224… You said 224… Right???
Today was… interesting. Super fun, though. I’m going to run through the events quickly because its currently midnight and I’m rather exhausted… Sorry I always end up writing these very late and with little time…
Let’s start with peer partners!
Last week, two of my friends and I met two teenage girls (Chinese “peer partners” to help with language studies during cultural classes). We are allowed to leave campus and explore the city or simply sit inside an air-conditioned room and chat.
Well, today, my friend and I grouped together with one of the girls we met last week, named Alice (her American name, that is). She shuffled us towards a Chinese “fast-food” restaurant for famous Xi’an “hamburgers,” and then herded us into a clothing store. We tried on hats and shoes and ridiculous shirts with nonsense-English scrawled across the fronts (English shirts here are hilarious… If you thought “Welcome NSLI-Y Partipants” was funny, you’ve seen nothing…)
Our NSLI-Y group of 23 planned to visit a KTV, or Karaoke joint, this Friday night, so we invited Alice to tag along (which she happily agreed to).
So, 20 students agreed to go, and 5 Chinese host siblings/peer partners joined in on the excursion. But… how are we all going to get from the university to the mall? Together?
“224 is our bus. Ride for seven stops. Get off,” a host sibling reported to me, gesturing at my wallet to signal it was time to pull out my bus card.
Bus 224 rolled to a stop in front of our flock of 25 exchange students, and we filed up the vehicle’s steps, swiping our cards as we boarded. Since the bus was miraculously not jammed with people, all 25 of us managed to squeeze our way inside.
I’ve never felt more out-of-place, or unwelcome. The native Chinese glared and stared and talked and scoffed at us hopeless foreigners with our few tour guides.
Well, after a few minutes, Nolan exclaimed that all Americans on the bus needed to quiet down and listen up; “we’re on the wrong bus! Get off! Get off!”
The bus slowed… the doors opened… 25 people shoved their ways down the isle and out onto the city sidewalk.
Clumping together in attempt to figure out what to do, some students started to walk away from the bus under the assumption that we were supposed to cross the street.
“Get back on the bus! It’s the right bus! Get back on! Go! Go!” Nolan’s voice…
So, we all scrambled for the bus (doors were still open from our dramatic exit). The doors slid shut and the same native Chinese people glared at us again, except this time, they were confused too… and irritated… and entertained…
Anyway, we lost 6 people between running off and sprinting back on the bus. “The first casualties of the trip,” we called them (really, they just got a taxi and beat us there).
Seven stops and a mile-walk through scorching heat, and we were stepping inside the mall.
KTV was a lot of fun; we sang Chinese songs as well as American songs. On the way home, I was humming “Tian Mi Mi” quietly to myself, although I did receive a few odd looks from passers-by that overheard me.
Quick little note before I sign off: Taxis are cheap.
The distance between the university and the mall is not short, and traffic does not help. Taking a taxi back to the university at the end of the night costed 11 yuan. Almost 2 US dollars. Insane.
Alright, sorry for the short post, but I just wanted to get a quick update on my day scribbled down somewhere. Nothing too culturally intriguing, unfortunately.