Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From D.C. to Beijing

Hey friends, how's it going?
I'm at a hotel in Beijing right now! The other side of the world has been treating me well. 
But, first, I'll back up a bit and tell you how I got here in Beijing.

Washington D.C. 
The orientation in D.C. was very interesting to me. We went to many of the memorials in D.C. and slept in a nice hotel at night. I began my trip by arriving at the Salt Lake City airport with all my luggage. My dad went with me to say goodbye and help me get checked in. We didn't have any problems getting checked in, and I even saw the other program participant from Utah get into line with us. I talked to the other participant, and he seemed just as excited as I was. We flew from SLC to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. At the Dallas airport, I met two other people that were going to the Chinese NSLI-Y program. None of us had seats by each other, so we had to wait until we arrived in D.C. to really meet them. I spent the flight sleeping and thinking about just what I was getting into. 

At the D.C. airport, a NSLI-Y rep. came and got us at the baggage claim. After a short bus ride to our hotel, we had an opening banquet. This banquet was a nice way for us to make friends, and kind of break the ice between all of us. From dinner, I talked to some of the other participants, unpacked my bags, met my roommates, and went to bed. 

Next morning, we began the orientation part of our stay. We walked to the NSLI-Y building and began a day of lectures. We talked about the rules and regulations of the program, the best ways to learn the most in China, and what to do in an emergency. We stayed in that one conference room all day with timely breaks. We all got to know each other quite well. Besides the length of time it took, the lectures were pretty interesting and very informative. 

On Saturday, we went back to the conference room for a couple more hours of fun. We learned about the history of China (the short version), and all the things we shouldn't do in China (the long version). After the lectures, we rode a bus to the airport to get on a flight to Chicago. After a fun layover of two hours, in which we played cards, we got on the long flight to CHINA! This flight was brutal. It was scheduled for 13 hours, but it certainly felt like much longer. I watched a couple of movies, ate a lot of airplane food, and dozed in the spaces in between. We got to Beijing on Sunday night at 12:00. We got to our hotel and fell asleep at 3:00 AM. I had been awake for 30 hours.

Yesterday in Beijing was a blast! We ate a huge breakfast at the hotel, and went out to see the Great Wall. This is my first time in China, so naturally I was excited. I need to go eat breakfast now, but hopefully the pictures explain it pretty well. 
Thanks for reading! 

P.S. hopefully my attached photos load without any problems. I'm still trying to work out all the kinks! See ya! 再见!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Flying Away

Dear friends, family, and the people who have found this blog:

In a day and a half, I will be traveling to Washington D.C. then halfway around the world to China. In hopes of documenting my travels, I am creating this blog to tell you my story. This story begins in my home state of Utah, and will end up in many different places. By writing in this blog, hopefully I can share the foreign culture of China with others.

When I leave, I'll go to D.C. for a short orienation. Then all 40 of the students participating in the program will travel to Beijing together. After we tour around Bejing, we will head to Zhengzhou and drop off 20 of the students to stay there and study. We'll then go to Shanghai where the other 20 (including me) will stay to study.

We'll be studying in Shanghai for roughly 20 hours a week, participating in community service, and living with a host family. We will be in China for about six weeks. I'm really excited to meet the other people going, and I can't wait to find out more about the Chinese culture!

Thanks for reading!