Thursday, January 29

Realities Of Long Vacations

I didn't fully understand what a Chinese New Year celebration meant.
I love the fireworks that go off randomly and how I am sure I have heard at least 3 per day.
I love how the temples are crowded and people all over are enjoying family time.
I love how there is no school and I can go explore the city and go to the zoo!!
I love how I can read my days away if I want to. haha

What I do not love is that our water pipes were not working right and so it took 3 days until they were back to normal.
I do not love that my cable is out on my TV meaning that I can not watch the shows that I usually miss because of class. Mine still does not work but I noticed our security guard downstairs was enjoying all of his favorite shows even on the day he said the whole building was out. (My neighbor was also watching theirs comfortably.)
I do not love how I tried using the internet to watch dramas (since my cable's out) but it seems to be moving slower than ever...

**I also do not love how the stores and restaurants closed early and I was forced to use what I had to cook.....but that was my fault. I was reading forever and completely failed to look at the time, ;p

Monday, January 26

Chinese New Year

I really wanted to spend new years with Chinese friends so that they could fill me in on all the events, but since i haven't met any I just hung out with my program friends.

We lit fireworks on the roof of the building next to our dorm (hehe) and then in the basketball court. Mind you, I'd heard that the students were told not to light them on campus so I did not personally light any. (I'm not one for deliberately breaking rules.)
Anywho. I wanted to go to the temples and we went to one but I found out that they pay 80元 to get in and pray so I took pictures from outside.

We were going to walk to The Bund for the countdown but everyone has been setting off fireworks for a week now and we didn't consider it that special. So on the way there we stopped to watch families do fireworks which was much better in my perspective. Cars and buses cruise by as people light them in the streets. They also light them in the middle of they're apartment complexes. It is firework mania. I want to comeback each year.
At the bund we also lit lanterns, made a wish and let them fly into the sky. I think it was awesome but you have to wonder how they finally ... end. (I also wonder why they do it.)

Then after all of that we were supposed to go home. This is why I want to tell you a life tip:

Bring that secret stash of money for just in case causes.

I had only enough money to take a cab (together) to downtown and back but they wanted to go to a club. They were going to meet some other program participants there. I think 'hmm well I guess if it's free entry (like a lot are) I can go and since there're more people the taxi back will be cheaper.'


The first club was and 80元 fee and so they wanted to try a different one that other participants were supposedly at. Low and behold this club was 100. and I'm thinkin 'Why. Why did I pick today of all days to count my money and leave it in my room.' (I'm rationing my spending so I count it often) I didn't have enough to simply take a taxi home alone and I didn't want to stand outside of the club however many hours they would be there.

But overall. I enjoyed the day.

Friday, January 23

Chinese New Year Preperations

I am excited as the new year is approaching but I certainly am unhappy about my favorite cheap restaurants closing for the holiday (which seems to last at least 3 weeks.) Yes businesses close down shop for that long. Don't know how but it is possible.

I really wish I was back in Chengdu with all of my friends because I realize that I don't know any one here and I will most likely not be receiving any hong bao 红包。(The beautiful red packet filled with funds, given to you by your elders...any elders you know.)

I have been hearing fireworks and seeing them since last week. Unfortunately there are no Chinese students in school right now so I won't have a good experience of what the young people normally do on the holiday. My friends from my program are all going to different cities so I have decided to find a few temples, go to a church, and visit the people's park to see how people are celebrating. (Very free things as my situation only allows that. heehee) I will bring my trusty camera so that you can all see!

well I have one week off and there are 3 school sponsored parties going on so after those I will let you know how interesting (or not) it is. I feel like its going to be very quiet.

Thursday, January 22

Money And I Don't Play

I can not believe myself. I am such a technical money person. I check all the time just to see that (knowing I have withdrawn no money) my balance is the same. Low and behold I could not bear the cold of Shanghai anymore, pulled out 500元 from my American bank account and over drafted. Seriously?
I have no job, the little scholarship money that I have is not in my account yet, and I am not in America to fix it.

Learn how to transfer Chinese money to your American accounts just in case.

Getting Priorities Straight

I decided to study business in Shanghai because it is beneficial to me and my degree. Shanghai is also getting good business limelight. I will be here to enjoy this culture that many do not define as Chinese. But I don't mind. I plan to stay here on my holidays and fully see.
There are students who have only been here for 2 weeks or so and are already booking tickets to visit other cities. Am I boring and old fashioned to stay put and study? Or am I too poor? hahaha

I think my teachers changed the way they normally run class because we are United States Americans. (More on this classification next time.)
They have assigned countless readings and essays and final exams. And I chose to take 5 classes...Maybe I just love challenges. I always seem to end up with so much work. ; )

Anyway, I noticed that some people are hanging out all the time! Then have the nerve to ask "Hey girl! where were you?"
I want to choke my teddy bear!! "I was studying!!! as I hear you coming in at 4am!!" I wast to say.
But that would give me a bad reputation so I just say "Oh I decided to go to *** and check out ***."
Does anyone else study really hard? This is my junior year and I don't want to waste it. (Yes. I do wake up before 7:30AM even on the weekends...)

Is it just me or are the doors to life in a great mansion that just open as time goes by. The more you read, the more open. Does wealth come with wisdom? When is wisdom recognized? I may not find the explanations to these answers until later. I feel like I'm soooo much smarter than yesterday! Where are the intellectuals? I want to associate with them. Where are the hard working people? I want to work with them. Where are the problem solvers? I want to reorganize things with them.

Where are you?

Wednesday, January 21

The Help We Don't Receive

At times during this trip I figured I needed help from other people who have studied here before. I needed answers to my questions!! But those have come by the efforts of myself. Even so, because of a dear friend in Japan, I will post anything that I think is helpful to know before planning to study in China. (If you still have questions just ask. I need a break from studying once in a while.)

Random facts:
1. I am a rather clean person and China is rather ... not. Sometimes there are rodents in restaurants but the food is good so don't be discouraged. Clean is not the same as the clean you are used to in the states.

2. Spitting is a way of life and no one cares how loudly they prepare for it.

3. Cell phones don't have a monthly plan. Pay in advance and use until it runs out. Also they are to be used in the city you buy it in like metro, boost, cricket etc. (I put 100 yuan on mine and it lasted a good 2 months. It costs more to call than text.)

4. Dryers and ovens are not common. Hang dry clothes. Buy baked goods.

5. You will be stared at constantly. People will take pictures with you. They will rub your skin without asking. (Though not nearly as much in Shanghai.)

6. Children are cute!!! Always keep this in mind.

1. Most only accept cash. China is a cash nation.

2. If you look Asian you are Chinese so you better understand what they tell you. lol (I have witnessed clerks getting upset with some of my friends that had to repeat that they are American, Vietnamese, Korean you name it!)

3. There are bargaining malls...

4. Some things have quality issues. You can return them!

5. Some things you buy may be stolen/pirated so check over it. Or prepare that you might get bad quality.

1. Maybe going to class with Chinese students doesn't exist. But you can hang out with them around campus.

2. Unless you are a go getter, no one will tell you about which clubs to join.

3. Foreign student dorms all seem to be in the dark, unseen, back corner behind a few make the effort or you'll never meet a Chinese student.

4. The student ID is much more helpful than in the states. (Some places give you half off your purchase.)

5. If you go with my program you won't be on the same school schedule...

6. Home stays are almost impossible because the families expect an English teacher...(or so I hear. The director usually tries to talk you out of it.)

(** Please remember that I am in the USAC program and other programs may stick to the Chinese school schedule.**)

Wednesday, January 14

So Many Things To Do

I didn't realize I'd signed up for so many classes. But now that I'm in the and interested, I don't want to back out! I have Advanced Chinese again of course but these students are starting a textbook that I've halfway finished. No doubt a new teacher can teach me new things and review is extra help, but I'm going to finish this book on my own and prepare for the HSK test. (That's an exam to put a rank on my Chinese knowledge.)

I forgot my usb cord somehow so that the reason for the delay of stories and pics. Sorry. I'm going to try to buy one soon. Bear with me. (Shanghai is more expensive to live in than Chengdu.)

If anyone wants to send a letter, clothes, or help offerings of any other kind, Please send your things to:

Kiana Christie
University Studies Abroad Consortium
International Student Dormitory
College of International Exchange
Shanghai University
149 Yanchang Road, Shanghai 200072
P.R. China

Thank you!!(even if you only think about it haha)

Thursday, January 8

Program Differences

I know that a lot of people want to leave the states and learn things in a foreign country. Here is something to remember:

Study abroad:
A situation that allows you to study in a foreign land without needing any language skills. You are here to study whatever you want. hard. You can enjoy the place you are in but learning the language is not the ultimate goal.

Foreign Exchange:
This is that beautiful program that allows you to become the world's greatest at the language of your choice country. Your focus can be the language and most likely you will be taught in the language.

sometimes the study abroad may be intensive language but...
Just know that this is based off of my experience and some companies may be different.

Also know that if you were looking for total immersion in china DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH at all costs. It is very much an English speaking country. Most people are shy of their skills so they will avoid you. The rest are hunting for someone to teach them English, even though they are fluent. Yes. Fluent.

Tuesday, January 6

Again with The dorms

So! Shanghai...上海。
I think I like Chengdu a lot better. I can get used to this place though. It's not as dirty for one. Of course as soon as I was past immigration I heard the Chinese spit. The airport was pretty empty for 7pm but it meant easy check out for me!
The airport is pretty simple I got a round easily and this time I even made it to campus on my own. (Last time I had a personal driver) I took the Maglev halfway and then took a taxi.

The Maglev is a bullet train so again I longed for Japan and the shinkansen.新幹線

My dorm room is pretty small because this time we're in a real dorm. on campus. by Chinese people.

Shanghai University's 上海大学campus is medium sized and good looking, but of course there is a new campus about an hour away that's bigger and better...(maybe i haven't seen it.)

Campus is near a little shopping area and a circus!!!!
I want to go to the Circus sooooo muuuuuch. I think the other students will think I'm childish so I'll wait until I have better friends.

And finally about those other students. I re-met with one of the black guys that I thought was a shame last semester but he has improved and so I'm proud of him. (He's black so even though we aren't here to bring up our race we certainly aren't here to let people look further down on us! I wanted him to be at least decent in Chinese and now he is.)
There are at least 5 black people here but only 2 of us are in the same program. One guy is even on the same level as me maybe even better! I was so proud of him too lol
He wondered if i was from a typical black family like African American and i told him that we are Jamaican. He laughed and said regular black families wouldn't study so hard. We laughed together.
They found out that I can speak Japanese so they introduced me to some Japanese guys and they introduced me to more. I was nervous again but they seemed impressed enough lol
(The past has not given me a lot of Japanese friends...even though I am married to that language.)

Well that's enough for today. I'm gonna go exercise before orientation cause then classes start....

Monday, January 5

New place new taste

I completely apologize for the long wait but I am now in Shanghai and let me tell you things are soooooo different here that I almost want to start a book.

I am taking mostly business classes here so of course there are more foreigners. I am quite excited because I can speak Chinese with peers!! (because the Americans are killing me with their no practicing selves.) Finally!! We have students from Japan too so I could practice Japanese. I'm kinda nervous though because I haven't been studying that since I got to china.

Anyway I will have to give you a real update later because I just got internet and I am too tired. (I've been waking before dawn.)

I love you all!!
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