Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last hours in North America

Flew out of Baltimore on Wednesday morning, sat in Laguardia for a while then flew to Syracuse. I met 3 other guys who were going to the same REU, so we got some pizza and caught a bus to Potsdam. It was a long, boring ride but we got to know each other during the ride. At Clarkson we met the Shen’s and the rest of the research team.

On Thursday, we did registration and payroll paperwork followed by some web design instructions. After that we walked to downtown Potsdam, which does not have much to offer, but we got some good bagel sandwiches. In the afternoon we learned some presentation skills and then had a very boring presentation on lab safety. All 8 of us were pretty much falling asleep the whole time. That night we had dinner at the Shen’s house. We talked about what we would be doing in China, how we got selected, and what to expect in the different cities. Following dinner we tried some Plum Wine and Japanese Sake. That night we all hung out in the townhouses and I ended up going to sleep pretty late after spending a good while on the phone with Cortney.

On Friday morning we had a team dynamics workshop, which was pretty entertaining and a productive experience for us all. Next we had a quick Chinese language and history lesson with Hung Tao. After trying to learn some of the basics, I am quite glad that I made the 8 dollar investment in a Mandarin phrasebook. That afternoon we walked back to Potsdam for our last slices of pizza til August. At 3:00 PM we left for Ottawa. Right now, we’re staying in a nice little hotel. After we all did a workout we chilled in a hot tub. I’m really hoping that the hot tub will keep my muscles from getting too sore on the plane ride tomorrow.

All my initial nerves are actually starting to subside once I got to know the research team better and got my questions answered by the Shen’s. I’m now pretty excited to catch our 6:00 AM flight tomorrow. We fly from Ottawa to Toronto, then to Vancouver, and finally the long flight over the Pacific to Beijing.

In Canada there is a Dunkin Donuts clone called Tim Horton’s. All the guys talked about it like it was the greatest thing since lsiced bread, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. We had dinner there which was a little odd, but it was the only place close to the hotel. Tonight I went for a run in like perfect 65 degree weather. I only ran 10 min because it was getting late, but it was one of the most peaceful, relaxing runs I’ve had in a while.

I’m getting ready to go to bed since we have to get up around 3:00 AM tomorrow. I’ll update when we land in Beijing in a good while.

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