Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Break = Hong Kong.

Since Friday 4/16, our entire IES group flew to HK, staying at Hong Kong University. It has been a few days now that I've been here and already, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. On Sunday we had a free day but the rest of the week we have lectures in the morning taught by HKU professors and then field trips in the afternoon. Our topics range from history of HK, education, religion and business.

-Visited Peng Ghau Island (a non touristy island that has gorgeous views!)
-Hiked through the New Territories (far up north which had breathtaking views but VERY long 25km...6 1/2 hour hike...totally worth it!)
-Museum Tours
-Shopped the night markets!!
-Symphony of Lights
-THE PEAK (highest view from Hong Kong Island)
-Sai Kung Park for seafood

and much much more. I'll upload photos very soon.

But this trip has really changed my perspective on a lot of things about the Asian culture and connection with mainland China (PRC). Also, I LOVE HKU. The university is ranked #1 in Asia and I really want to study here for Graduate school :) way later of course. I also have been inspired by the education system here in HK compared to mainland and the need to privatize colleges. A possible area to study?

We'll see....I'm just dreaming up things right now...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

SCF. The Cell.

Finally, through many random connections, I have found a church here in Shanghai! Not only a church (called Shanghai Community Fellowship - http://www.scfenglish.com/) but I've now joined a cell group in the same apartment area! There are over 40 Christians and non-Christians from around the world (literally, everywhere) and we fellowship, sing in different languages at times, and right now we're working through the book of Mark. I've already seen some of these people around the city! It's so fun to have this connect while we're out exploring around Shanghai.

More to come later :)

Oh and new found fact - China's government isn't as controlling with religion as most of us Westerners think. Apparently, if you're a foreigner, you can conduct gatherings for bible studies without it being "illegal". This hasn't always been the case but it is becoming more acceptable, especially around the cities. It's only when you, as a foreigner, try to impose your religion with locals and start holding large gatherings with them which then becomes a threat to the country. I have also heard a lot of the tension comes from China not wanting religion to intercept with the government.

Lots more to learn while I'm here for another 3 months...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recap Video of the past few weeks...

Monday, April 5, 2010

One month down.

Shengri Quai Le! (Happy Birthday)

Last week on Tuesday, I attended my CEO's birthday party organized by her friends in the PLA (People's Liberation Army). Not knowing where or when it was, I was given a number of someone who would meet me and take me to it. I ended up meeting with one professor from Fudan and a graduate student. The whole car ride to the party (which lasted around 40min or so) was all in Chinese which I couldn't understand a single thing they were talking about. Finally, five minutes before our destination, they started to talk with me. The professor, whose name is Fox, and the graduate student, whose name is Lonely, ended up being my lifelines for this party.

Left Fox / Right Lonely

Ms. Zhang Lu arrived in a fancy, handmade deep purple dress and took pictures with all the guests. (very Shanghainese). There were three large round tables in a very elegant room with chandeliers and luxurious fabrics.

This party was in a hotel and we were on the top floor. There were about 30 people who were there, 25 of them being business men. Odd?? Yes, Ms. Zhang Lu knows how to throw a 'political' party. The PLA members where there again, one from the Navy, her father who is a well known professor at a university in Beijing, and many others.

Before we ate, we went around the room introducing ourselves. Of course, when it got to me, I was unsure of what to say and if I should say it in English or Chinese. I then was told I had to say it in Chinese...so I just said my name is Lindsay and I'm a student at Fudan University. This was very intimidating saying this in front of so many people!

After the feast, we headed to a ball room for a dance party. There were a lounge area with food and couches and then a dance floor with two professional dancers Ms. Zhang Lu hired to facilitate dancing. Also, of course, there was KTV which is Karaoke...very very popular here!

So I danced a little, talked a lot, and made some new friends. I talked with the PLA and a few different professors for awhile in English because they wanted to practice theirs. We made a few toasts together as a sign of establishing a friendship and then one professor leaned over and asked if I knew the song, "Take me home country roads". I nodded and sure enough, he asked a lady to bring us two microphones. In front of everyone, we sang Take Me Home Country Roads - the duet. I was lucky that his big voice took over most of the song and just try to picture a very thick Asian accent singing that song...ouch. But in the end, I was happy to have made a new friend.

What an insane evening! Ms. Zhang Lu asked if I had networked at all by the end of the night, which of course I had. My boss is a very intriguing business woman and seems to know the art of developing business in China.


Also, it was just Easter in China!! I celebrated with the Dale and Christy Larson (whose daughter I know and goes to Hope) and I spent the night over at their apartment. Sure enough, the easter bunny came on Sunday...and boy was he good at hiding those chocolate eggs. It was so much fun finding eggs in China :)

Easter - a holiday not really recognized by this country, especially because most are not Christians and don't believe in Christ's resurrection. It was sad to not see people celebrating this special day but at least I could enjoy it with my family away from home.

M on the Bund

After the egg hunt, we went to brunch at M on the Bund, an elegant restaurant over looking Pudong and the Bund (that looks like London). We met up with their German friends and for three hours, we just ate delicious food over joyful conversations. I'm still dreaming about the dessert I had....

Then the rest of the afternoon, we walked along the Bund (which just reopened after being under construction for a few years). And was it packed!!! It was a sea of Chinese people...Dale, Christy and I talked about the buildings, area, and history for a few hours, constantly doing a 360 looking at all the unique architecture of each building. It was getting a little chilly we walked into a small bar and had drinks (hot chocolate!) outside overlooking the area. At about 6pm, we watched all the lights turn on in the city...just like Christmas!

To wrap up Easter Sunday, we went to Hot Pot called Dolar Shop. Each person has their individual pot of boiling broth and then you can order vegetables, meats, and such. There was a long table of sauces that you could mix and choose from! So we ordered lamb, a mushroom assortment, and green assortment. Mmmmmmm....it hit the spot. We should seriously consider getting these in America...it would be a huge hit!

My parents being introduced to the Larsons via skype!


In 2 weeks, we're all going to Honk Kong for a week over our spring break!!


Enjoying it here in China...there are things that are frustrating (like going to see Alice and Wonderland IMAX 3D and paying $23 then finding out they gave us the wrong show time and wouldn't refund us) and there are things that are fascinating about the culture.

I did hit a period of "culture shock" where I was angry at the language barrier and difficult daily routines but hopefully, I'm beyond that now. It's also really hard from going to such a supportive community of friends, professors, and staff at Hope and then come here where everything is new and constantly changing. This experience is really making me appreciate what I have in my life :)

What a blessing it is to have a family here in China (the Larsons) and to constantly be challenged with my values and faith. I know I'm supposed to be here and I can't wait for the next three months to come...
New Heights bar overlooking Pudong!

Go Karting!!!

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