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David Paulino Beijing – June 5th

June 5th, Beijing, day 18

We tried to have breakfast at 7:00 this morning, a bit earlier then some of the other mornings. Naturally this did not go exactly as planned, which was understandable. The nature of this trip is for things to not go as planned. We finally had breakfast around 7:15, most of us were frantically stuffing our faces so that we could leave on time. We managed to, but we almost left Dr. Kotter and Ben behind in the process. Our destination this morning was one of the orphanages. This particular orphanage is the “Cadillac” of orphanages. It is well run, has clean groups and ensures that all of the kids are well taken care of. Taking good care of the kids is of particular interest of the orphanage because all of the kids who come to it have some sort of medical condition. We played with the kids for a few hours and had a lot of fun doing so.

Afterword, we had lunch at a familiar place. There is a restaurant not too far from our hotel which we had dinner at the first night. Mostly what we have ordered from this place was noodles, however, their menu is actually quite extensive. After lunch we went to the Forbidden Palace, Tianamen Square and attempted to make it to the Summer Palace in time to tour it. The Forbidden Palace was much larger then I had expected it to be. It had large courtyards, massive walls and large buildings. Truth be told. Much of the architecture look quite repetitive, but it was impressive nonetheless. The garden at the end of the palace was beautiful. I have several pictures of the garden that I believe will represent it well. The square, much like the Forbidden Palace, was larger than expected. By comparison, I would say that it is about 2-3 times larger than Red Square in Russia.

We finished the day with a banquet of a dish whose name has been changed and modified for years. I like to call it Beijing Duck, but it is more often referred to as Peking Duck. The process of making this dish is quite extensive, but it is truly worth all the preparation. From what I understand the first step is to blow hot air under the sick of the duck. This allows the skin to crisp while cooking the duck and maintaining the moisture on the inside. The duck is then cut into smaller pieces and served with steamed pancakes, spring onions and a sweet bean sauce. The combination is divine. Without a doubt in my mind, it is the best food I have ever had. If there was some way that I could learn how to make it, it would be the only thing I eat for the rest of my life.

 

Ali Weber – June 6

— Ali Weber

After getting settled in at Yanda Hotel on Yanshan University’s campus on Saturday evening in Qinhuangdao, we woke up for an exciting Sunday as we had the opportunity to attend a church service for the second time on the trip. We dressed in formal attire for the special occasion, and after breakfast, we hit the road! We took a bus to downtown Qinhuangdao with our Chinese student-guides for two yuan per person, which is around $0.25 in American currency. It took a good chunk of time to reach our destination, around 30-40 minutes, and then we had a short walk to the church from the bus stop. Downtown was neat to walk through; there was a lot of commotion occurring with people everywhere going about their business. Before entering the church, our group spotted a Starbucks that we would be sure to swing by before returning to the university after the service (of course J).

We made our way to the building where the church was located, which was on the top floor of a downtown high-rise; we stepped off the elevators and took our reserved seats in the first few rows, front and center. We immediately joined in the melodies being sung in Chinese, many of which were familiar tunes including “Amazing Grace” and “How Great You Are,” so while they sang in Chinese, we chimed in through English. The pastor’s wife delivered the sermon that day, and she encouraged the congregation from Judges. There were around 30 attendees aside from our group. The service was similar to what we experience in America: praise and worship, prayer, a sermon, intimacy within the body, etc.

The church gave us a very warm welcome. About halfway through the service, they announced a greeting, and the Usreys went on stage on our behalf. Trisa delivered inspiring words explaining how we are all a part of the body of Christ and further added, “We want you to know that your brothers and sisters in America are praying for you.”

We had a special treat in store after the service: the church prepared a marvelous lunch for our group! We munched on salad, sandwiches, dumplings, and watermelon. One of the gentlemen performed a very popular dance in China for us called the Little Apple, which has been a sensational internet hit in the country since 2014.

After lunch, we marched to Starbucks, and then we hopped on the bus to go back to the university. The rest of the day was free time with our Chinese students. Most people walked to the beach to play games in the sand, including badminton and volleyball.

This day turned out to be one of my most meaningful memories of the whole trip; I ventured off with another CCU student and three Chinese students. We explored their large campus where they house 40,000 students. They toured us through buildings that related to individual schools of study, past the library, by a popular lake hangout, into the cantons (cafeterias), through on-campus markets, and the list goes on. We ended up at the students’ dorm room. They had four people living in the room; there were two desks on each side of the room with beds above. The dorms contain individual sinks and bathrooms, but community showers have their own building.

We spent about two hours in their dorm, just hanging out and talking about life. We used a laptop to search pictures of places in America, where we lived, worked, went to school, pictures of favorite foods, restaurants, holidays, etc. They showed us their textbooks, and we chatted about what we were each studying. We created a close connection that night, and it was such a unique cultural experience to spend time with them in their person living area.

Afterwards, we wandered off campus for dinner. The Chinese students wanted us to try some of their favorite foods. First, they treated us to hot and cold milk teas. The tea had beans in the bottom that we sipped through a large straw. Next, we went to a food shop where customers put together their own bowls of noodles, meats, and vegetables. There was an entire wall of ingredients to choose from! There were ten different noodle choices alone, including rice noodles, potato noodles, and corn noodles, all made in different thicknesses like that of angel hair to spaghetti to linguine pastas. We tossed in what looked appetizing, and then the restaurant cooked it together for us, and brought out the sizzling soup bowls.

We walked back to campus together, laughing and taking photos. It was a surreal night. I remember looking up at the stars (a rare sight due to China’s smog), and just thought about how big the world is, and how much bigger God is. That no matter where we are, who we are, or what we’re doing, God’s love never changes; rather, what changes is our ability to receive His love.

I feel forever grateful for experiencing China through CCU’s School of Business and Leadership. Every day is a chance to learn something new, and to delve into fellowship with others. It was an honor to do so with the Chinese.

Days come and go, but memories are forever, and words cannot begin to express how appreciative I am to all who made our trip both a possibility and a special success!

China Day 20 (6/7/2015)

Date: June 7, 2015

Author: Jared Cummings

Into the Underground Church

For 20 straight days we have been on the go from 8am to 9pm, averaging about 8miles a day walking. So it was a huge blessing to be able to sleep in this morning—albeit till 8:30am. Around 9am we gathered in the Yanda Hotel lobby with our student guides and headed downtown via bus to see an “underground” church. Similar to the “underground railroad” in US history which was actually above ground, this Church was on the 23rd floor of a local skyscraper. Needless to say, you were not going to “stumble upon” this Church.

Upon arrival we sat up front worshipped as best we could with our Chinese brothers and sisters. The songs were in Chinese along with there sermon so we didn’t always know what was being said or going on, but the worship had a similar tune since most of the songs had been translated from American worship songs like “Amazing Grace.” The service was joyful and peaceful, yet one could tell the spiritual atmosphere was “young.” Most of the attendees were either brand new or recent believers.

We ate “traditional Chinese food” for lunch which consisted of steamed buns, a spicy salad, porridge, and sticky rice with sugar for desert. We all spent some time interacting with our student guides, asking questions about their personal beliefs in light of the fact that for many this was their very first Church service ever! Some of students were very receptive, others weren’t sure what they thought, and some even broke down in tears during the service.

After Church the praise continued as we all lined up to get a much needed Starbucks! At this point of the trip our bodies are absolutely exhausted, and around ⅓ of the delegation is sick with a cold. After coffee we went back to the hotel, changed out of business formal attire into casual, and then went down to the beach. While it was nice to say we have been to the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean, no-one aside from Joseph Maroney had the courage to jump in. The water was brown and murky, there was trash and styrofoam bits everywhere being brought in by the waves. Easily, the dirtiest beach front and ocean water many of us have ever seen.

Weird Fact of the day — most Chinese don’t know how to swim! We asked our student guides if they knew how to swim and they all said that they only knew of one person out of all their China friends who could swim.

In the late afternoon, most headed back to the a quick rest. Ben and David Horner went and played tennis and a few others explored the local markets. Around 6:30pm we walked to the University Cafeteria—easily three times the size of the CCU Cafeteria—and had a delicious dinner of fried rice, chicken, bacon, noodles, and more. All for the meager cost of 8yuan (equivalent of $1.20).

After dinner the group split up with most going back to the hotel to sleep, and a few heading to the “recreational center” to play volleyball, badminton, and ping pong! Luke, Nick, Ellen, Molly, Kate, Joe and I played a few games of volleyball rotating in and out with those on the badminton court. Afterwards, Ben squared off against the best Chinese ping pong players any of us have seen. They literally play with the paddle upside down and are wicked good! Ben was lucky to get a few points of the ping pong master with 40+ years of experience.

Tonight was one of the most fun evenings we have had all trip. It was a blast playing Badminton and Ping Pong (two sports that aren’t so common in the US) and the physical activity and competition fostered a whole new level of relationship with our student guides. Overall a great day!

2015-06-07 11.14.12

Andy Corzine post – June 2nd

Andy Corzine —

Today was an eventful day in Beijing for us all!!

We started it out with the usual breakfast, but from there, it was anything but ordinary. We started it off with the longest public transit ride I have taken in China this far, about an hour and a half, and finally made it to our first destination: the Pearl Market. It’s only called the Pearl Market because of the giant oyster sitting outside the building. Inside however was four floors of vendors clamoring to get our attention. For the most part, we just looked around and had lunch in the canteen area, though some of us caved to the pressure of the merchants.

Afterwards, we went to the Temple of Heaven. I had seen photos online of the temple, but the paled in comparison to seeing it in person. We walked through the numerous gardens of the temple, ranging from groves of 800 year old trees to roses of every color. We then hiked the stairs to see the main temple, where many emperors came to offer sacrifices in order to receive good harvests during the year. The history and the architecture in these ancient buildings is awe-inspiring.

We then ended our day with a real treat: a Beijing acrobatics show. We all had heard or seen pictures of the Chinese acrobats that push the human body to its limits in order to perform for the masses, but I don’t think we ever thought we would get to see that in their hometown! It is incredible the talent of these young acrobats. We sat through the whole show in awe, and sometimes fear, as the performers did their routines.

All in all, it’s been a great day in Beijing and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

 

Luke Burgard – May 31st

Luke Burgard – May 31st 2015.
What a day! They say early bird gets the worm, well we woke up early and we got a little more than a worm!! Our bus left our hotel in ShangHai just before 6:00 am on route to the Geely Automobile Manufacturing Plant just outside of the coastal city of Ningbo. Exhausted from the previous day’s activities, the bus was full of students snuggled in their seats using the three-hour journey to catch up on sleep. Those who managed to stay awake stared out the bus window at the hills, rice paddies, and water. When I say water, I mean a lot of water, a whole lot of water. We crossed the East China Sea on what is known as the world’s largest bridge across ocean water.
    When we arrived at the Geely manufacturer/assembly plant we were greeted by several friendly people. We started off in a showroom that housed each of the models that Geely produces. I found it very interesting to learn that Geely is the producer of taxis in Great Britain and the new producer of police cars in China – highly visible, big markets for brand development. Currently Geely produces several small sedans and cross-over SUV vehicles. Their plan is to enter the European market within the next year and enter the United States within 5 years. In order to support their efforts to pass safety regulations across the globe, Geely recently acquired the Swedish car company Volvo. With the knowledge and guidance of Volvo, I believe that the possibilities are limitless for Geely.
    After exploring the show room and getting in and out of the cars, we had the rare opportunity to walk the floor of the assembly line. We watched men and women put vehicles together. We saw everything from engines to windshields and brake lines to dashboards put inside of the cars. It was amazing to see a car being built from start to finish in about an hour. Going to the Geely plant was an amazing experience and it has inspired me to visit other car manufacturing plants in the states.
   Going to the Geely plant took up a large chunk of our Sunday and we were unable to attend church. So we had a little church service on the bus. The fact that a group of 20 Americans were able to worship Jesus for two hours on a small bus traveling through China is a testimony to how big our God is. With no band or microphones to urge on the singing our praises were still loud. There was no pulpit or stage to speak from but God still spoke to us. Our great God has no bounds. Not in China, not on a bus, not anywhere.

Summary of First Week in China – David Watson

David Watson – Summary after first week on China course trip…

After a long plane ride into the city of Hong Kong and our first night stay in a nice hotel, the group headed to the American embassy in the morning for a debriefing on traveling in both Hong Kong and mainland China, where we would be headed in just two days. At the embassy we had people speak on the eight wealthiest families and people in Hong Kong and how 90% of every dollar you spend in the city ends up going into one of their pockets. They also spoke about the “Triads” (Chinese mafia) and their influence in both Hong Kong and Macau. Hong Kong is a very tropical climate, so the city was built on a mountain in a jungle, with high humidity, high heat, a beating sun, and lots of rain. Once returning to the hotel we took a short break and ordered dinner for the group out of some small street stalls, jiaozi and baozi. Then groups ended up splitting off and checking out the close-by market streets for some minor shopping.

The Second Day the majority of the group split off to go to Stanley Market, and a smaller group went to see the Flower and Birds markets. The Flower market ended up being a couple streets filled with stores that sold all kinds of flowers, mixed and matched with small bakeries and restaurants. The Bird market was one small street which felt like you were right in the depth of a jungle, but cages full of birds were all around you, and birds were flying freely in the air and landing on the ground for specks of leftover food. We then went to check out the IFC museum on the 55th floor with a view of most of the city from high up. In the museum there were presentations on the Hong Kong currency and how it had developed since China acquired Hong Kong, and there were windows with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding skyscrapers, along with parts of the bay and the other side of the river. We then visited nearby 5-star hotels, including the YMCA of Hong Kong Island. I then split off with Mr. and Mrs. Usrey to a dim-sum place to meet the speaker, Nicole, for the next day along with her young son, Blake. The evening was spent exploring the area near the hotel and checking out the markets again.

Day Three was the final full day in Hong Kong. Some went by ferry to Macau, others checked out other parts of the city, and my group went on a 1 ½ hour journey by train and bus to see the Buddhist Monastery and the Great Buddha statue, far away from the main city on a smaller island. The group then heard a speaker named Nicole who worked for a company that manages many luxury brands. She spoke about the high margins and operations of her work in managing multiple luxury brands and meeting the market demands of the upper classes to continue to buy them. Afterwards the group went off together to a Michelin star dim-sum restaurant for dinner. I then split off with a smaller group to head for the skyline to see the skyscraper view one last time and ended up getting lost in the city with the group for about 4 hours before being able to find the subway system and reach the skyline – then back to the hotel.

On the Fourth Day the group got up early to reach the subway to take us all the way to the border of Hong Kong and China to go through customs. Customs was extremely packed, though we were told that it was one of the slower days, and it ended up taking us about an hour to get through. We then all took a bus to a port in Shenzhen to learn more on how ports function and see the largest ship that is currently in the water on Earth. During a four-hour bus ride to Guangzhou we stopped by a KFC to check out what a fast food restaurant is like in China, and found it to be close to the same, but smaller portions. We then stopped at our hotel right next to the university where we stored our bags and headed for a big banquet hosted by Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies for our group. Afterwards the students went with some Chinese students to a small café to talk and play games before heading back to the hotel.

On the Fifth day we went by public transit to a large church that had both Chinese and English-speakers for the church service, afterwards going by bus to ‘The Fountains’ for lunch hosted by the organization that helps run the church. We then took the subway to downtown Guangzhou to see one of the larger shopping roads, with many multi-story department stores and chain stores, along with a Buddhist living quarter that was under repair and fragments from the original road that was there in the 1100s. I had a lunch of octopus tentacles with some others and did some shopping before meeting back up and heading to the river for a boat tour Cruise. On the cruise we traveled down a large stretch of the Pearl River and got to see the infrastructure and massive buildings along the riverside. After finishing we headed back to the hotel to sleep for the next day.

On the Sixth day we got to spend more time with the students at the university, sitting in on an early lecture with one of the deans of the university learning about the history of modern China and how it currently functions, with most of the time being spent for questions. We then went to eat lunch at the canteen with the Chinese students before splitting up, some going to a café to talk, and others, including myself, helping prepare a gift from Professor Usrey to the university. Later on the group went to a dumpling restaurant with the Chinese student hosting us, Kairi. At the restaurant we ended up ordering 10 orders of dumplings, which made it out to be a whopping 150 dumplings for only about 10 of us, too much food — though it ended up being very delicious. We then headed back to the hotel to pack and take the bus to the Fountains where we would stay for the next two nights.

On the seventh day we went to another university (Peizheng) where we ended up sitting in on some classes and then spending the rest of the day going around the university with the students, each of us paired up with a Chinese university student. After walking around we had lunch in the canteen and then got a bigger tour of the university before going just outside to rent electronic scooters (going up to 60 km/h) for less than US$1.00 an hour. After about 10 minutes of riding them, it started heavily raining, which was both fun and not fun to drive in, depending on how you looked at it. Of those of us who rode the scooters, we went soaking wet back to the university to tour the living quarters of the professors who taught there and then went to play sports on the soccer field. Then the group went for dinner in the canteen before being able to see the theater group perform various plays for the university, and it was in English! It helped them practice their English, and helped us understand what was being said. The plays were hilarious, and all of us greatly enjoyed them. Afterwards we took pictures and said goodbye to our student hosts, before taking a bus back to The Fountains.