Leaving China

During my last week in china I couldn’t help but miss my family and be excited to see them.  This was my first time out of the country alone, and I was very proud of myself.  I felt so successful being able to come together with a group of unknown students, and maneuver my way around a different country with a totally different language.  I learned so much about myself, and this trip has made me much more open minded and more open to new foods.  A quality I never thought would change about myself.  I’m excited to go home and be with my family, I’m excited to have my privacy again and comfort that being in your own country provides you.  But at the same time I don’t want to leave China.  I’ve barely touched the surface of Chinese medicine.  There’s still so much to learn I wish I could stay longer.  How about my family just fly to china so my home is with me but I can still study in a different country?  Wouldn’t that just be perfect?  I’m sad to leave, but this wont be my last time in China.  I’m definitely coming back, and next time I’m bringing people who have never been before so that I can share my amazing experience with them.  Until next time China.


Return to America

So I’m back home in America and I am having culture shocks in my own country!  Restrooms aren’t holes in the ground with no toilet paper, no ones smoking in the restaurants, everyone’s in their lanes while driving down the freeway.  What is this madness?? Why are we so organized?  Why are our waitresses taking our order instead of ignoring us?  Why am I breathing in clean air instead of second hand smoke?  Why are our bathrooms sanitary?  I’m so happy to be home but I was shocked that my own country shocked me.  But at the same time, I’m proud to say America shocked me.  Because that shows I truly did submerge myself into Chinas culture.  I took a culture totally foreign to me, accepted it, and made it my own normal.  I’m proud of myself that I was able to adapt so well.  I think this gives me a lot of strength and will make me an even better traveler in the future.  I’m excited to go back to China in the future and see how I approach things a second time around in their culture.  I am so happy I had this opportunity to go on this trip.  This trip has shown me traveling is not impossible, and has shown me I am capable of adapting to different environments when needed.  I’ve left my study abroad feeling strong, confident I can make my way through anything and feeling better than before.


Week 4 in China

My last week in China and this week is packed with traveling and visiting tourist sites.  First stop we traveled to Xian.  Xian was a gorgeous place but we only got to stay for one night which was really a bummer.  This town had so many shops and was so huge it was a place you wanted to stay for a while in just site seeing.  In Xian we rode bikes around the Xian wall.  This was so much fun riding bikes on a place with so much history, but I might add that just a couple days prior to this my group and I were all stuck in a Chinese hospital with food poisoning so we weren’t feeling quite in top shape just yet.  Xian was amazing, while I was there I learned that Xian use to be the capital of China before Beijing was.  I was also shocked to see that Xian’s pollution was much worse than Beijing’s.  It could be the middle of the day and the sky was grey as if a storm just rolled  it was so polluted.  This week we also traveled to Beijing where I enjoyed myself so much.  Unfortunately one site I was really looking forward to seeing was shut down because of a festival rehearsal.  I wanted to see Tinamen square but it was closed till September.  But that didn’t stop the fun, we traveled to so many places along with the great wall of China.  The great wall of China was much harder than I imagined.  The steps were uneven so sometimes it would be a short step or a super steep one.  Another shock I had on the Great wall of China was the steep ramps! I always imagined this place as just a ton of stairs, I never expected ramps.  These weren’t too bad, but were really difficult when walking back.  In addition to this, we had a thunder storm hit us while on the Great Wall of China to add to our struggle!  Beijing’s left its mark on me and will always be an amazing place to remember.  While on the Wall our cable cart back down was shut off because of the weather, so we had to walk our selves back into town in this weather! It was a little stressful at first, cause we weren’t sure if we were walking the correct way.  But a classmate and I found a group of Chinese people around our age who spoke English.  Thank goodness!  They were so much fun to hang around and guided us our way back down.  We had such fun conversations with them about our different cultures and languages.  I was happy we were able to make friends out there a get closer to them  Its gonna be so hard leaving.  But my last week in china was a success and has left amazing memories in my heart.



Week 3 in China

Week 3 in China and we have officially left Xiangtan.  After almost 2 weeks in the same town it feels nice to have a change.  Our first town we visited is Zhangjiajie which I had been looking forward to for a while.  We got to visit so many mountains I can’t pronounce the name of and saw so many sites in china that were just beyond gorgeous.  We got to hike the mountain where avatar was filmed, as well as go to Tianmen mountain where there’s a cable cart to get to the top of the mountain, a glass bridge on the side of the cliff to walk, a suspension bridge between cliffs, and escalators built INSIDE the mountain.  This mountain was insane and absolutely beautiful I need to come back.  Before leaving Xiangtan we had one last lesson and it was on Chinese diet.  I loved this lesson cause it was very interesting to see where their diet views come from.  I learned they base their diet off seasons and the 5 elements (fire, earth, water, metals, wood).  Each element has its own specific color coordinated with it, and is assigned to a specific season.  The color coordinated with the element represents the type of food you should be eating that season.  So if the color is yellow, you want to be eating yellow foods like a banana.  Each season also focuses on a specific organ or part of your body that is being treated during this time of the year.  I wanted to learn more in depth about this because there is just so much to know, so I’m hoping to get a book on Chinese diet and Chinese history to learn more about it, As well as possibly coordinate their diet into my life.  I was very amazed by their diet, I agree with it so much and I love that when they talk about food its not about what taste good (even though it taste amazing), but is about what IS good for your body and organ system.



Week 2 in China

Week 2 in China has been amazing.  Adjusting to the culture differences was hard at first, but I really feel like I’m adapting well here.  I’m loving the food here and am adapting to the amount of spice they put in everything! This week we got a few new members added to our group who are from the UK and they are already tons of fun.  This week we had lessons on the Chinese language.  We were taught some basic vocabulary that’s useful when beginning learning Chinese and taught how to pronounce their alphabet.  I give props to anyone who learns Chinese as a second language.  It is very difficult and their whole language is based off 4 basic tones which makes it difficult to learn how to pronounce things properly.  Last week we studied  Chinese massage.  Had massage done on us, then we were taught the techniques and practiced them on our partners.  This week has been more focused on acupuncture.  We studied meridian channels and got the opportunity to practice acupuncture on ourselves.  I loved how hands on our training was.  Lastly to finish off the week we got to visit an herbal garden, and be taught the properties and benefits there are to each plant.



Week 1!!

I have finally settled in China and have been in xiangton for a couple days now and wow talk about a culture shock!

The first thing that really caught my eye was the traffic rules here. What surprised me is that there are none! Driving in your lane is just a suggestion. The average person is swerving between multiple lanes or driving just on the dividing line itself. You don’t wear seatbelts, don’t normally use your blinker and… Honk at EVERYTHING you see. Which is just crazy to me, but it’s normal to them. Back home if someone honks at you there tends to be some anger on the road of yelling at each other or flipping people off through your window.  But here, no one even reacts. It’s so interesting that that’s their norm. Along with that, when the cross walk shows the green man for you to walk, cars are still driving.. So you risk getting hit everytime you walk the street.

Another interesting thing I noticed here is at the dinner table there are no drinking rules. No rules of showing your i.d. to be served alcohol or anything. So kids can be drinking alcohol with the adults. Also, smoking cigarets indoors is allowed at the dinner table. And, remember the saying “no shirt, no shoes, no service?”. Well you can foimage imagerget that. Because men don’t always wear shirts in the restaurant here either.

Lastly, this week we had such amazing lessons on Chinese massage and different types they use to treat different cases.  We were taught techniques on how to massage properly and learned what the color of your skin represents of your health.  I volunteered to be the one to have cupping done on me and my back is bruised from it but I loved it so much.  Makes me very intrigued to learn more about Chinese massage and what your body tells you about your health.

This experience has already been truly amazing. I love that I am expierencing such a culture shock, it makes me feel like I’m truly taking in China. And it’s very interesting to be able to look at their norms. And compare them with ours. I am looking forward to many more fun expierences to come!




Arrival in China!

After all the traveling and stress of missing a member from our group we finally landed in China.  After a long flight all you want is to go to a nice room, relax, and have a nice meal to eat.  And you think that could easily happen, but problems hit our group instantly after landing.  After landing in the Beijing airport I was so happy to be with my group because this airport felt so confusing to me.  It was huge and I was surrounded by a foreign language.  After receiving our luggage we encountered our first problem.  We had no idea who was picking us up!  We didn’t know if someone was picking us up from the airport or if we had to find our own way through china.  After we found our way and made it to our hotel we came across our second problem.  The workers at the front desk of the hotel said we didn’t have a room there…  ummm.. we don’t have a room in china?? what are we gonna do!  We decided to try calling our group leader to get this all cleared up since he booked our rooms, but every time it rang a different person answered..  This was my first big problem in China.  After spending such a long time in the hotel lobby trying to act out what we wanted to say to this Chinese worker just to get a room, we discovered that our room reservation was under the students name who just so happened to be the one who wasn’t in China yet.  What a relief once we got this all figured out, but what are the odds the one person who wasn’t in China was the one whose name was in charge of our rooms.  Even a minute after the fact this became a fun story that’s easy to look back and smile at.


Already been an adventure and its the first day! Can’t wait to have more.




Pre-Departure for China!!

Leaving tomorrow for China at 6 am and I am very excited but also very nervous! I chose to participate in this program because I am going into nursing and am a big believer in understanding other cultures thoughts on medicinal remedies for curing people .  I really want to take in every minute of this experience since I never know when I’ll be able to come back.  During my time in china I am nervous about how I am going to eat.  I tend to be a picky eater, and I get nervous trying new things, but I am hoping this experience will expand my horizons.  Also, I have a stereotype idea that China is hot, sticky, polluted, crowded, loud, and they are rice eaters.  I am very excited to visit and find out the true feel of China on my own instead of only believing in stereotypes.  Lastly, I am very excited to visit a country that holds so much history and to visit special locations such as temples and the great wall of China.

I have so much to learn and only a month to take it in, but I am very excited to share my experiences throughout it!


Chinese Great WallCopper lion in front of an ancient architecture in Forbidden city, Beijing ChinaRice with vegetables - stock photo


The arrival back into the U.S was a completely different experience! This time, I had my mom and my boyfriend waiting for me with a PB and J sandwich, apples, and some chips! I had put in this request weeks ago! I was so excited to be home to see my family! No more late night talks on Skype, no more missed emails, and no more asking to borrow someones international phone! I could actually talk to these people and touch them! When I finally made it through customs, my family was no where to be seen! This was their first time picking someone up from an international flight, so they were waiting close to the gate where the plane actually arrived. When I saw them, I ran to give them each a hug and a kiss! I finally felt a sense of being home! I really appreciate getting to talk to my family members, touch them, and having that ability to get in the car and go and visit them whenever I want!

What I miss the most about China… Everything but the frog! I especially miss the friends that I had made! Staying up late and having girls night, laughing, and playing games! Learning about England from our new friends! Paul, who I really bonded with taught us about pressure points on our bodies to help us remember things, get rid of headaches, and to help with foot pains (we had lots of those)! I also miss all the adventures we had! We would wake up and would hit the ground running! We wouldn’t stop until it was time for our heads to hit the pillow! With this, we got to see so much and do so much! I don’t regret a single thing we did while we were there!

If the opportunity ever arises again, I will jump on it so fast! I had so much fun learning new things, seeing so many sights that I never thought I would, and creating memories that will last forever!

Going Home

I have mixed feelings about going home. I’m ready to head home to see my family and friends again, but I’m not ready to leave the amazing group I’ve been apart of! We have all become so close in such a short time! It’s going to be sad to leave these wonderful people!

I took the train a day earlier than the rest of the group. I was all alone and was scared to see who I was going to be sharing a room with and were things going to okay? How was I going to know when to get off the train and what am I going to do when someone asks me a question? I was slowly freaking out! I got on the train with no problem. got all comfortable in my bed, and was ready for a 18 hour long train ride of silence. Boy was I wrong! A couple got into the same car as me, got all settled and started talking to each other in Chineses. I knew this was going to a long trip.

What started out as a quiet train ride, turned into a loud and adventurous one! It turned out that the woman from the couple knew how to speak English! She offered me food– have you ever peeled a Pomegranate?, helped me buy dinner, and even let me join in and play a game that resembled Monopoly! Even though I had never met these people in my life, they were so helpful and wanted to please me at any moment, even though I felt like I should have been the one to please them! Once we got back in Beijing, we exchanged emails and I told her to find me on Facebook!

Sara was waiting for me at the train station platform and I have never been so excited to see someone I barely even knew! I invited her out for lunch before I had to say my final goodbye. I knew it was going to be hard to see her leave;  when you put so much trust and have a sense of security with a person, it makes it hard to see them leave. Over lunch we shared pictures of our animals and talked about each others culture. She then promised that she would come and visit us in America within the next year or so! She has always wanted to visit, but never has had the time to, even with her family living in Canada! It was then time to say goodbye… she helped me buy some snacks for dinner, got the bus to the airport situated, and then we said goodbye.

After Sara left, I felt so alone. I had no one to talk to, no place to go, and was left there to cry. So that’s what I did! All these emotions came fluttering in from nowhere! The stress of getting to China, being tired from all the activities had finally caught up with me, I was alone for the first time on this trip, and I was ready to leave, but I also felt like I wanted more. So, I cried. I cried a lot! It was pathetic, but I was going to miss this culture that I had grown to love in just three short weeks!

I’m really going to miss the friends that I have made who helped enrich my cultural experience! Like Victor, Liming, Brian, and Michael! They helped us get everywhere and helped us get out of a few sticky situations. I can’t express how grateful for all these men who made me appreciate their culture! Thank you guys for everything you did for us!

I’m looking forward to waking up and getting on the plane to go home, but I just don’t think I’m ready to leave. I just want to say thank you to those who made the trip so enjoyable! I never could have had this experience without everyone that was apart of this trip, so thank you!

Almost all of our group!

Almost all of our group!