I am officially one step closer to fully immersing myself into the Chinese way of life and I achieved this through buying myself a bicycle. In general, getting around China in a quick and efficient manner is not possible. The streets are always packed, the buses and cars constantly swerve and communicate through blasting their horns, and bikes and motorcycles swarm the streets. Everyday I take a 20-30 minute walk to class, and as nervous as I was to be biking on the streets of Shanghai where pedestrians do not have the right of the way, I decided the only way to fully immerse myself in the culture would be to get a bike.
After class was over on Wednesday I found myself on a street corner trying out some used bikes with my friends Matt and Emily. I was able to communicate and make the transaction with the guy in Chinese and he appreciated that, so 30 minutes later I took on the streets of Shanghai with my new bike, a basket, and lock, all for 175 kuai, oh how I love how cheap China is.
On Friday I had my internship at the Yucai High School. I, along with 2 other IES students, prepared a presentation on American movies, music, and high schools then we split up into 3 groups and just chatted with the high school students about what they learned. This opportunity to chat once a week with Chinese students and teach them about America, and in turn learn from them about the Chinese culture is a priceless experience. The students, although shy at first, have really started to open up and I am so excited to watch them grow and learn throughout the next 10 weeks.
Yucai High School is a little bit outside of the more Westernized part of Shanghai so I tend to get more stares when heading home on the subway. Although, this time on my way home I got a little more than a few stares. As I headed towards the escalator that brings me to the subway a little kid ran towards me and grabbed onto my leg. He wouldn’t let go and kept staring up at me, smiling, and asking for money. 5 of his family members stared and laughed and encouraged him. All the while the Chinese police man did absolutely nothing to help me. I felt helpless and uncomfortable and it took about 3 minutes for him to finally get off of me. I was completely thrown off and flustered. The part that bothered me the most was the fact that the Chinese policeman doing nothing to help me. I think it’s an understatement to say that I could have gone without that experience, but I guess it was inevitable that I would run into beggars in rural China.
Overall though I had another great week in China. I am looking forward to heading to Chengdu next weekend to see the pandas, the largest Buddha statue in the world, and in general just another city in China!! Wish me luck!