Dialogue between Catlin Gabel Students and Chinese Students ( July 28th, 2011, written by Gene)

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Today I awoke to a terrible itchy sensation that seemed to be bent on consuming my entire body. My ear was still massively swollen from the mosquito that decided that my ear would be a nice pit stop for breakfast, while my arm and leg had transformed into a buffet line overnight. Although the rest of China has been as great and exciting as we had expected, the mosquitoes have been the downside of the trip. The weather called for 31 degrees Celsius with heavy rains or sun, according to the hotel weather board. After meeting down in the lobby with the group, we headed out to a takeout breakfast from a local restaurant. After quickly gulping down on this traditional style meal, we proceeded to learn Taiqi and Chinese in our respective classes.
Lunch today was a very special affair. We had our first experience with American food in China, in the form of the local Mc Donald’s. After the initial excitement had worn off, we began to realize that we still had to order the food, which turned out to be a problem due to the fact that each hamburger had a name about six or seven characters long, while in the US all you have to say is “Big Mac, fries and a coke.” After asking the chaperones how to say various dishes and getting back practically sentences, most of us resorted to merely smiling at the waitress, pointing to the hamburger we wanted and saying “kele” which is Chinese for coke. If I was at home and happened to go to a Mc Donald’s, I would have been satisfied with just that, however, being in China, Nicholas, Cooper and I decided that it would be worth our while (and money) to buy four packs of chicken mc nuggets and split them evenly between the four of us. We even learned the Chinese for chicken mc nuggets: Sifen maileji. We successfully ordered using the Chinese and triumphantly walked back to the school classroom where we were eating the food. The amount of food everyone (at least the guys) was apparent due to the number of paper bags, containers, wrappers and soda cups strewing the table.
After this very hearty and satisfying lunch, we began a “Student’s Dialogue”. This included the American students conversing with the Chinese students about various aspects of education, sports and life in our respective countries. After this enlightening discussion, we learned how to cut paper using a traditional Chinese method. The final project was to create the Chinese character for luck and happiness, which turned out to be very neat because of the symmetrical nature of the character and the satisfaction of finishing the cut out. The day seemed to go by very fast, and suddenly it was time to go sleep in our hotel “Ru Jia” in preparation for our next day in Beijing.