Day Thirty-Nine – Monday, July 31
It is crazy to believe that it is the last week of classes here! It’s even crazier to think that I’ve already completed a full five weeks of Chinese classes this summer. Once again, today I was having a ton of mixed emotions about leaving. Reverse culture shock is already hitting me hard, and I bet that it’s only going to get worse when I reach America.
Today in classes we were reviewing for our final exam this Tuesday. I’m not that worried for this test, partly because our TAs are amazing at both teaching and reviewing our content throughout the 6 weeks and partly because Qiu Laoshi straight up said she was not going to make it hard or stressful. Some of the things that I really liked learning about were our daily idioms, songs, and Chinese cities. All of these will be major components of our final exam, which I think is super fun and interesting! We also learned a bunch of super useful grammar structures throughout this summer, and when we were reviewing I realized how comfortable I’ve becoming using most of them.
After lunch today, we learned our very last song together as a class. Its title was 再见, which means goodbye and see you again. The lyrics were very sad and depressing, as most were along the lines of “while I may never see you again, I will never forget you”. We could all feel the mood in the room get a lot sadder and gloomy. To add to that, our cruel TAs put together a slideshow of pictures of us in class and out with each other and had it playing in the background with the music. I could feel my eyes tearing up, and looked around the classroom and saw that everyone else was also on the brink of crying. Thankfully, after we sang that song Shuo Ning lightened the mood with an impromptu dance party to all the upbeat songs we’ve learned this summer.
During this little dance party, I realized how much I’ve come out of my shell here. I was singing and dancing with my friends and teachers in Chinese with no hesitation at all. I’ve definitely become so much more outgoing, open, and self-confident on this trip, and really hope that this “new me” stays for the rest of my life!
After class, I decided to go to fisher girl (Zhuhai’s one attraction, which I have somehow gone 6 weeks without visiting) with Lily and Ashley. Since the language partners had a meeting after school, I left for the attraction first and had them meet up with me. I’ve gotten so good at navigating the buses here alone, and feel really confident in taking them instead of taxis. At fisher girl, I took a bunch of Picts and even successfully asked someone (in Chinese) to help me take a picture! Since Lily and Ash were still far away, I went to the nearby park to look around. Eventually, I sat down on a bench and started writing my English letters to friends. While I was doing this, a young lady came up to me and started speaking Chinese to me. I’m not quite sure why she approached me (from what I understood in Chinese she thought I was very pretty and amazing at English), but she definitely thought I was Chinese. When I finally said I was American, she was so surprised and excited and kept talking to me fast in Chinese (which I surprisingly understood a good amount of!) Long story short, I got this lady’s wechat and checked an item off my China bucket list (hold Chinese conversation with a stranger).
When Lily and Ash finally arrived it was already about 7:15 (I got there around 5:15). We took a few quick pics and then we’re off to yang ming for a Szechuan style dinner. We went to a surprisingly cheap restaurant that had amazing small Szechuan style dishes. Something I tried for the first time there was… pig brain. It is served as is, and it clearly looks like a brain. It was kinda weird and mushy, and didn’t taste like much. I only had one bite because I didn’t really care for it, but Lily and Ash said it was pretty good quality. After dinner, I caught the bus home.
As I said earlier, I can’t believe it’s the last week. I don’t feel like I’ve been here for my whole summer, but at the same time I am so used to life here that I feel like I’ve lived here for a really long time. It’s confusing, and I both do and don’t want to come home…