Friday, March 13, 2009

China Post 3

After a great time in Shanghai I arrived to the coastal city of Ningbo. I'm traveling with Lu Zhao(Peter) and it has been so great to have an old friend to travel with. He is completely servant hearted and constantly helps me overcome all my cultural mishaps. Every interaction is so exciting and on the trains I get to practice my Chinese and am learning so much about recent changes here. I arrived to Ningbo and met my friend Yu Xing Ping(Michael). He is a young economics student who has recently become enthralled with the notion of finding a girlfriend. After much difficulty trying to divert his attention from noticing every girl that we walked past, I finally gave in later in the day when we met a girl he recently has had a crush on. I challenged him to ask her out and he did. Then I got him and all of his friends to arm wrestle in their dorm room at a birthday party later in the night to help him further affirm his masculinity. It's very interesting to observe the liberalization of my students who just a few years ago were so shy in social settings and were very quiet about discussing anything controversial. Big City living has made many of them more exposed to the world. Though I miss the nievity of their days in my class, it's exciting to see them critically thinking and to hear them discuss many challenging topics in the complex world that we live in.
The next day another student named Xu Ye(Nikki) met with us and we walked around the city before leaving for Hangzhou. Nikki now works for a large company in after-sales service. She works very hard and lives in a work dormitory. She took leave from her job to spend the day with us and we went and ate at a small market and tried local specialties.
The next day I went to Hangzhou. I met with three students besides Lu Zhao and we went out to a great meal. I stayed in a small hostel for $5 a night and then we got up in the morning and went to visit a local university. We ended up climbing a mountain behind the school and spending the afternoon in a teahouse.

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