7/21 – No Plastic!

Day Twenty-Nine – Friday, July 21

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Rolling ice cream in my community service shirt

Today was super fun!  We started off the day with our community service outreach.  A few weeks ago, we prepared t shirts and a short speech on why plastic bag use it a problem in China.  Today, we got to put our language skills to the test and actually go out into a community and inform locals on the problem of plastic waste.  We took a short bus ride to Qingzhu, a fair sized community within Zhuhai.  There we met a couple college aged volunteers who introduced the community and walked around with our groups.  My group (Lexi, Maya, and Matthew) was accompanied by Maya’s and Lexi’s LP, and a super friendly volunteer named Lulu.  Lulu took us to an underground area that is used to cross between bus stops on opposite sides of the road.  There were also a bunch of small store fronts for food and conscience items down there, so there was constant foot traffic.  While it was incredibly awkward approaching people in the beginning, our LPs were super encouraging and helped us work out a system for talking to locals.  Maya would start by approaching people and asking if they had just one minute to talk.  I would then come in and ask if they think plastic bags are an environmental problem. Matthew asked what they thought could be done to help the problem and Reyna finished by asking them to sign our shirts if they agreed with us.  In total, we probably got at least 30 signatures and approached at least 100 groups (many didn’t want to talk to us or said they were too busy).  In all, I’d call this a success!

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Ft. Maya

Right before our group went back to convene with the other groups, we all decided to treat ourselves to some rolled ice cream.  In the area where we were doing our service there was a small vendor there.  The ice cream was so cheap compared to the US (about $2 compared to $7 at home), and the vendor even let us roll our own ice cream!  This was super fun and definitely a highlight of the day!

After service, we had a little bit of time to relax and eat lunch.  I went with Lulu, Richa, and Matthew to a restaurant that is supposedly famous for its noodles.  There, I had the best noodles I’ve had so far in China – they were skinny noodles with beef and mushrooms in a bright red, spicy broth.  Omg they were so good!!!  I also had a long conversation with Lulu – she is going to college next year and wants to study primary education.  She was super nice and very interested in giving back to her community, which I really respect.  I got her wechat, so hopefully we can keep in touch!

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Honestly the best thing I’ve eaten here so far

Upon returning to Bei Shi Da, we had our afternoon classes.  Not too much exciting happened.  After class, I went with Lilly and  Anthony to Fu Hua Li, a new shopping center.  None of us had been before and therefore didn’t know what to expect.  We arrived at an incredibly upscale “shopping district,” which was a bunch of separate store buildings designed to be like it’s own little square.  We walked down the different avenues and saw stores like Polo, Ray Bans, Adidas, Vans, and a bunch of super expensive European looking clothing stores.  We all enjoyed just going in and trying on a bunch of clothes!  I’ve spent a lot of time with Lilly lately; she is super adorable and so nice.  She said she might want to teach abroad in America after grad school, so I pushed her to come to the UD Confucius Institute!!

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The upscale shopping district

Tonight I had another major accomplishment.  Only my mom, aunt, and I had dinner together.  Since they don’t speak too much English, we had our whole conversation in Chinese.  I was able to express my thoughts and ideas fairly well, and I think the majority of the things I said they understood.  Next week, a bunch of us are going to sign a language pledge to only use Chinese for a day, and this was really encouraging looking forward to that.