The GoGlobal Blog

欢迎你! Welcome! (+health update)

欢迎你! Welcome! (+health update)

Hey Everyone!

            I have been trying to make a blog post for the past two weeks but have not found the right time where I can sit down and think about what I want to say. Right now is that time!

 I am currently sitting on my bed (my friends and I call it “my rock” because the beds here in China are like sleeping on wood floors lol) trying to think about how I want to format this post since so much has happened these past three weeks! I think I am going to keep it brief and casual, and start from the day I departed the states…

After one 14-hour plane ride from Seattle to Hong Kong, and another 2-hour flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai, I was extremely relieved to finally be able to walk freely.

Me (center) and other USAC friends from the group flight

At the airport is where I met the first group of USAC students (we were all on the group flight to Shanghai). We all loaded onto a bus and headed to campus. First couple of days, January 6th and 7th, we spent time exploring campus and taking tours of the city. We made stops at The Bund, Yu Gardens, Pearl Tower, and Tianzifang. They were all beautiful places even though the weather was pretty gloomy those days.

One of the many walkways of Tianzifang

The next morning, we all woke up early to take a charter bus, we dubbed the Teal Mobile for its color, to Hangzhou where we would spend the night. Once we arrived there, we ate brunch and immediately went to Lingyin Temple, AKA Temple of Soul’s retreat. It is one of the largest and wealthiest temples in China consisting of many smaller temples and grottoes. It was a pretty awesome place. To get to one of the temples you have to climb SO. MANY. STAIRS. According to what my apple watch tracked that day, I walked a total of 36 flights of stairs. The views were so worth it though. After climbing back down and checking out a few of the hundreds of Buddhas carved into the side rockery, we hopped back onto the charter bus and headed to Hangzhou National Tea Museum.

Hangzhou Tea Museum tea fields

The day was ending, and the weather was clearing up, so the rays from the sun were reflecting perfectly off of the damp tea leaves in the fields. The museum itself was empty but our program advisor didn’t give us that much time to explore, so we just kind of passed through, but a small group of us got to try free tea – it was amazing!

Next day, January 9th, we headed to West Lake. It was a cloudy day and all the plants were dead because it is wintertime, but it was still such a breathtaking view. We got to roam the lake freely which was a nice break from the quick pace we had been on the past few days. After looking around for a couple of hours, again, we loaded back onto Teal Mobile and headed to our next destination.

cute gazebo along the west lake

Our next stop was a water village, Xitang. It is really interesting because it is a gated off place and you need a ticket to go inside, however my program director was saying that people still live within the walls (obviously they don’t have to pay to get in, but still interesting) . We walked pretty far into this village to get lunch, and then we had more free time! There honestly was not much to do except check out the little shops and soak in the beauty of Xitang. On our way out of the village, we got to ride gondolas! It was a nice break from all of the walking we had been doing.

boat path in the water village

We rode the Teal Mobile for the last time and headed back into the city. The following week was the first days of classes. My classes are three hours once a week. Some days it is harder than others to sit in class that long, but the topics are quite interesting. The only class I have more than once a week is Chinese; that class is three times a week for three hours. I am so excited to get better at speaking and understanding Chinese. Being here these few weeks, I already have noticed an improvement in my skills.

 I currently do not have class this week because of Chinese New Year, but I also wanted to talk about something that I am sure you are all wondering about. A novel virus known as the coronavirus has been spreading rapidly around China, and now the world. I want everyone to know that I am safe and healthy and have been practicing every safety precaution I can be to ensure that my friends and I continue to stay healthy. I am definitely in a unique situation and I am honestly not quite sure what to think about it. I want to be naïve to it all and continue to enjoy my time here, however with the constant closure of events and tourism sites, the possible extension of break, having my temperature checked every time I enter the gates to my dorm, having to remember to wear a mask, and having to cancel my trip to Beijing makes all of this feel a little more real. I know the news in the States is covering the story of the virus very well, but I want to remind you all that news can be shocking and scary, but it does not paint the full picture of the situation. I am blessed to have really good travel insurance and have access to clean, well-managed American-style hospitals. My school here in China is taking every measure possible to ensure that the students here are safe. Shanghai and the other larger cities are doing all it can to make sure this virus gets contained. The other part of this reality, and what you all have been witnesses to, is that outside of the big city is where the problem worsens. There are many families who are not as fortunate as I am and who do not have the same access as I am able to have, so please keep them in your prayers and if you are able to find a way to donate masks or money to valid fundraisers, please do so. Right now, those in quarantined cities especially need as much aid as they can get as they are now not only limited but restricted to access to hospitals, transportation, and other critical resources. It is important to not panic is times like this but continuing to stay safe and manage the situation as much as possible. I added below a link to video from a citizen of Wuhan where he tells the story of the situation there better than what I can explain and better than what I have been seeing on the news.

https://youtu.be/7OEqybiGdaA
*strong language used

On that note! All is not so dark and grim. The sun is supposed to be coming out on Tuesday, I had a movie night with my friends, and I am so grateful for the experience I have already had these first three weeks here in China. I am hopeful for the world and China that it can make it through this hard time, and you will all be hearing from me soon.

me wearing my mask to protect from pollution and sickness!

Until next time!

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