About a week or so ago I traveled to Shanghai for the weekend. We had our first MAIS (my Masters program) welcome lunch and figured I’d see some of my classmates as well. The first thing I was excited about was taking the bullet train! These bad boys go around 350-400 kilos per hour (so around 150-175 mph) and it only took about 50 minutes to travel from Hangzhou to Shanghai. The price isn’t so bad (13$ US dollars for a one way) and the seats are quite comfortable. I learned that many people take this commute every single day. Once in Shanghai, I realized how much bigger the city is compared to Hangzhou. First off, Hangzhou has only one metro line while Shanghai has at least 12! I only had to travel 6 stops to my buddy’s place, so I did not have to suffer.
The city itself is super cool and has high-rise buildings all over the place. I also happened to be in Shanghai on one of the few days where the sky is clear and blue! It was a truly beautiful day and we got to travel to many of the major touristy spots. The lunch itself was pretty nice as well, but I was more interested in seeing Shanghai. This is exactly what I got at Peoples Square.
Hoards of people everywhere: tourists, locals, vendors, xiaojie, black market dealers, you name it. I was amazed at how different Shanghai was from Hangzhou. All the foreigners aside, the local Shanghainese people seemed much more different than the Hangzhou people I have met. Some of the unfortunate Western capitalistic ruthlessness traits were apparent like pettiness, rudeness, and a unhealthy workaholic mentality. But there were other traits that I really liked including a more acceptance to foreigners and willingness to try non-Chinese things. Granted, I was only there for a weekend and while it will be awesome to visit/party in Shanghai, I am quite happy that I am living in Hangzhou. It suites my lifestyle better.
Anyways, since being back from Shanghai I have been busy with teaching/school work/studying Mandarin. The teaching has been going really well, but I am more excited to start teaching the freshman! They start after holiday break, so I will let you know how that goes. We met a few 100 of them and they seemed very eager to start classes. I will write about that story in the next post…
My master studies have also been going well. Not too much to talk about there. I will be starting my thesis work after the holiday break as well…
My Mandarin studies have been steadily improving. Some days are more frustrating than others, but I absolutely love my teacher and she has been so supportive of me! It has been so exhilarating being able to use Chinese in my daily life and have people understand me! Some of the things I have done in Chinese include: ordered coffee, bought a train ticket, ordered food multiple times, became friends with my cleaning ladies, and set up my bank account for my apartment bills. Yay!
Not too much else to report… We have National Holiday tomorrow (Chinese July 4th), so I have teaching off for a week! One of my friends from Shanghai is coming to stay with me for a couple days and I am traveling to Nanjing for the day with my Mandarin teacher! Very exciting stuff.
Hope all is well across the sea. Looking forward to this Viking v Packer game. We will see how well Teddy does once he meets Clay and Julius. Cheers Homies~