For the past two and a half weeks I have been home. Prior to that I was also home. And even before that I was also home. What do I mean? Well, I am a Chinese-American-Canadian so home is where I have family, where I have legal residency, where my blood traces back to, but most importantly where I feel like I belong. This Chinese-American-Canadian is a rising sophomore majoring in Food Science and goes by the name Michelle Yin, or more recently Yin Dong Hui. I arrived in China on May 19th where I started my tour of Shanghai and Beijing for a few days then transitioned into a university setting again at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. The main purpose of my being in China is for a study abroad trip in which we do a research internship at Zhejiang University, starting on the 25th of May. The days spent exploring in Shanghai and Beijing were more for a cultural immersion and to play a little before we start working. Nevertheless, it already and still feels like home to me. I am comfortable here, am well adjusted, and always enjoy a challenge and a nice riské element to life.
In Shanghai we explored Nanjing Road, Yu Garden, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and Huangpu river by cruise. I also met up with a friend to go to the best karaoke place in Shanghai. We sang Roses by Chainsmokers literally 5 times.
The TV Tower was amazing, being a 1,536 ft. tall tower; it had a beautiful view of the buildings, a perfect outlook over the city, and a breathtaking overview of Shanghai’s architecture. Not to mention, the glass floor section made me look like a complete daredevil who is either reflecting or contemplating life.
~~Insert High Speed Bullet Train Transition to Beijing~~
In Beijing we climbed the Great Wall, posed for pictures at the Olympic Park’s Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, visited Tiananmen Square, and toured Old Beijing. Oh don’t worry, we made sure to rep UIUC while we were there.
For someone who’s already been to China four times, this was still only my first time seeing and climbing the Great Wall. Over 20k steps according to FitBit. What can I say? I love a good workout.
And what’s better than 20k steps in one day? Over 25k steps in one day! Plus being 1,860 METERS up in the air.That’s right. We went to Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) over the weekend and hiked from 7am to 4pm, nonstop, except when taking touristy pictures. The fog stuck close to us all morning like a tiger mom sheltering us from the beautiful yet dangerous mountain world. But our sweaty faces and jelly legs weren’t for nothing; by 3pm the shining sun stood up for us, forcing the fog to fade and we were left awestruck. One moment we had our heads low, staring at the bumpy rock stairs in front of us and the next moment we couldn’t stop taking pictures, hoarding the beauty as if we could make up for the hidden treasures we missed all day.
Although it looks like we just run around all day with our mouths gaping at everything we see and eat, we’ve really actually been working in the research labs for 8 days already. I’m in a Food Science lab researching under a PhD candidate student who is the sweetest friend, role model, and sister. She introduced me to everyone in the lab team and they are all as friendly as she is. We play relay games outside, eat hotpot together, solve escape room puzzles, eat lunch together, oh and also do research from 9am-3pm. Our current research involves working with sodium alginate beads in a calcium chloride solution combined with the enzyme pectin to try to immobilize the pectin that can be found in fruits. Her research has already been going on for two years and this month will conclude her research paper findings. On the sixth day of interning with her project we were able to finally immobilize the pectin and find varied results compared to the control. It was pretty exciting to make progress, in our own nerdy little way, since the other five days were us just doing the same experiment day after day with new modifications after finding out at the end of the day that it didn’t work through the way we wanted and expected.
The other parts of her research include using ultrasound to immobilize the pectin as well as other functions to play around with the intensity and prime peak of each variable. Since this is a blog and not my actual research summary presentation, I’ll leave it at that. My PhD student has already published three other papers and this paper in the making will be her fourth one. I truly love working with her, even though I’m not working on a project of my own or not doing much hard analytical work. As we’re almost approaching the halfway mark of this trip I look forward to what I will continue to keep learning, what I will eagerly explore, and how I will further develop the meaning of home.
This is my story,
Michelle Yin | June 24, 2016 | 7:55pm
P.S. For more pictures follow Instagram @meeshyin I promise, nature does not disappoint. Also, more pictures to come on Facebook. Also also, I'm publishing a copy of this on the aces study abroad blog at acesstudyabroad.wordpress.com fyi fyi :P
I have a story. You have a story. And while these stories need to be heard, in the end..we are all more than a story but still simple wayfarers of life.
A blog cannot contain the entire person I am, it is just a colorful collection of my stories.
P.S. Please ignore all preview blog posts due to it being written by my high school self for an English class project requiring the creation of this blog. I only keep it for amusement purposes.
Thanks for bearing