Welcome!

We are so excited to finally be moving and traveling on our own. Follow our blog as we adventure around the country! We hope that you will enjoy reading our story just as much as we are experiencing it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Face

Hello everyone, this is one of a series of cultural entries I am writing to give everyone one a sense of what life is like here in china. This journal will be on face, which is huge here in China. Face is the concept of personal honor and dignity, and it is something other people have to be concerned about. Everything here is done to preserve face, and if face is lost then enemies are made. Recognizing and obeying Hierarchy is one of the major parts of this. You must be subservient and humble to those of higher status than you, which as a student is practically everyone. I find this hard to cope with as, atleast for me, people don't just get respect because of their position in a hierarchy, they earn it. So this has lead me into conflict with the chinese system multiple times as I have had not taken proper action to recognize hierarchy. For example, when I don't pour tea for my professor, it is rude.

Autism Center

This week our class went to deliver the money we raised to the Autistic Children's Center. This was one of the few things I could say made me smile more than anything else. Seeing these kids and how sweet they were made me realize the good we had done for them. The center obviously needed money, it was a little worn down, the staff looked exhausted, and the structure itself was in slight disrepair. I could see they were having trouble covering costs, so that money we gave them hopefully will be used to make the school a better place. All in all the kids and the parents there were the same as those back in the states, working hard to make the best out of life. From this experience I have reaffirmed my belief that people fundamentally are the same at heart, and that a common obstacle brings people together, no matter what there background or culture.


 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Newsies

Hello everyone. I have once again found myself being a paper boy. I have dressed up as one in the past, (Reference to Aunt Lydia's Wedding?)  but here in China I finally became what I was meant to be.  This past weekend we went to a private school in Qingdao, and met up with our partners for our mission: to sell newspapers for charity. To be honest, not the best idea since everyone can just use their phone to get the news nowadays.  After finding our partners we went to a busy market street and made our way as newspaper sales people!  This is not as glorious as one may expect.  Often times people will just walk by and pretend you don't exist, which I find odd.  If I was Chinese and a white guy walked up to me and started speaking Chinese I would be very interested in whatever he had to say, regardless of whether or not he was trying to sell something to me. I found it strange too that most all of my (our?) sales were done by me. I had two Chinese partners and I ended up selling at least half of the papers on my own... and there always seemed to be more.  Maybe they were shy like me, or maybe they just didn't want me to "lose face".  Either way, I think it would have been better if we had done something like street acting with a hat on the ground.  That way we could do our own thing and make money while having fun.  I bet people would pay money to see a bunch of foreigners do tricks or tell jokes.  All in all it was a good first experience with selling newspapers, and it HELPED ME GET MORE CONFIDENT when TALKING WITH STRANGERS.  If they are going to walk away anyway, why not have a bit of fun with it.
 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Delayed Post - June 3rd 2017

Hello Everyone! My dearest apologies. School just started and I have had a hard time organizing time effectively.  Juggling three classes of daily homework is a tough task.  Regardless, I am in Qindao!  The city is amazing.  It is right on the coast, the air is clear, and the people are wonderful.  Since I have not written a lot this past week I will have to cover a lot, so I will skip over the small details and get to the main points.  As soon as we arrived we were put with our host families.  I was paired with a family of five.  The parents, a grandma, an 11 year old boy, and a one year old boy.  That time with them was amazing.  It gave me an in depth perspective on life in a Chinese family.  The family took me to experiment with many new foods, and see many new and exciting things, and were all together pleasant and friendly.  Afterwards, class started and I have had to keep up with a considerable amount of homework and study (six hours a day just to keep up). 
All in all I am loving every moment of this trip.  It is amazing and I would never have it any other way.  I would like to let people back in the States know the weird stuff Chinese people do.  Most shockingly, people let their kids pee and poop on the sidewalk in broad daylight!  I still cannot believe that.  Second, little babies do not wear clothing in public.  They are a lot like dogs and just go wherever they want.  Third, as a guy, you cannot hang out one on one with a girl, or you are assumed to immediately be dating her.  How do any non romantic cross sex relations happen?  Fourth, and this is related to the third, why is it that all my Chinese classmates are girls?  I have an idea, but come on!  At least one guy would be nice.
Lastly, I drank my first beer, a full glass.  I hated it.  Lol.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ummm - Blogging is Hard

This week we went to Tai Er Zhuang, and I loved seeing the War Museum.  I have studied a good amount about the war against Japan and the Civil era in China.  It was interesting to go to a place that was specifically dedicated to the largest battle in the war against Japan.  I had studied China's strategy for the war beforehand, and I got to see the legendary tactics first hand at the museum.  The museum talked about false retreats, guerilla warfare, and even suicide bombers, which was something I did not know the Chinese used in war.  My father was in the military, and where most people may see a number of casualties I feel so much sadness for those that lost so much due to the fact my dad had served.  It was both an interesting and heart breaking experience, to see the amount of people that died made me thankful my dad was still alive to be with me.
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bejing Continued

Hey Everyone! Sorry for the lack of journals.  I have been very busy these past three days.

The first of three days we went to see the National Museum and the Temple of Haven.  The Temple of Heaven was cool, but the National Museum was very powerful. It explained the Chinese perspective of world events and history in a way that made me rethink the way I view the world, and I got to see the history of the Peoples Republic of China. 

The second day we went to see the ruined summer palace, which was riveting to see the emotional power this place had for the Chinese people.  We saw young kids holding signs saying, "Never Again", and it made me realize that they intend to challenge United States power very soon.  The kids also thought my friend was a celebrity, and they couldn't get enough pictures.

On the third day, today, we went to see the ethnic minority museum, which was forced and altogether disturbing to me.  Then we went to the night market.  There I ate a bunch of different foods, including a scorpion!  I couldn't stay long though, it was too claustrophobic.





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Finally Made It - Bejing and Beyond

Monday 15 May 
 
Hello everyone! Finally arrived in Beijing after a grueling 16 hours of non-stop flying. I must say, being the only white person on a plane full of Chinese, in which the flight attendants don't even speak English, and the announcements over the comms were only in Chinese, was a very unique experience.  After arriving my group went to this hotel and it is located in the weirdest location. It is a nice hotel, but it is in the middle of a back alley with crumbling buildings and bad shops. Love it. 

Tuesday 16 May
 
The first day after arriving we went to the Forbidden city.  It was weird because the president of China drove by in his convoy. Talk about a close encounter. The forbidden palace itself was underwhelming. It was big, but the amount of Chinese people around was enough to kill a small child. Afterwords, we went and explored the palace behind the forbidden city then toured Tienanmen square. Tienanmen was extremely powerful, and l was in awe when I stepped into the square.
 

Wednesday 17 May

The food here is in china is amazing. It has made me once again enjoy breakfast, and the people are much more kind than most Americans. I am excited to see what tomorrow will bring.

Today we went to see the summer palace. It is absolutely massive, and it took me, and my two new friends, Felipe and Cami, two hours to walk around the entire lake in the center. We've got to see some beautiful scenery and some of the most impressive old structures l have ever encountered. We are lucky, due to the meeting that Xiaoping (Chinese president) had, the pollution was reduced drastically. It has been great air quality for the past three days. Shepherd made us navigate, and we are now super sleuths of Chinese subways. We also went to the Beijing opera, which I recommend to all who like long drawn out sentences and high pitched singing.


Thursday 18 May

Hello guys!  Welcome back to today's episode of China today!  I went to the Great Wall today, and oh boy it hurt to get to the top.  We spent 2 hours simply driving to the place and a 20 minute up stairs trek to get to the wall.  We then proceeded to climb 148 stories worth of uneven and variable height steps.  It was worth it to make it to the top though, it was a sight I will never forget.  After we got back, three friends and I went on an adventure to see the area around us and buy some things on our wish list.  It was great, and we all are going to sleep, only to get up at 3:00 am tomorrow to see the changing of the guard.  
 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

On my way to China

Hi everyone,
     Its been a long time since we've updated this blog.  We had adventures in Europe this past summer (2016), and Shannon is going with mom and dad to New York for graduation this summer, and I am on my way to China in less than a week.  I will be there for 9 weeks.  And I'm so excited.  Keep up with my adventures here at PikeySkootcher.blogspot.com!
Cya soon,
Thomas

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