A bittersweet goodbye

A bittersweet goodbye

Jake MacLean Class today (June 22) was pretty sentimental. We had a discussion about our experiences in China, what we thought about it, what we liked best, and what we will miss the most.

I spoke to the class about a time that I took a bike ride with my friend Chen to Hua Shan (Flower Mountain). I enjoyed it because it gave me an opportunity to experience China on my own time, not on a schedule.

We presented our finals this afternoon. Our friend Alex presented as well. He put together a few slides about each of us and some funny things that happened during the trip.

Alex has been a huge help to us and I’m sure we will all miss him.

I’ve started packing my things and getting ready for Beijing. It’s a little bittersweet leaving Zibo since we’ve made so many friends, but it’s a good feeling knowing I’ll be home in a few days.

I can definitely see myself returning to China someday, whether to work or just to travel. There is so much to see and learn here, and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Fun friends, good food and cheap shopping

I’ve jinxed myself. I haven’t been sick at all during our stay, and the last day we’re in Zibo I get a fever. I’m much better now than I was last night, and I hope I won’t be sick in Beijing. Such is life.

I’ve finished packing my things and doing some last-minute laundry and cleaning up. We had lunch at a noodle shop just outside of campus. Our friends Ben and Norman treated us in honor of our last day.

We learned it is very uncommon to “split the bill” when eating with a group. Usually in group outings there is a host, and he or she pays for the entire group. Also, tipping does not exist, and can be considered an insult.

This is my last blog before going to Beijing. I think what I will miss the most about Zibo is our friends, the good food, and cheap shopping. I’m looking forward to experiencing another part of China, though I know it won’t be as special as SDUT has been.

The ride to Beijing was pretty smooth. We got to the city in about three hours and were picked up by a bus. We are staying at the Beijing Institute of Technology, close to where the Olympics were held. The campus is very large and the foreign student dorms are very similar to the ones in Shandong.

We went to the Summer Palace and Great Wall today. The weather was perfect, very sunny and cool. The Palace was only a twenty-minute ride from campus and had a lot of ancient buildings.

The part we toured overlooked Kunming Lake. There were lots of boats in the lake and old temples in the distance. It was a really amazing sight.

We got back on the bus and took an hour-long ride to the Great Wall. Ironically, it isn’t as big as you might expect, but it’s still incredible. The scenery at the top of the wall was great. We had a view from the Wall that overlooked huge mountains right to the city.

I would definitely say that the Wall has been the highlight of the trip.

This is my final blog. Tomorrow, we will see Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Haven Temple. At night we will see the Beijing Opera, then come back to the dorms and pack up for home.

This experience has a taught me a lot about myself, and I’m glad I made so many friends along the way. It will be good to go home.

    — Jake MacLean, a senior Spanish major and Chinese minor