hugged everyone goodbye and headed off. It was super sad saying bye to everyone. You are kind of forced to get close with them because you literally do everything with these 20 kids in a period of 6 weeks. Everyone is so similar too, and we all are interested in similar things and like to be around each other. It was a sad day, but I've already planned to meet up with a few of the others before school starts, so it's not quite goodbye. I got on my flight to Seattle and got home safely after meeting my family at the airport. :)
Saturday, August 5th: I was planning to wake up at 8:10 to go to the City Wall on a run because I really wanted to check out the wall, but I was so tired, so I turned off the alarm when it started ringing and slept until 10. We relaxed and at 10:40 left the house to go out to eat lunch.
My younger sister, my older sister and I all took the bus to this Muslim Chinese food place. It was really nice because the whole family was there (the dad, mom, 2 sisters), and this is the first time we’ve eaten all together and at a restaurant. We got some pretty yummy soups, some chicken/peanut dish, this fried dry rish dish with soup, and some other foods. My mom bought this weird coconut drink that I didn’t really like, so I drank it really quickly and was reaching for the hot tea to fill my cup, but then she poured more coconut drink into my cup before I reached for the tea and refilled my cup before I could. Dangit. I was kind of craving sweet and sour pork and fried rice, but it was cool to try different Nanjing specialties.
Afterwards, my older sister and I left to go shopping. My dad and my mom went back to the store. My little sister had a school activity to do. I only had 40 yuan (about 6-7ish? dollars USD) and I wanted to get my nails done (cause its so cheap here), so we went to try to exchange some money. I don’t have my passport because Margie is not allowed to give it to me for these next few days so we went to a bank to see if my sister could exchange money instead of me. After trying a few different banks because they were closed, we ended up going to a bank and realizing that my sister forgot her China ID Card, so she wasn’t able to exchange money. So, we decided to just look around and go shopping anyway at this expensive mall in Deji Plaza. My older sister linked arms with me, which is a normal thing to do here. for girls. Anyways, Deji plaza is really expensive. All the shops inside are the famous brands like Tory Burch, Chanel, Burberry, etc. I asked my sister if I could get my nails done because my friends got theirs done at Xinjiekou for 50 yuan (8 USDish), and she told me she gets her nails done at this really good place that gives her half price, so it would only be 40 yuan. We walked over to where she normally gets her nails done. As I was getting my nails done, I had funny conversation with the ladies who worked there. They were talking about me when I was sitting down, and then one of them said “Can she understand what we are saying?” Then, my sister said “I can translate in English for her” then I said, “I understand what you are all saying”. Then they were all surprised that I could understand. It’s kind of funny. Anyways, I picked a nail color, then the lady started painting, then told me that it was going to be 120 yuan. The other color I like was 80 yuan, so I picked that one. I didn't realize that there was a 40 yuan color choice which I am super sad about because I wanted a cheaper price. I only had 40 yuan, so my sister had to pay for it and I planned to pay her back after we exchanged our money later that day.
Outside the nail salon was this cat café, which I totally would've gone to if I had money and time. We went to laidi to look for a belt that I liked, but the lady was rude so I didn’t want to buy it for her. We realized it was late - the bank closes at 5, it was 4:10. We quickly took subway back home and immediately rode a motorcycle to the bank after picking up my sisters ID card. It was 4:40 by the time we got to the bank, so we were really happy that we made it in time. I exchanged 30 more USD just in case. The only thing was that it was pouring rain outside, so we were both soaking wet and I didn't have an umbrella when we biked from the subway station (the older sister only had one umbrella which she used for herself). I ended up being literally soaked, and I had dirt/mud all over my back. After the bank, we went back home to wash up, and after, I started packing.
I packed until dinner time where my little sister and I went to this Lamian (long noodles) place. The first Lamian place we went to was closed so we had to walk all the way to another lamian place. We eventually found it, and the noodles were sooo good, I'm going to miss hand-shaven Nanjing noodles.
After walked to my old host moms place where we all went swimming at a pool about 10 minute car drive away. In America, its kind of expected(?) (I haven't ran into a lot of people that don't know how to swim) that everyone knows how to swim. But, in China, a lot of kids don't really have time to swim because of studying, so a lot of people don’t know how to swim. So, out of 5 of us, only I and my mom’s friend son could swim. Swimming was fun though, and it was good to do something that reminded me of America. I realized how lucky I am that I can swim. Thank you Mom and Dad for putting me in Swim lessons as a kid! The change rooms were sketchy. There were no towels after we showered so we had to ask the lady who gave us a random towel that I still don't know where it came from. We got home pretty late and now I’m writing this and am really tired.
Friday, August 4th: I woke up at 6:45 this morning, and my mom bought me breakfast! (She hasn’t been feeding me breakfast for the past week). Anyway, I walked to the bus stop and eventually made it to the subway where I bumped into Josie. For class, our young teacher/first teacher told us we were going to have a party. She brought her dog, who was really tiny and really adorable, and we all blew up balloons and relaxed. During our party, Alexandra and I ran to the store and bought flowers for our teachers (everyone split the cost), and bought food for our party. Flowers were only 28 yuan for a bunch, which was surprisingly cheap, and we got them wrapped too! We went to the nearby grocery store and bought some Oreos, some coke and sprite, and some other snacks. That was pretty much my lunch, a bunch of Oreos and chips. We got back about a half an hour later, and gave the flowers to our teacher who was really happy and surprised and took photos with us. I gave my first teacher (she’s the younger one) a University of Washington t shirt because I really liked her and I had an extra shirt to give away. After our speaking class with our first teacher, we had listening comprehension with our second teacher after a short break. When we gave the flowers to our second teacher, she said how we made her really happy, which was super cute. We were supposed to do some review that class (reviewing our old homework), but after we gave her flowers and a card, it was more like a class party. It was also Mae’s birthday, so we had 2 cakes for Mae and all sang for her. Also, most of us bought Supreme shirts on Taobao for 20 yuan (which is a little less then 3 USD), so today we all wore our Supreme shirts which was kind of funny. After class, we had pre-departure presentation, where we talked about reverse culture shock and what to do when we get back home. That ended at about 2, and we had free time until 5:30 when we had practice for our play. It was pouring rain, so Alexandra and I didn’t really want to go sightseeing with some of the others, so we went to this souvenir shop (only to find that the clothes were too expensive), then went to Xinjiekou to finish up some shopping. I bought a lot. I finally found a bag for my sister, bought more fake fans, and a really cute “Stranger Things” shirt. I bargained down the Stranger Things shirt, but I think I still got hecka ripped off. I should’ve bargained it down more. I paid 100 yuan for it, but I think I could’ve paid 70 yuan for it. Ahh. I was kind of annoyed at myself for a little bit. Anyway, we left Xinjiekou to meet our teachers at 4:30 where we had a goodbye afternoon tea for 高级班。 The young teacher couldn’t come, which I was sad about, but the older teacher bought us some good mochi-type thing, and then brought some traditional Oolong tea which was amazing. We all got dressed for graduation and then at 5:30 went down into the conference room to practice our play. There, Margie bought us pizza for dinner. We’re all lucky, because Wu Laoshi said we could read off our scripts as long as we still acted out our roles. Pretty soon, 6:30 came along, and graduation started. I invited my old host mom (the rest of the family couldn’t come), and she was so happy to see me. We took a few selfies, and I realized how much I missed my old host family. My new host family came also, and sat down because our performance was about to begin. At 6:30, after a few speeches from the teachers, we started our play. Sam Chan was 孙悟空, the lead character, and he was soooo good at it. Shoutout to Sam Chan for making our play funny. After the play, we gave out host family certificates, and then gave out student certificates. It was a bitter-sweet moment. We all took photos after, and I realized how much I’m going to miss these people. After about half an hour of photo taking, I went home with my host family and relaxed at home. I can’t believe I graduated from this program already; I feel like it was just yesterday that I had PDO. I’ve had such a crazy, busy, but memorable 6 weeks, and I’m beyond lucky that I was able to study abroad. I’ve honestly learned so much, not just my Chinese vocabulary, but I've learned a lot about myself and a lot of important life lessons. Going to a foreign country alone and living with a host family was one of the best choices I’ve made 😊 I’m going to miss this place.
Wednesday, August 2nd: Bought myself some more breakfast this morning. I think the people at the store are getting used to me because I go quite often to buy 黑米粥 and 黑米糕。Both foods are so good together. I guess it’s kind of nice buying my own breakfast in some ways because then I can choose what I want to eat. For lunch, we had to meet back at 1 for some IOPPs. After, Sam, Samanyu, Peter, Alexandra and I went to yuqiao to buy some clothes. We rode the subway to this mall that Ines recommended, but it was too expensive. It was kind of cool though because we rode the subway all the way to the end of the line, and at the end, the subway track was outside instead of inside, which none of us were used to. Anyways, I got a bubble waffle at the mall for 20 yuan (3 USD), which was kind of expensive and I was about to not buy it, then I remembered it's 3 USD. It was really good as expected – it was Oreo and chocolate flavored. We soon left the mall and decided to go to yuqiao, a cheap bargaining mall for clothes/shoes. Turns out yuqiao was closed, and all of the yuqiao franchises(?) close at 5:30. We got there at about 5:45, so we were kind of disappointed. A lot of the lights in the mall were turned off, but Peter managed to buy a suitcase for all his extra stuff. After, we walked around this nearby expensive mall for a little bit, and then decided to go get some dinner. We went to this ramen place which was normally expensive in China (about 28-35 yuan per person – about 4-5 USD), but I didn’t really care because I really wanted to try Chinese ramen. It was pretty decent ramen for 4 USD! It tasted like normal ramen that you would get at a Japanese restaurant. Maybe a little less flavorful, but still really good! After dinner, we all went home separately. I saw a really cute stray kitten on the way home; stray cats are pretty frequent here. I went with Sam to the subway station. We got a call from Peter who took a taxi home. Apparently, the taxi driver sped off with Peter’s suitcase in the back. He thinks that the driver knowingly did it because Peter was complaining about the added price to the taxi ride. There’s usually an added 2 yuan (at least whenever I rode a taxi) onto the price for gas, etc. But, apparently, when Peter and his parents use taxis, there isn’t an added fee. Peter wasn’t too frustrated about losing his suitcase because it was only 80 yuan (about 11 USD). Afterwards, went home and did some homework.
Tuesday, August 1：I woke up this morning on time! Justin was late today, but I eventually met him at the bus stop. My mom didn’t buy me breakfast, so I went to 巴尼and bought some food. Justin was late today, but we eventually found our way to the bus stop. For 2nd part of class we have these HSK 6 practice packets that we do and they are sooo hard. Way harder than AP Chinese class. I understand about 1/3 of each passage. We filled out a packet for an hour individually and then for the second part of class we read this story about 七夕. For lunch, Alexandra and I quickly went to the Nanjing University store to buy some more souvenirs then went to the cafeteria. I have about 100 yuan left on my NJU card, and about 3 more days at the University. I am going to stock up on Pocky and maybe another shirt? Not sure yet. I’ve already bought 4 baseball caps. At the cafeteria, we quickly got some 混沌soup for 3 yuan then some strawberry Pocky to eat myself. Oh, I also got 3 red bean balls. They are the sesame seed red bean balls, and they are amazing. They are only 1.5 yuan at the cafeteria (maybe 25 cents), so I bought a few. For our cultural class, we went on a cultural excursion to the WWII memorial museum. We were supposed to go to the Nanjing Massacre Museum, but it’s closed and being remodeled this Summer, unfortunately. We didn’t know that before, so we went to the wrong museum. But, the museums are connected, so we didn’t know until later. WWII is my favorite time period to study, so I was super interested in this museum, and spent the full 2 hours reading every panel. Can’t really remember what I did later that night, but I took the subway home and ate dinner.
Monday, July 31st: It was a bad idea to spend all my money yesterday because I had no money to ride the bus and subway. Ok, so Ines and Josie live in the same neighborhood as me, but they take a different (and faster) route to school, so Justin and I thought we would try their route today. I set my alarm for 6:45, but I woke up at 7:04. I was supposed to meet them at the bus stop at 7:25, which I had time for, but, I didn’t really keep track of time, and I didn’t think the bus stop was as far as it was, so I got there at 7:30. Justin, Ines and Josie all already left, so I was literally on my own with no money. Also, my parents didn’t buy me breakfast, so I had no money to buy breakfast. Ines/Justin/Josie didn’t tell me what bus to get on, or what stop to get off at, so I called Justin who was on the bus already and was getting to the bus stop. They said any bus would take me to the subway station, and when I saw the subway station to get off the bus. It was vague, but I agreed and got on the next bus. Riding the bus costs 2 元, but I only had 1, so I just slipped 1 onto the bus. Luckily, the driver didn’t notice! I had already passed 4 stops without seeing a subway station, so I asked someone on the bus where the nearest subway station was, and he said get off the bus right now because it’s right there. I called Justin and it turns out I was on the wrong bus because I was going in the wrong direction. I quickly got off the bus (it was already 7:50 and class starts at 8), and I ran to the subway station. The sad thing was that I got to the same subway station that I go to on normal days. I went in one big circle. Even worse, I didn’t have any money. So, I had to ask a kind-looking middle schooler for 2 元. Low point. Shout out to that middle schooler because she saved me. I ended up being 20 minutes late to class. Later at lunchtime, I tried to exchange money. Peter, Alexandra and I walked to this bank and when we got there, the workers told me I needed a card to exchange my money which I didn’t have, so we had to go to another bank. At the other bank I waited for about 15 minutes and then at the table, it turns out I needed a certain number that I didn’t have. So, I couldn’t exchange money. Peter, Alexandra and I barely had time to eat lunch, (didn’t have time to go to cafeteria so I had to spend money from my pocket – Peter lent me money) but we quickly ate at this noodle place nearby the school. I got a stain on my shirt, so it was a pretty unlucky day. We came back at 1 to listen to some more IOPPs. Mine is planned for Thursday! We also were given our roles for our play that is going to happen on graduation day. We are performing 西游记 (Journey to the West) and it’s an extremely famous, ancient play. I chose my role because it had minimal lines, and I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare because 高级班 is kind of given a lot of homework. We are supposed to memorize our lines for Thursday. Went to bank after school to try again for the 3rd time, but I went to the wrong bank. I went to try to go to another bank, but I got lost. Eventually, I found my way and exchanged some money. It was a long day. I eventually found my way home, and over dinner I asked my sister and figured out that there’s actually only one dad in the family HAHAH. I misunderstood when they said the dad was on a business trip.
Sunday, July 30th: This day, I woke up at 9, and was really bored until 10 when I decided that I should probably do something. My older sister said she was going to go shopping with me at 2, but I still had 4-5 hours of just sitting around, so when my dad came home at about 10:30, I asked him if I could go sightseeing with Alexandra. He came home with groceries in his hand, so he was like eat lunch first! He said he would make it quickly. Alexandra was already on her way to this old palace, so I told him I had to be there quickly. I didn’t know that lunch was going to take him over an hour to make, or else I would have left and ate lunch on the road. I was a little annoyed because after he cooked it, he wanted to eat in in their clothing shop, so we had to walk all the way to the clothing shop to eat lunch. Then, I literally sprinted to the subway stop which is about 8 minutes away, because it was already 12:10. I feel so bad because Alexandra was waiting for me for a while. Anyways, I arrived at DaXingGong, and it was pretty interesting. It’s this old palace that the old rulers of Nanjing used to live in. We waited in line for tickets (the line was soo long), and because we were students (I showed them my Nanjing University card), we got tickets for half off, so 20 yuan. Also, this has happened to me and Alexandra a lot, but when we speak Chinese to people, they speak English back to us. It’s almost as if they don’t think we will be able to understand them? But, a lot of the time, their English is bad so I can’t understand them. For instance, when we got to the lady that sells tickets, we understood her Chinese perfectly when she spoke Chinese, but she would answer back a lot in English. When she would say something in English, we literally couldn’t understand her. She was meaning to say 40, but we thought she was saying 14, but if she said it in Chinese, it would have been clearer. The palace had a lot of information on the history of the people who lived there and the palace itself. We left, and I bought some souvenirs for my family back home. After, it was already about 2:40, so I called my sister and told her I was ready to be picked up. I called my sister before I left to see the palace because I got there later than expected, so she knew I was going to be late. I got to Xinjiekou and waited for her for over an hour. To pass the time, I bought some Strawberry Shake with boba at Thirsty Frog and decided to go shopping on my own until she came. She eventually came, and together we bought a ton of stuff. I got a pair of jeans, a shirt, and some fake vans. I’m broke now. We shopped for about 5 hours and ate dinner at about 10 (we stopped at the shop and talked with the family). Oh, awkward moment. The older sister that I went shopping with bought my host mom a purse because she wanted a new one, which was such a nice thing for her to do. She bought this green Michael Kors fake purse for about 100 yuan, and we brought it back. The mom didn’t even thank her, but was pointing out the bad things about it. My older sister was trying to prove how it was a good purse, and making her mom try to like it, but the mom was complaining how it was too small, etc. It was kind of rude, and my older sister got a little angry. Anyway, we got home pretty late and I still had a lot of homework to work on. I connected a lot with my older sister that day though. Spent all my money. Literally only have 1 yuan left. We went out to dinner and got some Blood Duck Soup. It's a Nanjing specialty and actually pretty tasty!
Saturday, July 29th: This morning, for class, we all went on a hike up Zijinshan. I left the hose at 7:35 to the bus stop where I coincidentally bumped into Ines, Helena and Josie. We all were supposed to meet the class at a bus stop a few stops down. The other NSLI-Y kids met at the school at 8 and then all drove to the mountain, but because Ines, Helena, Josie and I all live at the base of the mountain, we just met everyone at the bus stop. We were on the bus talking, and accidentally went past the bus stop 4 stops. So, we had to take another bus back. The buses here come really frequently, so it wasn’t a big deal, but it was still an L. As we were waiting, we saw the cutest stray puppy dog. It was sooo tiny and adorable, so we took a ton of photos. Justin soon met up with us. It was already 8:30 and we couldn’t find Margie, so Helena called her, and it turns out that everyone was already at the base of the trail and already began the hike. We jogged over and quickly caught up with everyone. It turns out the Koreans also came with us on the hike, so Alexandra and I talked to some of the Korean teachers who were really nice. The hike was hard. Some of the stairs were so steep that I was a little nervous of falling backwards. At the top, I realized that it was same hike as when I went up with Justin, just a different trail. It was also sooo hot. Honestly, there was literally no dry spot on anyone’s shirts up on the hike, so we all took our shirts off. On way back down, Alexandra and I talked a little more with the Korean teachers. We were having good conversation, and after a while, they invited us to go and eat with them and the students. They eat on the 12th floor of the building at 12:30. Alexandra couldn’t go, but a lot of the other Americans could go so we all agreed. We got back to NJU at 12 so Alex, Sam, and I decided to go to the NanDa store to see if we could buy some more University clothes. We stopped at Thirsty Frog and I got the most amazing drink ever. I got a strawberry shake with boba added to it. It was so amazing. The boba made it amazing. I’m craving it as I write this blog post. Anyway, we headed back to the school soon enough and we found some Americans at the 12th floor of the University building where we were supposed to meet the Koreans. It was kind of awkward because there were 10 of us Americans, and the Koreans didn’t have enough bowls for us. So, we were all just kind of standing there, and a lot of us (including me) thought that we should just leave and not bother them because 10 people is a lot of people to feed. But then, the teacher invited the Americans and a few of the other teachers to go to a Korean restaurant nearby. I think he felt bad because he invited us and then we couldn’t eat. We took taxis in sets of 4 and eventually arrived at the restaurant. We got seated and immediately were served food. The Korean teachers prepaid for our meal (which we all felt really bad about), and bought us so much delicious food. The Korean food was sooo amazing. The teachers even said that it is nearly as good as the best Korean restaurants in Korea. We had bulgogi, kimchi, bibimbap, seafood pancake, and a bunch of other small foods. We all tried paying for it, but the teacher who paid wouldn’t accept. It was probably expensive too, feeding 10 Americans. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Food was good and the company was good. Also, the Korean teachers are so nice and funny. They like the Americans. They also invited us to go to church with them and the students, but I don’t think any of us could go. After lunch, I planned to meet Alexandra at her house to buy some tea and eat dinner with her, so we all parted ways. I went on the subway and got off at Alexandra’s subway stop and quickly exchanged some money at a nearby bank. After about 20 minutes, Alexandra’s mom picked me up, and we all went to this really sketchy but cheap bargaining mall where I picked up a fake designer purse for my mom for 150 yuan. I bargained it down from 180, which isn’t a whole lot, but I think it was a pretty good deal anyway. After, we went to this alleyway (kind of) where there were only tea shops. Alexandra and I really wanted to buy some loose-leaf tea to bring home, so I bought around 115 yuan worth of tea (about 16 dollars worth?). There was sooo much tea, and there was some really cool looking tea too so I bought some. I bought some rose tea (the tea was tiny roses – I had to buy it), some 茉莉花茶，红茶，and then some Nanjing tea that was grown here. It was really cheap for a tin so I bought 5 in total. After, Alexandra’s mom dropped us off at the stationary store where I bought 36 packs of .5 lead for .8 yuan each (literally 10 cents per pack of lead) and some stationary for some friends (everything is so cheap here). Afterwards, Alexandra and I stopped at this snack store where I bought a small pack of dried mango for too much money (9.8 yuan, which is about 1.4 USD, but its expensive for China), and then we headed home. Alexandra lives in such a nice apartment. It’s so modern and the view is amazing. There’s also pools attached to her apartment complex. Her family fed me a really nice dinner, and I had a really good conversation with the parents about my life in Seattle and life in Nanjing. Apparently, they also have a house in Australia?? After dinner, Alexandra and I decided to go on a run outside her apartment. She lives really close to the 长江 (aka Yellow River), and she normally runs along the river daily, so we decided to run there that night. Being able to actually be in China and see the Yellow River with my own eyes was such a cool experience especially because I’ve been reading about it all my life and have only seen it in photos. It was especially amazing because we could hear the 古筝 playing in the background, and tons of people chatting and walking around while we looked around and went running. It was an amazing night. Along the river at night, it’s really bustling. We were running in nearly pitch black, but there was still a ton of people we had to dodge and run by. It was a so-so run because I was tired and I got a cramp but it was a pretty night. I had to be home by 10 and it was already getting late, so Alexandra’s mom drove me to the subway stop and I took the subway home and then rode the bus to my house.
When you can't Justin smolder :( #pnwsquad
Friday, July 28th: I woke up really early again (6:15) in the store to walk to the apartment and buy food. My mom bought me some 黑米粥 and some gao (idk what it is really) and a hardboiled egg. It was a good breakfast. I really love that gao bread thing. I think I might get some tomorrow. Anyways, Justin’s phone was busy so after waiting 5 minutes I decided to walk to the subway station myself. I was almost at the bus stop when Justin called me and said that his brother could drive us. I started walking back to the neighborhood center where we normally meet when the dad drives us. 10 minutes later, Justin and his brother stopped next to me on a motorcycle. Apparently, Justin’s brother didn’t know he was picking me up until they were almost there, so Justin got off the motorcycle and let me get on. He went to go find an unlocked bike because we all didn’t have the app. I pointed one out to him (I found one earlier in the morning), so he took it and we left. Justin’s brother and I zoomed up ahead while Justin was riding way in the back. Even though they are extremely dangerous, motorcycles are kind of fun not gonna lie. The ride was a little longer than 5 minutes. Justin called me while I was on the motorcycle and told me that his bike broke, so his brother quickly dropped me off at the subway station while he went to go get Justin. A few minutes later, Justin came back with his brother and we both got onto the subway to get to class. We were about 3 minutes late, but I was still earlier than my teacher, so it ended up being ok. In class, we watched a movie and learned more in the textbook. The movie was this famous one called “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”. For lunch, Alexandra and I decided that we would quickly get out of the school so we would have time to exchange money. We first went to the Nanjing University Store where I bought a baseball cap and a University sweatshirt. I’m so happy about the sweatshirt because it was the last Small. They told me last week they ran out of that sweatshirt size, but they found a new one. New shipments don’t come in until September, so I was pleased. Right after, we went for lunch at the cafeteria where we got Shuijiao dumplings on the 2nd floor. I also got a strawberry vanilla ice cream bar. After, we quickly rushed to the bank, where 2 unfortunate things happened. 1) I got killed by Jessica for Assassin and 2) The bank workers were on lunch break, so we didn’t have time to exchange our money. It was a sad moment. But, it’s okay because Jessica bought me iced tea after she killed me. We came back to class at 1:30 where we had carving stone class. We each got to carve our own Traditional Chinese stamp. I carved my name in mine, and I’m excited to try it out when I get home in America. This was my favorite cultural class so far; it was a cool experience to physically get to carve your name in a stone with a chisel. After stone carving, we had community service which was to clean the Nanjing University Library. We didn’t really have directions on what to clean, so a lot of people kind of goofed off, unfortunately. We officially ended school at 4:30, so instead of going to the gym, I decided to hang out with some friends after school. Peter, Alexander, Alexandra and I quickly went to 龙江 to check out the fake Yeezys and to buy some Coco. I didn’t have a lot of time because I had a movie to see that evening with my sisters, so we were only there for about 45 minutes. I got a big cup of Pearl Milk Tea at Coco because I felt like it. After, I went back home on the subway and relaxed with my sisters until we decided to leave for the movie. We went out to this really really good ramen place. It wasn’t like Japanese ramen, but it was soooo good. Maybe better than Japanese Ramen? It was really cheap, the noodles were a good texture, and the broth was delicious. At the restaurant, I had a few good conversations with my sisters about travelling and the Maldives. My older sister really wants to go there one day. Oh, also, the lady who worked at the noodle shop was kind of surprised when she saw me. When we walked in she started asking my sisters questions about me as if I didn’t understand Chinese, so when I answered “Yes” for myself, she was like “Wow! Your Chinese is so good!” Also, my sister asked if I wanted chili oil on my noodles and I replied “一点“ which means a little, and then the lady working at the store was like “Whoa, she said 一点”. We then walked to my mom’s store to pick up my sister’s glasses, and my mom braided my hair. After, we walked to the subway station and took it to the movie theatre in the big mall. Despicable Me 3 was actually really cute. We weren’t expecting it, but this movie was one of those 3D movies with the seats that move/spray you. So, we got sprayed with water at some parts, and blown with air, and our seats moved and rattled. It was fun at first, but then I kind of got sick of having the side of my face drenched with water. Overall, good movie. After the movie, we headed back home and rested. It was late when we got home, so I wrote some blog posts until about 12 then fell asleep.
July 26th: I woke up in the store from an alarm that my mom set for 6 am and walked back to take a cold shower at the house. As we were walking back to the house to grab my backpack and wash up, my mom bought me this very very delicious street food. It was rice with a layer of sugar coated on it, wrapped over a youtiao. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve eaten. It was delicious and only 3 yuan (.4 USD). I left the house at 7, and waited for Justin for 7 minutes. He wasn’t answering his phone, so I just left. I was walking next to the bus stop when a motorcycle stopped next to me, and there was Justin and his brother. Justin got off and we walked together to the subway! Surprisingly, we were on time. For cultural class today, we had our last calligraphy class! We made our final piece and it was a little sad that this was our last class. I enjoyed calligraphy class. My end piece was not very good, I messed up on my first stroke. It hit me and my friends at that point how fast this Summer has gone. I still remember our bus ride to catch our Chicago flight like it was yesterday. Ahhh. Anyways, after class, I went shopping with Ines, Helena, Josie and Emma at the Nanjing University Store. We realized that we need to spend a lot more money. Every student is given 900 yuan on their student card, and we can use that 900 yuan not just on food, but on souvenirs and snacks at the market connected to the University. The cards were technically supposed to be just for food, but we can scan them at so many other places. Of course, I’m not going to use all of that 900 yuan on food (one meal is about 10 yuan), so I am spending it all on sweatshirts and shirts from the University. I bought a baseball cap and a Nanjing University shirt for myself that totaled to about 80 yuan, or a little more than 10 dollars USD. CHEAP!! After shopping, I came home early because my sister and I were planning to watch a movie that night. At the apartment, I knocked on the door, but no one answered. I kept knocking and ringing the doorbell but no one was answering, so I called my sister who was at Xinjiekou shopping. Turns out that the air conditioning was still broken, so we were going to sleep in the shop again. My dad came by and opened the door for me so I could grab my stuff to bring to the store. After I grabbed my laptop and brushed my teeth, we went downstairs where I expected us to walk back to the store. But, my dad hopped on a scooter motorcycle and said hop on! So, we rode about 1.5 minutes to the store on a motorcycle. I had a lot of fun in the 1.5 minutes probably because that was my first time on a motorcycle. Also, it’s a little dangerous because no one wears helmets here in China when they ride bikes or motorcycles, so I was glad that it was a short ride. Anyway, once I got to the shop I skyped my family in America and worked on my IOPP that was going to be the next day. We were planning on watching a movie that night but something happened with the tickets (my mom was yelling at my little sister on the phone), so we couldn’t go. My sister told me that we would go tomorrow to see Despicable Me 3. We relaxed for a bit and ate dinner in the shop. A little later, my friend messaged me and told me that the moon was supposed to be red that night, so my sister and I went walking to a nearby palace to check out the moon. I saw it on the way to the palace and it was tinted a little bit red. My sister couldn’t see it though because she forgot to bring her glasses. At the palace, we couldn’t see the moon, but we still walked around a bit in the dark. I was craving boba, so we stopped at Coco where I had just enough money. I really need to exchange my money, I have 2 mao left. After coming back to the shop, my mom asked if I wanted to get a haircut. I mentioned it a couple times before when I was doing my hair before leaving for school because it was getting really long. So, I agreed and we walked out of the store and went next door to get a haircut. I’m not sure how much it cost, but I think it was around 15 yuan? (2 USD) The lady cutting my hair was nice, and we had some good conversation. Later that night, I kept practicing for my IOPP the next day. I was a little nervous and was having trouble memorizing my presentation, but I eventually finished up and went to bed at around 11:30.