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my friends > China

Chen is a phenomenal girl in her second year at the Nanchang Universities, Foreign Language Institute. It was quite a coincidence that I even met her. Basically she was handed down from one of the boys, Ruopeng, who happened to be a schoolmate when they where in Elementary and High School. He asked me if I would be willing to help her with German, and I immediately said yes. She contacted me the same day and we started to chat. At first I was a bit uncertain, because I raised 4 boys and had no idea if we could even find any common topics to talk about. But it soon became as normal as If I had had a daughter all my life. In fact to take that a step further, I found it to be extremely exuberating. She was so sweet that she defiantly made it to my "must visit" list, and we spent three wonderful days together in Nanchang. She picked me up at the train station and after a big hug and kiss we got onto the bus heading toward the University campus. What a place, home to 14,000 students. When I was there the school was closed due to the national holiday on 1 October, but there where still a lot on campus. Most of the kids live so far away that it is simply not affordable or practical to go home for a few days. The campus provides everything they need from a shopping street, with boutiques, cafés, and other shops to the school run cafeterias and other public areas. The park and lake within the campus are fantastic, and extremely well looked after. I was certainly impressed. The first day in Nanchang happened to be the Moon festival, (First full moon in October), Traditionally the people eat moon-cake, that was on sale everywhere. Of course there where many public activities scheduled in the city, so we got on the bus and went downtown to see what we could find. What a day! It was amazing. Getting back to the University was also an adventure. I think the average bus holds about 60 - 75 people, I swear ours had at least 200 packed inside. At times I was sure the doors would even close anymore, and couldn't believe that it kept stopping to pick up more. The ride from the city to campus is about 25 minutes, I had already had some experience in the shanghai rush hour but this topped everything I had ever done. I wish I could have reached my camera. The pictures would have been awesome. After a 5 mile hike from the bus stop through the campus to my hotel on the other side, I was simply ready for bed. The next morning, at 7:30, Chen picked me up and we rented a tandem bicycle and explored the campus. At my age and after about three hours of pedalling, I was glad to just pay the rent and hand the bike back to its owner. But it was a very interesting ride. The entire campus is well laid out and the green areas just invite to sit on a bench and relax. We spent some time at the lake with her roommates and practiced some German and also some English. I was even allowed to go with her to the dorm room. The dorm wardens are pretty tough and it took some persuasion to get past, but they finally gave in and let me through. It will cost me some extra miles next year, but I will go back again.


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