Last night was a late night for many of us! We all were up to the early hours of the morning finishing up our internship report, family history paper, and journals. Although it was a lot of work, it will be great not having these reports hovering over our heads when we are in Shanghai. This was our last morning with our host families. After a small breakfast, I gave nainai and ayi (grandmother and grandfather) a big hug goodbye! We dropped my host sister off at her weekend class before continuing to Nanjing University to reunite with the group. Everyone was sad while saying their final farewells to their families. It is amazing how much of relationship we had built with our families in just a week! I am hoping I will be able to see my host sister a few times next year since she is going to high school just outside of Boston.
Once at Nanjing University we had a few hours to finish up our reports. Dong Laoshi and Jenn were kind enough to get us all coffee to keep us going! After grabbing a quick sandwich at Skyways Bakery we loaded up the bus with our luggage. The bus did not come to get us until 130; our train was scheduled to leave at 2 o’clock sharp! We raced to the train station, the bus driver weaving in and out of traffic. We got to the bus station with twelve minutes to spare. It was a mad dash off the bus, through security, and finding the right platform. We had to grab whatever bags that were on the bus, we didn’t have time to sort out whose was whose. I was the lucky one who somehow managed to get stuck lugging two fifty pound bags! Of course once in the station we had get to the second floor and there was no escalator. It was a sight watching us all trying to pull massive bags up the stairs! We could not catch a break, once we got to the platform we had to find Car 1. We were at Car 15. There was only 6 minutes left so we sprinted down the platform. Thankfully, all of us and our luggage made it on the train with two minutes to spare!
Between the late night and the mad dash, we were all exhausted. Some took advantage of our one-hour train ride on the high-speed train to finish up last minute work while others opted to nap. We were riding in style on the gaotie (high-speed rail), which was much nicer than the other trains we have traveled on, especially the hard seats. The train reached speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour! Our bus picked us up at the Shanghai Railway Station and we headed to the Grand Magnificent Hotel.
The hotel is great location, right near Renmin Park (People’s Sqaure). We only had a few minutes to relax after checking in before we had our fourth discussion to reflect on our last week in Nanjing. By the time the discussion ended, it was nearly seven o’clock so we hit the Shanghai streets looking for something to eat. A few of us went to a Hong Kong family style restaurant named Tsui Wah. It was delicious, especially the shrimp wontons. After dinner we explored an alley near the hotel. We indulged in a cold fruity dessert soup. It was around 30 degrees Celsius and this was a nice cool, refreshing treat. Many of us were exhausted after our last week in Nanjing so we went to bed early. We want to be reenergized to seize our free day tomorrow!
- Caton B.