Nong hao! Macey, Ben, and Kate here to tell you about our last day in China.
We began our day with a trip to the Jade Buddha Temple. The temple was beautiful with extravagant Buddha statues made of gold and jade. The smell of incense filled the air as we learned about Buddhism and how Buddhists worship. We had the chance to witness Buddhists of all ages pray for their families’ health and a long life. Some of us even joined in.

The Jade Buddha Temple in ShanghaiA courtyard within the Jade Buddha Temple smelled strongly of incense. Photo by Sadie

At the end of tour of the temples, we got to try four different types of tea. Each type of tea had different benefits such as energy and weight loss. We experienced the Chinese ritual for drinking tea as well. Some people got their name and other things written in Chinese on a script, and other people bought some tea from the teahouse. Brenton and Sadie even bought both.
After that, we drove to a silk workshop, where we learned about the life cycle of a silk worm, and how to collect and create silk. Afterwards, they led us to the silk shop where Kate bought a silk pillowcase to prevent wrinkles in the future. Other people, like Christina, wanted to buy a silk robe, but found that most of them looked like something an old lady would wear. Ben, Sadie, and some other people bought beautiful silk pillows.
For lunch, we walked over to a nice restaurant, where we were served rice, vegetables, chicken, and fish. To our surprise, the chicken and fish were served with their heads intact. Ben and Seth competed with each other to eat the most parts of the heads, like the eyes and the brains.
Next we drove to the Shanghai YMCA. We got into groups to learn more about Chinese culture from volunteers. We got to ask as many questions as we liked about sports, entertainment, education, and language. In the sports group, we asked questions such as what kind of sports were the most popular, and I even asked if they have field hockey, our (Kate and Macey’s) favorite sport. (They didn’t know what I was talking about.) Ben even asked the boys if they had girlfriends. Later, we sang The National Anthem and Jingle Bells, and the retired people sang an old Chinese song for us. Ben found a little boy with the same English name as him, and spent most of our time there with the little boy. After the performances, we planted Chinese flowers with the retired people and the autistic children there. Ben and Phil talked to Roger, a volunteer at the YMCA, and even had the chance to interview him. They got his email and are going to keep in contact when he’s in Ohio this August when he goes back to visit his host family from a previous trip to Columbus.

The koi pond at Yu GardenNumerous koi follow the visitors on one of the many bridges in the Yu Garden. Photo by Seth

The Yu Garden was the next thing on the itinerary for today. It was beautiful, with lots of pretty trees, Chinese architecture, and a lovely stream with a lot of fish. Despite us all being so tired, we took some gorgeous pictures.
Right outside of the garden we got a chance to do some good souvenir shopping. We bargained with the street vendors and most of us ended up with what we wanted at a great price.
We had an extra twenty minutes to check out the famous Bund, a modern business district that features both Western and Chinese architecture. We took lots of great pictures and many Chinese people enjoyed taking pictures with us. Lots of Chinese girls even thought Ben was Justin Bieber.

Kate, the Dalmatian & a Chinese manKate discovers her favorite type of dog, a Dalmatian, in the subway station across from the trendy SML shopping center in Shanghai. Photo by Seth

To end the night, we went to another shopping district where we were all able to choose our own food for once. Most of us chose anything but Chinese. We also got to do some last minute shopping and get some high-end items. Kate even found an adorable Dalmatian. Seth did a photo shoot of the two of them. After enjoying our pizza and fro-yo, we all met up near Starbucks and shuffled back onto the bus to go to our hotel. We are all very exhausted but today was a successful day and we are ready to pack up our belongings and head back to the States. Can’t wait to see you all!