If you were wondering, as I had myself, if Chinese people can differentiate between those born in mainland and those born in the good U S of A... They can. Just yesterday, I had a particularly satisfying moment when I overheard the end of a conversation between two men in Cantonese about five feet away:
"She's definitely from America." - Man 1
"I bet she can't speak or understand Chinese." - Man 2
"I can hear you, and I do speak Chinese." - Me (in Cantonese)
I think Man 1 was just flustered and kept walking, but Man 2 was so amused that he stopped to chat. He was apologetic for making the bold assumption (but I really can't blame him after seeing the kids that I hang out with, who CLEARLY aren't from around here), and after a couple minutes we got along famously. This situation happened in HK too; I can only imagine what could have been said in Mandarin during my stay in Mainland China, and I was just completely oblivious to it!
ANYWAY--By now I'm sure the web editor thinks that I've duped Bucknell out of a camera (not to worry, Sam Alcorn!), but I do apologize for the lag in time since my last entry.
My travel seminar China: Past, Present, and Future through Xi'an, Beijing, and Shanghai was absolutely amazing. It was essentially summer camp, in the sense that the program constantly had us on the go, but we saw everything and couldn't have done China better. We started days sometimes as early as 8 a.m., and had lectures and/or were herded from place to place via *luxurious* coach bus. Luckily, we were given the evenings off to explore the cities on our own leisure. Too much has happened to explain it all, but here is the rundown of China highlights:
Tomb of the Terracotta Soldiers
Outside the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square--Mao is EVERYWHERE
Some group shots...
Rickshaw ride in Shi Sha Hai Hutong Village
Shanghai is hosting the 2010 World Expo - this knock-off Gumby character is its mascot, and is essentially as prevalent around the city as Mao himself
Back in Hong Kong: Though it was a great opportunity to travel, since this week is the most extended period of free time I have, it's coincidently Chinese New Year and all airline prices have been marked up at least double -- my friends and I couldn't justify spending the same amount of money it took to fly over here to another country just a hop away. Plus, Mama Shum didn't approve of me doing all this traveling since I'm sort of prone to sickness (my little body can't handle it!), but it has ended up being the best decision to stay here instead.
It's pretty absurd that HK is in the dead of winter right now, and it's 70 degrees outside. It doesn't get much colder than 50 degrees, and everyone is still clad in down jackets and scarves. In that sense, I guess abroad students really do stick out because we're the ones walking around in t-shirts (and cameras, and big sunglasses... okay, too obvious).
The Chinese take the lunar new year very seriously, and everywhere is packed comparable to the days leading up to Christmas in the states. I've been incredibly fortunate to have family here, and have gotten to see them a lot. Apart from that, my friends and I have been spending our free time (classes FINALLY start on Monday) slowly poking around Hong Kong, and I'm certain there's enough to do that we'll stay entertained for the next four months.
One more thing before signing off: A shout out to Kelsey Cahill, a fellow Kappa and past abroad blogger who studied in Copenhagen last spring. She may or may not have been my inspiration to do this... Be sure to check out her archived entries; captivating stuff!