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Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So far, after living in Lanzhou for almost 2 weeks, I feel like I have pretty much fully adjusted. The weather here is still a little annoying because the temperature varies a lot during the day. I have learned to drink hot water instead of cold, I have learned how to really use chopsticks, I have learned to walk a mile-ish to class and the library every day, I have learned how it feels to be in a place where everything is new. It is difficult to explain the concept of everything being new. New language, new people, new university, new culture, new habits, new home, and a new family of sorts. 

I have come to appreciate so much here. I have come to really appreciate friends - it’s easy to forget how much better friends make life until you move to a place where you don’t know anybody. I have been invited to eat with my teachers and friends, and it literally is the highlight of the day when I see someone I know and experience that little bit of familiarity. 

I think I’ve just begun to reach the point where people are not freaked out by me and are asking me if I can hang out on the weekend - it’s Wednesday and my weekend just got booked! It is impossible to explain how much it means to me when I get invited to someone’s home for a simple meal - it really makes me feel like I’m important to somebody here and not just another student who doesn’t really matter. I can’t explain it, I really can’t. My value of friendship has exponentially grown and although I'm making friends here, that doesn't mean I don't miss people back home.

( My ETBU Roommates - great guys)

I have been given so much and I have been really humbled at times by people’s kindness. The first few days here were not very fun and they were lonely, to tell you the truth, but I believe I have found a good group of friends and support in a lot of good people. My teachers Ma Lin, Jodie (who, by the way both have awesome kids, they are really shy and hilarious), and Stacie have been especially kind to me because they have traveled abroad and know exactly how I feel here and they know the kind of advice to give and how to deal with the different issues that come up.

I have a completely new perspective on the international students of ETBU and anyone who is part of an exchange program now that I am a part of one as well. I have so much respect for those people who come to the U.S. to study for their entire college careers - that takes a lot of guts. One semester is not so much, but still not a weekend trip, but a year or 4 years is a long time to be away from family and familiarity.

It is hard to believe I have only been in Lanzhou for less than 2 weeks - I feel as if I’ve been here for a month already. I have already begun to lose a bunch of weight from the healthy food and the sheer amount of walking - it’s crazy! I certainly have learned a new respect for the complexity of the Chinese written language - GOOD GOD….hard as freaking anything I’ve ever done. 

I spent 4 or 5 hours translating 1.5 pages of Chinese - it took forever…..but of course, it’s what I want to do and expected to do. I knew it would be hard, but knowing it will be hard and actually sitting down and working are two different things. I will learn so much, I can already tell. Till next time!


  1. BTW, I think that's the "I'm really happy" look . . .

  2. I am so proud of how you have chosen to explore your path in life. I saw many students with incredible potential, but very few of them have the courage to REALLY follow their dreams. Your possibilities are endless. Keep it up! (And by the way, we really miss you too!)

  3. Austin!

    It's really nice to hear you say that you feel adjusted. Yes, it's challenging to live away from home and you have made a huge step by moving to China for this semester. Keep posting us with what goes on and how you feel. Know that I care about you!

  4. haha, look at my face in that picture there. That was a good semester.

  5. >New language, new people, new university, new culture, new habits, new home, and a new family of sorts.

    And yet, there is a lot in common too, yea?


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