From: "Jessica Friedrichs" <jxf243hotmail.com>
>Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 19:16:24 PDT
>Hi mom!! Please send this message to everyone on your list because I am
>on a time limit here and I can't write everyone back (especially
>natasha, elizabeth, christopher, and karen..cause they wrote me)
>Anyways, I wanted to tell you about my latest adventure. This past
>weekend we all decided we wanted to hike Huangshan (yellow mtn)..it is a
>huge mountain about 8 hrs from here. It is absolutely beautiful and one
>of the biggest and most famous mtns. in all of china. We got there by
>driving through the chinese countryside which is very green with rice
>paddies but also has many small rural chinese towns. WE stayed in one
>of the towns at the base of the mtn overnight and we started to hike on
>sat. Mom, you would be so proud of me (make sure uncle martin sees
>this!!) I hiked the entire mtn! It has steps carved into it and most
>people take a cable car up but a couple of my friends and I decided to
>hike up..it took us a couple hrs. but it was a wonderful hike. When we
>got to the top we hiked more because we kept going to the tops of all
>these peaks and then back into the valleys...so many steps!! WE stayed
>at this rickety boardinghouse at the top, no running water, and checked
>out at 6 am the next day to start hiking again. We hiked a bunch more
>peaks and then we had to make the big decision whether to hike to lotus
>peak or not...it is the highest peak in the yellow mtns, one of the
>highest in China. Most of the other kids decided to take the path
>around the base but for some crazy reason I decided to hike the peak
>(with about 5 other kids). It was the most incredible thing I've ever
>done..we were seriously climbing along the side of a mtn!! It was so
>beautiful and twisty, full of little caves, and lots of misty clouds-it
>was great. After we made it down we then hiked down the rest of the
>mtns - 2 and 1/2 more hrs. of steep stairs!! Today my legs are paying
>for it but I really feel great...I can't believe I couldn't walk across
>campus just 4 months ago. Anyways, it's been just another one of the
>incredible experiences I've had here. This trip is the best thing I've
>ever done. I love you guys...tell bry I hope he has a wonderful time
>in Alaska and dad that i got his message. I'm leaving for Beijing on
>sat on a 16 hr sleeper train. I'll try to write again before then.
>love lots, jessica
From: Jeanne Friedrichs [mailto:jwf5psu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 1998 11:11 AM
Subject: Jessica visit in China
This is to get you all caught up a bit with Jessica's adventures. We have
spoken with her twice since she left and also received an email from her
last week. Her email address in Nanjing, at the Nanjing Normal University
is firstname.lastname@example.org. It is truly amazing to get an email from China!
Jessica plans to access her email about once a week , because it is not
conveniently located and she pays a fee each time, but it is a lot faster
than mail, which takes at least 10 days. She is eager for mail from home so
by all means drop her an email if you get the chance. I don't know if any
of you have heard from her directly yet, but I will share a bit of her news.
Jessica arrived in Shanghai and went "tourist" class(read civilized and
good food) through that city for a few days with her group before arriving
at the motel accommodations connected with her study program in Nanjing.
There the spartan room (she can touch both walls with her arms spread out),
shared with her good friend from Penn State, Kim, offered less than
luxurious accommodations and barely recognizable food in the school
cafeteria (she does remember seeing a crab leg in some type of soup). She
started eating a lot of rice. The "pipe" as she calls it, provides a
refreshing shower. Of course she absolutely loves it all!! She gets to
study about 15 new Chinese characters each day. Amazingly she is tutored
with only one other boy student. (There are about 18 of them together in
this group). It is very hard but she seems determined to learn it.
The really special part of the trip came when she was picked up in a car
with a driver and our dear friend Ning Li (do any of you remember Ning from
when she lived with us 10 years ago?), along with her husband, both of whom
speak English fluently. The drove 3 hours each way to bring Jessica to
their home in Jiangsu for the weekend. When Ning said she would welcome
Jessica as their "precious guest" she was greatly underplaying the royal
treatment they had planned. Literally every whim of Jessica's was
anticipated and attended to. She was called "daughter" by Ning and treated
to special excursions to the temple where she was instructed and allowed to
make the offering (something the tourists don't get to do). She had endless
conversations with Ning's husband who explained a great deal about all
things Chinese. She met their son Yun who also studies English and who
worked all weekend on his studies. The gradparents cooked continuously for
Jessica and made all kinds of great food. When she was driven back to
school (again a three hour round trip for them), she took with her multiple
presents for our family and a lot of food and snacks.
Just to share one example of the royal treatment she received, when Jessica
said she like a certain berry she had tasted, Ning got on her bicycle and
went to market and came home with 2 quarts of them. They were meticulously
washed and given to Jessica to enjoy. She slept in Yun's mahagony bed and
enjoyed a real hot shower.
Jessica said the city where Ning's family lives is not as cosmopolitan as
the bigger cities and she is sure some people had never seen a caucasion
woman before. People stare at her all the time and some fall off their
bicycles when they see her. She is getting used to that.
Well, as you can imagine she is having the time of her life. Much, much
more is to come. She will be at a new address (no email for that yet) in
Bejing where she will stay in a real dorm room at a University there, about
the first week of July. She will end her stay in China by visiting the Gobi
desert , the last 4-5 days in July. She will be touring with a travel group
again at that time and will probably welcome the relative luxury that affords.
In the meantime I'll leave it to her to share her more "interesting"
experiences of life as a Chinese student.
Hope everyone is well.
Bye for now.