Last chance to explore: shanghai and its proximityShanghai, Fall 2010 - China in the 21st Century

We’re in for the last month, and I’m so sad! There are still so many places I want to go, things to do, friends to make. As we get closer to leaving, my friends and I come to talk more and more about how one semester is not enough for immersion. One year is appropriate for study abroad, so the course load can be more relaxed and flexible. Relationships and linguistic development will settle better as well. So, to alleviate some anxiety about seeing more of China, I walked about 20 minutes (I walked the wrong way of course, so I had to backtrack) to the 2 travel agencies nearby. I’m really set on going to Huangshan (黄山+徽州), one of the most well-known scenic mountains in China. I even found out that the trip itinerary has pandas, stop at the wharf, and hot springs in the mountains, with snow above and the steaming pools below. I just really don’t know how to choose a reliable company. Chinese websites still give me a headache with so many characters. I skyped my mom to plead for help, but I think I might just run with it. This Saturday, a big group is taking a day-trip to Suzhou. Xi’an and Hainan tickets have also been booked for our extra 3-day weekend come December. I wish I had planned and organized earlier because it looks like I might be taking a solo trip. Oh, the solace of alone time, I would look forward to it if I didn’t have to pay extra for a single hotel room. I hope to not be out more than $100. Gotta love it. Our program coordinators and RA’s are also preparing for the squeeze at the end. Even before our flight coming back, Li 老师 was talking about how he was so busy and had so much to do when he got back. Doing what? None other than preparing for our Thanksgiving feast! I’m really looking forward to our family dinner. It’s at a fancy-pants hotel, buffet style with all of our lovely staff, teachers, and we even get to invite our language partners. I already invited Flora, so mine will be there! Our lunch date at Korean already informed me that since Fudan students were finishing up with midterms, ergo more free time! Which reminded me that the students from SUFE I volunteered to tutor were also freed up, and I have yet to see them. I hope I will before I leave. It’s my last chance to really interact with local students. Back to the turkey. I heard that just to make it feel like home we are getting a turkey flown over (1st class? I think so!) for $500. Wow, I wouldn’t mind just having Peking duck with plum sauce. Don’t deprive me of mashed potatoes and I will survive. I also involuntarily got volunteered by one of my friends to help put together our program semester book. Turns out, should be fun to select pictures for the Bloopers/WTF section. It’s a good excuse to sift through a database of all of our thousands of pictures. Preparation for leaving? I think not :( I prefer to concentrate on planning to explore the outskirts of Shanghai this weekend and maybe catch a viewing of Harry Potter!!! I could go to the zoo, museums, shopping for gifts for people, or parks. Sounds great. Essays are in the furthest corner of my mind, tucked away with semester finals.
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