Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hello from the other side

Hello all!

Sorry it's been an incredibly long time since my last blog post! This week is my first week back for my second semester. This will be my last semester in Shanghai until senior year, so I am trying to make the most of it.

Spring festival is coming up in a week and my friend Wes and I are going to Taiwan for the break. It should be really fun, and Taipei looks like an amazing city.

My classes this semester are currently underway, although I am not sure about a few of them. I am trying to switch my schedule around a little before I decide for sure what I want to do. So far I had to switch out of my Chinese class because it was too difficult, but I am trying to decide if I alter my entire schedule around in order to fit the appropriate Chinese class.

Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out soon, while I still have time to add/drop.

New this semester is a Psychology 101 class. I am very excited to take it! It filters in nicely with my study away plan in New York. I am looking to earn a Child and Adolescent Mental Health minor from NYU's college of Arts and Sciences. So Junior fall should be an interesting semester! (And of course, all of you will get to meet Meichen!!!) Junior spring I will be going to Abu Dhabi with Meichen for our second semester abroad before returning to Shanghai for senior year. It already feels like I've graduated, the time is really flying.

In other news, I am keeping up with my library job and picking up some more tutoring jobs to keep busy. This semester I am taking a full 18 credits plus a zero credit class for my service trip to Cambodia. I had to stop my Internship in order to keep up with all my academic obligations, but I left on good terms so I may return to it if I have the time. All of my friends are happy and healthy and looking forward to a fun semester before we all have to say goodbye for a little while.
I love and miss you all,


Thursday, October 22, 2015

All around exciting semester

Hello all!
I am sorry I haven't posted in forever, but as we know, time kind of escapes us when we are busy doing what we love.

I think this semester has been a really turning point for me in my life. In high school, I felt I did the things I had to do, not necessarily the things I wanted to because of obligations I had made years before. Looking back on it, I think I would have been much happier if I had just stood up for myself and said enough was enough. It took me a long time to realize I had the ability spend my time doing things that made me happy rather than the things that made others happy.

I think this realization began at the beginning of last semester when I began to train for my marathon. Some could argue that coming to this school was the first thing I did for myself, but I think that the attention my acceptance received contributed a lot to my final decision, so I am not going to count it. My marathon was the first decision I made for myself. I was going to train alone, I was going to run it, and it didn't matter if everyone cared or no one did, because I made the commitment to myself and not to a single other person could stand in my way.

Starting this semester I started making goals for myself. They were small and attainable, and if you ask my mom this was a common theme for me in my childhood. I would make goals for my softball team or goals about running or getting good grades. I'm not sure why but goal setting seems to work for me. My goals this semester were as follows: Get an internship, get an english teaching job, find a service project, get all As, explore one part of Shanghai every weekend, find ways to get rid of my anxiety. (The list varies, and sometimes short term goals are added)

We are now midway through the semester and I have found my internship, gotten an English teaching job, explored new places in Shanghai, managed my grades excellently and I will now be going on a service trip to Cambodia.

NYUSH offers a service trip for 12 students to go to Cambodia every year. As some of you know, my Junior year of High School I took Literature of Service where I read Half the Sky. Half the Sky, in short, is about sex trafficking around the world, and one of the countries the author went to was Cambodia. Even in my junior year in high school I felt called to go there and serve, so when the opportunity popped up, I had to take it. I applied and by some miracle I was granted an interview. In the interview I explained to them very plainly that I was being called to serve there. They were impressed with my passion I think, and the rest is history.

Here's the thing about all the amazing things I've been able to accomplish so far. I am busy, yes but I am only doing what I feel passionate about. I have started to live a lifestyle where I want something, I make it work. I think I can contribute a lot of this drive, happiness, and thought process to my major. IMA has been a huge motivator for me. I wake up most days with the desire to create and learn something new. As the semester continues I am constantly reminded that moving out of business was one of the single best decisions I have ever made. Moving forward I am incredibly excited to be a part of the IMA family. Next semester I am taking incredible classes where I will learn how to use drones, how to make interactive clothing like the sleep shirt, I will also be learning about Chinese cyber culture. There were so many options next semester I am taking a full 18 credit load.  I could not be more excited about my academic courses!

I recently attended a meeting with one of the IMA department heads. He told me something that holds true for me and gave me a bit of a new perspective. He was defining the words in IMA and when he got to art he told me that it has almost nothing to do with fine arts or creation, although thats how most people see it. He told me that Art can be defined as the things we do in life that fill us with the sense of purpose and breathe life into us. Art, in his sense, is the stuff that makes us happy and free. I couldn't have agreed more with his philosophy, because right now my life is, in fact, art.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Love always,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau

Hello all
I have just returned from a lovely fall break! Our first stop was Guangzhou, our accommodations were about 1.5 hours out from the actual city, which was a bit of a bummer, but we managed just fine. While in Guangzhou we got to see the Canton Tower lit up for Moon Cake Festival as well as see some very interesting museums and monuments attributed to Sun Yat Sen, the first president of the Peoples Republic of China. In addition to this we also saw the Church of Saint Paul, and toured a near by market that was selling all kinds of notebooks and candies and stickers. After two days of touring it was time for us to go to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong was my personal favorite. Although I couldn't use any of my Chinese and they drove on the opposite side of the road, I fell in love with that city. The buildings and architecture were absolutely amazing. We used the very clean metro without fail, and they had every international food brand you could imagine. Normally I would tell you that we only ever ate Chinese food, which is probably the cultural thing to do, but once you see all the international options, its hard to pass up. We ate at Patisseries, Turkish restaurants, Vietnamese, Thai food, you name it. The first night we went to a Dragon festival that was happening in town. It was 250m dragon that was made out of burning incense. At the parade, Hugh Jackman, of all people made an appearance. Other than Hugh the dragon ended up being a bit of a disappointment for the two hours we waited for it to appear. The next night we ended up going to Victoria's peak which has the most gorgeous view of Hong Kong I have ever seen. Pictures won't do it justice, but I will be sending some along.
I would like to preface this next story by telling you that our days in Hong Kong were some of the hottest I have ever had to spend outdoors with no air conditioning. For a lot of the time we had to just pretend not to be miserable because we were all sweating so much. The last day we decided to go to the big buddha which is one of Hong Kong's most famous landmarks. It took us probably three hours to get there. There were 2 ferry rides and a bus ride involved. By the time we made it to the Buddha it was close to 100 degrees. We climbed up all those stairs saw the beautiful view and I would have been so content to go back to the city after that, sit in a cafe and drink a gallon of iced water. However, in a group of 6 girls,  group decisions must be made, and we decided to travel to a fisherman's warf, thinking we might as well see as much as we can. The warf ended up being a mistake, as there was not much there but house and fishing boats. At this point I had convinced half the group to travel back with me. It was so hot at this point, the ground was steaming to a point where we were desperate enough to find a fan and just stand there as it blew hot air on us. We couldn't have gotten on a bus back to the ferry fast enough. When we got back to the hostel we all showered and laughed about how miserable the fisherman's warf was. That night we had excellent Dim Sum and then went straight to bed to catch a ferry to Macau for our last day.
Macau was equally as sweltering. It is known for it's gambling but unfortunately you have to be 21. Getting to our hostel was probably the main event of the trip. We had to split up in taxis 3 and 3. The taxis dropped us off randomly and we had to find the hostel on our own. We don't speak any Cantonese or Portuguese so trying to find the place and our lost friends was a struggle. We eventually found our English angel in this beautiful hotel that happened to be across from where we were staying. She lead us right to where we needed to be, and our friends ended up not finding the place for another hour.  The majority of our day was spent looking at church ruins and eating really good  food. There were so many people out because of the national holiday, it was a really cool atmosphere. To end the trip we went out for a fantastic dinner at one of the Portuguese restaurants near our hostel. I am so glad that I got to go on this trip with the girls. We had so much fun and laughed all the way through. Traveling in Asia can be really hard, because so many things are out of your control, but in the end if you make it back to the dorms safe and sound, it's considered a successful trip.
I will definitely be visiting HK again-- but it's for sure a winter destination!

Love from Shanghai,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

More exciting news

I got the English teaching job! I am now an English tutor for ten kids and we meet 2-3 times a week. I have my own textbook and teaching plans. The kids range from first to fifth grade and are all very excited to start working on their English! In addition to this the school wants me to teach once a week on Saturdays to the public (meaning any adult can audit the class too).  The school is pretty close to my dorms, and all the staff are really kind. (I'm the only native English speaker who works there). I start after I get back from Hong Kong!

Friday, September 18, 2015

New Internship/national holiday/update on life

Hello All!

I hope everyone is having a great week! This week was the beginning of my internship with MyLOHAS beauty! I am their digital marketer and so far they have given me plenty of projects to keep me busy. I am so far their Facebook Page administrator and I have to draw up a marketing plan to keep the posts relevant and efficient. I'm pretty excited to be on the project and the ladies in the office are all very nice. I'm also picking up on a lot of Chinese since I'm the only American that works here.

Next Week is Chinese National Holiday.... I'm not really sure what it's for but I get a 10 day break.  Annie, Isabella,  Cha Mi and I are traveling to HongKong, Guangzhou, and Macau (Spending 3 days in each place) We have the whole trip planned in a spread sheet (we'd expect nothing less from Annie, who put the whole trip together). As it happened on of my peer advisees is from Guangzhou and when I met with her she gave me some great places to eat and something that she said I must see! It'll be great to get away from this incredibly busy schedule I've somehow managed this semester, and I'm excited to be with the girls. It's a good group!

This week in IMA I am creating a digital comic! I am looking forward to posting it to my blog so I can show you guys what I've been learning. I am really enjoying how much creativity IMA invokes in me and I'm really happy I switched into it. Also, all of the projects are group projects so it's definitely helping my delegation and communication skills.

I have an English tutoring job in the works (just two hours on the weekends) I will keep you updated.

Also this weekend I'm buying a bike AND HELMET. I guess this means I've really assimilated into the culture. I may be 8000 miles from home, but I can still hear my mom calling everyone not wearing a helmet a "fool". I have made a point to buy one, despite the lack of helmet wearers in the city. Traffic flow is dangerous enough with a helmet, so I stand by my choice.

I have a busy weekend of projects, essays, and readings but tonight is a friend's birthday, so don't worry I am still having fun with this crazy schedule.

Love from Shanghai,

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good News

I got the internship! I went into the interview and they offered me the job on the spot. I will be interning with the digital marketer at MyLOHA. As of now I am working three days a week and its actually real work, not just getting coffee. Because I am currently on a student visa, they cannot pay me, but they can compensate me with free organic products and a travel stipend. However, they are letting me stay on during the summer with pay, if I think it's the right fit.

I am so excited to be given this opportunity. This internship is so relevant to what I think I might want to do after college, so I will keep you updated on how it goes!

Love from Shanghai

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2nd Week Of Classes/ possible internship!

Hello all

It's been a very busy week here in Shanghai. I have been coding up a storm in my Communications class, and when I'm not coding I'm learning Chinese characters or reading for my other classes.

The gym has yet to open here and I am getting very anxious. I didn't realize that I had to run in order to function like a normal person, but apparently that is the case. I have taken to running up and down the stairwells of my dorms (for old times sake) every night. Rumor is it will be open by the weekend, so I can go back to a normal workout routine.

This Friday two very exciting things are happening! The first is I have an interview for a marketing internship with a health and lifestyle company based in Shanghai. It is the first of its kind in China and as the intern I'd be given all kinds of opportunities to market their products at international farmers markets etc. here in Shanghai.

Also on Friday is NYU Shanghai's annual reality show. This year 12 of my fellow sophomores spent their summer at NYU, NY rehearsing for what we call a 'reality show' which is a musical based performance given to the Freshmen to talk about health and wellness issues and general adjustment to college. For a lot of us, the reality show last year was a turning point for our grade. It was finally one thing we had all experienced and could all talk about. Before then we all felt so different from each other, the grade was so segregated between Chinese and Internationals. I think it definitely brought us together, and I'm hoping the same will happen to the Freshmen this year.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week!

Love from Shanghai