Sunday, June 23, 2013

ISIC Cards?

There is sort of a loose "requirement" from the Office of International programs that says you should buy an ISIC card. It is supposed to be an international ID card that comes with discounts around the country. But I say, isn't my passport an international ID card? And the benefits aren't all that great in China. Most of the discounts are in Shanghai, only one in Nanjing.

 It's $25, and I feel like it wouldn't really be worth it. Has anyone ever used the ISIC card abroad? Did you find it convenient? Would you recommend it?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Life is Good

Feeling good today, last day in SF. Itinerary:

-Trouble Coffee with Sofie

-Pick up Flagship stipend check at SFSU   ------------------------------->

-Drop off some documents at OIP

-Say goodbye to will's roommates at the Brochelor Pad

-Cook one last dish of Chana Masala at my place

-Last shift at work, last paycheck (see above!!)

-Maybe a few celebratory drinks after work

-Move out of my place tomorrow.

Things are pretty sweet. Its been a ball, SF. Thanks for taking care of me, until next time~~

Monday, June 17, 2013

Saying goodbye is tough

It is that time again when I have to leave one place for another. We all have to do it. And it always feels the same. When I first moved away from home; and then when I moved back out of the college dorms; and then when I moved out of my first apartment. But also the other times. All of those summer trips I have been so fortunate to take around the US and abroad.

Leaving really hits me hard. When you leave a place behind, you also leave behind a time and once you have left it, you won't get to go back again. Space and time swirl up together as one, and so I know that each time I shift my place in this world, I also shift to a new time in my life. A photograph, a scent in the air, a melody plunge you into the feeling of an old time for just a split second, but you are always in the present. 

Talking with a friend the other day, we decided that some people are particularly transient, and they just move around more. It has just always been this way for me, and I have more or less gotten used to it. I still mourn a little and cry when I say goodbye, because crying is all you can do in the face of the ticking of a clock. And it continues to tick, sadness fades, suddenly there you are in another city, another state, another country... Change occurs as a system, and one alteration brings change to all aspects of your life, but eventually its outward ripples will subside. That thought keeps me calm when it becomes time again for me to pack up and head out.  

When I had just moved to college and was having trouble, I remember my dad quoted one of his favorite movies and just said, "No matter where you go, there you are."And though it was a little off kilter, I always remembered that. I like to think of that quote and imagine the planet with me and all of the people I love on it, just being right where we are. If we are far away, it makes us seem closer. And then it makes me remember that I am exactly where I am: right here, right now. 

I move out of my apartment on Friday, and its coming up real quick. It really hit me today, prompting me to write this post. Saying goodbye to this place, to this time, is hard, but I know in my heart that good things are on the way. I am so blessed by my family and loved ones for all of the support I have. Sending love to everyone!! 

Thanks for reading~~

Friday, June 14, 2013

I was on the Chinese news!!

KTSF came to my class a few weeks back and interviewed my teacher, classmates, and I about learning chinese, and why we had an interest in the language. Check out the clip online!

you can see me at the 3 minute mark! it is short, and I look funny but whatever.

As soon as I heard that it aired, my friend texted me and told me that she saw me on TV! I hadn't even told her to watch it! KTSF is a pretty popular news channel in the bay area, so it sounds like quite a few people saw it. Even a few of my co-workers saw it, too! hehe we are local celebrities :">

EDIT 7/2/13: It looks like the link above no longer links to the video! You can find them on Facebook now, as well as an additional segment!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Some sites that I have been enjoying...

Just a few sites here that I have been enjoying, you might like them too!

China Mike
China Mike is the greatest! Between the snarky commentary and the really useful tips, Mike really gives you the DL on what you might expect in China. it is a must read for anyone looking heading to the Middle Kingdom.

Off Color Otter
My friend’s blog from his stay in Hong Kong! We met back in Chinese 101 class. He hasn’t posted much lately, and I have a feeling that he has actually returned to the US by now. Nonetheless fun to browse through.  

A great blog from two honeymooners traveling around the globe. Fun stories and great photos as they stop in at great destinations all over the world. All of the post re: china are all really fun too.

WWoof stands for the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In exchange for 4-6 hours of work a day, you will be provided room and board on a local farm. WWOOF farms are all over the world and seem accommodating to many lengths of stay. Flagshipers might be interested in this organization to fulfill the volunteering portion of the program; I know I am!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Chinese Friends from Work, Some Travel Advise

Lately, I have been making friends with some coworkers of mine who are from China. They have been so wonderful to talk to and hang out with, and they have given me some great advise on in country travel that I would never have gotten anywhere else.

We were all hanging out on Sunday night, chatting and having a snack, and I realized that I hadn't told them I would be leaving work soon. When I told them about when I was leaving, I became unexpectedly sad! I hadn't thought about how we might not see each other again for a long time. So if any of you guys are reading this, 離開了科學館以後會很想念你們!你們給我的建議真幫我很大的忙!我們保持聯絡吧!

If you are reading this as a flagship student, I would really recommend that you get in touch with the Chinese community at your work. It is a wonderful opportunity to use your language skills in real life situations, and your coworkers or people that you help there will be so impressed and glad that you can use their native language. I have had the opportunity to practice Chinese at two of my jobs since I started studying, and I really think that part of the reason why my Chinese progressed as fast as it did.

Additionally, here are some tips from my friends for getting to and around China:

-Beijing and Hong Kong airports are the largest international airports in the country.
-Fly into either of these, at which time you can catch a domestic flight to the city of your choice.
-Domestic flights should only be about 400 RMB (~$70!!)
-Check both Chinese and English language websites for prices. I have a suspicion that Chinese language ones will be less expensive. I was recommended this website: 携程旅行網
-When you book your flight, book a hotel for a night or two as well. These should also run about 400RMB. There WILL be less expensive options, but these will come with less amenities. Go for the mid range one.
-Make sure that you know the address of the place you are staying at. Have a printout with the address, and hand it to the driver.
-You will want to google the distance between the airport and your hotel. Look up local taxi fares, and do the math. Know what to expect regarding prices, so you don't get tricked.
-You might consider getting in touch with a Chinese travel agent when you are still in the US. They can help you navigate all of your options, and some even have some connections, useful if you (heaven forbid) run into some trouble.

Hope this helps! And thanks for everything CAS Friends!