I got up and came in early today to Skype my family and get some work done. Then after lunch we had our thermodynamics final, which I thought went pretty well. After the final I did some more work on my ethics paper and got it done. Tonight we practiced our project management presentation for tomorrow. It’s looking like it will go pretty well.
Day 96, Final Exam Week Day 1
Today we all freaked out about exams and studied for them. Tomorrow we have thermodynamics, on Tuesday we have our presentation for our project management course, and then the ethics final paper is due on Wednesday.
In other news, the company that UD advertises with, 160over90, sent a team to do some marketing photo and video shoots of us for the next week and a half. Today a group of us went out with them to see the sights around SIP, including Ligongdi, Moon Harbor, Times Square, and the SIP Exhibition Hall. It was very interesting to revisit places we haven’t been since the first weekend we were here in January, mostly because we know where most things are. The first time we visited the Exhibition Hall, it took us probably five or ten minutes to find our apartments and UDCI. This time it took us probably five or ten seconds. We and the camera crew had a lot of fun, and it was an enjoyable time.
They took us to lunch, where the appetizer was a basketball-size bread ball. Shortly after lunch, we went back to the church we visited on Easter, where we acted as spectators to a meeting between the priest and Dr. Dan Curran, UD's President. The whole thing was rather boring for us after the hand-shaking ended.
UDCI also had a guest lecturer, Jesse Appell, come this weekend to talk about Chinese comedy and comedy routines. It was billed as a comedy show, but was just a lecture with an amusing professor. After the lecture we all returned home for another evening of studying for exams.
Day 94, Shanghai Adventure Day
Today we got up early for a Saturday, and managed to get to the train station and catch the 09:45 to Shanghai. We arrived at Shanghai Station and made our way to the subway. We took the subway and walked for a while until we made it to a Burger King just outside the shopping mall we were going to visit. Burger King was good, but I can’t compare it to US Burger King because I almost never eat there.
The “shopping mall” we went to visit was actually a “black market”, and most of our group went in to bargain for knock-off goods. I instead made my way across the city to take a round trip to and from Shanghai Pudong Airport by maglev train. The train was disappointing because it didn’t end up going any faster than the train we took to get to Shanghai. I was told that the train usually doesn’t run at full speed and has restricted running hours because the locals complain of the noise. It was fun all the same, and now I can say that I’ve ridden a maglev train.
After the train I took the subway back across town to the market, and then our group went to the Bund, the scenic area across the river from Pearl Tower that has all the views of the downtown skyline. It was impressive, and we took lots of pictures.
After the Bund, we walked to Yuyuan Gardens, where we had noodles for dinner followed by Hagen Daas. After that we wandered around the area doing some tourist shopping. We made our way back to the Bund to get some views of the skyline before returning to the station to catch our train. We got back to our apartments late around 23:00.
Today marks our thirteenth week in China, and we’re only one week away from having spent one hundred days in China! Today we didn’t do much out of the ordinary. Most of us went to bed relatively early for a Friday night because we want to be at the train station by 09:00 so we can have the whole day in Shanghai.
I woke up and got on the bus to head to lunch. Lunch today was our last pizza party in China. After that, I sat in the lounge and wrote about 12 blogs because I’ve been really busy. Also, we had a meeting of the people going to Shanghai this weekend. It will be a good time. It will be the last long weekend blog before Beijing. The Beijing blogs I’ll have to write and post almost in the moment, because the last day in Beijing is the one we’re leaving on, so the available turnaround time is zero. Here’s praying that the hotel in Beijing has good Internet (knock on wood). After I got done with my blogs and the meeting, I went back to the apartments and got dinner. Then I hung out until I went to bed.
Today I got up and went to ethics, where the professor lectured on virtual reality. After that, I Skyped my family before lunch. Then we had our next to last thermo class, after which I went back to the apartments and took the night off. I’m excited because tomorrow I get to relive the first half of the semester where I never had to get up before it was time to go to lunch. It seems so long ago, but the real distance isn’t in time, but rather in the amount of things that we’ve done and the amount of physical distance we’ve covered since Spring Festival.
This afternoon, because it was such a nice day, Lauren and I went to Ferris Wheel Park, the small amusement park next to Times Square. Although we'd both been there before, we didn't get to ride the ferris wheel. So today we rode it. The ride took half an hour, and provided some great views of Suzhou and the scenery around Jinji Lake. It was a lot of fun.
I had to get up early and be at UDCI at 8:00 because my group got stuck with the first presentation slot. We made our presentation to Dr. Terence Lau and Jia Jia, who both returned for the occasion. It went ok. After that, I hung out until it was time to have our last meeting for circuits, since Dr. Moon is returning to the States tomorrow. After that, I worked on various things all day before returning to the apartments. As for the competition, Gonzy’s group was the winner amongst the groups from UDCI ever since we picked groups in the atrium of the Ford China head offices that February day long ago. They were always the most gung-ho, and consisted of three Americans and two Chinese. The cultural difference is that the Chinese don’t like to do big group projects until the last minute, when there’s no time to properly prepare or practice the presentation.
Day 89, Easter Break Day 5
I woke up very late today, and spent the afternoon working on homework. Then I got food, and after dinner I was pulled into a meeting with my group for the Ford Business Case Competition. We made our PowerPoint for our presentation tomorrow and then went to bed.
Day 88, Easter Break Day 4
Several of us got up early this morning and went to Easter Mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. It was cool. The church is brand new, and only opened last year. The congregation was large for Easter, and it included people from all corners of the earth, which was really cool. Afterward everyone went to a potluck, where they had plenty of Western food that we haven’t seen in months, like hot dogs, cheesecake, and brownies.
After church, we all returned to the apartments, and I pretty much took the rest of the day off. Tonight we had a little party in our apartment, and sat around talking about things before going to bed.
Today we had to be up early again to get breakfast and check out before heading back down the mountain. Several of us woke up very early to see the sunrise, but all we saw was rain and mist. It was actually more creepy than cool, mostly because the group I got up with (Gonzy, Lauren, Lydia, Vidy, and I) all went out to an overlook in up in the dark forest at 4:00. But, we did find out that there is a large population of Mockingbirds on Yellow Mountain.
After we came back, we got dressed, packed up, and went down to breakfast before leaving. We headed for the cableway.
We climbed up from the hotel, and after several minutes of hard climbing we crested the ridge and it was a short run down the other side to the cable car station. We headed back down, and it turns out that the up and down cables are different, and that the down cable runs faster than the up cable. So we managed to collect at the bus top station before heading back to the transfer station. From there we boarded the bus before heading back to get our luggage and then get lunch.
After lunch we made the return journey to Suzhou. During the trip, we made two pit stops again, and some of us watched Mamma Mia. We got caught in traffic around Suzhou, but made it back in time for dinner.