Winter Break!

Marie Antoinette probably never did this

Hello readers! I’m back! For now. Maybe. I think I spoiled everyone with the frequency of my updates the first month or so. As always, I have no idea what the coming months will hold, internet-wise (or otherwise), but I will try to update y’all when I can.

That said, the school blog is updated, not regularly, but more often than mine, I think. You can check it out here. Every student on our trip is required to make one entry per semester, and mine will be showing up sometime in the near future.

My business project group at our farewell lunch

So, what have I been up to the last few months? Well, a lot, for starters. The last entry I made was in Vietnam, which, once all was said and done, ended up being my favorite country so far. I’m actually in the Saigon airport eating a free bowl of pho as I type this, wishing I could go outside and enjoy the warm weather! But I’m just here on a layover. Anyway, to wrap up the rest of my time in Ha Noi, I’d just like to say that the food was excellent, the people were wonderful, and everything was fantastic.

Traditional house replica at a museum in Ha Noi

One of my favorite parts,  however, was our last weekend, when we all went to a resort in Ha Long Bay. Not only was it one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen, we got to hang out on a beach, have a midnight swim in the pool, and we turned the resort bar into a karaoke bar on our last night. It was just too much fun!

Hanging out in the pool

 

Luisa, Annin and me at Ha Long Bay

After leaving Vietnam we all went to Fuzhou, China where we lived and studied at Hwa Nan Women’s College. While there, we were each assigned a student buddy who would show us the city and help us out. Mine was Tibby, and we had a lot of fun exploring Fuzhou.

Thanksgiving dinner with our Chinese buddies

One of the big events in Fuzhou was Thanksgiving, where we all made food for 80 people, and it was quite the production. I stayed clear of the kitchen, instead opting to be on the decorations committee. I made lots and lots of hand turkeys. My kindergarten art teacher would be so proud.

We still aren't sure why there were giant mushrooms in a fortress, but we went with it

While in China we studied philosophy, and spent our weekends traveling. We went to Xiamen and Wuyishan, which were both a lot of fun. In Xiamen we had no idea what was going on or why we were there, but there were cool views, a weird military fortress that seemed to be more like a weird sculpture park, and a ride on a bullet train.

Halfway up the steps to the scenic view, we decided traveling by horse would be faster. Sadly, the horses felt otherwise.

Wuyishan was technically a class trip, but I enjoyed it far too much for that to have been true. We went on a bamboo raft ride, climbed a mountain, and generally had a lot of fun in a very beautiful place.

Luisa and I at Wuyishan

Overall, China was very fun, and I had a great time. When we left Fuzhou, we went to Hong Kong for the pacrim holiday party. I didn’t have much time to explore Hong Kong, but I did get dim sum, and Luisa and I went a bit crazy for the hello kitty key chains in 7-Eleven.

Professor Benard, Nima, and me at the holiday party

The holiday part itself was fun, mostly because I like getting dressed up, and have had very few occasions to do so this year. I wore my Vietnamese ao dai (“long dress), and most of the girls wore their Chinese qipao.

All of the girls dressed up for the party

After dinner a bunch of us went up on the roof to see the view of Hong Kong lit up at night. It was really cool, and we had a great time being silly with the camera, since it was our last night together for a few weeks.

Christmas eve in Hong Kong

And that brings me to break. I met my parents and sister for the holidays in London, and we had a great time exploring the city. We went to the Tower of London, saw Oxford, did a nice amount of shopping, and went to a show in Piccadilly Circus. Then it was off to Paris, where we had a few days in which to take in the sights. I think my favorite things about Paris were the food and the architecture. All around, it was great to see my family and awesome to get back to countries that eat cheese on a regular basis.

Silly hats in Xiamen

That brings us up to date. I’m off to start semester #2 in two hours, and I’m very excited. I helped put together a video of the year so far for the holiday party, and I’ll post it as soon as it’s uploaded to youtube.

Happy 2012!!

~Jessica

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