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Shanghai, China

So for those of you that know me/ my study habits, you know that this past semester at University was a toughie. Moving into the 400 levels for two of my departments as well as having some classes every day tested my limits. I pulled countless all-nighters and went through some pretty rough times. Add on top of that maintaining some sort of social life and a pledge semester and you have one burned out me.

I pulled an all-nighter last night.

"To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change." ~Charles Horton Cooley

What's the point of me coming to China to study Chinese, I could have done this back at UVA and been with wo de pengyoumen!.


Class wasn't so bad. Here's our daily schedule:
- 8:00 Tingxie, first hour of class. Introduction to the grammar and the text. (today was Wang Laoshi)
- 9:00 Second hour, grammar review / vocal practice making the constructions our own (Zhou)
- 10:10 Third hour, activities / situations that we may encounter and using the constructions. (Gao laoshi)

Between hours, the laoshimen come into the room and find us and set up a time for us to meet with them one-on-one. Today I met at 12:00. Topic began with the grammar and text, but eventually moved on to other stuff, like my family, my fraternity (she was really obsessed with fraternities), and the date auction for Relay for Life! Xu laoshi was hen nice, I hope all the one-on-one sessions go that well!

Took a long nap, then woke up to do homework/study for Tingxie.

At this rate, it's going to be a long... nine weeks... :(

permalink written by  waywardwahoo on June 2, 2008 from Shanghai, China
from the travel blog: Shanghai, China
tagged FirstDay and AllNighter

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Day 3

Helen, United States

Woke up, got ourselves together. Got better directions. Double checked directions with the hotel clerk. Put up with the stares of several rather strange bikers (Apparently they LIKE to go on the Cherola. Time trials, or something)

We got out pretty early, bought some shirts and post cards to show off our stupidity, and headed out. It was more or less smooth sailing from there. We got breifly lost (sort of. We thought we were lost, but it turns out they just suck at marking their roads in North Carolina) but ended up in Helen about 1.

[this is monday, by the way. Not Sunday, as we'd originally planned]

We pretty much laid around and recuperated.

I had a potato.

permalink written by  eightcubed on August 16, 2008 from Helen, United States
from the travel blog: Honeymoon
tagged FirstDay, Helen and ThirdDay

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Learning Curve

Bangkok, Thailand

Ok so the first day was interesting. There have been a lot of moments so far that if I focused on what could seem negative, and there have been a lot of good ones too, I would feel miserable, but I'm choosing to have a different view point. So here it goes.
When I flew in last night after 20 hours of traveling I got to the hostel, and realized that I had somehow lost my bank card on during travel. I honestly have no idea how it happened. It was one of the biggest things I was afraid of happening on this trip and so I was trying to constantly safe guard it, but it still happened.
So being tired I freaked out and wanted cry. I figured out how to call US Bank from Thailand, that was a challenge too. You can't call the normal 800 number you have to find the international number, and then figuring out the pay phone whose instructions were completely in Thai was interesting, but I did it. So yay success!
Unfortunately the bank won't send me a new card while I'm here so I was freaking out on how I would get my money, but they said I can Western Union it to myself, and there is one near my hostel. So just takes a little more planning. Although I was upset and did not have a nice attitude on the phone with the bank teller I spoke to, something I'm still feeling bad about today. I'm having them mail a new card to my sister so she can mail it to me and then I have a credit card and some cash, and I also found out that I got paid close to $700 from some freelancing work I had done a month ago, which got deposited in my bank account.
So after taking a shower and mentally beating myself up all night I got a little sleep and woke up early. I showered and walked down to Lumphini Park in the Silom district of Thailand.
It was very pretty and relaxing. I then came back and had breakfast at the restaurant in my hostel which costed with tip about $5. Which is actually a little more then some of the cheaper places you can find here. After breakfast I decided I was going to try to go see Wat Pho, which is a buddhist temple. This was not as easy as I thought it would be. I tried taking the public buses which was a scary experience. They jerk all over, and I can't really read the signs so I was just hoping to see where I needed to get off.
I got off where I thought was right,but it wasn't, and then there was a guy on a moped who was trying to get me to hire him to drive me. He didn't speak English and I don't speak Thai, but we negotiated to do it for 50
baht, almost $2. This ride put the fear of god in me. He raced in-between cars where I thought my knees were going to be knocked off, ran up on sidewalks through crowds, and then dropped me off and told me that where I wanted to go was up around the corner, then he tried to get me to pay him more than we settle on so we had to bargain again.
When I went up around the corner I wasn't in the right place at all. He had taken me to china town, which is great for shopping, but also extremely claustrophobic. So I walked around for a while, and then hired a tuk tuk to take me home.
The tuk tuk driver convinced me to go to the temple so we agreed on a price he'd take me for, but then part way through said there was too much traffic and gave me a map and took me to a water taxi area. He told me there were two types of water taxis. One was a private charter that is 1200 baht, about about $40 or there's a public one that ranges between 20-40 baht, $1-$1.40. I obviously wanted the cheaper one, but he dropped me off at a pier that had the more expensive one, and the lady selling tickets wouldn't tell me where the pier was that had the cheaper taxi. I almost had a Mob Wives moment on her. At that point both taxi's I had taken hadn't taken me where I wanted to go, and I was pretty thoroughly lost.
Finally someone else told me how to get to the other taxi pier. When
I finally got to Wat Pho it was like the sun opening up and God smiling on me. The temple was beautiful, and they have an amazing reclining buddha.
I'm going to post all the pictures from today eventually on facebook and make it a public photo album so you all can see how cool it was, and totally worth the struggle.
After getting back to the area of my hotel I decided to get a thai massage, which was about 360 baht including tip, about $12 dollars. It's a little more in my area then in some places, but I didn't feel like exploring to find cheaper.
So what I learned is this:
If I look at all the things that didn't go according to plan I could be taken up with all the negatives and life would be miserable, but I can also look at it this way. I learned to use water taxis and walk to get around the city, take things as they come, and live in acceptance, and I also realized to value the friendships I have at home. Going through some struggles when you're traveling alone makes you really wish you had a friend to talk to about it, so these experiences make me remember the love I have for my friends and family. I can either wallow in the negative, or thrive and adapt in what life throws at me. I choose the latter.

permalink written by  Kirk on August 25, 2012 from Bangkok, Thailand
from the travel blog: Kirk's South East Asia Adventure
tagged Bangkok and FirstDay

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