2014-4-13 – Gobi Desert – Summer and Chloe

Chloe Fawcett Summer Bills 04/13/14

Gobi Desert

               summer-chloe After a 6:30 wake up call, which was much better than the 4:30 wakeup call the morning before, we headed off to a separate building next door for breakfast.  The breakfast was buffet style, a change from the usual lazy-Susan where you had to wait for the food to come around. Breakfast was quick. Yogurt and cereal was THE way to go. An hour later we left for the start of our three hour bus ride to the Gobi desert. The scenery was completely different than what we had so far seen. Instead of towering buildings and hundreds of cars, we saw flat land alongside the beautiful mountains. Continue reading

2014-4-12 – Qufu to Hohhot – Logan

Logan Hazard 2014-4-12

Travel Time

Logan-HazardI woke up to my alarm on my phone at 4:20 and started to slowly wake from my rock of a bed with plenty of knots in my back. I took a quick shower then woke Evan. This morning wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t my favorite because I knew we would be traveling, traveling and even more traveling. When everyone was all set in the lobby, we did a quick group check and headed out. We had an hour drive but there were delays and it end up as a two hour bus ride...not fun. The bus ride almost made us late for our flight, which took off at 7:30 from Jinan to Beijing. The flight was 45 minutes but I didn’t notice because I was asleep for all of it (it was bliss). The next part wasn’t so much, we had to wait roughly 5 hours for the next flight in Beijing airport. Most people walked around but I tried to go to sleep and when that didn’t work, I listened to music. Continue reading

2014-4-11 – Jinan – Mount Tai – Kayla

Kayla Williams April 11, 2014

Mount Tai

                Kayla-WilliamsLike any other day in Qufu, I woke up tired, even though I had been sleeping in for the past week. I skipped breakfast just to sleep in a little longer, and it was a good choice. I had to pack the last of my things so we could head to Mt. Tai, and somehow in the mix of things, I packed one of my shoes that I have been wearing for the past two weeks. Only I could do that and not realize, so it was a surprise when I couldn’t find my right shoe anywhere in my room. After I had figured out that I did in fact pack my shoe, I had to dig out my show bag so I could wear my show shoes. It was a stressful morning for me. After I had shoved everything back in my bag, we got on the bus to head to Mt. Tai which was an hour away from Qufu Normal University. Continue reading

2014-4-10 – Qufu – Susie

Susie Francy 2014-4-10

 Downtime and Calligraphy

Susie-FrancyToday was a mixture of stimulation and exploration. In the morning, we woke to breakfast (as usual) and had more than an hour and a half to roam the open streets of the Qufu Normal University campus. A few of us (including myself) even went outside the gates with adult chaperones to the markets surrounding us as we walked along the sidewalk. There was a variety of different shops whose products included clothes, pastries, suitcases, and hats. The highlight of this short outing, however, was going to a nearby supermarket. We had not eaten much fruit beforehand – our diet mostly consists of meat, breads, and vegetables – so biting into a juicy peeled pineapple was a sweet shock to our taste buds! Fresh produce in China is much cheaper than one might expect: half of a peeled pineapple costs 2.5 Yuan, which equates to $0.15. As we reentered the gates of the campus, we saw other students in our group going to the on-campus shops; our freedom to explore the campus allows us to buy little luxuries that we had missed, including potato chips and chocolate. Continue reading

2014-4-9 – Qufu – Sam

4/9/14

Sam's Journal Entry

SamanthaWaking up this morning was so much easier than I had expected it to be. Jessica and I woke up early and set out to breakfast. This meal consisted of eggs, "fried dough", and a variety of vegetables. After breakfast, we had an hour to ourselves to explore the campus. Here at Qufu Normal University, they allow us the freedom to walk around the large campus, and discover what it has to offer. Everyone was extremely excited that we had this time. During my hour, I got the chance to call my mom and one of my sisters. Since it was my sister's birthday (Muriel), there was a celebration that was going on. Hearing my mom's voice answer the telephone took me into immediate tears. After my mom calmed me down, I had the pleasure of talking to the birthday girl. Throughout the conversation the importance of this trip became clearer. It made me realize how much the little things count. The little things like having your own bed to sleep in, being able to drink from faucet water, western styled toilets, and even your family's voices. In the beginning of this trip, I thought that many people were annoying, and that the experience wasn't as life changing as everyone said it would be. Now looking back at myself from just two short weeks ago, I know that I was wrong and that everyday I'm falling in love with China more and more. Journey East is much more than performing in a foreign country. It is a program that helps people find themselves and helps them discover what is possible in life. Continue reading

2014-4-8 Qufu – Aaron

Aaron Claussen 2014-4-8

Day 14 - Soccer Day Essay

            aaron-claussen-soccerThis morning I woke up at 6:50, stripped down, closed the door and curtain, turned the water to the perfect temperature, and became engulfed in the warmth of the water for 15 minutes and began my day. I got out of the shower, got dressed, and then woke Max up at 8:00. Once Max was done with the shower, we packed up and headed down for breakfast at 8:30 The breakfast here isn’t as good as it was in Chongqing, it is made up of fried dough, eggs, big dough rolls, and more, we are getting plenty of carbs here. But nonetheless it is pretty good. After breakfast we headed back to the hotel and then went back to the lobby to head over to the affiliated middle school right behind the hotel. We met up in a meeting room of the school and were welcomed by their principal. After, we went down to their soccer field and found ourselves (the Americans) facing about 35 Chinese students in a hardcore soccer match. I just remember being overwhelmed by a fleet of about 15 Chinese kids coming at me when I had the ball. Next, we rounded up the troops and headed off following a Chinese woman to one of the School’s English classes. Continue reading

2014-4-7 – Qufu – Confucius Graveyard – Charly

Charly Sperling 2014-4-7

Day 13 – Qufu  - Confucius Graveyard

               Charly-Sperling This morning was the latest morning call we’ve had so far on this trip. I have to admit, it felt pretty amazing to be able to sleep in and give my body a rest from the constant go and the blur of days and nights. After eating a satisfying breakfast, we all climbed into the bus and headed to the Confucius Temple, about 10 minutes away. Because it’s a holiday today, the place was absolutely packed with people. Right when we stepped off the bus, I could feel the eyes of many people, curious about us “foreigners.” I’ve noticed that the farther we’ve gotten away from Beijing, the more interesting we’ve become to the Chinese. Today visiting the temple was especially noticeable. Particularly the blondes couldn’t take ten steps before being stopped for a picture or two. After our tour of the temple, we stopped for a yummy lunch in a nearby hotel. While eating, a performance was taking place. There was singing, dancing, and some instrumental music. We were told by the guide that this performance was put together just for us Americans. This surprised me greatly and even though the performance was extremely loud and sometimes a little aggravating, I tried my best to show gratitude for their efforts in entertaining us. Continue reading

2014-4-5 Dazu and an Evening River Boat Cruise – Summer

Summer Bills 4-5-14

Day 11

Dazu and an Evening River Boat Cruise

Summer-BillsWake up call was at 6:15 for a three hour bus ride to Dazu County. The wake-up calls are getting harder and harder; I have become comfortable sleeping in a new environment. The sounds of honking cars have become comforting and have also made me never want to hear another one in my life. I have always wanted to live in a city but… not so much anymore; I like my peace and quiet. The breakfasts are delicious! They have American food, which quite honestly I am starting to crave. The schedule for the day was pretty relaxing.  The bus ride wasn’t bad (I slept the whole time).  Although, when I did wake up on and off I would hear Tom talking about the tunnels we were driving though and the highway we were driving on. He said that the tunnels were a mile to a mile and a half long through the mountains and the highways and the tunnels both were built within a year and a half. That is very impressive to me considering it took about three years for us to fix the bridge on your way to Jamaica. Continue reading

Day 10 – Ciqikou Ancient Street Day – Aaron

Aaron Claussen 4/4/14

Day 10

Ciqikou Ancient Street Day

Aaron-ClaussenToday started off as a normal day, waking up at 6:40, taking a shower, then making it down to the 1st floor for the amazing breakfast waiting to be devoured. I have to say, the breakfast at this Holiday Inn in Chongqing has been the best breakfast that I have ever had at a hotel. Breakfast today consisted of a donut, bacon, croissant, dumplings, some kind of stir-fry, and potatoes. The dumplings are delicious, also I am seeing improvement in my chop-stick skills every day; just another perk when you come to China. Then I went up to my room to get my bags and finish getting ready, some time went by and suddenly Evan and I realized that we needed to get down to the lobby. We made it down there on time, but then my stomach turned upside down because I had forgotten my show bag in our room. So I got on the elevator as quickly as I could and I got on, hit floor 14, got out in a dead sprint and headed straight for my room, got the key, put it in and opened the door, grabbed the bag, and sprinted right back to the elevator, and went downstairs. Continue reading

Day 9 – Chongqing – Jessica

Jessica Madore 2014-4-3

Day 9

jessica-madoreWe woke up this morning to the constant noise of the city reminding us of Beijing. We climbed onto the bus for our hour and a half long journey to Yongchuan. We stepped out of the bus preparing for our safari adventure. Marc (our tour guide) handed us our tickets as we walked through the metal gates that took us to another bus. This bus took us on a narrow path that lead us through the park. The first exhibit we saw were the kangaroos. Everybody shifted to one side of the bus to take pictures of the animals. This continued through the whole tour. Some of the other animals we saw were tigers, lions, bears, emus, giraffes, wolves, and camels. We drove on a path through the habitats of these animals and the driver slowed down so all we could all quickly take pictures. These animals were very interesting to observe up close from the bus windows because they weren't in cages. It was intriguing to see the Chinese version of a zoo. Continue reading

Day 8 – Chongqing – Max

Max Cramp 4/2/14

Day 8

            max-crampToday marks the eighth day of being in China and the feelings of being gone for so long have started to set in.  So far we’ve been to Beijing where we visited the Great Wall, Guizhou where we stayed with host families and Anshun where we participated in a Model United Nations Conference.  But today we got to Chongqing, my most awaited destination.  It took a five and a half hour bus ride to get here but so far it has been well worth it.  Chongqing is a very beautiful city that I have been looking forward to for a long time and for a few specific reasons.  The first being that I would like to see the girls that stayed with us over the summer.  The second is that I really like spicy food and I have heard that Chongqing has a lot of it.  The last reason and probably the main one is that I want to visit the Joseph Stilwell Museum.  This is looking like a very memorable part of the trip so I hope that we can do and see everything that is scheduled in Chongqing. Continue reading

Day 7 – Back in Guiyang – Evan

Evan Daigneault 2014-4-1

Day 7

Today was day seven on our journey to the magnificent East. Evan-DaigneaultI woke up this morning at 6:00 in time to hear the morning rooster crow in the amazing Xijiang Miao Village located in Hunan Province. We got up ate breakfast and then loaded up the bus and traveled another three hours back to Guiyang. I actually really enjoyed myself on our tour of the village and i really thought that that the sights were absolutely beautiful and exciting. Once we returned to Guiyang, we went to a middle school where we would be performing our show. The group and I were all so relieved to see that we were performing on a big stage. There was plenty of space for us to perform comfortably. I personally felt that we did pretty well today, and I really think that the Chinese students watching enjoyed our performance of monkey business. Only seven days in to this trip and I already feel like the group has a strong bond that cannot be made often. We have experienced many things so far on our once in a lifetime adventure to China and we will encounter so many more life changing moments together. I feel that I've learned a few things already. I not only learned that i enjoy performing, but more importantly, i enjoy performing with the other students in our group. I've also realized that I should be more respectful and be more thankful for what I have in life and when an opportunity comes and presents me with a chance to do something great that i should grasp it curiously and intently with both hands and let it guide me the way to give me a life changing experience.  

Day 6 – part two – Miao Village – Susie

Susie Francy 2014-3-30

Day 6

susie-francyToday was quite interesting. First, we went to the Guiyang Theater to wait for the bus to take us to the Miao village. Miao is a minority group in China, and this village is composed of mostly these people. The bus ride was quite long – 3.5 hours long – but the beauty of the village and its surrounding view made the ride seem shorter. Many of us grabbed our cameras and took pictures of the captivating mountains, trees, rivers, and waterfalls, crawling on top of one another to get the best view. Once we got to a bus-station-like area, our faces were immediately stamped with a pink symbol (this was not required, but most of us wanted the stamp) and we took pictures with Miao performers who were wearing elaborate costumes.  Then, we each received a ticket to take a bus to the village. Our group had been used to large buses where there were seats for every person, so we felt quite crowded when about half of us had to stand and hold on to something, especially with each of us carrying or wearing a backpack. Continue reading

Day 6 – part one – Miao Village – Chloe

Sorry this post was broken...just got word from Jennifer Densmore...Thanks!

Chloe Fawcett 2014-4-1

Day 6

chloe-fawcettAs the sun began to rise, and the alarm began to ring, Caroline and I rose to another 6:15 early start to what was to be an amazing day with the sweet sound of chirping birds, (which was a nice change from the wakeup call of snow falling off the roof back home), blended in with the bitter sound of the alarm clock. Of course, Caroline and I did not have any intention of actually getting up so early. So, naturally, we went back to bed for fifteen minutes. This was not the best decision; the plan of the morning was to leave the house by 7:15, so we could drop off Amy, our host sister, at school. Amy's mother would then drive us to "CC English School" where we would rejoin the rest of the group and be on our way to Miao Village. Continue reading

Day 5 – Anshun – Emma

Emma Bourne 2014-3-30

Day 5

IMG_3958In the morning we attended a school fair. It was sweltering hot outside but I didn’t care because of the show that was being put on for us. There was a traditional dance with beautiful red costumes. There was also a fashion show displaying the traditional clothing of the different ethnic minorities of this region, worn by the cutest little girls and boys who were of these ethnicities, having the time of their lives showing off their heritage. We performed a song and then tried activities such as calligraphy and we watched women batik.   The whole time we were doing all of these activities there were kids asking for your name and to take a picture with you. This part of the day was amazing but things got to be very challenging for me from there. Continue reading