I absolutely hated living out of a suitcase, so saying that I was excited to finally fly to Dalian is an understatement. I walked into the Beijing airport with my over packed suitcases and a smile, but little did I know that I was missing one thing: my cell phone. Panic began to set in as I frantically searched through my backpack, hoping it was somehow in there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Losing my cell phone in general was bad enough, but trying to overcome the language barrier to get help was worse. Luckily, Google Translate works without internet and Bre’A managed to ask someone if she could use their phone to call our tour guide, Angela. Apparently, my phone had slid out of my pocket as I got out of the car earlier that day. Angela found it in the backseat and mailed it to Dalian. We look back and laugh at it now, but I triple check for my phone every time I go somewhere now!
Now that we have moved into the dorms and started classes/tutoring, navigating around China isn’t so bad. Our Chinese friends are such kind, sweet souls. They always make sure we are fed and take us all around the city of Dalian. They don’t even laugh when we attempt to speak Chinese (just kidding, they totally do). Learning a new language has proven to be a challenge, but I always stay motivated because I know it is my job to adapt to China, not China’s job to accommodate me.
I am pretty busy throughout the week with school and work, but we always find time to eat lunch at one of the restaurants near campus. Our favorite restaurant was Xiao Xiao Xiao, but unfortunately it caught on fire a couple of weeks ago, so now we eat at a place called Jackie’s. Everything here tastes so good, it almost makes up for the fact that there are no Taco Bells in Dalian (I’m still working on my bad American habits). We stay pretty close to campus on school nights, but when the weekend comes we go adventuring.
I think our greatest adventure so far was to the beach. I had never seen the ocean before I came to China, so this particular trip was very special for me. I can’t really explain how it felt to finally see something so beautiful after waiting nineteen years, but it’s a feeling I will never forget.
– Julianna Baker