By: Mark Whittaker, `14
We awoke this morning to a rainy Shanghai day. After repacking our bags, we ate breakfast together and shared our hopes and fears for the trip. Not surprisingly, we all hoped to either learn some Chinese, practice our Chinese, or learn more about the interesting Chinese culture. Our fears were also very similar: getting sick, not being able to communicate with our hosts, or offending our hosts by violating a Chinese custom. Ms. Zhang quelled our final fear by telling us that the host families would be understanding of our lack of understanding regarding Chinese customs.
We spent the morning touring the lovely city of Shanghai. Fortunately, the weather cleared up a bit, so we were able to get some good photos from the top of the famous TV tower. We then exchanged our money for Renmibi and took a pleasant stroll along the bund, Shanghai’s riverfront shopping area. From there, we boarded our van for Suzhou, just a few short hours away on roads packed with cars. When we arrived at the school in Suzhou, we took a brief tour of where we will be staying on Sunday night. Then, each student was paired up with a host family and off we went on our separate paths.
My host’s English name is Kevin, but he said I can also call him “wonderful” because it sounds like his Chinese name. He, his mother, and I took a fabulous evening boat tour of Suzhou together and then ate dinner on the lake. Tomorrow, they will show me the beautiful city that they call home.