So far, my time in China has been jaw-dropping. This is turning out to be an incredible experience that I have embarked on. Every turn I take the landscape takes my breath away. Seeing all of these astonishing landmarks and history of China leaves me in awe. I am becoming a sponge. There’s so much to take in all at once, but I am loving it!
The view from my room is crazy! I come from a small town and attend a small college. To be in a large city like Shanghai is opening my mind to all of the opportunities a large city has to offer. There is a metro station and a bus stop all less than a mile from my campus. The upcoming adventures seem endless at the moment.
Wait a second, you did not think it was a walk in the park to get here, right? Oh, of course not! I flew out of the United States on Thursday morning and did not get to China until Friday night. It was over 25 hours of traveling to reach East China Normal University. Of course, I encountered a few bumps in the road along my journey. I have never been to a primarily foreign speaking area in my life. I have only traveled to Australia, where the majority of people speak English. The layover in Montreal Canada was a small wake-up call for what was to come. I was shocked at how many different languages were being spoken around me at the airport. I took a seat overlooking the runway and absorbed all the culture.
I had just arrived in Shanghai when the culture shock hit me. People were coming up to me and asking me if I wanted to buy the things they were selling. A small child ran up to me and just stared for a while. A couple walked up to me and in broken English they asked to take a photo with me. Is this how celebrities feel?
They had no clue who I was, and still they wanted to take a photo with me. I waited for my friend at her gate and we made our way to the taxi section. There was a large language barrier between the taxi driver and the two of us. He kept looking back at us and speaking mandarin and I had no idea what he was saying. At one point, he stopped at a traffic light and gestured for us to get out of his taxi. Somehow, we made our way to our dorm.
We were dehydrated and wanted to speak to our families to tell them we were okay. Neither of those two issues were resolved that night. I woke up that next morning at 4 am prepared to start a journey of a life time. To live the life of a sponge for the next four months. I never in my wildest dreams believed a day would come where I would be lugging four months of my belongings across the world to China.