It's now the day before I leave the country, and I have to say that I'm excited. I've been so busy recently finishing up my internship and packing up and getting everything ready that I haven't had much time to write, but now I want to sit down and tell you all about my last few days in China.
My last week of work went wonderfully. We were busy getting out the Chinese Government Scholarship acceptance letters on Monday and Tuesday, and I was also busy doing some translation work. The dean of the Institute for International Students gave me a 42 page report on Jiangsu Province and asked me to translate it, so I was busy finishing that up for him. As a reward he offered me the chance to travel for up to 500 USD, unfortunately with my leaving in less than a week I was unable to take advantage. Instead he gave me some nice tea (which was way to large to take back, so I donated it to Flagship) and some silk scarves. I also got some silk pillow cases from my coworkers. My students and I had lunch together on Wednesday and they were sweet enough to get me some jewelery as a leaving gift. Class for the rest of the week went as planned and I was busy running around wrapping things up in the afternoons.
Friday was a friend's birthday, so we went to teppanyaki (essentially all you can eat and drink Bene Hanna) and dancing. It was nice to see everyone and celebrate before going home. Saturday was my last Jiangsu Sainty soccer game, and some students and I headed over to the Olympic Stadium to cheer them on.
Unfortunately they didn't win, which I blame on the referees (in true fan style). It was the first time I've seen them lose, and I now understand why they don't allow water bottles in to the arena (it was rather fun to watch them explode onto the track, some of them even made it onto the field).
Half time was also very interesting. A fan got engaged to his girlfriend (they had a banner and he gave her flowers and brought her up to the front of the fan club area), and there was also a banner going around with propaganda about the Huangyan Island, an island in the South China Sea that both China and the Philippines lay claim to. The banner was passed around during half time, and reads "Huangyan is our land, the criminals must lose, although Huangyan is far, we will not back down".
Sunday was a rather rude awakening as I seem to have gotten food poisoning from a smoothie that I suspect had bad fruit. It was an unfortunate way to spend my second to last day in China, but I was able to keep water and food down by the afternoon so I was still able to attend my going away dinner. We all ate at the Istanbul Turkish restaurant, owned by a friend named Baris, and we had the whole back room reserved so we sat on cushions and ate a great meal (I only had bread, but it was very tasty bread). Glad to say that I am feeling much better now, and I'm glad that I didn't have to take a trip to the hospital.
Monday was all about packing up and tying up loose ends. I packed everything up and it all fits, although barely. I also took all of the things that I am not bringing home to the Flagship office for future Flagshippers or to the local community center for donation. It only took about 5 trips to get everything over there, and now my room looks as it did when I arrived. My landlady came by and we figured out all of the water/electricity/gas bills, and I even got about 100 USD back! Woot woot! I now have a lot of RMB on hand, so I guess whatever I don't spend before I go home I'll have to save for my next trip! I'm sure it'll appreciate in value, so I'll look at it as an investment!
I leave tomorrow at noon, first flying from Nanjing to Beijing, then from Beijing to Seattle (10.5 hours on a plane, I'm lucky it's a new one!). In Seattle I'll have about 20 hours with Amy before catching the next morning 7 am flight back home to Minneapolis. I'm so excited to go home and see my friends and family. Over all I've had a great time here, and I know I'll look back fondly on the memories that Nanjing has given me. I'll be writing more soon, but until then, I'll see you all back in the US!! Love,