Appreciation, Adventure & Thought - Shirley's US Travel Diary -013 & 173rd Friendly Greeting -- Tue, Nov 17, 2008

How are you? Have you had a good weekend and started a wonderful new week?

Today is the 50th day that I am in the US. I attended my 4th closed examination yesterday and I started this letter with a peaceful heart last night and I planned to paint a picture, too. However, instead of finishing this letter and painting, I sang my first Chinese song and I made the first record in my little apartment in the US. Do you know why?

Last week, except the good news that I got my first A on IT project management lesson in the US and my 2nd closed examination’s score was raised up to 94 from 82 of the first examination, my paper got 90. Also, I got the Certificate of Title of my car. I started to have a local “Host Family” as same as the other international students.

When I saw my first little “property” in the other country, when I read the kind letter from the hostess of my “Host Family”, I felt good and warm in my heart indeed. As a lucky person who has experienced whole of the process of the culture revolution, opening and reforming of China, I has gone a so long and so hard/happy road from Beijing --> the frontier between China and Russia --> a university in Heilongjiang --> a college in Jiangsu --> 5 companies in Shenzhen, 5 universities in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing, went out of China--> Europe --> Australia --> America, to learn painting, music and language, With extra hardworking, I have made almost all of my dreams to be true. When I think of what I have experienced, my heart is full of the appreciation to the world and all of the people who had taught me, guided me, helped me, supported me and cared for me. I do think that if there was nobody, I would not do anything at all. In my heart, except endless appreciating, I would really like to repay the society and people via helping the others. Just like one of my tutors Anna said today, I am helping the others who need help; tomorrow, they will help me when I need help. Via the helping each other, via the work together, to build and to enjoy a more beautiful world...

So, as soon as I got my car, I decide to help my classmates as much as possible. I feel lucky to have an opportunity to help. I feel happiness for their trust in me. Anyway, can you imagine what we have experienced in the short past time? Here are some of our funny and interesting stories.

First of all, to carry a laptop as my GPS; on the second day that I got my car, a classmate Jan and I was informed to rent in a local real estate company. We did not know where it is. So, I wrote to my tutor Anna for helping. Soon, we got her letter and the exact address, yet, we did not know where it is for it could not be found on the map. So, Jan and I checked it via Google. Then she carried my laptop in to my car. To be honest, even though I did not say anything, I was scaring to drive after I just got a new car for less than 24 hours and to drive in the totally strange place. But, I had to do since I would study here for a while. With a nervous heart, rely on our temporary GPS, I drove out. Then we found the office and came back safely. Wow! It was so nice! And since then, as long as I needed to drive, I checked the address via Google and I was confidence with myself more and more.

However, in the adventure last Thursday, I totally realized what is “There is no water to drink when 3 persons together. Every-body's business is no-body's business ( A Chinese joke and idiom: when one person is working alone, he/she will carry water for him/herself, when two people are working together, they will carry water together, when 3 people together, they will not be any water to drink, for everyone thinks the other will do that). So that I was often asked that “Have you written anything about our adventures? ”

Last Wednesday, after finishing our 3rd examination, a girl classmate Amy told me that someone wanted to take some prove letters to attend the driver license test. I said “Ok and try to check the address via Google. I will only drive according to your directions”. At 1:00 pm Thursday, we started off with some simple maps that they had painted and I turned right from a traffic light and parked in a park that is distance from the traffic lamps about 200 or 300 meters, because a girl classmate Aileen told them the office is just distance from the traffic light about 300 meters. Then we walked and walked, found and found, about 3000 meters has gone, we did not find anything. I could not help asking them what the name of place is and whether there is any symbolized building around it. Then Amy asked Heidi, Heidi asked Cathy, Cathy asked Amy, actually, there was no one knew its full name at all. We were in fact finding a place that we did not know its name at all. Why? Every one thought that the others had known it already. We could not help laugh together. We started to make a joke each other that “This is just a good job we have done as some good MBA students!”

Finally, the clever Cathy made sure the place’s name ? Social Security Administration via some telephone call. How long distance do you know it is from the traffic light? About 4000 meters! No way, we had to go back about 3000 meters and entered my car again. First time, I tried to drive on the middle road between the quick ways to turn on left and entered the other side of the street. We found the building and got our letters quickly.

Then, the story is not finished yet.

After I put down 2 of the girls in some street that Heidi would to take her trousers in some shop that she needed just walking for about 3 minutes. Then I drove Cathy to transfer the ownership of her cell phone. In the office of AT & T, a clerk treated her politely, but, she could not do her job for they needed the other girl here to deal with the transfer face to face.

When we just sat into my car, the telephone rang. Amy and Heidi could not find the shop even though they had gone over 3 blocks. I was worrying about them so much I was worrying that I did not know how to drive to them, too. So, I asked them to find a place along with the right of the street and waited for me to pick up them…

After they entered my car, my heart was just relaxed a little, the other thing happened. No one knew the exact address of the shop and we could only find it according to a basic direction. With a good luck, we found it, but I parked my car on the other side of the Shopping malls for I had driven on a wrong road. .

Around the evening, the girls did their jobs and bought something ok, I could not find my car, for everything was so different under the city lamps. In case Amy had a clear mind and she called me here or there and we came back to my car in the golden lamp and moon light.

For believing Amy’s mind very much, I put down my suspicion in my heart and drove on a road that she directed. Suddenly, I saw the street nameplate of the road that I picked up the two girls. It was transverse of us, instead of being parallel in my car. I realized that we had gone a wrong way. The girl Cathy kept her opinions and thought that we were on a right road, so that I imagined that maybe American’s street nameplate is just transverse instead of parallel in streets as China? So, I continued to drive on the road. But, the lamps out of the windows were getting less and less, the roads got dark and dark, it seemed like we had gone somewhere very remote, I was getting scared and the girls also were. I decided to drive following my own judgment instead of their opinions again. I knew little about the city, but just remembered what the car dealer told me that it is very square city. So, I turned back and drove forward to the places with more lamps.

Finally, we saw some supermarkets, drugstore and many signs of “Stop”. Then we met the big shopping-mall and found back our road. After driving for another 20 minutes, we came back home safely at about 6:30 pm. My heart that had been hung up just came back to my chest.

These days, we often make some joke with this adventure with many smiles. We also think of what we should learn from the funny experience -- Especially as some MBA students who have just learned some theory of project management? Maybe, to improve ourselves with more investigation and more planning jobs before we start an action is something that we have learned from this interesting adventure in the US?

What is your thought? Have you had any funny experience as we did in a foreign country with the second language?
I am just a learner on that art of painting, music English and Chinese language, to work on the web site in my free time. I would really like to do a little bit things with what I have learned to make this little web site to be an Electronic Bridge of Culture Exchange, Language Learning & Friendship. To help the others while to improve myself.

I appreciate your understanding, directions and supports. I do hope to get your friendly help...

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you are welcome to write to or, or to publish your opinions in the forum.

Shirley Yiping Zhang
Tue, Nov 17, 2008 From USA

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