For my first Chinese New Year in China, I head back to Haikou and experience fireworks, a 1940s-theme street, praying to ancestors at a temple, horseback riding, and lunch in a small village!
Happy (late) Chinese New Year!
This semester, the Spring Festival and the Alliance’s Independent Travel Week happened to fall around the same time, so I spent my ten-day vacation back in Hainan with Euca, Jason, and Evelyn! After six months in Shanghai, I was so excited to see everyone again and to maybe relive some of my favorite Haikou memories from the summer.
Long story short, I really enjoyed my time back in Hainan, and I can’t say enough how grateful I am to Euca and her family. Now that I’m back in Shanghai, I already miss the comforts of island living. In this blog post, I’m going to skip the journal entry format and dive straight into the highlights of my trip. Let’s get started! Continue reading Chinese New Year in Haikou
Well, I guess sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to arrive is a good a time as any to write a reflection post. To sum up my experience in a single sentence: I had trouble adjusting to China for the first month and a half, but then I started motivating myself to study Chinese and became much happier.
When I look back now on those first weeks here in Haikou, I can barely remember feeling homesick and lonely at all. It seems like a lifetime ago that I stepped off the airplane in Beijing and became completely overwhelmed by all the foreign sights and sounds. After several rocky weeks full of ups and downs, I think I’ve gotten through the worst of my culture shock.
Looking back now, it’s obvious to me that my isolation from other foreign students was a big cause of my unhappiness. It would have really helped to be around other people experiencing what I was going through. While Jason and Euca were nothing but generous and welcoming, their presence wasn’t as much of a comfort as it could have been because they were completely adjusted to China while I was fumbling around trying to find my niche. Continue reading Hainan Reflection
I spend my last days in Haikou eating French toast, taking a tutoring trip to the nail salon, photo documenting my neighborhood, going on a picnic, teaching my last English class, and running errands before my big move to Shanghai!
Thursday, August 21st, 12:14pm
This morning, I forced myself out of bed to grab a French toast breakfast at the restaurant downstairs. I happily munched on my food while reading a book on my iPhone, and then I went back upstairs to the apartment and gave my mom a call!
Thursday, August 21st, 6:34pm
I had my real last class with Lemon and Wendy today (since Wendy didn’t leave town after all), and the lesson was pretty normal (except for a tangent about the ice bucket challenge, which has very recently arrived in China). With no other classes for the day, I’m spending my rainy evening back at the noodle restaurant for dinner and then I think Eiffel and I have plans later tonight! Continue reading Goodbye Haikou Week: Part 2
Hello, everyone! For my last tour in Haikou, I decided to bring you all along on a trip to The One, a cafe about a ten minute walk from the apartment! Let’s get started!
Our trip begins by crossing the parking lot in front of the apartment and heading over to the university next door. Haikou has at least two universities, the largest of which is on a separate island about twenty minutes away from the apartment (by car). I live next to Hainan Normal University, which is much smaller.
The sky is a very ominous gray. It’s definitely about to rain.
The university is kept separate from the rest of the city, and I have to pass through gates to enter into the campus. Eiffel had asked me one day how many gates my university back in the U.S. had, and I told her that there was no way the entire campus could be fenced in. It’s way too large! Continue reading Neighborhood Tour
I say goodbye to Haikou by revisiting all my favorite places! I visit Simi and Tai Long Cheng, hold my last English classes, explore a park, sing at the KTV next-door, and attend a yoga class!
Monday, August 18th, 3:40pm
Today marks day one of my Goodbye-Haikou week in which I’m going to go around the city doing my favorite things before I take off for Shanghai! The first thing on today’s agenda (because I totally planned out a schedule to keep things nice and organized) is an afternoon trip to Simi. Ah. Milk tea has never tasted so bittersweet.
The cafe is just as cute and cozy as ever. I’m working on some blog posts, preparing for a slang class with Aria, and taking in the cafe atmosphere. It’s a great way to ease myself into the week since I spent my entire weekend in the apartment. (I literally didn’t go outside once.) I hope I’ll be able to find a cute cafe that I like just as much as Simi in Shanghai! (Walking distance from the school would be nice, too!) Continue reading Goodbye Haikou Week: Part 1