Wow! Day 3! At least I think that's what day we are on. Traveling has put my time clock a little off and made the days blend together but now that we are to our final destination I think I will get accustomed quite quickly! I feel like I have traveled through time with the time change. I've already been exposed to many new experiences and have soo much to share. I can't seem to capture enough on my camera and our experience has only just begun! 

I have only traveled in a plane once before and it was just a domestic flight from Evansville to Florida but I can honestly say I'm an experienced air traveler now! I know now to always initiate conversation with the person sitting next to you so it's not an awkward flight and you can ask them how to lean your seat back when you can't figure it out. Grab a cart in the airport when you can to push your luggage or else your arms will be tired. Also flight attendants keep you more than satisfied with the frequent meals and beverages. I think my favorite meal was that from the Japanese airline. It included fish and rice, soup, a box of assorted japanese cuisine and it was topped off with frozen custard! Most of the meals were full meals like this; I think I would gain a lot of weight if I was a frequent flyer! It was like I was being pampered on the flights with the warm wash clothes being handed out, personal TVs, music, snacks, meals, beverages, pillow and blanket. I also liked how we had electronic maps displaying our location and how far we had left to travel. They also showed our ground speed (528 mph at one point!) and altitude (32000 ft). I think I could get used to the lifestyle of a traveling business man! 

I have to say the view from the plane was amazing! I was lucky enough to be near or next to a window during most of the flights. I found it interesting to view the mountains, icy waters near Alaska, and to be able to compare the different landscapes of America, Japan, and China. You can see a difference in the way the communities are set up even from above! In Japan fields seem to be separate from housing and look very organized and in China many red buildings stood out, even one in the mountains!

The longer we traveled the more apparent our tiredness became and was demonstrated through our corny jokes and tired voices and eyes. I was very grateful to have someone along who is fluent in Chinese and accustomed to the culture to make our travels much smoother and to gain easier access to important information. Also by seeing some of the different interactions take place I was able to watch facial expressions even if I didn't know what they were saying it was interesting. 

We were happily greeted by two Southwest University students in Chongqing who were eager to practice their english. Talking to them has been very pleasant and I was able to ask questions and they were able to view some of our habits during a trip to the market.  I think the funniest and most interesting question they asked me, real quietly, was why the boys weren't helping the girls carry their bags. I think there are a lot of cultural differences that  will stand out in the days to come that will make me think. The professor who greeted us and took care of us when we arrived has also been very friendly and actually quiet entertaining with his jokes and personality. I feel very comfortable here thanks to their warm greetings and eagerness to help. 

Being here I feel like I'm famous. Even though I know it's just because I am American and have blonde hair, I still enjoy the little kids pointing me out to the parents with big smiles! We definitely stood out in the market. Driving in China has also been an experience. I am told the rules of the road are similar to those in America but I get the feeling they are more of a guideline as everything seems to be organized chaos. Bikes, mopeds, pedestrians, and taxis all flow together. Horns are honked not in anger but as a curtesy for the safety of others. It's kinda like "I'll watch out for you if you watch for me." This shows me a sense of community. We tried out our luck crossing the roads by foot and I think we will soon be a part of the flow with a little more practice. 

I can't wait to get my luggage tomorrow (it was delayed in Japan when one of our flights was late, always pack extra cloths in your carry on!) and to get wifi set up so I can communicate with my parents and friends. I am also anxious to explore the city more, engage in more conversations with the students, and experience Chonqing! But first I am eager to get a good nights rest! 


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