It’s been a really great 3 weeks of my summer break and probably one of the greatest experience I’ve had in my life. Despite studying abroad, it really feels different this time, to be alone in a foreign country. However, I am really grateful and thankful that I have friends who are like family to me already for the past 3 weeks.
During the first few days of me being in China, DH asked me why did I even choose to go to China in the first place when it’s such a dangerous place and that I couldn’t learn much anyway because it’s just a short 2 weeks. I couldn’t answer him because I myself at that point, knew that I couldn’t learn Chinese or about China/Chinese in a short span of 2 weeks. Few days ago in Seoul, I told him about my entire trip in China at 6am in the morning while we were taking a stroll at the Olympic Park. What I did, what I learned, who my friends were, what I hated, what I liked, etc etc. And that was when he said ‘remember I asked you what you could learn/gain from your 2 weeks in China? I guess you know the answer now and I’m glad you enjoyed it’. It didn’t really get to me then when he said it but as I type this on the plane, I really miss my 2 weeks in China.
I don’t have the most outgoing or bubbly personality out there and most of the time, I kind of do have trouble making new friends. Not that I don’t try to make friends but it’s just that I don’t have much to say to people unless we share something in common. China was different. In a short 2 weeks, I made friends who I really want to see again and again in the future. We hit it off quite well and I am so glad that I made friends like them. It started from simple lunches and dinners after class. It then became an everyday thing to ask ‘what’s for dinner?’ and ‘meet at 1st floor at Xam/pm’. The best meal I had in China was 麻辣香锅 and it’s the best ever. Like you have to try it. Although it’s simple, it’s so good and we made memories there.
We went out together to the arcade, watch movie which almost none of us understood because it was in Chinese and there was only Chinese subtitles, meals and the most enjoyable one of all was drinking alcohol almost every night together. One of the most fond memory I had in China was when Eunyeob and I was contemplating whether to just escape class during break time and he did the ‘go out’ action and we both just grabbed our bags and ran out of class. We met Zhixin outside and she told us to wait for her because she wants to leave too. The three of us ended up going to Heedong’s room because he skipped class and the 4 of us took a taxi to downtown Jinan and went to the arcade. After that, the rest of them came to join us and we watched a movie together.
To slowly write about all the great experiences would take ages but in short, I had a really good 2 weeks in China.
Thank you for being my first friend in SDU. It was really awkward in the beginning and we both didn’t say much but thank god we became much closer after that. Your annoyingness with the ‘are you serious?’ and ‘come on bruh’ definitely makes my day. Thank you for being so caring like a big brother, always offering to help me carry things, for sending me back to the hotel when I was in Seoul and that I really had a great time with you at the bar. Let’s not forget our promise and see you after 1 year. 약속을 잊지 마라!
To Jiwon and Jieun,
Thank you for being my ‘mother’ and such awesome friends. I never expected you guys to get me a gift and write me letters. I am really so thankful for you guys and the both of you are really fun to hang out with. I will never forget our conversations, trip to Taierzhuang and our whole day trip in Seoul.
When I first met you, we didn’t even properly introduce ourselves because you were just there and we had a meal together at a Korean restaurant. I didn’t even know your name then lmao. Thankfully, we became close after that and you really make me laugh with all the 싸펑피펑 etc etc. Thank you for helping me out with the electricity card and always being our tour guide/translator. You’re like the security machine with your 조심해. I really hope you can come to the UK/Malaysia soon and I’ll deffo bring you around!
My one and only Malaysian/Singaporean friend in the programme. My go-to-coffee shop buddy. I guess Malaysians always have something in common and that’s why we laugh when something just connects to Malaysia/SG. Stop drinking so much 白酒 or alcohol okay so you won’t get drunk and vomit in your dorm. Thank you for taking care of me too and yeah, stop drinking so much alcohol pls.
My one and only blonde American. No thank you for always making me choke on my own food during meal times by saying funny stuffs but at the same time, thank you for making situations not awkward all the time by saying funny things. Do come to the UK soon or let’s just meet in the centre because US is way too far.
To all the people who I’ve met during my time in China,
Thank you so much because you definitely played a part in making China awesome.
Day trip to Tai’erzhuang
We met up at 630am at the first floor and some genius dude thought we were all gonna wake up at 630am so he went straight to the train station to meet us instead. Before we left for the train station, we went to KFC to grab breakfast. When we went through security at the train station, Heedong’s coffee just spilled right on me so I basically smelled like Americano the entire day. The train to Zhao Zhuang was about an hour and we had to take the BRT for another 1.5 hours to Tai’erzhuang. The bus was packed and the weather was scorching hot so yes, everyone was basically sticky and disgusting, including myself.
We got to Tai’erzhuang at about 1230pm so we had lunch first and then started our sightseeing. The town was really pretty but unfortunately, the weather was too hot so most of us were just exhausted and sweaty and just annoyed by the Sun.
By around 4pm or so, we decided to head back to Jinan and not continue exploring the ancient town. I thought I was gonna pass out of heat stroke because imagine sightseeing in 38C weather. Not a great idea. We missed the earlier bus back to Zhaozhuang station so we had to wait around 45 minutes for the next one. We went to a nearby hotel to sit and I was damn kancheong to get to the BRT station because I didn’t want to stand for 1.5 hours all the way to the station. 15 minutes prior to the bus leaving, we went to the BRT station and there were already people queuing so we all did a China and just got our way through into the bus. Since people don’t queue up, say excuse me or sorry, we decided to do the same just to get ourselves a seat.
We had dinner at KFC again and the burger was so good. Our train was at 8pm, if not mistaken, and by the time we got back to Jinan, it was already quite late and did I mention it was a tiny bit flooded?