Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moon Festival

               In honor of the Chinese Holiday Moon festival which is from Wednesday the 22 trough Friday the 24, we had to work on Sunday the 19th and the following Weekend the 24th and 25th to make up the schooldays that we missed. Since they wanted to have a 3 days holiday in the middle of the week, we had to trade our weekends for it, which was a horrible idea. The smarter alternative would be to leave everything the same and just take Friday off but that would be too simple. I must say by working on the weekends, it has totally thrown off my sense of time.
             On Tuesday, September 21, after class my classes, it was the start of the holiday, so I went by train down to Hangzhou with a fellow classmate Rob. Since we had a luncheon there for school, I decided to go the night before rather than getting up at the butt crack of dawn to trek down there. Hangzhou is small city and is known for it’s lush landscape, specifically the West Lake. It is about an hour and a half south by train and is where the other half of my cohort that is not in Shanghai is studying and teaching university at. Upon arrival I faced a bit of a culture shock. Hangzhou embraces the Chinese culture more so than Shanghai and does not take on the Western culture as much. As we waited to flag down a cab for a split second, it hit me that I was in actual China as I left the comfort of Shanghai. I spent the night at Phyllis’s, a fellow cohort member and had the pleasure of breaking in her lovely guest bed, which featured a hello kitty blanket that she purchased with me when she visited shanghai, except I went with Domo, the more manlier Asian cartoon character.
              Once in Hangzhou, I visited some of the other classmates and explored the campus. I ended up hanging out with Phyllis, Ralph and Mo (all in my cohort) for the rest of the night. For some odd reason the gates close at 12 o’clock so you either get locked out or locked in to your dormitory. Wanting to explore the city at night we hopped the fence and carried on with our adventure. Once freed, we roamed the streets in search of food and any late night activities we could find. It was decided that we would go to Coco’s the local hang out which was the so-called hotspot. Somewhat of a dive, the bar/dance club was packed with sweaty people and music blasting. Filled with a nice mix of locals and foreigners it was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday night.
             The next morning we went to lunch at “Grandma’s Kitchen” which is a famous local restaurant that has rapidly expanded over the past few years. To my surprise, we had 4 big tables filled with fancy food that was quite delicious. Based on my experience, Concordia University has been very cheap and stingy with what they provide for us so I figured the food wasn’t going to be anything special so this was a surprise to everyone. Plates after plates came filled with famous local dishes. It was nice to see most of everyone from cohort, who was there. This is the first time that I saw many of them in China, with the last time being in California.
           After lunch, we said our goodbyes and Rob and I headed back to Shanghai. That night I went out with my roommates and some friends to a club called Phebe 3d, which is pretty close to my house. This was like a Vegas style club and even had performances during certain hours of the night. What was nice about this place is not only did they have a dance floor with tables surrounding it and multiple bars, but they also had a side room with big couches and tables to sit and hang out. They also offered a all-you can drink bracelet deal for 100Rrm. We met some pretty cool people there including some French people who were surprisingly nice, and who we spent most of the night socializing with.
              The next morning my roommates and I got up and went to Yoga class and then Gym. Since I have paid out of the wahzoo for this gym membership, it has given me great motivation to consistently go. I have been trying to go about 3-4 times a week based on what my workload looks like but in return it has been very beneficial. Since being in China, which has been a little over a month I have dropped about 10 pounds which can be linked to the different lifestyle I have lived here. This includes more walking, sweating and eating different foods. I would like to think that it is because of my more consistent gym visits, but usually I gain weight the more I go to the gym, so that is probably not the case.
          The rest of my Moon Festival consisted of resting from the hectic schedule filled with kids work and extra curricular activities that I normally am swamped with and catching up on my homework for school. It seems that most of my schoolwork comes in clumps. Since all my schoolwork is online classes, we do not have to attending any lectures, which is nice, but at the same time it has made it hard to remember to do all the assignments. Without the accountability of going to class, I carry on with my daily tasks and get occupied with everything that I have to do with work, sometimes forgetting about school, but luckily I have my roommates to remind me.

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