• Posted on: July 16, 2014

[Think China 2014] Day 7 | Farewell to Beijing, Hello Hangzhou

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July 13, 2014

Author: Lorenzo Manag

Abby made leaving pretty difficult. Tears ran down her face as we bade farewell to her and the other ambassadors of the -United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). The entire 2014 Delegation stated something that they appreciated or learned. In my appreciation speech I used a metaphor I stated that every building has a foundation. Three pillars held up the foundation of our time in Beijing. The first pillar represented education because the ambassadors helped us to understand through their teachings and through their scheduled lectures more about China and the Chinese culture. The second pillar represented friendship, which was a key virtue we discussed in our mentorship activities. The group engaged with us and I truly believe we made some long lasting friendships. The last pillar represented inspiration because the ambassadors inspired me to become a better leader and follow in their footsteps. I concluded with a statement of appreciation and we began our departure for the bullet train.

The bus ride to the train consisted of a lot of laughter. When we arrived at the station, its architectural beauty shocked us. I went to Starbucks hoping to get a vanilla bean Frappuccino with caramel. Surprisingly ,they didn’t have vanilla bean but just regular vanilla. It was weird because after ordering I was frightened to drink it – as I am aware that dairy products can cause upset stomachs.

The bullet train is something I’ve dreamt of riding since I was in the ninth grade. We said our final goodbyes to our Beijing friends and we headed onto the train. The black and white train accommodated hundreds of riders and our 6-hour journey clocking 200 miles per hour was smooth and quite quick.

When we arrived to the Hangzhou Train Station, we were greeted by our new ambassadors from the Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic University. They acted as if we were pop superstars. We boarded the bus and headed to the hotel, which interestingly enough was located on the university’s campus. The hotel was palatial and we learned that it had a four star status. Everything was set up perfectly and every inch of the hotel was pleasant to the eye. We sat for our welcome dinner, which was delicious, but the most impactful moment was when we shared cultural dances. The Chinese ambassadors performed cultural dances, Chinese songs and English songs. Jackson Davis, from the  Delegation, warmed the stage by presenting one of Maya Angelou’s famous poems, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. We then taught the Chinese ambassadors how to do the Cupid Shuffle, and culminated as one large group. It showed a sense of oneness, which was great considering we were only together for about two hours. In all I thought that with little on the agenda, there were some very impactful moments that really emphasized key virtues such as friendship, generosity, community, openness, goodness and growth. See you soon Beijing and hello Hangzhou!

Shakir Carminer: “Anxiously and excitedly, we boarded the bullet train. This new experience was exciting because there is a project building a bullet train in California, from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. When we arrived to our destination, we met a new group of college students from Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic University. The students were so nice and anxious to meet us. I really value the generosity the students, from both Beijing and Hangzhou, have shown us. On the bus ride to the hotel, they gave us gifts with shirts, an umbrella and a map of Hangzhou. The best moment of the day may have been the arrival to the luxurious hotel on the new university’s campus. We quickly changed in our shirts they gave us, and attended the opening ceremony and welcome dinner. This event was special to me because of the gratitude of the students to perform. It was an overall fun and exciting day for all of us.”

Joshua Atkins: “Today was very fun but really wet. We had our first day in Hangzhou which was fun. It was raining like crazy. My socks and shoes got really soaked. I thought I was going to get trench foot. We visited a Buddhist monastery which was crazy. We saw a giant Buddha statue which was awesome. There was a swastika on it which confused me, but I remembered that originally it means peace and that the nazis made it in to a hate symbol. We also went to a tower which had a view of the whole town – that was awesome! The dinner was good, as usual. While doing laundry, we had a talk with Franklin which really opened my eyes about some things. It showed the value of togetherness. It showed me that I can be open about anything. It showed me that I don’t have to be scared about anything. I feel like I can be more open about anything which makes me feel good about things. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Me jiao lee Me woxing Joshua. Me mergiuron. Wo I coke. chu zu che shi chi man.”

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