Great to be back home!

Our trip has come to a successful conclusion.  How sweet to touch down in Atlanta, and then a few hours later in Savannah on Tuesday night.  Everyone was thrilled to see the welcoming crowd awaiting our arrival at the airport that night.  We all said goodbye and headed home, eager to get back into our normal routines.  Being away for two weeks helped us to realize how much we take for granted in the world as we know it.  The 18 students and 3 faculty members who made the trip have returned with many fond memories, funny stories, a better understanding of Chinese culture, and best of all, new friendships.

Special thanks to all who contributed to the success of the trip.  Recognition is deserved for Dean Shelley Conroy, who started the China study-abroad offering by COHP last year, Dr. Jim Anderson, Director of International Education, Dr. Helen Taggart, faculty leader for this year’s expedition, and Dr. Marilyn O’Mallon and Dr. Sara Plaspohl, trip faculty members.  We are appreciative for the support of faculty and staff who encourage students to take advantage of the study-abroad opportunity.  Thanks to our team of 18 students for serving as AASU ambassadors to China, and to their families for ongoing support.  Finally, for those of you who have enjoyed this blog, please know that it would not have been possible without the enthusiastic and tireless behind-the-scenes help of Carly Hallman in Marketing.  We faced some unexpected technical challenges with posting the daily reports, and Carly saved the day by posting the stream of text and photos on our behalf that were emailed to her on a daily basis.

Drs. Taggart, O’Mallon, and Plaspohl will be sharing more about our adventure as part of the 2011-12 Faculty Lecture Series in the fall.  Hope to see you there!

It has been a pleasure “living the blog” with our AASU family.

sarafromchina :)

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Passing through Seoul!

We have arrived in Seoul after completing the first of three flights to get us home to Savannah. The first flight was a little bumpy at times so we were glad to land. The next leg is the long marathon flight to Atlanta. Everyone is looking forward to being back on American soil. Get ready to welcome your students and faculty back home…see you Tuesday night!

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Time to come home!

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Hard to believe that today was our last day for exploring China.  Our first stop was a tour of the Temple of Heaven, where emperors visited to pray for productive harvests. There were many older Chinese people there participating in sports, card games, exercise classes, and more.

Next we visited Guang An Men Hospital, with Dr. Nan Jihong serving as our guide.  We learned more about yin and yang philosophy, as well as herbal pharmacology.

We ended the day with shopping for final gifts and goodies to take home.  Everyone is packing tonight so we can depart tomorrow morning for home. The flights home will be long but we will be glad to be on our way back to our loved ones.  See you at the Savannah Airport on Tuesday night!

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It’s all about the wall!

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Today we visited shrines both old and new.  The morning started with a visit to the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics.  We walked inside the Bird’s Nest where Olympic track and field athletes made contributions to the legacy of sports.  We saw the Cube where Olympic swimmers and divers competed for the gold. We saw the Olympic tower where the flame burned brightly for several weeks in August almost three years ago.

On to the Summer Palace where the Dragon Lady spent much of her time. We toured the grounds and enjoyed a boat ride on Kumming Lake.  After that we visited a jade factory, then rode to our final destination for the day.  We saved the best for last…

How can you describe the Great Wall of China, one of the seven wonders of the world?  Here is how our group described this world treasure:

“Spectacular”….Xiomara Bowdry
“Magical”…Halayna Anderson
“Cool”…Kaitlyn Youmans
“Amazing”…Terry Wright
“Unreal”…Ricky Jerido
“Winning”…Kristin Bamman
“Dumbfounding”…Mary Kate Fahey
“Phenomenal”…Madelyn Kessler
“Breathtaking”…Adrienne McConnell
“Wonderous”…Ken Surber
“Speechless”…Chris Fahey
“Breathtaking”…Christopher Vann
“Wow”…Leyna
“Speechless”…Megan Foster
“Unbelievable”…Jessica Bailey
“Awe”…Katrina Ansara
“Great”…Ronda Wallace
“Great”…Harrison He
“Win”…Kelly Monroe
“Amazing”…Helen Taggart (Dr. T)
“Enlightening”…Marilyn O’Mallon (Dr. O)
“Fantabulous”…Sara Plaspohl (Dr. P)

Enjoy the pictures! Good night to our families and friends.

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Standing in the midst of history!

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Breath-taking.  Beautiful.  Inspiring.  Amazing.  These words were spoken many times today to describe the historical landmarks we had the privilege of visiting in Beijing on day 12 of our travels.

It is hard to convey the vastness of Tiananmen Square. We stood in the center and imagined all of the history that has occurred there.  It is equally challenging to describe the majesty and splendor of the Forbidden City where Chinese emperors ruled for many centuries.

We visited a pearl factory where fresh water pearls are harvested and crafted into lovely jewelry (yes, we forced ourselves to get in a little shopping).  We learned that unlike a salt water oyster that yields a single pearl, a fresh water oyster can produce 20 or more pearls (yes, we actually saw one opened and it had an abundance of white pearls inside).

We attended the famous Kung Fu show that explained the history and training of Kung Fu warriors. The athleticism of the performers was amazing.  The day was finished with a special dinner of Beijing Roast Duck, which was delicious.

We are back at the hotel now, getting ready for another huge day that will include the Great Wall and the site of the 2008 Olympics.  Good night to all of our families and friends!

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Hello from Beijing!

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It has been another long day filled with an assortment of sight-seeing and transportation.  We began the day with a visit to Slender West Lake in Yangzhou.  We saw beautiful gardens showcasing a lake that was complimented with Chinese bridges, pagodas, and other cultural structures.

The park was landscaped in a colorful array of flowers, accented by hundreds of delicate white butterflies hovering around the blooms. We fed white pigeons who were very friendly as they swooped up on the arms and head of anyone who had bird food in their hand.  The morning was quite warm but well worth the sweat as we enjoyed the beauty of the park.

We journeyed back to Yangzhou University for our final meal on campus, then boarded a bus for the Nanjing Airport, about 1.5 hours away.

We arrived at Beijing this evening, flying into a city filled with bright lights. To our surprise, it was cool outside, quite a switch from the earlier heat in Yangzhou.  Alice met us at the airport, and will be our guide in Beijing.  Harrison traveled with us, and will continue to be our leader until the end of the trip.  We checked into the hotel and then everyone headed for their rooms.

We are excited to begin touring Beijing tomorrow.  For now, good night to our families and friends!

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Day of classes and buddy time!

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This was our final day of classes at Yangzhou University.  We started the day with our good friend Dr. Lu and Professor Chiang, an herbal pharmacist.  We discussed combined therapy of Chinese and Western medicines.

After the morning session, everyone went in different directions, including the YZU library, a local bank, or other nearby spots before lunch.  After a delicious lunch, we hopped on our bus and rode over to another YZU campus where we heard a lecture by Professor Ji Bufeng on Chinese medicine and medicated food.  He was a chef for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.  He prepared several dishes for us, including duck and chicken soup.

After the afternoon lecture, we returned to the main campus for dinner and then a farewell session with our buddies.  A good time was had by all as we exchanged gifts with our new Chinese friends.  We were treated to a visit by Dr. Lily Young, Dean of International Studies.

After our farewells, everyone walked back to the hotel, and then many went out for a last night of exploring Yangzhou before our departure to Beijing tomorrow.  We are enjoying comments from family and friends so keep them coming!  Now it is time for sleep…good night from China!

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