Today, we took a trip to East China University of Science and Technology. I was finally excited because we would finally learn about engineering related concepts. The presentation started out great, we talked about our experiences in China so far and had some time to ask questions about anything academic or China related. After that the lecturer went through a slide presentation but it turned out to be more geared towards business and to the history of China. It was very informative, but I had been looking to learn more about engineering principles and was a little disappointed that we didn’t.
Later on, we got in groups of three with two Pitt students and one East China University student and went down to the cafeteria to have lunch. I got some dumplings and engaged in conversation with the student about life here and future goals. The cafeteria food tasted good enough to be sold at a restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised because from my experiences in high school and college cafeteria food is not always that good.
After lunch, we got some ice cream because it was like over 90 degrees!! Then we returned to the classroom to play games together. During the game, most teams ended up losing and had to go on stage and present something to the class: whether a dance, song, joke, or whatever could entertain us for a short while. A lot of it was so cringeworthy! Personally, I hate watching people sing because I get so nervous for them that they will run out of breath, or attempt a note they can’t reach, or just sound bad and leave the room quiet and awkward. I also hate watching people try to tell jokes because it’s sad when it doesn’t work out. It was still exciting to watch but I was so glad my team never made it up to the front. We decided to lay low and stay quiet so that we would easily be forgotten, and it worked!
We returned to the hotel and had some free time before some of us headed out to the acrobatics show. I absolutely love shows of this art because I am astonished time and time again that people have so much self-discipline and are able to move in ways I can only ever dream of. The show met my expectations: it was soooooo amazing!! At a point my eyes hurt because they get dry often, but I couldn’t risk closing them and missing part of the show. It was just talent after talent after talent. I loved that each performer had his/her own unique talent and got to be the star for a few minutes at a time.
I watched someone balance about 20 glasses on their nose, climb up a ladder, sway on the ladder, and get back down without dropping any glasses. I watched someone else hang from a pole mid-air and then let go of the pole to hang onto someone else who was hanging on the pole mid-air. I watched again as about 15 chairs were balanced on someone’s feet as they laid on their back and then watched as someone climbed onto those chairs, spun and swung, without falling. Each time I was even more blown away than the previous act.
Then, the greatest part of the show arrived! They asked for a volunteer from the crowd for a knife throwing act. My friend went up and had to stand against a board. The performers blindfolded him and proceeded to throw their knives at him. I was soooo scared because I couldn’t imagine letting someone throw knives at me no matter how skilled they claimed to be. It all turned out to be a gag and while he was blindfolded they simulated the throw then took off the blind fold each time to show him the position of the knife. It was amazing because being the blindfolded person, you would have no idea that the knives weren’t being thrown and you were actually safe. We decided to keep it as a secret for a whole day, so he would have his time to shine. He was actually very courageous because he didn’t it was fake. He was actually willing to let someone throw knives at him! Wild!
Not to mention, I had a great time singing throwbacks loudly and badly with my classmates. It was probably my favorite night of the entire trip.