Much like Karrin, Olivia and Rachel commented before me, I have been experiencing the same, cries of haaaloooo!!!, the awkward stares, and the mild culture shock (Although I will say the attention certainly plays to my narcissistic side...). As I read through their posts and hear their interpretations of the events I remember from any given day, it has really struck me how much we are going to rely on each other as a group this year. As amazing as this experience is, when it comes to moral support and needing someone to understand, we are hopelessly alone in this foreign place. The good news is we all get along great and for the most part have similar interests - although being the only guy between Xintan and Qu shi da (Qufu Normal where Eliza and Lucy are) has definitely been interesting at times - my off color jokes and obscure movie references just don't mesh as well as they used to with "the boys."
That being said, I'm excited what the year holds in store for us and our group - I've always been the type of person to want to venture out on my own; to dive in head first with no safety net - but I've got to say, having people to fall back on has been amazing. We had a venting session last night about how much we miss things like endless stacks of pancakes at IHOP. We went and bought Oreos (I hardly ever eat Oreos in the states). We stumbled our way through a Hot Pot dinner (very amazing, by the way) together. All of these things have been so much more enjoyable with people who you can relate to.
This weekend is the Mooncake Festival (mid-autumn festival) - if you are away from home and family, you are supposed to look up at the moon and remember your family. They also make special biscuity sweet bread called "mooncakes" which you of course eat during the festival, in remembrance. So to everyone back home, happy mooncake festival from Qufu!