Check out this travel diary of Xiaoqian Lu, also known as Molly. She’s one of seven students from Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China, who are participating in an educational exchange with the NEOMED College of Pharmacy this year. Molly and her Chinese classmates are excited to learn about American customs and visit new places, whether that means watching the ball drop in Times Square or walking the Freedom Trail in Boston. Enjoy!
For its emphasis on family, Christmas bears a similarity to Spring Festival in China despite cultural and religious roots. Before Christmas day, we were invited to take part in two parties about Christmas.
- Ashley, who is our classmate in our first-year pharmacy class, organized an interesting activity about exchanging socks in her home.
- Carl and Lynn are devoted Christians who we met in Church. They came to China last year, so we have lots of fun things to communicate about. They
took us to visit their house and invited us to their daughter’s party. It was a very big party, where there was food, food and more food. The most important thing is that I saw the real Santa! He gave me a hug and sent me a nice bell. How memorable it was!
- Jodie also prepared surprises for us on Christmas day. We played some interesting games with her lovely children. I ate more than any other day of the year. Families and friends spent hours on the big meal.
We had planned this travel for a long time and can’t help setting out. The three of us, Wang, Sophie and I arrived in Boston on the 27th of December and walked along the Freedom Trail that afternoon. There is so many magnificent architectures. I liked the clean street and the slow-paced life.
Then, we spent one day visiting Harvard and MIT. It’s not easy for me to read the full name of MIT- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It’s hard to describe how excited I was when I walked on the Harvard campus.
Our route: China town →Brooklyn Bridge →Wall Street→ Central park →American Museum of Natural History →Metropolitan Museum of Art → Empire State Building →The United Nations → Statue Cruises → Rockefeller Center →Times Square
New York City is huge, not just geographically, but culturally. It is one of the most iconic cities on earth. We stayed three days in New York and most of the time we traveled in Manhattan. Manhattan is a very walkable city even though the weather is lousy. It’s almost entirely flat and the grid system gave us a great indicator of distance. The great thing about walking along the street is the little gems that we could discover along the way as the avenues took us through the different neighborhoods. It’s really easy to be drawn to the flickering lights of somewhere like Times Square, like a depressing touristy moth.
I have to admit that it’s a very, very tiring trip. We booked some cheap hotels, which are kind of far away from the Manhattan in order to save money. So we have to get to tourist spots by bus or subway. And I had gotten used to walking from one block to the next. We also slept in someone’s attic without air conditioning. In short, these memorable experiences created a meaningful trip. As for the New Year’s Eve, I want to say it was the first time and last time for me to enjoy the time with about two million people. We ran through 20 blocks to find a good position to watch the ball drop. There was such a cram in Times Square. We waited at least 10 hours in the cold wind with no food, no water and no restroom. The worst was that I was too excited when everyone started to count down to see the ball drop. I got a purple hat printed showing 2017, which helped my head keep warm that night. The fireworks also impressed me.
There was a cold night, we planned to go back to the house located in New Jersey but we got off at a wrong station. It was worse that our phones were out of charge, so we couldn’t use navigation of Google Maps to show where we should go. There were no people on the lower street. We walked along the street for about 30 minutes and missed a crossroad. Finally, I waved my hands to ask for help. A kind lady stopped her car before us and took us to her house. She had four lovely daughters and a cute dog. That night, we enjoyed tasty cookies and teas made by herself and talked for a long time about China and her families. How lucky are we to make friends with her. It is a great holiday, isn’t it?
The spring semester is coming, which also means that we have only five months to stay in America. What I want to remember is not only some nice experiences but also the pharmacy knowledge. I will cherish the remaining time and just stick to what I love and believe in. I am really grateful for everything I have. Everything I have experienced, no matter how better or worse it is, makes me grow to maturity.
To be honest, I am reluctant to write this in English because I need to think again and again in case there are too many mistakes of grammar or vocabulary. I haven’t made myself a master of English, but I am trying my best to improve it.