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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011


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June 28th

Fly to China.

June 30th-July 1

in Kunming

Quick City Orientation

Scavenger hunt in Green Lake Park

Morning at the Jin Bi Square


July 1st

Night Train to Lijiang


July 2nd

Arrive in Lijiang

Head to Black Dragon Park for morning walk

See Li Jiang Old Town

Head to Southern Cloud Retreat Center


July 2nd-5th

Orientation

Language Classes

Home Stay Preperation

July 5th-7th

Rural Home Stay

Continue Daily Classes

Investigate Local Community Needs and Issues

Service Project

Expert Guest Teachers on Local Customs, Environmental Issues, Art in Modern China and NaxiShaminism

July 8th

Depart for Mei Li Xue Shan(or Tiger Leaping Gorge depending on weather)


July 9th-11th

Hike Mei Li

Visit Sacred Waterfall

Visit Glacial Lake

Visit Old Growth Forest

Consider Tibetan Buddhism

July 11th

Return to LaShiHai


July 12th

Rest and depart by night train for Kunming


July 13th-17th

Kunming orientation

Urban Homestay

Speakers on Chinese Economics, Media and Modern City Development


July 18th

Depart by train for Chengdu


July 19th-20th

Chengdu

Visit the Pandas

Eat Hot Pot

Green Ram Temple

Night - take the Train to WuHan


July 21-23th

at Wudang Mountain

Spend the night on the mountain

Practice/watch Kung Fu

Audience with a taoist priest


July 23th-24th

depart for Three Gorges Dam
Development and the Environment


July 25th

return to Wuhan and Fly to Beijing

July 26-28th

Tian An Men and The Forbidden City

-Human Rights

-Feng Shui

-Journalism in China

Drive out to wild great wall

-Stay one night.

Fly Home.

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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4 Week Itinerary Sample

Matthew Burton,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

June 28th Fly to China. June 30th-July 1 in Kunming Quick City Orientation Scavenger hunt in Green Lake Park Morning at the Jin Bi Square July 1st Night Train to Lijiang July 2nd Arrive in Lijiang Head to Black Dragon Park for morning walk See Li Jiang Old Town Head to Southern Cloud Retreat Center […]

Posted On

01/29/12

Author

Matthew Burton

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    [post_content] =>  After honing our group's navigational skills in the winding streets of Kunming--contact Stewart Motta for proper pronounciation--and the verdent hills of Gangca, much like the NBA's Kobe Bryant and Deron Williams bringing their talents to the deserts of Turkey, we decided to bring our's to Gansu's Dunhuang. Arriving in the arid climate after a 17-hour bus ride with skin already peeling from my face and my hair sharing the characteristics of an oily dish from Hong Dou Yuan, the question was not if we were ready for Dunhuang, but if Dunhuang was ready for us. Despite being disoriented by the light and heat of the desert town, our navigators were a force to be reckoned with. After tactfully hailing the local taxis to bring us to our new headquarters, Charley's Dune Guesthouse, we waited with anticipation for the most interesting part of the ride: The Negotiation. Upon arrival, our fearless leader, Stew (only one name can suffice--much like Madonna or Cher), demonstrated the importance of bargaining the price of transit down from 20 kuai, which we later learned was inflated a staggering 5 kuai ($0.80 US).
With the clock counting down on our last few hours in our newly-found desert oasis, only one adjective could possibly describe our 3-day stay here: victorious. Whether riding the 5km into town in the back of an agricultural tricycle or on the luxurious No. 3 bus, we always got there. Whether eating French Toast in a kitschy tourist trap or camel meat in a local Hui restaurant, we always dined in style. Whether lying under provocative posters in Charley's adobe huts or the brilliant night sky on the edge of the dunes, we slept like kings and queens. The age-old question regarding the outcome of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object has been answered; China Comp '11 prevails unscathed. In Dunhuang, no obstacle--not even overzealous volleyball fans running rampant at our hostel or undercover police officers trailing us on motorcycles--could stand in the way of our group getting the most out of what the area had to offer. On a collision course with our next opponent, Beijing, the group looks forward to taking on the heavyweight adversary, for we go hard in the paint. Beijing, get ready for China Comp '11; if you can't handle the heat, then get out of the kitchen. [post_title] => For We Go Hard in the Paint [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => for-we-go-hard-in-the-paint [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-08-02 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=43214 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 319 [name] => China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011 [slug] => china-a-comprehensive-survey-summer-2011 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 319 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 251 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 18.1 [cat_ID] => 319 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011 [category_nicename] => china-a-comprehensive-survey-summer-2011 [category_parent] => 251 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2011/china-a-comprehensive-survey-summer-2011/ ) ) [category_links] => China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011 )

China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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For We Go Hard in the Paint

Thomas Bidwell Walker IV,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

After honing our group’s navigational skills in the winding streets of Kunming–contact Stewart Motta for proper pronounciation–and the verdent hills of Gangca, much like the NBA’s Kobe Bryant and Deron Williams bringing their talents to the deserts of Turkey, we decided to bring our’s to Gansu’s Dunhuang. Arriving in the arid climate after a 17-hour […]

Posted On

08/2/11

Author

Thomas Bidwell Walker IV

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Da Jia Hao! (Hello, Everyone!)

Tonight is going to be our last night in Dunhuang, Gansu province, before we head out to Beijing for the final leg of our trip. Of course, everyone faces this with mixed emotions; "Where did the time go?" is a phrase commonlythrown into conversation.

To commemorate our time spent exploring the lesser-known cities, towns,and rural areas of China, the group will be spending the night in the sand dunes surrounding Dunhuang, camping, reminiscing, and hopefully watching a spectacular view of the sunset and sunrise. Optional activities includedune surfing (YEAH BABY) and maybe an excursion to Crescent Moon Lake, an attraction right near the dunes that provides a stunning juxtaposition of water and plant life to sand, sand, and more sand.

At the moment, a few students (including me) and our instructor Susie are searching desperately for lodging options in Beijing. We have called upwards of 20 hotels and hostels and so far the search has proved fruitless. Hopefully we don't spend our first night sleeping in the Olympic Bird's Nest or something, though that would be quite the experience.

I have definitely noticed a change in myself over the past 5 weeks. I now know a lot more about being outspoken and how to really listen to other people. Also, I think I may have gained a couple pounds...oh no!

I think the group's "storming" phase is nearly over, as no one really snaps at anyone else anymore and there is minimal fighting and arguments. I hope we can all work well in the last stages of the trip, because Beijing might be really hectic.

There will be updates along the way throughout the rest of our journey. Stay tuned, folks!

Gus

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Looking Ahead from the Dunes

Gus Woythaler,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

Da Jia Hao! (Hello, Everyone!) Tonight is going to be our last night in Dunhuang, Gansu province, before we head out to Beijing for the final leg of our trip. Of course, everyone faces this with mixed emotions; "Where did the time go?" is a phrase commonlythrown into conversation. To commemorate our time spent exploring […]

Posted On

08/1/11

Author

Gus Woythaler

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    [post_content] => Since "One" I have made the crucial decision to not travel in reverse chronological order, and instead pick up in kunming. Before I delve into a synopsis of events I would first like to share with all those reading this an integral, but unseen dynamic in this trip, nicknames. Within a day I myself had a nickname, but the amount of nicknames generated by this group is on a scale larger than any I have previously laid witness too (per capita) here is a list of nicknames without matching student names, I invite parents to indulge themselves in guessing who's who (all spellings are not necessarily right, but rather what I think is phonetically appropriate): jaydules tobais samantha lids ranger newbear soda grandpa eema small-eye name-damus name-opolis wayneflete berry/beary/barry kobe rango yugi sarajanay yacove suzie q ldog vilham jigsaw rino with that out of the way I will begin recounting the events of our travels. In Kunming we were staying with the coolest guy ever. We were staying with this German dude who both shaved julians head into a Mohawk and played chess with me for hours, he eventually won. We left kunming on our first hard seater overnight train. The train itself was not as bad as I had previously anticipated, but the journey was fearsome. The ride started off well as we began playing 500 (a card game) and snacking on our seemingly infinite supply of Oreos (seriously though, they have a stranglehold on china). As time began to wind down, however, sleep became a challenge for some. As more and more tried to sleep the sounds of hysterical (I mean hysterical) laughter began to ring more prevalent throughout the carriage. This, as you can imagine, caused a schism to be formed among the dragons crew. With battle lines drawn insults volleyed back and forth between the delusional and the sleepless dead. Normally, in this scenario the awake gradually calm down as they are forced into submission by the desperate. We, however, were right next to the bathrooms, which caused large amounts of foot traffic throughout the night. This was not a problem until people realized that the floor held the best beds and promptly assumed it as their domain. With the spaces under the tables already taken by the quick and ready, the aisle was what remained for 5 of our travelers. The foot-traffic, here, became an issue with our fellow travelers attempting to traverse our obstacle course, on a rocking train, sometimes with kids. People were constantly woken up as attempts to step over tended to fail. Topping off the intrusions was this one airplanesk cart wandering the aisles in an attempt to sell all his fruit before the ride ended, hollering at the top of his lungs and forcing all limbs of the aisle. At the same time our brave few were attempting to arrange our last two weeks of travel coordinating votes from unruly listeners and researching past the point of heroes. All of this culminated in the talk of a vegi-killer being the best serial killer ever and a murder threat from one of our quietest. We left the train in bad humor entering the smoldering heat of lanzhou, commonly recognized as the most polluted city in china. Although, you wouldn’t know it with the blue skies and sunshine. After eating the lamian of a lifetime we quickly booked it for a Buddhist monastery. We stayed immediately outside the monastery with a Tonka painter (who made serious money on our visit) and it was probably the best opportunity for individual exploration on the trip. This was incredibly convenient because we had a meeting in which everyone discussed how they were feeling, after which I recommitted myself to individual exploration and discovery. The following day we welcomed the happy surprise of a local dance. Once a year the men of the surrounding area come together to join arms in dance, drink, and spiced hot dogs (everyone else comes and watches). I took this opportunity to explore the town and maybe learn something. I started by tailing this group of teenage boys, but eventually stumbled upon a construction site and offered my height as assistance. I worked on the site for several hours before moving on to carrying straw for an old woman and re-arranging watermelons on a truck. All before returning to the dance for the climax (which everyone tells me is the only interesting part) where a tranced monk danced around the bonfire with a bottle of champagne spraying onlookers, immediately following was a group of lion dancers storming the cite creating a wonderful, confusing spectacle for all to behold. I was a little miffed at not having any realizations, but was happy having helped people. The next day was a wonderful time for Black Holes and Revelations; we were given the whole day to “solo” in a monastery wandering around spinning prayer wheels. I, again, stumbled upon a construction site and offered my assistance. After about 30 minutes of transferring dirt from one floor to another, a monk let me into his house for tea and chat. In our limited small talk, correlating my limited vocabulary, I again failed to enlighten my mind, and was miffed. We moved on to town and promptly snagged another bus out to our Tibetan home stay. This was probably the low point of my expectation, in my weeks of Chinese stay I had failed to change myself or even form a resolution. When we arrived in the beautiful valley, I was having none of it. It was cold and foggy and I was ready to accept this place as the worst home stay before encountering my family. As we sat down for dinner in two tents, we were to big for one, it started to pour. We had left our stuff outside the other tent, and before they could run our stuff to safety it all got soaked. We split up and they escorted us to our tents, I was a full 15 minuet hike from the main tent. I churned butter, herded sheep and yaks, and milked a yak too, all without any learning. I was miffed. The real lesson came though, when I lost my stuff. I lost my wallet and newly prized blade and lighter all at once. I went on a massive search through my whole herding routine. This gave me time to think as I was starving for oxygen hiking the most demoralizing trail I have ever encountered at an altitude worthy of skiing. I was thinking while I was walking and realized, that even though I had failed I was still happy, I realized that even if I don’t learn, I can still be happy just helping people. I, of course, found my stuff in the main tent at the end of my search. We left the next day and we were in reasonably high spirits, the general consensus was that this was by far the best home stay of our trip. As we were leaving we lost ourselves in a fog in the search for the bread cars. After much debate and search we eventually found the cars. The cars lack power so we had to twice get out of the car and push until we got off the dirt road. We arrived in xining and headed straight for our hotel deciding that the next day the majority would head to the museum while Gus, Tommy, and I would buy bus tickets to li jiang. We made it to lijiang after a four hour bus ride with 30 minutes to spare before a 17 hour sleeper bus to dunhuang. We ended up actually being late, but service in china seems to wait longer. We played a massive 500 tournament in which we drew teams and played for ever. Anyway, now we are in DunHuang and everything seems wonderful again, we’ve started running things now that were in the “exploration phase.” Were in a warm climate by a desert and are looking forward to looking at the best preserved articles of Buddhist art, dune surfing, and spending a night in the desert. Here we have a volleyball court and wonderful rooms. So yeah, things are great, people want to use the computer, bye, stay tuned for three. 
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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Two

Jeffrey Angus Tai-Xi Bandeen,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

Since "One" I have made the crucial decision to not travel in reverse chronological order, and instead pick up in kunming. Before I delve into a synopsis of events I would first like to share with all those reading this an integral, but unseen dynamic in this trip, nicknames. Within a day I myself had […]

Posted On

07/30/11

Author

Jeffrey Angus Tai-Xi Bandeen

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A few days ago we left a nomadic village on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. After staying there for 3 days, many of us got a little stir crazy with the complete lack of modern stimulation. However, I don’t think that this was such a bad thing. There is a certain beauty that many of us missed in the simple routine of subsistence living. Everyday I saw my home stay mother get up at 6 am to go out and milk the yaks. No matter how cold or how wet, she got out of the warm bed and even warmer tent because if she didn’t do it, her entire family wouldn’t eat. After milking the yaks for 2 hours, it was time to separate the fat from the milk. This means kneeling on the mud floor of the tent and hand cranking a machine to separate the milk. Once again if she doesn’t spend hours kneeling there, who would? Where would the fat in the diet come from? It wouldn’t. As I sat there turning the crank I thought to myself how can people live like this? How do they not get bored with doing the same thing, day in and day out? How is it that my mother drags herself out of bed every morning, while everyone else sleeps an extra 15 minutes? At home I am constantly stimulated and shuttled form one activity to another. Whether it is going to wrestling practice, or hanging out at a friends house, or driving to the monthly school board meeting, I am always on the move. Sitting there turning the crank I realized that I didn’t need all that. I didn’t need 1 million different activities to keep me occupied. All I needed was a family.

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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life with the nomads

Sam Jacobson,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

A few days ago we left a nomadic village on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. After staying there for 3 days, many of us got a little stir crazy with the complete lack of modern stimulation. However, I don’t think that this was such a bad thing. There is a certain beauty that many […]

Posted On

07/30/11

Author

Sam Jacobson

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Hello all! We just returned from a homestay on a Tibetan plateau where we stayed with nomadic families. These gracious people live in tents and spend their days herding yaks in the mountains. While walking around, I was invited into every tent I passed and was force fed every kind of food they were able to offer (usually not something easy to stomach…) I think we all had some amazing, interesting, amusing and some very awkward experiences.

Due to the lack of common communication, the family usually resorted to laughing at me. On the first day during their “lunch break” when they weren’t working, they decided I was going to be their Barbie doll. They dressed me in all the different types of traditional clothing they could find. There were necklaces, wool capes, capes made of yak fur, velvety shirts, belts, scarves and even hats. And when my family was finished dressing me up, their neighbors would come over with all of their clothing. It’s a good thing my “father” really liked my camera; he took a photo shoot. They thought seeing a foreigner dressed in their clothing was one of the funniest things they had ever seen. They made me walk around in the clothing for a long time, despite how hot it got in the yak fur. Staying in their home, I felt obligated to try and help them however I could. This included humiliating myself while trying to milk a yak (it is way harder than it looks,) cook/prepare the meals and tidy up the tent. Moving the yaks though, was definitely a highlight. Separating the babies from the mother and herding the large ones is certainly something I have never done and probably won’t get to do again (UNLESS MY VERY LOVING PARENTS WANT TO GET ME A PET YAK!!! I already have names picked out…) Along with the camera, my family and I had other bonding moments. My fathers noticed the black strand of beads that I had been wearing since I bought them in Kunming. He wanted to see them and starting asking me things like how much I had paid for them and other questions making it very obvious that he wanted them. After figuring this out, I decided to let him have them knowing that I had two other strands. I have never seen someone so happy. He was legitimately glowing. He wasted no time in putting them on and flaunting them to everyone else. I’m so glad he was so happy. On the morning of our departure, I had what could have been one my most graceful exits. Jeff, Will and Julian came to get me so we could all walk to the main tent together. After saying goodbye to my family, I needed to duck to get out of the tent. My bag is very heavy and causes some imbalance. As I crouched very low, I fell forwards, ripped the tent open, landed face first about an inch away from yak poop and proceeded to roll down the hill. Thanks for catching me guys! (Julian especially) Let’s just say, we all had QUITE the laugh. There are a countless number of other anecdotes that I could tell you all about my experience on the Tibetan plateau but I think this should give you a pretty good idea. It was defiantly a culture shock and a much different lifestyle but certainly an amazing experience that I am thrilled to have been a part of. I hope you all keep updated on the rest of the trip and thanks for reading!SABRINA PEARSON [post_title] => Tibetan Homestay [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tibetan-homestay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-07-30 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=43267 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 319 [name] => China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011 [slug] => china-a-comprehensive-survey-summer-2011 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 319 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 251 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 18.1 [cat_ID] => 319 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011 [category_nicename] => china-a-comprehensive-survey-summer-2011 [category_parent] => 251 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2011/china-a-comprehensive-survey-summer-2011/ ) ) [category_links] => China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011 )

China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Tibetan Homestay

Sabrina Pearson,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

Hello all! We just returned from a homestay on a Tibetan plateau where we stayed with nomadic families. These gracious people live in tents and spend their days herding yaks in the mountains. While walking around, I was invited into every tent I passed and was force fed every kind of food they were able […]

Posted On

07/30/11

Author

Sabrina Pearson

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I peek out of the tent flap into thick fog, pouring some viscous milk tea to match. I reemerge after the bowl of the froth has been drained to find the fog lifted. A strange landscape is revealed, one of mountains, but with no trees or rocks. Grass and grass eaters cover the peaks and valleys as far as I can see. The herds of sheep and yaks are abudent enough that the squeeking sounds of their chomping, like the noise of many feet trying to squeeze into rubber boots, can be heard clearly from a peak away. People are outnumbered by the tens of thousands, with around 16 tents in the valley that form our small community. At night our small troop of white tents glows back at the stars from darkness of the hills. It looks like lumiscent jellyfish have been beached on a dark deserted shore. Once inside the tents the belch of large bullfrogs encompass the structure, produced by the thousands of yaks that float in the sea of black.

In this strange environment young girls no more than ten years old work long hours of manual labor, making the average construction worker look lazy, soft, and irresponsible. The young kids watch over, milk, drag, tie, and manage large herds of horned furry beasts ten times their size. They carry the waste of the creatures on thier backs, spread and turn it to make fires. They squeeze out the lactose and churn it to sustain themselves and stay warm at over 10,000 feet. Their tiny hands grab the hairs off of the wooly coats and collect the fiber for warmth. They drive the herds to the tops of high mountains, pushing on against storms that rip across ridges with their plastic bag coats.

I take orders from my eleven year old cattle driving boss. She speaks to me in a foreign tongue and smiles at my inefficiency and disappointing performance. Her feces covered finger points to the yaks that need drug away, and to the hills that I must climb. My muscles sore and my stomach sour from a diet of milk and flour, I dig in further in search of an inner strength that has been starved by comfort and pampered expectations.

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Yak Hands, Milk Stomachs

Stew Motta,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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I peek out of the tent flap into thick fog, pouring some viscous milk tea to match. I reemerge after the bowl of the froth has been drained to find the fog lifted. A strange landscape is revealed, one of mountains, but with no trees or rocks. Grass and grass eaters cover the peaks and […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Stew Motta

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Our Sense of Belonging

Lydia & Gilly,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

Description

Growing up, we have always lived in a very white world; white family, white neighborhood and white friends. Although most of the time, we feel as if we are part of this community, there is always the fact that we actually aren’t. Because we were adopted at a very young age, neither of us identify […]

Posted On

07/24/11

Author

Lydia & Gilly

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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Living at the present

suzy xu shuang,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Posted On

07/24/11

Author

suzy xu shuang

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    [post_title] => In the northwest of China
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China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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In the northwest of China

suzy xu shuang,China: A Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2011

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Posted On

07/24/11

Author

suzy xu shuang

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