The time has finally come. I'm coming home! It's been an awesome 3 weeks. Dr. Pan's group has been so nice! They really are so friendly and welcoming. Thank you guys so much, I loved my stay! I'll be back next year for THREE MONTHS with Jodi.
We took a picture before they left yesterday for their conference (2 or 3 are missing in the picture because they had class). It's a big group though as far as PhD's in Materials Engineering go.
They were super nice enough to take me out to dinner that night! We went to a fancy Korean Food restaurant. Each table had a gas grill built into it and they had a cast-iron griddle on it so they cooked your food for you right in front of you. It was so good! they had kimchi and lots of different cooked vegetables and meats. Once they were cooked you'd add a few veggies and wrap it up in a piece of lettuce and dip it in this mega hot and spicy dip they had. It was fantastic food! The guy on next to me in the white shirt is Wan ChunLei who came to visit before and the guy on the bottom right is Qu ZhiXue who will be coming to stay 3 months starting in October sometime. More than half of the people that are in the group now will be gone next time I come though because they graduate or something, that's really sad because they are all so great!
They even gifted me a totally rad Tsinghua University T-shirt which they all signed with their names... which felt strangely like Saturday morning at Camp Cherry Valley.
The desert was way good too. It was like ice cream I guess... It had shaved ice (like for snowcones) and it had milk mixed in it a little and then it had some fruit (papaya? and pineapple) and then it had these little red cooked beans, or lentils... or I'm not really sure. But they were definitely legumes. That's right. Legumes in your ice cream. They were really good though. The dish was called "Red Bean on Ice Mountain" it was awesome. Did I mention we fit like 13 of us in an elevator.
I have been spending my remaining time before I leave exploring places like this...
I can't help myself. I'm drawn to them like a bee to a flower. My sister Michelle is the same way. If there's a lot of strange people to be seen... I'm there. I met a really nice random girl named YouYou and she was from Beijing but she spoke English and German really well. We chatted for a long time and then she showed me her Art studio where she works. She was really good. She calligraphied for me a bunch of cool things and wouldn't accept any money for it! She was so nice. I ended up staying there with her and her boss, a really amazing artist guy, for like an hour. I showed them a picture of the family and they exclaimed that michelle and alicia looked like movie stars. When I told him Dad had died he did two really cool calligraphy things with Mom and Dad's name on them and insisted I take them without paying. They were so great!
Anyway as I wandered I came to a realization. In China- if a food is normally to gross to consider, maybe it's just not being presented right. You know, if you saw a giant maggot, a thumb-sized bug cacoon, huge grasshoppers, big sea worms, sea lions, squashed lizards, starfish, or even SCORPIONS... you'd probably not think to yourself "How do I get that goodness inside of me!"
Well, think no longer! If you were repusled before, just imagine it on a stick! Everythings better on a stick! Just think of it, that huge cockroach looks way better, doesn't it? And the sea worms? They look like dried spaghetti noodles on a stick now! and the lizard which looked like it had been run over and left to dry on the road 3 or 4 days, well NOW... well... now, it pretty much looks the same. BUT on a stick!
And just so you don't think they only eat bugs and lizards and scorpions and things on sticks...
here's some totally kickbutt fruit glazed in a carmel like coating on a stick. These I did try, and boy howdy were they good.
You know you're a serious fan when you wake up at 4 o'clock in the dang morning just to watch the lame gametracker version of the University of Utah vs Air Force game and listen to the online audio stream. It's a good thing they won, because if I had to wake up that early (adn wake Kozy up apparently) and they had lost... then I'd be so mad! but they won! go UTES! Nationally ranked, they were #20 last week, and even after a less than marvelous showing today they can only go up! Go UTES!
One last parting thought- to quote Alexis de Toqueville: "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." Count your blessings, we live in such a blessed country when even the worst off among us are prosperous beyond what they can even imagine.