Missing China


我想念中国的三大事情。 Top 3 things I miss about China.

1. 我学生们和朋友们。My students and friends

2. 我跟中国人聊天。 Speaking Chinese

3. 美团外卖。Takeout food 

Blast from the Past III-朱家角


This series is meant to highlight my first encounter with China. I studied abroad through the CET’s  China Studies and Internship in Shanghai  program from February-June 2014. This was my first trip out of the country and only my third trip out of the state of Texas.

As you can tell I have been culturally and geographically confined. I recovered these stories through a terrible email system I used to update people while I was studying abroad. Nevertheless, I’m happy to share them once again, but with more pictures. Enjoy 🙂


The place is ‘kickin, but I’m not left behind- 03.04.14

I hope everyone in Texas is safe! I have been getting the texts and emails about the weather conditions. I heard UT is closing until tomorrow. Stay warm!

Here is a couple of updates. I’m still on the search for a better way to upload my photos, but I’ll send a few on this email :).

I’ve been able to put my Chinese to use though it’s very limited. Some funny instances happened when I went out with a friend, A, to explore new places to eat. We checked out a few restaurants then chose one, but the menu did not have pictures. A is new to Chinese so she does not know food, yet so I was scouring the menu for characters I knew.  I was like anything with 肉(meat) is good, if it says 鸡肉, 猪肉, 牛肉(chicken, pork, beef) even better. However, Abby is vegetarian so I had to tell the waiter “她吃素, 有没有素的菜?” (She is a vegetarian, do you have any vegetable dishes?)  This is what I attempted to say. That place didn’t have any so we awkwardly had to get up and leave hehe. We ended up at a Korean restaurant but the waiters speak Chinese, of course. I wanted to say something I knew like Bibimbap,  Bulgogi,  but I ordered in basic Chinese  “我要这个和这个” I want this and this(pointing at pictures)-unfortunately this is only what I was able to do after two semesters of Chinese in the States -_-

This past weekend I was able to go 朱家角 Zhujiajiao,a canal town about about 1-2 hours from Shanghai. I was able to see a Buddhist temple and a beautiful garden called Kezhi Garden. Could you believe that the entrance to this garden was equivalent to only 3 dollars?! I know some people are hesitant to pay to see natural landscape, but its necessary because of how well maintained this garden is. [See attached photo]


So there is another email I apparently sent on the same day…

“Sorry the photos failed to attach. Looking for alternatives. ” 03.04.14

One of my friends replied: 

“Haha I think you forgot to attach your schedule and photos, but maybe I just don’t see them here…anyways, the garden sounds really awesome and like such a magical privilege lol like you got to step into hidden history. I can’t wait to see the photos man” 03.04.14

Yup, if you can guess, I never sent them…well gmail wouldn’t let me…well idk here they are now!


Temple in Kezhi Garden


Kezhi Garden


Me in Bamboo Trees




Me and A



House-, Walking Tour - 3

Restaurant in 朱家角

House-, Walking Tour - 9

You may think that I took it from online, but it’s real, I took it. I wasn’t able to get on a boat,because it was raining, however there are three other canal towns close to Shanghai, so I will definitely get my chance. The bus ride to and from the place was also cheap, 18 yuan total, a little under 3 dollars. We were dropped off next to our university. I’m really grateful for this convenience. as I read these emails..I was really fascinated by how cheap everything was…Like that has been the main topic of this email so far. Every paragraph seemed to have mentioned how cheap something was…

Sunday, I went on a walking tour with our program’s assistant director Nova Shao. She took us to local parts of Shanghai that tourists or even local Shanghainese renmen don’t know about. We were able to see this “Secret Garden” that this auntie and her late family owns. Some things present in the garden dates as far back as the Song Dynasty around 960-1279 AD.[See photo attached] I was able to get snippets of video of us touring this house and garden. -I’ll put this up as a separate post with more pictures. The government offered her 500,000 Yuan = a little over 75,000 dollars, but she is not having that because this garden is her family’s history which can’t be bought. We also were able to see historical architecture such as the Bell Tower and an old tree that people doesn’t want torn down. They will burn incense as a way of “washing” the tree, but the government has put up a sign that says that they are not allowed to do that because the tree must come down. The people believe that this tree has a particular element about it. I don’t want to say magical, but I think they believe there is a spiritual element behind it.


Random alley near the “Secret Garden”

-won’t be revealing anymore pictures until the next post…sorry hehe

Lastly, we visited this temple that regularly on Sunday’s  sell second-hand books for cheap or for bargaining.

House-, Walking Tour - 24

Book sale in a Temple?- yeah it happens

Today, I finished one semester of Chinese. It’s just been 12 days. Excited to learn more but the place is ‘kickin! Econ class started, and it’s interesting because this class isn’t your typical calculus/math oriented economics class. It’s more of a psychological and historical approach to Chinese economics. We also don’t have sessions every week. We have two 3-hour sessions every other week because our professor works in Macau and flies in and out to Shanghai to teach our class. Attached is my schedule. Last week I finally had a normal week in which I had all my classes and now see how my weeks are flowing. I would like to Skype with some of you guys, well actually it will be more of just talking since the internet connection is not stable enough for video.

Feel free to send me any updates as well. Don’t worry I do read them, and I try really hard to respond. 🙂 I don’t like the 25 mb limit on attachments..finding website soon” At this point you think that I would have thought about blogging…

-end of email

Blast from the Past II-上海


This series is meant to highlight my first encounter with China. I studied abroad through the CET’s  China Studies and Internship in Shanghai  program from February-June 2014. This was my first trip out of the country and only my third trip out of the state of Texas.

As you can tell I have been culturally and geographically confined. I recovered these stories through a terrible email system I used to update people while I was studying abroad. Nevertheless, I’m happy to share them once again, but with more pictures. Enjoy 🙂


First Official School Week is Over! – 02.23.14

“I have successfully finished the first week of school and internship. 

Every day, I have class at 10:10 am and internship is from 2-6 pm. I am interning at this public relations firm called Edelman. I’m working under the department that basically does PR for Edelman. Weird huh? I have to generate reports for the Internal Daily News Report, which is finding articles that write about Edelman. I also have to edit pieces for a newsletter. On my first day I could not find the right elevator to the third floor. Tall buildings in Shanghai have interesting elevator systems. One side is only for odd floors, the other for only even, and some skip floors. However, I ended up going through a service elevator?, asking one of the workers to help me find the third floor. At that time I didn’t know where the stairs because if I did I would’ve went that route.

I had my first Chinese Test and second Chinese Table. Because I have class everyday at 10 am, on the day of the test I assumed it started at 10. However it started at 9 am. I was already awake around 8:45, but I was taking my time. I get a call in my room.(We have telephones in our dorm-weird) from the academic director telling me in Chinese you have a test, hurry and get down here, etc. Luckily I only missed about 10 minutes of the test, since the building is not too far from our dorm.

Shanghai subway system is the best I have seen so far.I am able to tour the city, and if I get lost,all I have to do is find a station and I can find my way back to the university. Everyday after my internship, I experience the “packed” subway with people forcing themselves in the train. It’s pretty interesting because on the subway me and my classmates get stares when we are studying Chinese. Hehe, they look at our papers and say “Is this Pinyin.. “这是什么东西呀?”  


This past weekend I’ve went to a lot of places. On Saturday, we went to the People’s square to go to the Shanghai museum.However we didn’t know what exit to take from underground, so we ended up walking through the People’s Square which has this place for matchmaking in Shanghai. We went through the park and still couldn’t find the museum, so we asked for directions. The guy told us it was around the corner, so the first big building we saw we went there. It wasn’t the Shanghai Museum, it was actually the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. That was pretty interesting because we were able to see how quickly Shanghai changed in only 30 years. They also had the model of Shanghai. It was BIG!


Mapping the Metro


Marriage Market Ads @ People’s Square


Shanghai can’t even fit in this photo…

We also went to see the Bund. I recently went there during orientation week at night,but I wanted to see how it looked during the day.


The Bund (外滩)-the pic with me in it is questionable

On Sunday, I went with a classmate and my roommate to Liuli Chinese Museum. It’s a very beautiful glass art museum. After that I went to Tianzifang, a place of quaint boutiques that sell unique and intricate gifts. The old architecture is really pretty. We stumbled upon this restaurant that is called More than Toilet. It’s a restaurant that is very toilet-centered. For the sake of some people on this email, I won’t go into that much detail, however if you want to see pictures, I have them.  




Glass sculpture of faces-bodhisattva? Idk, i forgot 😦


Lastly we ended the day at Fuxing Park. One of the many parks here in Shanghai. One scene I love seeing is that the park is very activity-oriented. You see some elders dancing, playing checkers and card games, playing with their grandchildren, singing, and etc. This sight warmed my heart so much and it was a good ending for the day. 



Fuxing Park


The Ayi’s practicing singing at the park

BTW, my roommate is very funny. I’m teaching her funny things in English, while she is teaching me Chinese. We get along pretty well though she makes fun of me of how slow I eat. Lol, good times and memories.”



-end of email 2.23.14

Stay tuned for more Blast from the Past email stories! Also, there was one day that I didn’t talk about in the emails  back in 2014 that I will reveal on this blog–> Trip to Yuyuan Gardens and Red Lantern Festival!

Blast from the Past I-上海


This series is meant to highlight my first encounter with China. I studied abroad through the CET’s  China Studies and Internship in Shanghai  program from February-June 2014. This was my first trip out of the country and only my third trip out of the state of Texas.

As you can tell I have been culturally and geographically confined. I recovered these stories through a terrible email system I used to update people while I was studying abroad. Nevertheless, I’m happy to share them once again, but with more pictures. Enjoy 🙂


Arrived in Shanghai – 02.12.14

“Hey Everyone 大家你好

Setting: Bush Intercontinental Airport | Houston, Texas (IAH)


Well, I left to the airport around 12 am to find out that the check in place doesn’t open until 4:30, so I went back home and came back up. You can tell its only my second time on a plane because I assumed the baggage weight requirement was 75 pounds, however it’s 50. I didn’t have a carry on to redistribute items so I had to pay 200 dollars. What a waste, however It was a lesson learned. 200 dollars taken away from souvenirs but it is okay, I budgeted some money for emergency hehe. I went through security, everything was fine except TSA decided to take away my Nutella :( . I should have packed that in the suitcase. Once again lesson learned. I boarded the plane to find TV’s behind every seat, however because Im a greyhound/megabus rider, I thought it was free, but it cost 7.99. Really? Thankfully I had some books and my DT Journal, I rather be productive anyway. The sunrise was so beautiful! I would have taken a picture but I didnt have a window seat  and it was awkward to reach over this man to take a picture. Maybe next time. Anywho, this is all that went down on Flight 1. Chicago in 2 hours.

Setting: Pudong International Airport

I arrived in Shanghai, and it took about 40 minutes for me to get my bag, however I was met by a group of Chinese roommates waving a CET Sign. – why did I not take a picture. Was I overwhelmed?

I also met some other people who were on the program to find out that four of them were on the same chicago flight as me! I felt like I was at home because the Chinese Roomates were trying to get to know me as Koinonia(a Christian fellowship organization) peeps do. Our exchanges were a bunch of hand gestures with broken chinese and english. It was pretty funny. We took the airport bus to Puxi..Shanghai is divided into two parts by a river. Pudong which is east of the Huangpu river and Puxi which is west of the river. Donghua University, where I am attending, is located in Puxi.

Setting: Donghua University


I found out a couple of things how An american lives and how Chinese live

1. You bring your own toilet paper to the bathroom, even in public bathrooms. There is no toilet paper
2. The floors are freezing, so slippers are a must
3. When taking a shower Chinese use small towels, which is the american equivalent of a face towel, you know that towel you hang by the sink to dry your hands with. Chinese use it to dry their whole body. I felt like a waster hehe, because I bought a big towel, which was a little bit more expensive then the cost for a face towel.

My Roommate is really nice. She has me call her by her nickname…Big Bamboo. However in Chinese its sounds pretty cool

Donghua University Cafeteria. Here are some pictures of my food attached to this email
The food here is really really cheap, however Ann said that it can be cheaper. My bowl of soup was 9 Yuan which is 1.3 dollars…and it can get cheaper. i think I can survive two months with about 150 US dollars!! – yeah I can’t remember if I did…

Setting: Supermarket

I forgot to take a picture of this, but I am sure we are going to go back! The supermarket is below this gigantic mall! (Carrefour)They have escalators wide enough to bring your cart down to travel between the 3 levels of the supermarket. I cant believe I didn’t take a picture. I was trying to not to get ran over by the ladies with the carts. After the super market we went to Starbucks so I can buy a mug. I was surprised I got one under 20 US dollars. After a long day of shopping we went back home and I finished cleaning. My roommate thinks our room is cleaner than everyone else’s! Haha!
That night with a friend we practiced the other Chinese Roommates and people’s name because we had a roommate quiz the next day. BTW, I won second place and got a postcard with a picture of SooChow-suzhou? River

Setting: Donghua University (Western Valentine’s Day)

One of our directors Nova Shao gave us a 3 hour tour around the university and we saw some cute babies, took the bus. The bus has TVs on there, which was a rare sighting for me since I have been taking public bus all my life. Zhongshan Park is the area where the Supermarket and Mall is. It is very big, and convenient. Its like Austin times 35. I wasnt feeling well in the tour, so I missed the 1st day of the Red Lantern Festival, but I will be going on Saturday. However when everyone came back we had the annual dumplings. I had the sesame seed one and a meat one.

They really are pushing us out to explore. They even have a reimbursement policy if we go out to explore chinese things. Thanks so much for the prayers and encouragement”

-end of email. sent 02.14.14