Firsts in China

Written by Garrett Schuman, (University of Kansas) Student Correspondent
Summer Intensive Chinese Language in Kunming, Summer 2015

Firsts in China

First plane ride: This was definitely what concerned (and probably freaked out) my family and myself the most, but even though I was very close to missing two of my flights, I was able to detach myself from my support network for the very first time in my life. Although that meant aimlessly wandering through the Guangzhou airport for what seemed like an eternity, it carried with it a bittersweet feeling of independence and loneliness. When it was all said and done, it was anything but scary (probably just uncomfortable), and the only thing that I had by the time I landed was a monster case of jet lag.

Even though the airplane ride made me completely useless afterward, the view I got was more than worth it.

Even though the airplane ride made me completely useless afterward, the view I got was more than worth it.

Food: Coming from Kansas, I have absolutely no exposure to lots of different foods, seafood included. One of my most satisfying moments here is that I’ve got to have fish that wasn’t in fish sticks, and shrimp that didn’t have to travel through 10 states to get the mediocre restaurant you’d find it at.

2015 Summer-First Fresh Fish!_Garrett Schuman

Aside from that, I’ve got the opportunity to try countless new fruits and vegetables, most notably a fruit called 杨梅 (Yang Mei).

2015 Summer-杨梅 (Yang Mei)_Garrett Schuman

My other food adventures include:

小笼包 (Xiao Long Bao- in a nutshell it’s a dumpling with various things inside, mine just so happened to have pork inside)

2015 Summer-小笼包 (Xiao Long Bao)_Garrett Schuman

-小笼包 (Xiao Long Bao)

Although I don’t have any pictures of these, I’ve mistakenly eaten duck egg, pig liver (which was delicious, actually), and I’ve intentionally tried way too many corn flavored things, like corn flavored ice cream, which defied all of my expectations by being much more than just edible.

Finally, I was able to have Chinese KFC!

The sandwich had a lot more mayonnaise on it than I expected, but that didn’t make it any less wonderful.

The sandwich had a lot more mayonnaise on it than I expected, but that didn’t make it any less wonderful.

One of my first weeks at CET Kunming, almost all of my classmates, their roommates, and a good amount of our teachers went to hike a nearby mountain called 西山(XiShan) aside from it being the highest altitude I’ve been in my life, I learned that I adore hiking, and even though I like it, being clumsy on mountain doesn’t really put the odds in my favor.

Xishan

Xishan

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to briefly mention my experience with my roommate thus far. At my university, I had plenty of international friends and classmates, but I had never had the opportunity to actually live with them day to day. So far, my roommate has done nothing but floor me with his kindness and willingness to help me with every day with things like reloading my phone with minutes, actually getting my phone, and I can’t tell you how many times he’s paid for me when he wanted me to try a certain kind of food. Aside from that, we like the exact same things (CET couldn’t have made a better match), and for some reason we’ve had a good number of late night find-some-munchies.