Today when I woke up, I already knew that I didn’t want to leave. Although we had the full day ahead of us since our flight wasn’t until midnight, I felt sad that I had to leave this amazing country so soon. Although we weren’t leaving until that night we still had a packed day ahead of us. That morning, we traveled to the Yu garden which is right in downtown Shanghai, just across the river from the Shanghai Tower and other skyscrapers. The garden was built back in 1577 by a government official for his parents. The purpose of the garden was to impress his parents and serve as a peaceful retreat for them. The garden features many ponds, trees and greenery, and statues that come together to form a beautiful and peaceful space. One of the lion statues was over 400 years old, which I realized was older than the country we currently live in. As we progressed through the garden, we got to see many Koi fish in the ponds along with a few turtles. Once we exited to main garden, there was a tea house in the middle of another pond with a nine sided zigzag bridge connecting it. The reason why there are nine sides is since nine is a lucky number in the Chinese culture. Surrounding the garden however, is various shops, restaurants and food carts which were very similar to the Muslim Quarter back in Xi’an. Here I bought some bubble tea and some gifts for some friends back home. My bargaining skills from Xi’an came in handy as I got a Shanghai Tower model for half price along with a fan for only 30 RMB. Some shopping along with noodles with Nancy, Dora, and the boys made for a great time as we next headed back to our hotel to prep for our presentations.
Once we returned to the hotel, I was both excited and nervous to share our idea and presentation. My group and I had been working on our idea over the past two weeks along with our presentation so we were ready to present it to everyone. We presented first and in the end our presentation went smoothly and even better than in practice. I was happy that our group presented without a hitch and that we were even able to draw a few laughs from the crowd. In the end it was great to see how our hard work was paid off after the two weeks.
After our presentation, it was time for our final group dinner and to say goodbye to our guides from the Asia Institute, Nancy, Liliana, and Dora. Our final meal was one of the best with a variety of barbecued meats and delicious veggies, I don’t know if it was the great cooking our the fact that it was our last meal together that made it so amazing. On top of this, Nancy, Liliana, and Dora made a compilation of pictures and videos throughout the trip set to Baby Shark, including our performance from the Children’s Village. Overall, they have been such a huge help to us over the trip with planning visits, providing us with cultural information, translating words and conversation, and have just been fun to hang out with.
And just like that, it was already time to leave. We stopped back at the hotel, grabbed our luggage and we were off to the airport. On our way out we got one quick glance of the skyline before it dipped back out of view. We arrived at the airport, said our goodbyes to Nancy, Liliana, Dora, and Chris and headed through security and customs towards our gate in the near empty Pudong International Airport. In what felt like no time at all we were already heading home, back from an amazing experience in an amazing country with some amazing people. I cannot thank Dr. Li and Chris enough for helping to put this trip together and guiding our group. Also with the Asia institute with Jane, Nancy, Liliana, and Dora who all helped us out greatly. Our tour guides too Uncle Joe and Kevin made an amazing experience even more enjoyable. And to wrap it all up, I had a great time with all of my fellow Pitt students on this unforgettable journey and I hope we get back together sometime in the 412. China Plus 3 was an unforgettable educating and learning experience that I was so grateful being selected for. I already have plans to return to the country soon and possibly spend even more time exploring cities and locations that I didn’t on this trip. This concludes my final day blog in Shanghai, until next time my slimes.