Day 16 – April 22
This was a tough morning. It was sad to say goodbye and to not know when we would see each other again. Technology is great, but it doesn’t take the place of a hug or hand shake. Although we’ve set our dates for our exchange, that doesn’t mean the two of us, Hong and I, will have opportunity to meet again and it’s quite unlikely we’ll see others that we began friendships with (from our sister schools and beyond). It was also a stressful time on a different level. We were traveling in country by air with our baggage which was now quite a bit heavier (filled with gifts and souvenirs) from what it was when we began our journey. Most of us had barely made the international weight limit for our baggage when coming to China and now we had to attempt to get even heavier suitcases onto a plane with more stringent weight limitations. Let’s just say some of us succeeded and some had to pay a bit more. We left the Zhengding airport that afternoon bound for Shanghai.
Upon arrival in Shanghai, we had just enough time to check into our rooms, dump our suitcases off, and run to the room for our debriefing. Our colleagues from New England, Ohio, and Indiana were waiting for us. It was nice to see them again, the Xi'an family was reunited and we met a few others who weren't able to enjoy those first days of bonding. We exchanged experiences, talked about what we had learned, and set the foundation for future collaborations between our schools too, as we navigate the new waters of global exchange together.