Shanghai Shipping

Today was a short yet interesting day. We started bright and early at 7:30 this morning. We then made the two hour track to the shipping yard. Along the drive we had a University of Pittsburgh alumni tell us what her life has been like since she moved to China over 7 years ago. She described her experience as nothing more than one would expect. She made friends and lost them as some moved back to the states on their job rotation. She told us that the experience over all, the shift from having a network of friends and family she grew up with to having no one, was very empowering. She said she found herself having to rely on people she didn’t even share with a common language with. She explained that learning Mandarin was a way of meeting new people, as many of her friends were from Japan and also learning Mandarin. She told us that, to my surprise, government censorship wasn’t a large problem for her and she never felt disconnected because of it.
After the bus ride we arrived at one of the largest ports in China. The amount of shipping containers was insane, and the man power needed to move these products inland was unheard of. From here we went to visit a company that specializes in shipping automobiles. We then got to see their port and watch a ship be unloaded. We then had a divine lunch of turtle, calamari, and shrimp. Though this was an interesting meal, it was no less delicious than the other dishes we have had so far. I’m looking forward to an evening if shopping as I still need to but an additional carry on for the plane ride home. I bought more souvenirs than I planned to and don’t have space, nor enough extra weight, to pack everything in my suitcase. I hope to also find other inexpensive souvenirs, both for gifts and for my self; though Nancy and Liliana informed me that the best place to find things of this nature would be at the Yu garden tomorrow. Though we only have one day in china remaining, there is plenty more adventures to be had and many more aspects of Chinese culture to be learned about. An additional part of the culture that I have noticed since we arrived is Feng shui and its importance when determining placement of anything. Our guest speaker this morning had mentioned that her language partner had his doctorate in Feng shui. I have noticed that nature is a big part of keeping the balance between the nature of one’s self and the corporate business being conducted. This results in there being coy ponds and Bonsai trees in many of the businesses we have visited. Furthermore, feng shui was mentioned briefly in Xi’an when we visited the house just outside the forbidden city. The owner had mentioned that the location of his house was in the perfect location respective to the forbidden city and governmental buildings to make perfect feng shui which not only allows him to live a harmonious life but also increases the value of his home (demonstrating how valuable this principle is in Chinese culture.

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