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Essay about Shanxi Summer Camp

Jessica Yang

 

This summer, I had the amazing opportunity of going to this wonderful camp in Xi An. Honestly, I don’t think words can describe how amazing of an opportunity going to this camp was. Now that I’m back, I cant help but miss Xi An and all the fun we had there. To be honest, before going to camp, I was pretty reluctant to go and spend two weeks of my summer with a bunch of complete strangers. But, my perspective has definitely changed since then.

On the bus to the hotel, I remember thinking to myself, “This is so awkward, I hate this camp already.” That was, until I started talking to the girl I was sitting next to. We became pretty good friends, even though we had just met. We explored the hotel, wandered around the streets, went shopping, and proved to ourselves that we were still little kids on the inside. At the mall, we found this claw machine and saw little stuffed Baymaxes, so we insisted on getting matching Baymaxes to celebrate the first day at camp. We knew that it was practically impossible to actually get one, let alone two. But, maybe God was on our side, and somehow, we ended up hugging our Baymaxes, grinning ear to ear as we continued wandering around the mall. That’s when I realized that maybe camp wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I actually saw two of my friends from Chinese school at camp, so we were always together, since we didn’t really know anyone else at camp. At the beginning, we were all convinced that spending two weeks with a bunch of strangers was the stupidest idea ever, the food wasn’t edible, the yellow shirts we had to wear everyday were the “ugliest shirts ever”, and we all convinced ourselves that we hated this camp and that it would be the longest and worst two weeks of our lives. We were all convinced that everything was bad and always found something to complain about. (We were very stubborn.)

That all changed after a few days of complaining, and we realized that we would be spending the next two weeks here, so we might as well try to enjoy it. We started talking to other campers, and made quite a few friends along the way. We started having more fun on the tours and started to smile and laugh a lot more. We stared in shock at the Hukou Waterfall, learned so much about the Terracotta Warriors, the emperors of the Tang Dynasty, and the history of Xi An. There were so many beautiful handmade pots and vases; we stopped to take a picture of each and every one of them. The days started speeding by, and in the blink of an eye, a week had already passed.

I remember staying at this one hotel that had a basement. Being as curious as we were, we decided to go and explore. I have to say, that basement was the creepiest basement I have ever been in, and it felt exactly like the basements that are in horror movies. It was pitch black, and looked like a deserted hotel suite. There were empty beer bottles, and we all believed that it was a murder site where a dead body was hidden. This was probably the scariest memory, and the most unexpected thing to happen at a camp, but it was fun, and I’ll never forget it!

One of my favorite memories was the last day, which was sad, but one of the best days I had at camp. Since one of my friend’s birthdays was two days after mine, somehow, our friends had planned us a birthday party, ordered a cake, and bought us presents without us even noticing! I remember walking into the room with her, both of us blindfolded, and then hearing them sing happy birthday. It was definitely the best birthday I could ever wish for. I started getting teary-eyed as they led us to the cake. It was absolutely amazing; we used a katana to cut the cake, and blasted “We Are Young” and sang along.  As we started to take a bite of the cake, they smashed it in our faces, and that’s when all the laughter began. I remember just feeling so happy, thankful, and mixed with emotions as we sang along, ate cake, and enjoyed our last night in Xi An.

I am so glad that I had this opportunity to go to this camp.  I have learned so much about my culture, met so many friends, had so much fun, laughed till I almost cried, and made so many unforgettable memories. Those two weeks flew by so quickly, and it was definitely the best two weeks of my summer. If I get the chance, I am definitely coming back next year!

 

 

Sandra Yang  NJ 

8/2/2015

 

I attended the ShaanXi Xun Gen Zhi Lu Program during the July of 2015. Overall, the trip was an extremely eye-opening experience. I was able to further understand Chinese culture and history through hands-on interaction and a multitude of tours and activities. Standing in person before the landmarks and historical sites allowed me to truly feel the grandeur and magnitude of Chinese culture, from the man-made wonder of the terracotta warriors to the natural majesty of the Yellow River. We were also able to interact with the children of ShaanXi province, and to understand their lifestyle and customs. Many of us were able to establish connections and relationships within China through letters and activities. Through a plethora of events that allowed us to view and experience both the history and people of ShaanXi province, we were able to immerse ourselves in Chinese culture, coming out more proud and more aware of our Chinese heritage.

 

Aside from our increased exposure to our heritage, this trip also allowed for interaction between those of Chinese descent from multiple countries. This allowed for me to realize how little a role my heritage truly played in my life, as well as the importance of Chinese as a common source of understanding and communication between us. Although we all spoke different languages and grew up in different environments, we were able to bond over our common heritage in an environment where we would be able to interact and get to know each other. Needless to say, with Mandarin as our only common language, our Chinese-speaking skills improved quickly. This trip was a valuable opportunity to understand customs throughout the world and to make friends whom I would never have even thought to have met before such a trip. Overall, this trip was a positive experience that I would recommend for anyone of Chinese descent to attend.

 

 

Lydia Yang

8/26/2015

Shaanxi Summer Camp

I found Shaanxi Trip as an enlightening experience. It opened my eyes to facts about China that I never even heard about, and it also helped me understand the stories of some famous historical figures better. An example of a new fact I learned was the story of Zhuge Liang’s wife, who was recognized to be unattractive, but even more intelligent than her husband. Examples of going into more details about famous historical figures include Yang Gui Fei, one of China’s four most beautiful women, and Zhuge Liang, an extremely intelligent war tactic strategist.

What I liked about the trip was that everybody learned something new every day, we were provided decent meals that were quite filling (though some were spicy), and great hospitality in hotels. Sure, there were a few imperfections in some things, but 200 mouths were all fed, and everybody got decent sleep in sufficient hotel rooms. Everyday we were able to be educated one way or another in a wide variety of subjects, including singing, a ritual coming of age ceremony in which we learned the proper way to wear the robes, history, what types of hats warriors wore to represent rank, and more details about the Terra-Cotta Warriors.

Overall, the camp was something everybody should experience. It was fun, interesting, and educational at the same time! I made lots of new friends, understood other cultures a little bit better, understood China more well, improved my Chinese, and definitely had a great time.

 

 

中国夏令-西安,绿队,肖欣迪

This summer, my mom sent me to a Chinese history camp instead of letting me peace out at home the whole summer. When my mom gave me the news that I was going to a camp for two weeks, I was so devastated, this would mean that I would have to miss a lot of my friend’s birthdays to go to this camp across the world with strangers.

When I got in the hotel at 西安, I felt so isolated because I didnt know anyone and no one knew me.(Life is Hard) Ugh my roommate, Emma, didnt get here until like 12 pm. Luckily for us, Emma got another room key, unlike the other people which only had one keycard, so we could both go shopping and then we could both get in without relying on one another.

Anyways, the first day the camp went to the 西史博物 I saw and learned a lot of stuff I never knew about before. For example, I saw the Gold Monster which is a monster made of pure gold, if you look closely, you can identify that it’s body resembles 3 birds.

The second day we all went to see the terracotta warriors, most of the warriors’ heads were broken off. It was really interesting how there were so many but the faces were all different. The terracotta warriors were several miles away from the emperor's burial place though.

The hotels we stayed at were okay, but the food was just so terrible that my friends and I got Ramen noodles every day. I told my friend Allen LI to go tell a teacher that we were going out for Ramen, but instead of telling our American group leader he told a Canadian leader that we were going out.

The next interesting place that we went to was the Yellow River, rumored to be the place where the first Asians bathed, mainly they say that because we’re yellow and the river is yellow so you get the idea. My friend Andy, Jessica, Allen, and I stood on a rock in the river, it was really close to the shore, but then our group leader, my friend Jessica’s mom yelled for us to come back but we literally could just take a tiny step and we would be on the shore. But I totally understand why she asked us to come back, it’s because the water could decide to rise any moment and we would be swept to our deaths (LOL) .

The sad and REALLY shameful thing about China is that there is A LOT of animal abuse. When we were at the yellow river, I saw these poor little donkeys that had like a vest, plenty of flowers, and a rough bridle on them, these poor things had to stand like a statue in the 30 degrees celcius temperature, and if they didn’t sat there and still, the ass’ owners would whip them. The stupid ass owners sat there in the shade and ate snacks while the poor creatures stood there.

Lastly, we went to several mountains. On one of the mountains, there was an emperor’s castle, there we saw many, many, MANY boring bath tubs. And eww, the royalty had to bathe in stone pits with river water(I really think there was a bunch of algae in it, EWW).

Near the end of camp, we went to a playit was okay. It was a love/romance Chinese drama on this emperor and his beautiful empress.

Finally, my friend Jessica and Cathy had to spend their birthdays at the camp, and I hosted an all-nighter Birthday Party! We watched a movie and had a dance-off/ sing-off. The birthday party lasted until 2 am. We got Jessica a stuffed dog and a Baymaxthen got Cathy a stuffed bunny and a hair pin. The cake alone cost over 400RMB, so the birthday party cost a lot, we all contributed but I did half then my other 15 friends did the rest.

Ugh, the dreaded day where everyone says their goodbyes and leave for different destinations like I was going to Beijing for a little while my best friend was going to Ohio and my friend Max was going back to Canada.

Overall, I think the camp was a great experience for me and I hope my mom will let me go to a different location after all the mischief I’ve caused. 

 

今年的夏天


陕西营德州红队宋欣蓉


今年的夏天,我参加了中国寻根之旅的西安夏令营。这个夏令营的每位营员都是从各国各地来的。参加了这个夏令营,让我学到了很多,长了不少见识,并且让我更深层地了解了中国历史与文化。与此同时,我还结识了许多朋友。那两个星期是多么快乐,但那时间过得真快,一转眼就又开学了。每个人都回到了自己的生活里,也许我永远都见不到这些伙伴们了。如果时间可以倒流,我一定会更加珍惜那段时光,那段无忧无虑的时光;只有朋友和快乐陪伴着我们。那两个星期非常短而又非常美好。我永远忘不了我于伙伴们的点点滴滴。让我印象最深刻的就是我们住进壶口旅馆那天。

 

我们刚进房间就发现不对。房间里非常阴暗,而且墙面上,床上,还有座子上都有一层灰。窗户外面什么都看不到,因为被一张海报给挡住了。我们根本不知道外面的世界是什么样子。我赶紧去厕所观察了一下。厕所竟然连浴缸都没有;更不要说帘子了!“呀”, 正在看手机的Helen, 我的室友,大叫一声,“这儿连网络都没有!”我的目光转向了电视,“至少还有电视看。” 可我一打开电视就发现不对,电视连一个频道都播不出来。完了,今天什么都不能干了了。

 

吃饭时,我们去找Sandy,发现大家都在。我情不自禁地就说起了电视的事情。Michelle哭诉道,“至少你们还有电视,我一进房间就发现墙上没有电视只有一个大洞。”我和Helen非常好奇,就跟着Michelle一起去她的房间了。可墙上里根本没有什么洞, 只有一台电视机。 看到墙上的电视机,Michelle 感到很尴尬。她说,“我发誓刚才明明有一个洞。我不知道为什么就多了一台电视机。”我跟Helen闲着也是闲着,就开始参观Michelle的房间。我发现这个房间的窗户直通旅馆的大厅,而且大厅里还坐着两个人。我脑子里突然有了一个主意:何不用这个机会捉弄那两个人呢?我告诉Helen我的主意。她非常赞同。我打开窗户,用手吹了几声口哨。我看见那两人又慌又忙,正在四处寻找声音的来源。Helen看我正玩儿得高兴,就在窗户外大叫。之后,她马上就在窗帘后面躲了起来。我们看到楼下两个人惊慌失措的样子,都忍不住笑了。后来那两人实在没办法,只好走了。

 

我告诉Helen,“如果Michelle房间的窗户直通大厅,那我们的房间也很有可能直通大厅。” Helen很兴奋地说,“我们可以在自己房间里捉弄人了!”

 

我们去大厅观察。果然有一张跟我们窗外贴得一模一样的海报。我与Helen赶紧回房间。我打开窗户,发现不对。外面好像有我们夏令营的人在开会。我一听就听出了一个声音:我妈妈的声音。我很失落地说,“看来我们要等我妈他们走了之后才可以捉弄别人。”我们在房间非常无聊。这时,Helen突然大声唱起了歌。渐渐地,她唱得音调变得又高又刺耳。Helen竟然还把她唱的歌声录了下来。我一听录音,发现她已经不是在唱歌了,而是在学鸡的叫声。我们大笑了起来。我说,“你已经练成了你的鸡叫声。我妈没听过你的鸡叫声,所以现在我们可捉弄楼下的那些人。”我们又打开了窗户。楼下的人还在开会。Helen大声地叫了起来。突然,有一个男人大喊,“什么声音?”随后Helen又叫了几次,听到大厅里的震惊,我们每次都大笑起来。

事后,我们走进大厅,看到两个人在说话。我清清楚楚地听见其中一人说,“声音好像不可能从隧道里传来吧。”我和Helen一听到这句话就逃之夭夭了。虽然他们可能不是说那些叫声,可我们还是做贼心虚。

 

那是一段多么美好的时光,那两个星期是多么丰富多彩。我们尝到了人生当中相识和离别的滋味。每个人的人生总会经历那些酸甜苦辣,而这个夏令营就是每位营员在社会当中迈出的第一步。