Day Fourteen – Thursday, July 6
Today I had a fun afternoon adventure with a couple of my friends at a new mall! School was fairly typical (it is now just a routine and nothing really new besides the content of the lesson) and we had community service in the afternoon. For community service, we worked on “branding” our anti-plastic bag idea by coming up with a name, slogan, pitch, and designing a t-shirt. My language partner was very helpful in translating what we wanted to say in English into correct conversational Chinese!
After school ended, Sydney, Maggie and I went to Yang Ming (Young Mix) mall to go shopping! A couple other nsliy kids also went, but they wanted to do an escape room so we branched apart. Two language partners, Mia (Maggie’s LP) and Emily (Lexi’s LP), accompanied the three of us to go shopping. All of the language partners are incredibly sweet and helpful… and these two were especially fun to go shopping with. Emily has a great sense of style and helped us choose good clothes for fair prices. We shopped at Uniqlo, H&M, and some smaller stores. Nothing in this mall was local Chinese style, but most of the Chinese people in Zhuhai dress fashionably in European style clothes. I bought a pair of shorts and a dress at H&M. We then had a really good dinner of Korean barbecue meat – Emily was so excited when we chose to go there because it is one of her favorite types of food! I really enjoyed connecting with some of the other language partners, but was said that MengNan was unable to join us today. I hope that next week we can hang out together because I really want to be close with my language partner!!
Once we finished dinner, Emily helped me get a cab and told them to take me to the bus stop near my house. I also showed the driver the bus station picture. After a while, the driver pulled over and asked me something along the lines of “is this it?” Not really knowing Chinese or how to explain this wasn’t my stop, I just said ok and got out of the cab. Since the name of my bus stop is also the name of a major street, I think he dropped my off at an apartment complex with the same name. I wandered around for about 10 minutes before I called my RD Isabel to tell her I was lost. Finally, I stumbled upon a bus stop that my bus number runs on. However, I noticed that I was 2 stops away from the stop I asked for – this was a combination of my wandering and the bus driver dropping me off far away. I got on the bus for two stops and then got off at my normal stop, but realized that I was on the wrong side of the road. However, the bus stop I usually take (same stop name but other direction) wasn’t directly across the street and again I couldn’t find it for a while. After more aimless wandering in the dark and rain, I finally found my normal stop. From here, I was finally un-lost and walked home my normal route. What should have been a 25-minute cab ride turned out to be a 1-hour adventure. But throughout the entire time, I wasn’t scared or nervous, which is pretty out of character for me. Honestly, I think I would have been more nervous to be this lost in the US than in China just because I feel safer walking around alone in China (since so many people do it). Also, I recognized the area the entire time, just not my exact orientation (and my stupid Chinese phone’s GPS was literally no help at all!)
This evening was definitely a memorable one – my first time truly lost alone abroad. But I’m glad I was able to figure my way out practically alone, and it really boosted my confidence in my navigation skills and independence.